A message to spam-merchants

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!



10 responses to this post.

  1. Yes, they’re a devious lot, spammers. One of my rules is to assume anything linking to a post more than a few months old is spam – unless something about it makes me truly believe otherwise. But there are still a few comments I’ve let through which I’m not so sure about.

    Another thing I notice about spam is that it seems to be becoming more mainstream. It’s not penis enlargement any more, but people are spamming me about buying the latest iPhone.


  2. Posted by Brian Joseph on October 17, 2012 at 1:47 am

    I get a lot of spambots trying to post to my blog. Nothing as sophisticated as you mention yet. However, if these software programs keep getting smarter and smarter, at this rate, who is to say that they may not eventually reach a level of consciousness and actually begin to appreciate what you post ? 🙂


  3. Posted by patriciaenola on October 17, 2012 at 7:34 am

    I thought the article in itself was first class – and exemplified my own attitude to spammers – devious blighters that they are – I tried to reply to the WordPress email and typed below the line as indicated but it seemed not to have worked very well.
    I shall – I can see, have to work on my own blog – time to get in touch with WordPress


  4. Akimet, I’ve found, is quite accurate at plucking out those little spamming bastards from my replies. I’ve learned to trust it.


  5. They really are getting increasingly devious, aren’t they? I do agree with you, Eric – Akismet are very good at spotting spam. Indeed, had they not labelled these two commenst as spam, I wouldn’t have bothered checking them.

    I am intrigued by Brian’s suggestion that spamming software could become so sophisticated that they could develop consciousness. Just think of the implications! One could have profound, meaningful discussions on Shakespeare and Tolstoy with spamming software!


  6. Great heads up. Can never have too many of those.

    Yes, Akismet has been a good friend, a VERY good friend of bloggers.


  7. Posted by patriciaenola on October 22, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    Must be your Magnetic Personality Himadri –


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