Friday, March 5, 2010

New Lows in Comment Spam

My apologies to the faithful readership -- especially those who Comment -- for flipping the Moderation switch.  I know you like the immediacy of comment dialogue, and the additional steps for me to Accept comments (especially during my work day...) prolong that feedback.

You have already tolerated the Comment Verification (known in the biz as the CAPTCHA) that requires you to play Jumble before you can even send me your comment.  Spammers, like airplane bombers, will always be a step ahead of us.  But they make so much noise doing it that they are easy to spot.  It started with comments in Chinese (as if I might be flattered by the following) that were actually embedded URLs so that you, the curious, would be driven to some pharmaceutical site (also in Chinese) .  I have never understood how spammers make money through an approach like that. 
"Honey...?  Did you want some cheap pharma?" 
"What is it, dear?" 
"Oh, I don't know.  It's in Chinese.  But I linked here from Caroline's blog, so it must be ok..."

What's interesting is that this Commenter was validated as a human.  I don't think the spammers have cracked the CAPTCHA as much as they have found out that unemployed people really will do anything for some scratch.

The DrawingIn Room is currently under a barrage of Comment spam that has gotten downright raunchy.  The comment will typically call someone out by name (think of those spam emails you get with subject lines "Mary said you needed this.").  The comment will start with, "Mary, I know you read this site, and..."  In the Recent Comments widget, such as I use on this blog, the reader has to "Continue" to open the full text, which then turns into porno-spam and links to a site that is probably full of viruses (virtual and other kinds).

We have had similar trouble on the Finishing School Site, so now comments are moderated by me, and Rejected or Accepted manually before they appear.

What does this mean for you?  Your anonymity is still protected -- as much or as little as you care to say.  Blogger IDs are not required, and I hope they will not have to be.  The DrawingIn Room has always been public, and it is not my desire to limit Readership to a pre-approved audience.  Less drastic measures can be taken before then, but they get us farther and farther from supporting Comments at all.  And that would be too bad.

Looking out for you,

1 comment:

  1. Yep - I've had some of this recently as well. I've decided to skip CAPTCHA in favor of comment moderation only. If by some chance a non-human spams me, I figure I can just hit delete a lot. :-)

    So far, all my spammers appear to be human in some loose sense of the word.


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