13 December 2009

An Inquiry

Does anyone know the point of the really odd comment spam I've been getting for the last week or so?


Susan's Husband said...

Several possibilities:

1) It's a test. Someone is working on code and is testing it on various blogspot weblogs.

2) Probe before attack. Many junkers will drop relatively innocuous comments like that on weblogs and see if they get cleaned up. If so, they move on. If not, it's time for the flood.

3) The junker is too stupid or his software is so broken that he's trying but not succeeding. I get email junk all the time where the sender clearly has a script but didn't manage to get it to work (because, for instance, the template variables are still template variables -- "Dear %USER_NAME% ...")

joe shropshire said...

"Dear %USER NAME%..."

Just found that clip from Taxi, where the Reverend Jim Ignatowski gets a job as a traveling salesman for Magic Carpet Wizard. "I'm your name here, but you can call me nickname..." Classic stuff.

Brit said...

Much spam seems to be mere vandalism, ie. no point.

Harry Eagar said...

What is the motive for 2?

What is the reward for successfully flooding David's Secret Blog?

I don't even get the function of most spam even as vandalism.

And, unless something is going on in the world that has completely escaped my notice, there may be something wrong with the concept of positive reinforcement.

Bret said...

I'm getting similar comment spam and just closed comments for old posts at great guys.

Susan's Husband said...

The reward for 2 is search engine optimization. Very little comment junk is directed at people. The target is the search algorithms of internet search engines. The real junk in the flood would have links back to the target to have its search ranking boosted by making appear as though people were writing about it.

Bret brings up the point that closing comments is a common tactic these days, so probes like these determine if that's been done for a weblog before trying to flood it.

David said...

Thanks to these comments, I've turned on moderation for posts older than 14 days.

joe shropshire said...

That's why the text is so weirdly bland, compared to an e-mail spam. The goal is to go undeleted. It looks strange to us because we've been trained by e-mail spambots, which are trying to get you to notice them.

Harry Eagar said...

That helps for the spam, but when I look at the email spam caught in my ISP's filter, while some of it (viagra) seems to have a point, four-fifths of it looks like gibberish.

What's that supposed to do?

Susan's Husband said...

Junk in comments like this and junk email are completely different things, done for different purposes.

The gibberish email is probably testing for valid email addresses. The people who really make money for junk email are the people who sell email lists to the suckers who send out the junk. So every piece of mail that arrives in your inbox without bouncing is money in their pocket because they can sell your address.