A Philosopher's Blog


Posted in Technology by Michael LaBossiere on June 20, 2013

Spambots (Photo credit: Unlisted Sightings)

Like all blogs, this blog is plagued by spambots. These bots work by posting comments and their mission is to get a link (or link) to the spammer’s site onto the blog. Naturally, the spam filters of WordPress and other blogging software endeavor to keep the spambots at bay.

The WordPress filters have done a great job at beating the bots, but those creating the bots have stepped up their game. The old style bots would crudely try to dump links into the comments and this tactic was easy to counter. The newer bots are a bit more subtle: the post comments without links and put the link in the information about the entity making the comment.  The spam comments are, of course, usually rather easy for a human to spot. Here is a recent one:

Good day I am so delighted I found your blog, I really found you by mistake,
while I was researching on Google for something else, Regardless I am here now and would just like
to say many thanks for a marvelous post and a all
round enjoyable blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to go through
it all at the minute but I have saved it and also included your RSS feeds, so when
I have time I will be back to read more, Please do keep up the awesome

While bad grammar and such are not unique to spambots, the generic nature of the comment make such bot comments easy to spot. While they are aimed at spamming, they do sometimes do something of value, namely accidentally presenting funny things.  The example given above made me laugh with its request that I keep up the awesome. In some cases, they are almost poetical.

I would infer that these bots have some degree of effectiveness-otherwise the spammers would have probably stopped using them a while ago. But, I do wonder what sort of person would see a spambot link on a blog and say “hey, this guy said to keep up the awesome, so I should click on this link  and buy the stuff being sold there. How could I not see him as a reputable merchant or information provider?”  I infer that the spammers use the same basic reasoning here that they use for spam email-if you try millions of times, you are bound to get some suckers.

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2 Responses

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  1. T. J. Babson said, on June 20, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    Here is some comment spam with substance. Written, it so happens, by a Dem (or at least a former Dem–he may have wised up by now):

    Could the Obama administration in its second term be making a series of Middle East policy mistakes even more expensive and destructive than those the Bush administration made in its first? That is admittedly a high bar, but the trends are unsettling to say the least. The region is unraveling and American policy is in deep disarray. Our strategic options are getting worse, and the stakes are getting higher. When former President Bill Clinton is warning that his successor risks looking “lame” or like a “wuss” or a “total fool,” it’s a safe bet that the Kremlin and Tehran aren’t impressed by White House statements. Meanwhile the Obama administration seems to be locked into a sterile, short-term policy approach driven by domestic considerations; it is following the path of least resistance to a place that in the end will please no one and is increasingly likely to lead to strategic disaster.


    Democrats at work!

  2. wishfish37 said, on September 25, 2013 at 6:05 pm

    I get those too! MAN, they’re annoying!

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