Targeted Spam Comments

I haven’t deleted spam comments for a while so I had thousands of them. I usually always have a look at the first 5 of them before deleting them all. Who knows maybe some of them are false positives. Of course checking a 5 of 3000 gives you pretty but odds to actually find the few comments which are genuine comments falsely identified as spam. But you don’t have to think in a rationale way 24/7.

Today I did find some comments (in the first five comments displayed) which were interesting. This is the first one:

My programmer is trying to convince me to move to .net from PHP. I have always disliked the idea because of the costs. But he’s tryiong none the less. I’ve been using WordPress on a variety of websites for about a year and am concerned about switching to another platform. I have heard very good things about blogengine.net. Is there a way I can import all my wordpress posts into it? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

It’s easy to identify it as Spam (at least for a human) because it was posted on a post not even remotely related to PHP, .NET or WordPress. I guess Akismet rightly identified it as Spam because it has seen this comment on multiple sites.

But I’m not sure whether this kind of Spam is specifically targeting blogs like mine because I often write posts about WordPress. Or is it just a coincidence and I’d get such a comment even if my blog was about wineries in Uzbekistan…

Just below this spam comment was another comment which is less targeted:

Hellо thеre! Τhis is kind of off toρic
but Ӏ neeԁ some adѵice frrom аn еstablisheԁ blog.
Is it verу ԁifficult tο sett up your own blog?

I’m not very techіncal but I сan figurе things οut
prеtty quіck. I’m thinking abοut making myy oωn bbut I’m nοt
surе ωhеrе tο start.
Do you have anу tips or suggеѕtiоns?
Ϲheeгѕ

And a bunch of links. This one is also obviously spam (see the ω ?). What’s interesting about it is that lately most of the spam comments I get are like this. A few weeks ago, it was full of things related to buying handbags, penis enlargement, insurance and such things. I still do get lots of those but they do not make 99% of the spam comments anymore.

The conclusion: Spammers have learnt from the online ad industry and have learned to adapt the spam comments to the general context of the page.

2 thoughts on “Targeted Spam Comments

  1. Hi Henri,
    I used to write a blog during my time in Japan (http://www.hubersan.blogspot.de), but stopped when coming back. Very recently I received numerous spam postings which – at least the first 2 – where well made and almost tricked me in clicking on the enclosed URL. The typically tell you about how interesting your blog is and that they like the level of detail you put, blablabla – finally they include some URL to some weird porn-site (I never clicked, but the URL clearly indicated the type of content).
    I guess the approach is, to post such URLs in potentially interesting blogs to trick the visitors into following the URLs. I spent a couple of rounds deleting them – but this is annoying.
    I finally increased the authentication level, so that anonymous posts are not accepted any longer – ever since no further spam posting seen.

    Best regards,
    Peter

    1. Hi Peter,

      I am using a WordPress plugin which tries to identify spam comments so it’s doing most of the job. In the past year, it identified over 150000 Spam comments and only missed 77. Without it I would be spending most of my time deleting Spam comments. Of course it probably also gets some false positives but seeing the amount of Spam I’m getting, I can live with that.

      The problem with Spam is that it either takes a lot of time to delete or you use some mechanism like authentication to prevent it but in the process also make it harder for normal people to participate.

      Cheers,

      Henri

      PS: Your blog was very interesting. Try to get delegated to a foreign country again so that we can get some nice posts again (not that I’m trying to get rid of you…).

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