All the spam you can get

September 6th, 2004 Comments Off on All the spam you can get

A friend of mine took a five-month hiatus from his blog. When he came back today, there were over 6100 comments waiting for him, 6000 of which were just spam. Since his blog runs on my server, on top of a MySQL database, I just deleted the whole lot of comments and rebuilt the pages. I may have deleted a few valid comments, so please don’t tell him thatÂ…

When checking what comments to delete, I quickly scanned the comments list. I’m still in awe of the things that were posted on his comments other than the spam. His blog is about marketing, PR and similar subjects, and he talks a lot about companies and their practices. The number of people who thinks he somehow speaks for the companies he mentions is astounding.

There were people asking his help in college assignments, people querying him for the price of air fares (just because he commented on the daring marketing strategies of an airline company), people asking him to help them out of their financial troubles, people asking for him to help them to get a job on the marketing companies he mentioned, people asking him to introduce them to famous people he referred to, people thinking his entries were meant as a support channel, and, the most amusing of all, people wondering why the site featured so many long, boring, and strange comments.

Those comments reminded of a recent entry in Stuart Langridge’s blog about a similar problem. The cynic in me was surely amused at the perils of semantic markup.

What’s more interesting about the spam comments were that their URL were blocked from attaining Google juice by MovableType’s redirection script. Also, all the comments were submitted as HTML in a blog that prevents HTML from being rendered. As a result, no link was exhibited. All that spam for nothing.

I have since installed MT-Blacklist in my server. I don’t get much blog spam so I hadn’t realized the problem was so bad in the other blogs I host for my friends. Which is also why I deleted the comments by hand: I never had installed MT-Blacklist before so I didn’t know it could do that automatically even for older entries.

Anyway, MT-Blacklist has already blocked a lot of new spam posted today at my friend’s blog so it will save me a lot of trouble in the future — that is, supposing I remember to keep it updated. And the best thing is that I still get to read the weird comments people post over at my friend’s blog.

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