The Art of Comment Spam

This is a comment sent to one of the sites I write for:

Excellent article. I am experiencing a few of these issues as well..

Would you accept this comment or moderate it (delete it/ mark as spam)?

Less experienced blog publishers would tend to accept and publish this comment. I did not. Why?

It’s generic. It helps if you know the post this was left for was about a cartoon collection called “Love Is…”. So, yes, there are issues, romantic issues, life issues and dating issues. But, the actual post was more about cartoons and collectibles than issues. Does that help you decide to keep or reject the comment (above)?

It is an art (in a way) to create a generic comment in hopes of getting it posted. The goal is to have your link accepted (the one you add to your comment with your name and email). If you get enough links accepted then they show up as published (accepted) comments and this helps sell those links as viable/ non-spam links to Google and so on.

Anyway, the part of that I find interesting at the moment is the art of writing a generic comment – appearing to sincerely comment while actually saying nothing. Have you heard of double speak?

Come up with a few truly great examples of generic comments a blogger could be fooled into accepting as real, sincere comments. Remember to keep it just generic enough that you can get away with posting the same comment everywhere, on any kind of post.

How Very Informative Is It?

I pity words like ‘informative’ which get targeted by spammers and used as generic and meaningless words in comment spam. Don’t you?

Look at the word, informative. It was a nice word, a shy and quiet word on it’s own. It didn’t cause a ruckus. It didn’t ask for much. It really just wanted to let people know about a few things, important things but not Earth shacking. Nice things like, “the colour of your new dress really suits you”. Important things like, “your new dress seems to have caught fire”. Informative was just a nice, simple, well meaning word. Until the comment spammers grabbed it.

Which word do you notice being especially abused by comment spammers lately? Is there one that stands out in your mind as you skim through and delete comment spam from your blog?

Splogging with the Comment Spammers

I’ve been writing for the Spam Comment blog. It’s kind of fun, as a writing exercise. You can say anything (PG14). Be sarcastic. Be silly. Be yourself even. Next time you delete your comment spam, stop! Read some of them and pick a few to reply to.

Split it into one line before the comment and one afterwards. In the style of an opening line and a conclusion after the spam comment. Use blockquote to markup the spam comment if you decide to post them for fun.

Glad to have helped.

I appreciate, cause I found just what I was looking for. You have ended my 4 day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a great day. Bye

Bothers me just a little that you think I’m a man.

Modern Proverbs for the Digital World

From Ben’s blog, Spam Comment, I am taking the idea of Modern Proverbs.

To start, here is my favourite from his series of 5 modern proverbs, each gathered from comment spam left on blogs.

To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target

Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.
If you’re too open minded, your brains will fall out.
If you look like your passport picture, you probably need the trip.
The above are from The Humor Bin: Modern Proverbs

Keep your friends close and your enemies on limited profile.
There’s more sushi in the sea.
Out of fashion out of mind.
These are from My Modern Met: Modern Proverbs by Nikki Farquharson

Feeling inspired? Try writing some modern proverbs. Think of our digital/ virtual webby world. Try to come up with something that reflects today’s culture rather than the old proverbs your Grandparents used to know.

Send your Comment Spam to Ben

We Need Your Spam!
On July 30th, Spam Comment will publish its 200th post. This is great news – but unfortunately it also means we’ve run out of spam comments to publish. Therefore, we really, really need you to send us your comment spam!

Don’t just send us any old spam though – look for the particularly unique comments that would be fun to share. Include your name and blog URL and we’ll credit you for the link.

From time to time we’ll also award a free 125×125 ad, so you’ve really got nothing to lose by helping us out.

CAPTCHA Art

How do you tell computers and humans apart? In cases where we can’t see whether we are interacting with a real human or a computer, CAPTCHA is sometimes used to prevent comment spam.

CAPTCHArt : A blog for turning random CAPTHCA phrases/ letters into art.

