One of the hazards of running a website that has comments enabled is, of course, spam. Now Akismet does an excellent job of blocking most of the nonsense – false negatives hardly ever happen to me, and when I do find a false positive, it’s quite an event.
But I do take the occasional flick through the spam queue to make sure things are working nicely. Most of it is the usual stream of links to sites offering naughty pictures or chemicals of dubious legality, but the entertaining ones are the ones that try to look like real comments – sometimes they’re even quite grammatical, but they’re usually easy to spot, as they have some common features:
- The comment has little or no relevance to the post. Or much else
- It’s more often than not being made on a very old post
- There’s a link to a commercial site
Now often the text of the comment is flattering – presumably they think that if they say Nice Things about you, you’ll publish their comment. You know the sort of thing:
Thank you for sharing excellent informations. Your site is very cool. I’m impressed by the details that you have on this blog. It reveals how nicely you perceive this subject. Bookmarked this web page, will come back for more articles. You, my pal, ROCK! I found just the information I already searched everywhere and just could not come across. What a perfect web site.
Err, wow. Ahhh, hold on – that was on a brief post about an old version of Lightroom. And the commenter has the unlikely name of “instyle hair straightner”. Good catch by Akismet.
Then there’s the comic relief from people trying to persuade me that if I give them money they can generate squillions of links back to my site. Presumably by using spambots like the one that tried to comment here?
But now, there’s something new! This is fun! Yes!! The spam is now getting abusive!! How about this little gem:
The next time I read a weblog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as much as this one. I imply, I do know it was my choice to learn, but I actually thought youd have one thing attention-grabbing to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about one thing that you can fix should you werent too busy looking for attention.
Leaving aside the total disdain for the apostrophe, that is quite harsh, especially as it was attached to my quite positive comments on the Dirk Gently TV adaptation. Another good Akismet catch. That one was linking to, err, I’m not sure what it was. Made no sense at all.
But my favourite so far, is this little gem, purporting to come from someone with an AOHell email address, and linking to a site selling interior design stuff, including really expensive coloured toilet paper, or “toiler paper” as the page title has it:
How is it that just anyone can create a blog and get as popular as this? Its not like youve said anything extremely impressive â€“more like youve painted a quite picture around an issue that you know nothing about! I dont want to sound mean, right here. But do you really think that you can get away with adding some pretty pictures and not actually say anything?
I’m not sure what the aim is here – maybe the spambot operators think that if they post something contentious to a blog, the comment will be published so the site owner can argue with it? Or are they just grabbing random comments from elsewhere and copying them?
All good fun, but it does make me grateful for Akismet.