How to write spam that sticks

Feb 25, 2009 by Tony Chung in Productivity
Happy 30th Birthday SPAM ~ from Gizmodo

Happy 30th Birthday SPAM ~ from Gizmodo

Since last week I’ve been receiving upwards of 300 spam comments a day. I somehow made it onto the Internet radar, which is proving to be a mixed blessing. Fortunately for the ones reading my blog, I activated the Akismet spam filter, which comes installed by default with WordPress, and only needs a WordPress.com API key to activate. This plugin reviews submitted comments against a spam database, deletes the obvious, and marks the questionable content for me to approve.

On top of this, I added the marvellous reCaptcha plugin to both my comment and secure contact forms. Users need to verify two words in order to submit their forms. This prevents automated comment spamming bots, with the additional value of decrypting digitized copy from old books as part of a library project.

A pet peeve of mine is seeing well known, high profile blogs with spam comments, as if the owner doesn’t care about the quality of their community, only the amount of comments against their posts. For this reason alone I will continue to moderate comments against my blog. Readers who comment regularly will have their comments approved automatically from their third comment onward, unless their comment matches other triggers.

This week’s Spammy Award goes to

I don’t plan to make a regular habit of glorifying spam, but I have to give the spammers credit. Everyone needs to fill out the reCaptcha before the form will submit, so this assures me that all my comments are made by human beings, even those that automatically process into my spam folder. What an amazing waste of time and energy it is for the people copy and paste spam comments into blogs all day long. I don’t mind that they submit; the more submissions they make, the more digitized text gets verified. A total win-win on all counts.

Also, with few exceptions, some of these comments are really, really, really funny. If you’re going to spend the time posting spam comments against blogs, you might as well make them interesting. Here are samples from a few that I found fascinating:

  • “Guru, thank you for such wise advice, especially on a Thursday.” (It was Monday.)
  • “Thank you, looking forward to many more visits!”
  • “Is it really exciting web site? Tell me more!”
  • “A very interesting read. I long to know more about you blog”
  • “Thank you for the informative work!”
  • “A very impressive and well organized site.”
  • “An excellent work! KEEP IT UP!”

I’m so excited about these comments. They stand as testimonials for the quality of my work. Especially the last

And for my next plugin

I’d like to install or write a plugin where I can set up a list of words that stop comments from being stored in the database after they make it through the reCaptcha. Almost all of the spammers reference the same domain URL for the first 500 or so, then switch to a new domain for the next batch. I already remove the bulk of those comments with custom SQL directly against the database, but stopping these comments from entering the database at all will save me lots of time.

Can anyone out there in the blogosphere recommend a WordPress plugin that operates like a censor:

  • Provides input to store a list of user-defined words
  • Intercepts all comments after successfully posting
  • Ignores the database write for comments that match the criteria
  • Saves comments that pass through the filter into the database

Please comment below for the world at large to read, or respond to me privately. I look forward to discussing your suggestions!

 

  • Pingback: 25 Not-so Random Things About Me | tonychung.ca()

  • My name is Katrin, me of 12 years. I have a friend my dog. His name is Tobby. He breeds Saint Bernard. We have found him when to me there were 8 years. Who that has thrown out him at road, he did not breathe almost. We left him. And he has remained to live at us, he my friend :-). But recently to him it became bad, Tobby has ceased to eat, drink. The daddy has led him to the doctor. When they have returned the daddy has told to me that at Tobby tumour a brain and it is necessary to us him to lull. The daddy has remained without work and cannot pay operation. Please help to rescue to me my friend. If you can please send 0,50 $ on mine webmoney purse [deleted]. Please help

    [Editors note: How appropriate. This comment made it past the Spam filter. On just the right post, too!]

  • Justin

    To you the amazing site writer extraordinaire:

    Kudos on such a well crafted marvel of old world intellect. Your knowledge is quite formidable and I am in awe of your prose prowess. I sincerely doubt that I alone am of the disposition that the above post was as fastidiously sculpted as Michelangelo’s Pieta. Shakespeare ain’t got sh*t on you!

    Kudos, keep up the good work, thumbs way up, keep writing, peace, love, and chicken grease,

    Justin

    PS – I hope you still remember me from elementary school in Mrs. grr I can’t remember her names class. Thanks for approving my comment. Anchor text, anchor text, anchor text. Thanks again.

  • Nice information, many thanks to the author. It is incomprehensible to me now, but in general, the usefulness and significance is overwhelming. Thanks again and good luck!

  • Great post! I am just starting out in community management/marketing media and trying to learn how to do it well – resources like this article are incredibly helpful. As our company is based in the US, it?s all a bit new to us. The example above is something that I worry about as well, how to show your own genuine enthusiasm and share the fact that your product is useful in that case.