Stupid Spammers

In the “Just for Fun” category.

WordPress comes with something called Akismet, which does a pretty good job of filtering out spam comments.  But every once in a while, a real comment gets thrown into spam, so I scan through them occasionally to see.  Some of these are funny / stupid / amazing.

Flattery

The general idea seems to be that “If I say something nice about you, you’ll undoubtedly let my comment stand, so that I can get a link to my unsavoury site on your blog.”  Examples, with my comment following:

“I don’t even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great. I don’t know who you are but certainly you are going to a famous blogger if you are not already Cheers!” — Why should I value your opinion if you don’t even know how you ended up here?

“You are a very intelligent person!” — Thank you.  I’d like to think I’m too intelligent to post a link from someone who wants me to buy Facebook fans.  Maybe you should try spamming someone dumber. 🙂

“You, my friend, ROCK! I found just the information I already searched everywhere and just could not come across. What a perfect website.” — For some reason I found it funny that you spammed this comment on a post titled, “Sin Makes Us Stupid.”

Insults

Others don’t seem quite so complimentary:

“Next time Someone said your blog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me just as much as this one. I am talking about, It was my choice to read, but I actually thought youd have something interesting to convey. All I hear is a number of whining about something you could fix should you werent too busy seeking attention.” — Don’t worry, mate, I won’t whine about your comment.  I quite enjoyed it, and have put it here for all my readers to see.  I do have one interesting thing to convey, though — I did fix it so your link isn’t going on my blog.

“What can I say sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me this won’t.” — Thanks, it’s mutual. 🙂

Spam for Cowards

So, for the blogger who wants to be flattered OR the blogger who wants to be insulted, there’s a spammer to fit every need.  Or even a spammer for the blogger who wants to insult his readers but doesn’t have the courage — the spammer will do it for you:

“I was actually excited enough to drop a comment. I actually do have a few questions for you if it’s okay. Is it simply me or do some of the remarks look like written by brain dead folks?” — This was probably not submitted by a human spammer, but a spam-bot.  Which is, of course, brain-dead.

“i never noticed until now, but most of the people who comment on here are super obnoxious. i’m sorry.” — So are most of the spam-bots.  I’m sorry.

Please Try Harder

Of course, there’s the “Huh?  I thought the goal was to fool me into thinking this is a legit comment” category:

“HUHyC”– HUH, indeed.  Is that really all you have to say?

“not every person would need to have a nose job but my girlfriend genuinely needs some rhinoplasty coz her nose is kind of crooked” — I bet yours will be crooked, too, after her brother breaks it for you for making that kind of comment in a public forum.

“mnbvcxz0030” — Thanks for the insight.  I never saw it that way before.  I doubt I shall ever see it that way again.

“salutations from across the sea. interesting post I will return for more.” — Across the sea?  Listen, mate, when spreading spam links for your UK site, I suggest you use this line on non-UK sites because, well, it sounds kind of stupid otherwise. 

The Spammers’ Favourite Post

For some reason, the post that gets the most spam of all is titled “Light Posting” and says this:

Just a quick note to say that a combination of jet lag, some pretty unpleasant dental work, and other stuff is why I’ve gone silent here the last few days. I should be posting again before too long. Thanks for your patience.

Yes, that’s one I expected to bring a lot of comments, so it really is a good idea to spam it.  One of my favourites on this post:

“I also know that without the help of one very special person, Jackie, you could not have made this happen.” — Please remind me, was Jackie responsible for the jet lag or for the unpleasant dental work? 

Why Did you Choose THAT Post?

Sometimes, the spam wouldn’t be quite so stupid or hilarious, but it fell on just the right post:

“I believe one of your commercials triggered my web browser to resize, you might want to put that on your blacklist” — On “Ads are Now Blocked”, where I told my readers there wouldn’t be any ads on the blog going forward.

“organic foods to lose weight fast” — on a post titled “Appearances Matter”

“It seems so” — On a post titled “Are Your Feet of Clay Showing?”

And Finally — I Saved This Guy’s Life

“I must show thanks to the writer just for rescuing me from this particular issue. Just after researching throughout the online world and obtaining thoughts that were not beneficial, I figured my entire life was done. Being alive devoid of the approaches to the difficulties you have solved through your good guideline is a crucial case, and ones that could have in a wrong way damaged my entire career if I hadn’t come across your blog.”  — I see.  If I hadn’t saved his life, his entire career would have been damaged.  I guess some people are more successful when dead and others — aren’t.

There’s more that could be said, but time and patience fails me.  Hopefully, this post in future will receive comments something like this:  “Your own natural talent and kindness in maneuvering almost everything was tremendous.”

About Jon Gleason

Pastor of Free Baptist Church of Glenrothes
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20 Responses to Stupid Spammers

  1. Now if you had that “like” button, I’d find a way to click it twice. You got some great ones. Yes, I’ve been insulted and flattered and all that. Oh and there are those spams about a hundred lines long. I don’t bother with those. Did you know some are real people who do this?
    If I think they are funny I copy/paste them into a comment form on the post and edit out all links. I usually add my thoughts to it. I doubt many of my readers see them that way because most often they are older posts.

