Spam! Spam! Spam!

Observant and long-time readers will certainly have noticed “spam” comments popping up frequently in Troppo’s “most recently commented posts” sidebar. I say “observant” readers because the spam never lasts very long. I delete it as soon as I see it, and that’s always within an hour or two unless it gets posted in the middle of the night. Some of the spam consists of links to what appear to be some fairly repulsive porn sites, while much of it is flogging assorted dodgy pharmaceutical drugs. Then there’s Yobbo’s charming mates in the online poker industry; they’ve tried to spam Troppo no less than 4045 times in the last 24 hours (and 16 times in the current 24 hour period which was less than 7 hours old when this post was updated at 4.15pm CST) but been blocked by the MT Blacklist facility. I wonder why he sees fit to host an ad for these sorts of arseholes on his blog?

To give readers an idea of the scale of spam we’re talking about, in addition to the 61 blocked poker spam comments I’ve added 4 new spam addresses to the MT Blacklist in the last 24 hours, and deleted no less than 1415 spam messages from the comment boxes. In some respects it’s a minor irritation, but it does take time I’d prefer to be devoting to something more productive and detracts significantly from the enjoyment of blogging. More seriously, I understand that the MT Blacklist script slows down our web host’s server speed to a significant extent when it’s working hard (as it has been in the last 24 hours to exclude the high volume of spam targetted at us), and could conceivably result in drastic action by the web host if it continues.

Scott attempted to implement a fix a couple of weekends ago, that involved several measures including a Turing Code prerequisite to posting all comments (similar to the system operating at Catallaxy). Unfortunately Scott had problems implementing the scripts, and hasn’t had time to return to the task since then due to pressing personal issues. I’m confident the problem will be fixed in the fairly near future, and in the meantime I hope readers will bear with us. Is there anyone out there who’s familiar with implementing Turing Code scripts on Movable Type blogs, and who could help Scott when he is able to get back to the problem?

BTW If you’re idly curious about why the spammers bother doing this, apparently it has little or nothing to do with hoping blog readers will click through and order porn or Viagra (or play poker) per se. What they hope to achieve is a higher “PageRank” in the ubiquitous Google search engine. Google allocates search prominence to websites largely by how many other sites have linked to them, so that a large enough deluge of spam comments over lots of blogs can have a big effect on the spammer’s site’s Google ranking, which in turn means lots of customers. As I’d prefer not to be a semi-helpless pawn of the porn industry, I’m hoping the Turing Code will be implemented pretty soon.

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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cs
cs
2022 years ago

Damn maddening problem Ken, compounded by the fact that every cure seems to also come at the price of adding to the transaction costs of blogging and commenting, which is the last thing we might want in the ‘sphere. I keep imagining the good geniuses at Google should be able to develop a global solution to what is after all a phenomenon that’s only about gaming their system.

Scott Wickstein
2022 years ago

Actually looking at the activity log, the combination of the MT-Blacklist, and of closing old comments, does seem to have made a significant dent in the problem.

But I’m not going to be able to implement the Turing code anytime soon- real life is getting a bit overwhelming here. Anyone want to have a crack at it could you please email me?

Yobbo
Yobbo
2022 years ago

The online p*ker company that I play at and shill for has nothing to do with the spammers. I get paid a commission from any signups from the ad on my site. The spammers are people like me, looking to sign up people through their own ads.

Partyp*ker.com run traditional TV advertising campaigns on ESPN, Fox Sports and the Travel Channel.

For what it’s worth, spam completely ceased on my page as soon as we implemented the Turing code.

Chris Fryer
2022 years ago

I stopped the spam on my site overnight by closing the comments older than 30 days. I run a database called mySQL in the backend of my site. I also run movable type. All I did was run an update query to change the entry_allow_comments field from 1 to 0, on all entries older than 30 days.

The query is as follows, I don’t see why this wouldn’t work on any SQL database.

“update mt_entry set entry_allow_comments=0 where entry_id ”

and

“”

I hope this helps.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

Chris

We’ve already done what you’re suggesting. In fact, comments are automatically closed after only 14 days. Scott reckons it has cut down the number of spam comments significantly. I’m sure he’s right, but they’re still pretty damned intrusive and persistent from my viewpoint. For some reason the spammers seem to target Troppo more frequently than a lot of other blogs. For example, we receive something like 4 or 5 times as many spam attempts as any of the other blogs hosted on Ubersportingpundit. That’s why I’m keen to enlist the help of anyone who might be able to assist in implementing a Turing Code. I suspect that it’s going to be the only durable, completely effective solution.

Chris Fryer
2022 years ago

Sorry this didn’t come out right. It had some mt tags on it.

I’ll post it on my website once i’ve figured out how to.

I’ll be back.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

Actually I’ll have to modify that last comment. I see from the activity log that the spammers just tried to hit Boynton’s blog 150 times in the last 40 minutes!!! They’ve now returned to Troppo and hit us 5 times in the last couple of minutes. Anyway, I’m off to play oldies rugby now, and I’ll check again when I get back.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

It seems to have eased off a bit. Only 11 attempted spam comments blocked in the 2 hours I’ve been away at footie, one new address added to the Blacklist and one comment deleted, and one opposing player taken to hospital by ambulance with a broken leg (I didn’t do it, honest).

Chris Fryer
2022 years ago

Hi I’m back, sorry that comment went bazerk. I’ve figured out how to post it, its on my web site just go to the following page.

http://www.chrisfryer.com/blog/archives/2004/11/test.php

I hope this helps.

ChrisV
2022 years ago

Ken: It was almost certainly an affiliate that spammed Troppo, not the site itself. Anyone can sign up and become an affiliate; they get a cut of the profits from anyone who uses their signup code to create an account and deposit money. It creates a very effectively little army of hard-sellers to do their marketing for them in new, creative and often illegal and irritating ways. Yobbo is an affiliate on Empire, which is why he has the ad on his blog (that, and because we’re keen to promote online p0ker anyway as we both make a large percentage of our livings from playing).

trackback
2022 years ago

Spam Going Troppo!

All blogs recently, including this one, have been receiving increasing amounts of spam. Ken Parish over at Troppo Armadillo is having a similar problem to mine except on a larger scale. So I have posted some information that will help…

trackback
2022 years ago

And what do I get for my birthday? A fucking spamment…

Just when I thought the spam problem was over, I just got a spam comment then. This irritated the hell out of me, not so much because it was spam (which is irritating enough) but because it was on a…