Spam! Spam! Spam!

I see the blog spammers are busily attacking TA yet again (and other bloggers as well e.g. John Quiggin). I’ve deleted most (but not quite all) of the spam comments, but unfortunately had to delete a couple of genuine ones as well to shorten the process.

I have no idea how to go about blocking this latest strain of noxious blog spam. They don’t contain telltale keywords in the text itself for a spam blocking filter to detect. Instead the comment itself is quite innocuous (if invariably fatuous), but the commenter’s web address at the foot of his/her comment is a link to helpful information on penis enlargement, Viagra or instant weight loss remedies. In other words, it’s the same sort of rubbish we all get in our email inboxes continually, but transported to the blogosphere. I’m waiting with baited breath for the Nigerian scammers to work out how to auto-post blog comments offering to share untold wealth.

You’d reckon it would be quite easy to script a filter that blocked obvious spam topics in hyperlinks as well as ordinary text. Does anyone know of such a filter, that (1) doesn’t slow the website drastically (as Scott Wickstein’s previous attempted spam filter did); (2) is free; and (3) can be installed by a technological cretin like me? I see John Quiggin had previously resorted to simply blocking the IP addresses from which these comments emanated, but they now seem to have bypassed that fix (presumably by using other IP addresses from which to post).

I’ll keep deleting this crap as soon as I see it, but I must say it’s becoming increasingly tiresome, and is certainly contributing to my current state of mind that blogging has become more of a chore than a pleasure.

About Ken Parish

Ken Parish is a legal academic, with research areas in public law (constitutional and administrative law), civil procedure and teaching & learning theory and practice. He has been a legal academic for almost 20 years. Before that he ran a legal practice in Darwin for 15 years and was a Member of the NT Legislative Assembly for almost 4 years in the early 1990s.
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Robert
2021 years ago

Ken, that’s precisely what MT-Blacklist does. I think it’s the same one that Scott installed, but there’s a new version out now that doesn’t seem to have slowed down John’s comments (or mine). For all the latest comment spam news, check out the Comment Spam Clearinghouse.

Gianna
2021 years ago

Why do the spammers only seem to target Movable Type comments boxes? Maybe it’s just (not) me, but Haloscan doesn’t seem to fall victim to it. If this is true, then maybe there is some advantageous design difference that can be copied by MT?
Anyone using Haloscan or Enetation getting comment spam?

Graham
2021 years ago

Mainly because there are lot of MT blogs, and it’s pretty easy for a bot to target all the ones using the default settings with a vanilla setup.

It’s easier for Haloscan and Enetation to deal with spam since they’ve got central servers, so a fix there fixes all.

The main reason blogs get spammed is in order to increase the Google ranking of the urls being “promoted”.

I haven’t noticed my comments being slowed down by MT-Blacklist since I installed it, though I did a couple of other things like move the scripts to a different name rather than “mt-comments.cgi”. I’ve had absolutely no problems with spammers since then.

mark
2021 years ago

There’s a good idea. Kinda like how everyone using “Matt’s CGI Scripts” had to rename their formemail script so that spammers would have a harder time getting to them (before most hosts banned the scripts as too insecure). Yeah.

Or you could use Nucleus :-)

Darren Rowse
2021 years ago

i feel your pain – they’ve been getting to me lately too.

I’ve installed MT Blacklist – but still getting quite a bit.

Colonel Mobutu
2021 years ago

Hail friend!

I bring promises of great wealth for you and your family if you would kindly assist me in removing several million dollars from the oil industry so I may start a new life in Western Europe.

All I require is your bank account details so I can place two million dollars US in it for us to share. I hope you will help me and we can drink chocolate milk together!

Yours sincerely,

Colonel Mobutu the first
Lagos, Nigeria.

Colonel Mobutu
2021 years ago

Hail friend!

I bring promises of great wealth for you and your family if you would kindly assist me in removing several million dollars from the oil industry so I may start a new life in Western Europe.

All I require is your bank account details so I can place two million dollars US in it for us to share. I hope you will help me and we can drink chocolate milk together!

Yours sincerely,

Colonel Mobutu the first
Lagos, Nigeria.