    • Jon Gleason says:

      That’s a fun idea, although I like the “recent comments” on my sidebar, and it would distract from real comments. I find a lot of curious people hit those recent comments to see what someone has said, and I’d actually like the real comments to get noticed. 🙂

      I actually wondered if the “it seems so” comment above WAS from a person spammer rather than a spam-bot — and one with a sense of humour. I almost zapped the spam link and let that one stand (the way you do).

      I don’t think I’ve ever noticed a spam comment on your blog, but then I rarely have the time to read the comments there. I like thinking about why you chose the verse you did for that post — sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes not so obvious but I get it, sometimes I’m totally befuddled. 🙂

      Until they get around to letting us moderate likes, you’ll have to “like” by commenting. Too many spammy “likes” running around, and some that linked to some pretty corrupt stuff.

      • Ah, I don’t use the recent comment widget, but I can see putting in spam comments would take away from that.

        The day I was thinking of possibly changing one or two of my categories to common words I get a terrible like coming from one of the Reader pages. It was for the category, “Funny”, I am guessing. The blog name contained a word I never would put on my blog. So, instead of doing what I had hoped to do, I had to change another category to the foreign language I use. I don’t like doing that, but it really has cut back on the spam likes on often used tags.

        I filled out the support form asking them to please allow like moderation. I explained that my blog is meant for any age and is Christian, so I want to keep anything placed on it to be suitable. They gave suggestions, but nothing that is really the ideal. I suppose there are back-end things that could make like moderation difficult.

      • Jon Gleason says:

        I decided not to bug them. I might not add it back even if I could moderate them. I’m not sure it would make the blog more profitable for most readers, and could be a distraction. It could inflate my ego over dumb posts, and discourage me by the absence of likes on posts that please the Lord.

        I don’t know, it just seemed that I would probably be the only one to notice “likes”, and it actually might not be all that profitable for me to notice them.

        Or maybe I think about some things way too much. 🙂

        I’m disappointed by the things I see on some Christian blogs, or the things they link to. It’s just a failure to think about it, in many cases. I try to be careful, but I’m sure I’ve messed up, too. It’s the old “multitude of words” thing.

    • I had not though of some of those things about the Likes. One reason for wishing to have it on there is a couple of my readers wanted it for those times when they had nothing to say, but enjoyed the posts.
      About content, I try to be careful. At times some pop culture reference will come to mind, but I felt the Lord had saved me from all of that and so I steer clear of it. Sometimes I will Google a phrase I want to use in the title and see what would come up. Do you remember my ‘Belly Band’ post? Birders use that phrase when talking about the markings across the belly of a bird, such as on a Red-tailed Hawk. I searched that just to make sure there was nothing off about it. The only thing notable was for pregnant women. Safe enough. But I was concerned about all these mothers to be ending up at my blog disappointed to find a raptor rather than what they needed. Oh and my poor Junco! All because of one title I chose to use, I ended up getting all sorts of hits for “Cafe World Taste Testers” A what? I had to search myself and I learned it was some silly game. OK, now I am sure I will be messing up your searches. Feel free to edit this.

      • Jon Gleason says:

        Instead of editing it, I COULD move it to the front page. 🙂 I can think of multiple posts / sermons dealing with Biblical principles related to it. “To the pure, all things are pure.” “Love not the world.” “Be wise as serpents.” “Let your speech be always with grace.” etc.

        Paul quoted an idolatrous Greek poet in Titus, so I don’t think we need to eliminate every pop culture reference, and sometimes it is the best way to communicate. But he didn’t give the impression he was endorsing the man or his philosophy of life, just used it to illustrate a point. The danger with it is that we can send our readers into negative / sinful thought patterns if we aren’t careful.

        I’d not thought of Googling a post title before using it to see if it has bad connotations in the world. That’s a good idea — especially with the Internet being an international forum. There are things I could say here that I couldn’t say over there.

      • I will be eager to read those posts. 🙂 You’re right about Paul, but in my case, I was addicted to movies and television, so there is a lot of garbage left running in my brain that will pop up at the oddest times. Add to that all the music that used to effect me so much. It’s hard to listen to while in the stores that have a radio on. Most of them play “classics” :P, not so much the new stuff which I am not familiar with.

        I had a hard time writing a post about the Bobolink. Do I or do I not bring up what his song sounds like? It was one of the robots in Star Wars. I read that analogy on some website and it is so true. I ended up writing something along the lines of, “He’s quite a character with a character’s song.” He is one of the more interesting birds, but then I find something interesting about them all.

      • Jon Gleason says:

        For me, music I wish I’d never listened to is the big thing. I probably wouldn’t have had a big problem with the Star Wars thing, but I can see why you would be hesitant.

  2. Barbara H. says:

    I’ve thought of doing a post like this — I get the same kinds of things. And sometimes a comment will look legitimate, except it appears in the same form, though with maybe a different name, multiple times on multiple posts. I know a lot of these are generated by robots, but it seems the real people involved could find much better uses of their time.

