Marvelous spam

Normally unseen by the small number of real live humans who visit this blog, I get a steady stream of comment spam. None of it makes it through, most being caught by a set of fairly simple filter rules, and the rest being swiftly cut down by a heartless moderator (i.e. me).

Recent comment spammers have become a little smarter. Instead of blasting away with meaningless comments containing dozens of links to automatically-generated URLs, it seems they’re now trying a sort of social engineering. They post flattering comments with no embedded links at all, possibly hoping that if a single comment gets through from a given email address, they will have free reign to post anything from that same address (taking advantage of an option in WordPress).

This is fairly easy to spot, because such comments are still completely generic and contain no hint that the commenter has understood anything I’ve written. In particular, in response to my irreverent post on the H1N1 flu, one “person” had the following contribution to make:

Hi, Congratulations to the site owner for this marvelous work you’ve done. It has lots of useful and interesting data.

Well, it was a truly important piece of research, after all, so I’m happy to take the credit for it.

1 thought on “Marvelous spam

  1. Since you’re using WordPress, you should check out the Askimet plugin ( On my blog it’s caught 3058 spam comments automatically (with 1 false positive, but I think that was me fucking around). Couple that with Comment Timeout ( which disables comments on posts as they reach a certain age, and you’ll cut out almost all your spam.

    Since doing that I’ve not had a single piece of comment spam but still get real comments.

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