Like everyone else who runs a blog, I need to weed out from time to time all the spam messages I receive. But tonight, I found two mesages that had been labelled as spam by Akismet (the spam-prvention mechanism) that seemed to me to have been wrongly labelled: one was a comment on my review of a recent stage production of Antony and Cleopatra, and the other a comment on my recent post on the conclusion of Anna Karenina, and both comments seemed pertinent to the posts to which they had been appended. I declared these comments not to be spam, and set about replying to them. But something about them made me suspicious: I did Google searches on the texts of both comment, and found that the comment on Antony and Cleopatra had been taken word-for-word from a review of a DVD of that play, and the comment on Anna Karenina taken word-for-word from a pisspoor article on that novel that had appeared last year in the Guardian newspaper. In short, Akismet had got it right: they were spam. And yes, they both had links to some site that was trying to sell you something.
Until now, it has been quite easy to spot spam from the content, but spam-merchants are obviously getting smarter. Do I have a message for them? I suppose i do, but would prefer not to spell it out on a family-oriented blog such as this. As for other bloggers – do watch out!