If Only Spam Were True…

Having run a blog for quite some time now, I’ve seen my fair share of spam.  Since installing Akismet with whatever version of WordPress it became included with, my site has blocked over ninety-six thousand spam comments.  This number is actually low because for a period of time I also ran the Bad Behavior plug-in that would block some spam before it got to Akismet (I had to disable Bad Behavior because it was causing other plug-ins to fail – long story).

Because of this, I have seen spam evolve over the years.  You still get the usual vigra and tramadol and other pharmaceuticals, and you get the porn, but as administration and spam catching have changed, so have the spammers.

One of the more common spam protections is to simply force all comments to be moderated.  Then, when a valid comment comes in and you approve it, that poster, assuming they use the same credentials, will bypass the moderation queue from that point forward.  To that end, more than half of my spam these days are attempts to get approved.  They say things like “Love your site. Adding it to my bookmarks!” and “I never thought of it that way, but now I am. Thank you for posting this!” and other similar things.  They almost look real.  In fact, if you dig through my comments you’ll probably find one or two that I’ve let slip through.  Of course, I don’t use that level of moderation, I use Akismet, so being approved once doesn’t mean you are approved in the future, and the ones that have slipped through are likely early spams before Akismet learned it was spam.

According to my feedburner and a few other tools, there are about 100 people who are not bots (as far as I and my tools can tell) who read this site.  Less than a dozen have probably ever commented.  Perhaps that is because I’m not writing things that are comment worthy.  Or it could be when people agree they are less likely to reply than if they disagree.

In any event, one of the things I am going to try to do in the future is to comment on the blogs that I read.  Maybe not every post, but at least every once in a while just to say “Hey, enjoyed reading this!” or something.  Because, you know, it is kind of lonely when only the spam tells you you are doing a good job.  Heh.


  1. Hi Jason. I’m one of your lurkers. I stumbled upon your blog several months ago (don’t recall how originally) and have been reading it ever since. I had planned to comment on one of your posts a while back on game theory, but after seeing my reply was going to be lengthier than your post, thought better of hijacking your blog. Maybe I should have posted it after all. 🙂 I guess after reading that your only commenters were spambots, I just wanted to say hi and let you know that your posts are worthwhile and that there are people who enjoy what you do here.

    1. Welcome!

      And never worry about a reply being too long. The only reason not to post a reply is because you want to make it an entry on your own blog with a link back to the source of your inspiration. 🙂

  2. This is a great blog! I will be adding it to my RSS feed. {insert thinly-veiled URL}

    … Actually, I could have sworn I commented on this days ago to assure you that you do indeed have more than just bot readers, but the comment either went astray or (more likely) I just imagined I did it or confused intent with execution.

    I’ve had a rash of those fake-genuine-comments on my own blog lately. It’s almost more irritating than the honest-to-goodness bot stuff. Do they really think I’m that gullible?

  3. I had some jokes relating to spam posts here, but I think the spam filter would catch anything. I fear even using the appropriate keywords, for fear of getting canned.

    I will instead go with: “Great post. it makes you laugh but then it makes you think! Buy all natural [keywords]”

  4. The amount of “intelligent” spam I’ve had to delete from this post alone is amazing… the irony is not lost on me. Well done, spammers. Well done.

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