- Oct. 4th, 2006
- 11 comments
If shoemoney can write how to stop spam, I can write how they're keeping it coming! Don't get me wrong. I hate spam — except when it makes me laugh or impresses me. And as the days go by and more people read this blog, I've noticed that an increasing number of spammers are paying their respects as well.
I've noticed a few things about the successful ones, though. And I'm posting the best approaches I've seen so white hat bloggers can, 'ahem, understand them and deal with them more effectively:
0. First, in response to Shoemoney's 5 Quick and Easy Ways To Stop Blog Spam Before It Hits Your Blog
Don't use those anonymous proxies that are widely blacklisted; send a random referer. In PHP/cURL:
curl_setopt($this->ch, CURLOPT_REFERER, 'http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=i+love+bacon&btnG=Google+Search');
0a. If you're really cool, use some simple queuing to store up those forms that employ a captcha, then create a web application to semi-automate the process.
Now that that's out of the way, I've seen lots of approaches, but these look like the best ones:
1. The 3l33t Programmer's Approach
First, tell the blogger that you enjoyed the post. Then do some simple regular expression parsing on the post, pick a random few consecutive sentences, and cite it. This makes the blogger feel important. Proceed to praise it and express something vague but positive. This is difficult to detect, and by definition will never have a clear-cut signature. I'm pretty sure a few of these got by, but will I ever know for sure unless I spend lots of time investigating?
I suspect this technique also helps to get past bayesian filtering, as it throws a substantial amount of user-generated (and effectively random) content in to the mix.
What an insightful post!
"I hate spam — except when it makes me laugh or impresses me. And as the days go by and more people read this blog, I've noticed that an increasing number of spammers are paying their respects as well."
You're a genius man. I'm sending this post to all my friends!
Wow, I'm so smart. He quoted me in a customized post! I think I'll approve this one.
2. The Busted English Approach
Post in totally broken English and flatter the blogger on the way. For some reason this is effective on me, but I can't pinpoint why.
Ex: Bonjour! What a super websight! Very refreshing to peruse from where we live in Paris (France). I eat frogs and drink wine. Woold like more informatons on this. Best regards! Serge.
You should probably leave out the frog-eating part.
3. The Exchange Student Approach
Post in another language. Use French or Spanish. I'm sure a few of these got by on my blog because I'm too lazy to figure out what they say. This is a dramatization — a real post wouldn't be so obviously stupid.
Ex: Yo quiero Taco Bell y su madre en mis pantalones! Es muy guapo. Bien! Bien!
No hablo español. Approve!
4. The Themed Approach
Make your script only hit SEO-sites for example. I've seen posts that drop in some adjectives that make it look a bit more personalized. This helps a bit too — and can be applied in addition to any of the above methods.
Ex: Yo quiero Taco Bell y su madre en mis pantalones! SEO es muy guapo. Bien! Bien!
This will more likely get by more often because of the "SEO."
Mix and match various techniques for brownie points. You could also vary equivalent phrases like "What a great post," "Good going," "Good info!," etc. wherever possible.
Of course one could read this post totally cynically. Don't. Personally I like to track what's going on in the black hat world (contest winner) so I know what to expect. I'm surprised at how successful some black hatters are without employing this level of lackluster sophistication. Perhaps we white hatters have to pay more attention. I know I do!