Know your Meme: CAPTCHArt
Rhizome: General Web Content – CAPTCHArt
Urlesque: Captchart Turns Random Captcha Phrases into Art
Geek O System: Captchart – The Art of Proving You’re Human
Cerebral Pop: Found – CAPTCHArt

captcha comics
Comics Alliance: Captcha Codes Find True Meaning in CAPTCHArt Comics

Comment Spam is Not Worth Building

This is what I wrote to Hubpages after deleting comment spam from one of their topic writers.

Please let your topic writers know comment spam reflects on Hubpages as a network. Not just individual topic writers. If they can take the time to comment they could take the time to leave a real comment versus something generic they cut and paste for every blog/ site they choose to dump on.

Why don’t they take the time to leave a real comment? How long does it take to come up with something that shows they actually read your post enough to know what you were writing about? A minute, maybe two? Seems to me that a minute or two is worthwhile. Rather than having their comments deleted and never posted they would get better results (have more comments posted) if they made sincere, relevant comments.

Maybe it’s the way of things these days. Put in less time doing worthless stuff and hope to get a few results for your lack of trouble. I think they miss (or just don’t care) about the long term results. Hubpages is slipping into the sort of site you expect to find garbage in and garbage from. Not the sort of site you go to when you want quality. So, this person from Hubpages may get the odd comment posted from a new blogger but they trash Hubpages, their work there and themselves. Wouldn’t it be better to put your time and energy into building something stronger, with real quality. Something worth building.

Reply back from Hubpages:

Thank you for bringing this to our attention. That user has been banned, and was most likely using an automated method of Comment spamming, which is why they can’t “take the time to leave a real comment.”

Their reply came within half an hour. I’m impressed with how much they are on top of things like this.

Trends in Comment Spam

If I published all my spam comments right now I’d probably be arrested for drug trafficking. Not so long ago all the spam comments were for casinos and poker sites. Before that they were adult site ads. Things have changed. I think those are the three main criminal activities covered now? Am I forgetting something? What could be around the next corner in comment spam?

Get exotic animals… cheap! Elephants, gorillas, cheetas, lions, giraffes! All available for low prices and free shipping and delivery! Surprise your neighbours by bringing home a cute baby lion as a pet. Have the only zebra on your street! Get an exotic and rare white python to keep you warm this winter! Have a hippo in your pool! Get a herd of gazelles to keep your grass trimmed and fertilize it all at the same time! Cheap Cheap Cheap!!! Go to: exoticanipals.com

Of course, if you aren’t running a blog on WordPress you are missing out on most of the comment spam. My Blogger blog never got this amount of spam. Try your own take on the next thing in blog comment spam.

Saying Nothing While Typing Madly

You never know what interesting tidbit you pick up from skimming your comment spam. One very long spam comment did not say what the product was for, it’s function or purpose. I stopped reading after the first paragraph, curiousity will only get you so far. On top of the whole thing of being a comment spammer in the first place, I think that was a real loser ad campaign.

Anyway, in fiction you don’t always want to reveal all right away. There is an element of mystery, timing, and luring in the reader. However, don’t stretch it too far. There must be some kind of substance to the mystery or it will just get tedious. You can’t go on spinning words and saying nothing forever, curiousity will only get you so far.

Still, it is kind of fun as a writing prompt. Come up with a droning, meaningless paragraph where you really don’t say anything at all. Politicians are trained in this, speechwriters too of course.

Fix That Bad Boy

I think it’s odd how much comment spam I get about drugs for sexual dysfunction. Yes, I’m divorced and not dating but that doesn’t mean I’m like a cat in heat or a dried up spinster. I’m just fine, thanks for asking.

Actually, sometimes I’m kind of evil. I like daydreaming about men as sexual submissives, the situations they get into which bring them low. Today I was thinking of a group of women who bet each other their boyfriends will cheat, if given the opportunity. One woman stands up for her man. Of course, she loses that bet. Not because I think so little of men but because it makes a much more interesting story if the boyfriend isn’t an angel.

He gets picked up and taken back to “her place”. Once there the woman ties him to the bed frame and then, when he is stuck, she lets him know about the wicked plot. Also, just for fun… your girlfriend is coming over and is she ever peeved with you!

Can you see it in your mind? The scene, the set up and the consequences the boyfriend may suffer? Could you write it? Or would that be just too sinfully delicious?