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Spammers get creative

I get my share of spam comment and trackback attempts, which are not at all visible to my faithful reader. Of the number of ways to prevent spam content from appearing on the website, I use “moderation”, which, for non-initiated, simply means that every comment submission goes through my explicit approval. Not the customer-friendliest approach, I’ll give you that, but it’s the most fool-proof one for extinguishing spam before it gets to the blog pages.

Amongst the various junk that gets submitted, porn, erectile disorder drugs and gambling are the most frequent topics, but there are occasional “attacks” centered on other subjects, such as insurance or pirated software. They invariably contain links to the vending sites and occasionally endeavor to make me more receptive to their causes by starting with an empty compliment of “Great site!” or “Very useful information” variety.

But a few days ago, I got a rather inventive one. It went:

Hello webmaster – I’m not exactly sure what this has to do with Kitchen Table Linens (that’s what I was searching on MSN when I saw a link here), but I’m glad I got a chance to read your blog. Thanks!!

Granted, this was transparently the same blatant faceless flattery that the less imaginative spammers use. It did, however, prompt me to try plugging the search terms into several search engines to see for myself whether my site would come up (as Brian notes monthly, there are some weirdest searches that may lead people to a blog). And tell you what: I was ready to check out the spammer’s website had the search turned up my site even on the 15th page of the results.

Alas, I couldn’t find myself. The comment was axed.


  1. Brian Greenberg

    I’m not suggesting it wasn’t spam, but I have noticed that the number of search engines out there is staggering, and that different search engines (especially the smaller ones) tend to generate different results.

    If you haven’t done so already, add this: to your Google Analytics stats. The next time you want to see how someone got to a particular page, you can use a combination of the Keywords report (do you see a keyword of “Kitchen Table Linens” on the report for that day?) and the Referral URL to see exactly what search query they ran and in what search engine.

    All of which, I admit, is a heck of a lot more work that just deleting the comment. 😉

  2. Ilya

    Yep, Brian, I already configured the referrer report and I checked all possible stats. Which, I guess is exactly the point of the post: I spent wa-a-ay too much time figuring out if the comment was legit…

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