    • Jon Gleason says:

      If somebody weren’t making money out of it, they wouldn’t do it, Barbara. They build traffic and PageRank so that they show higher on the search engines, which helps them sell whatever it is they are selling.

      Where you’ve been blogging a lot longer, you’ve got a much higher profile, so you probably get a lot more of this stuff than I do (WooHoo, THE famous blogger Barbara commented on my blog! 🙂 Ok, I’ll go back to pretending to be mature now).

      There’s a few times I really thought Akismet had labeled a legit comment as spam. When that happens, I post it but edit out the link in the person’s name. If they come back and comment again, I’ll know they are real and let the link stand. It’s my sneaky test to see if they are real or not — if they are, they may never notice, and shouldn’t care that much.

  3. Jon Gleason says:

    Well, didn’t take long. Less than 24 hours, and I’ve already received multiple spam on this post. The best one tells me “the clarity in the post is spectacular” and I’m “an expert on the subject” (which is, of course, stupid spammers). 🙂

  4. Aaron Blumer says:

    English being is not my first language. Pardoness your please. But this is much times what makes spam posts so very much humorous.
    (Sorry. Couldn’t resist…. is my link showing?)

    • Jon Gleason says:

      My standard response to “Couldn’t resist” — yes, you could, you didn’t WANT to resist. 🙂

      Yes, the language can be funny sometimes, too, but I tried to pick mostly on other stuff.

      You really, really tempted me to zap your link. But….

      I resisted.

  5. I don’t know what happened over the weekend, but since then the volume of spam has shot through the roof. I guess I shouldn’t complain, but for the fact, today I received my first that required an eye ball washing. Or rather a pondering on Philippians 4:8. Like you, I’ve had real comments thrown in, so need to check it, otherwise I wouldn’t bother.

    • Aaron Blumer says:

      Might be worth it to look into some kind of Captcha or Botcha (I think the latter is only avail. for Drupal but there must be similar add-ons for other content systems). These don’t prevent the real people kind of spam comments but they work pretty well for keeping out most of the automated kind.

      • Jon Gleason says:

        Thanks, Aaron. Captcha isn’t an option on WordPress.com, and I don’t have the time to mess with going to something else. I don’t think I’d use it anyway, because the spambots are getting smarter at reading them. The Captchas that I’m seeing are getting harder to read (presumably to counteract that). There are times when I can’t read them myself, and reload the page just so I can try to figure out what it is saying. My eyes aren’t phenomenal, but they aren’t THAT bad.

        My spam count went through the roof in the last week, too. Seems to go in cycles. The weird thing is I’ll not notice that I’m getting much spam at all on a particular post, and then I’ll get 50 or more within a day or two on that post. Then, it will settle down again. Sometimes over a 2-3 day spam I’ll get triple or more what I was getting before. It doesn’t seem to matter whether I’m getting higher or lower “normal” traffic, either.

        All traffic went up with my post on taking the Lord’s name in vain, that clearly caught the attention of a lot of people (still does), and since that one spam has consistently been higher than before.

  6. You’re right about the captchas getting much harder to read. I hardly try commenting at Blogspot any longer as much as I enjoy a couple blogs I read there.

    One of my posts received about a seventy-five to a hundred spam comments in a week’s time. It was one of my lame ones too- the similarity of a child’s stuffed animal to a real Snowy Owl. : P That was during the time we had been really hoping to see one. God was gracious and finally allowed us to end our search. I ended up disabling comments for that one. I don’t like doing that on the off chance someone may happen on an old post and wish to comment, but I can always change the setting back after a time. Using the comment form embedded in a post could be an option, but even those get the occasional spam. At least I do not get email notification for the spam ones, but will see them filed under Feedback.

  7. Today has been a bad day. 74 comments, but yet I waded through them all, just in case… What was creepy was a few of them addressed me by my first name which I do not use on my blog, but then they also commented to Chris, Mary… Krishna? And strangely a good chunk of them have been about birds, but not the birds I wrote about.

    This is my favorite: In a long diatribe against fossil fuels, the writer went on and on how bad they are for the eagles. It closes with this, “Shortsighted idiot. I hope you get hit by a wind turbine” 😀 😀 And that particular post was about newly fledged Robins.

    • Jon Gleason says:

      I don’t read the long diatribes. 🙂 I’m not surprised you get spam about birds, I get spam with comments about inspiration, theology, etc. Some of them are getting smarter at trying to appear on-topic.

      Some of them put in random names. It makes sense. If I got a comment addressed to “Jon”, I’d be inclined (at first anyway) to think it is a real comment rather than spam. So they throw spam all over the blogs with random names. One in a thousand will hit a blog with the right name, and that has a much higher chance of getting through moderation. Of course, it’s possible that some database somewhere which links your real name to your blog has been breached, and so they got it that way, but it’s most likely just random stuff.

      In any event, thanks for the comment, Krishna. 🙂

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