Gerard Butler Spammed

Gerry Butler has been bitten.

vampiressSpammers go for the soft “neck meat” of your blog; they choose some often used link, like a well-loved celebrity, then they abuse the fans.


Well, initially because they can. Second, they have an agenda.

No, reeeeally?!

Yes, really. Here are a few I’ve uncovered:

  1. There are ways to make money online simply by getting page hits. The new spammers write comments to your blog that sound like they are your fan, but no; they wither artificially create a backlink from your site to get a ‘point’, or they hope you will click on their comment for a reply. *Ding* One more hit.
  2. The spammer has a store (online or otherwise) and they want to increase their SEO ranking – that’s when their site gets  higher on the Google or other browser’s search list because of increasing hits. Same thing as #1.
  3. Spammers help AND COMPETE with each other, so some of the spam you receive on your blog may simply be a training session for a meat-in-a-can newbie.
  4. Some people like to spread their opinions by stomping on yours. These are the truly malicious ones who may also leave a burning bag of poo on the doorstep of your blog post.

Being a blogging writer I thought it might be a good idea setting my site to accept comments. It would lend credibility, right? Maybe, however I realized early on that most readers don’t comment and when they do, they don’t say much. “Nice blog.” doesn’t tell you why they liked it. The spammers say far more but it’s empty. Sadly, I spend more time deleting fake messages than reading real ones.

For example, I was fortunate enough to see Gerry Butler when he was a guest on the 768px-Gerard_Butler_(Berlin_Film_Festival_2011)_2Jay Leno show and I blogged about it, looking forward to connecting with my readers about the event. Sure I mentioned names – how else would anyone know who I was talking about? Well, spammers have loved this blog post more than all the others, probably because Gerry is a big name in Hollywood (and in many a heart *wink*). Daily I get several anonymous comments for this one post, and they are increasing. I’m betting Gerard doesn’t like spam any more than I do.

In the past I have added software to stop the spam. It’s not foolproof. The spam went from “…Gaga puppies love Starbucks trucking evening news Hollywood…” to “I like what you’ve said here on your informative blog.” See, browser filters caught on to the stream-of-tag-words search trick so the spammers had to up the ante. They write a ‘meaningful’ comment but use it thousands of times, taking the meaning out.

Then I set comments to ‘admin accept/refuse’; lots of daily, fruitless comment checking there. So I gave in and let the world see the silly things. No one reads the comments anyway, right?

Well, I wasn’t sure, so I got down to biz and studied the statistics. Wow! I get WAY more hits than I ever dreamed!

Very few comments.

Unwilling to give up, this time I went researching to find a new way to get off the spam target while still accepting comments.

skull of poison_wikimedia commonsI found that I was a victim of what’s called Comment Spam. Comment Spam is a form of Spamdexing which in turn is also known as Search Spam or Search Engine Poisoning! SEP… giving new meaning to the term seepage *shudder* and is:

“the deliberate manipulation of search engine indexes […] involving a number of methods, such as repeating unrelated phrases, to manipulate the relevance or prominence of resources indexed in a manner inconsistent with the purpose of the indexing system.”

Wikipedia says these random acts of automatic commenting are done by spammers hunting for blogs that accept hyperlinks. In other words, they know who you comment-accepting bloggers are.

“Adding links that point to the spammer's web site artificially increases the site's search engine ranking on those where the popularity of the URL contributes to its implied value, an example algorithm would be the PageRank algorithm as used by Google Search. An increased ranking often results in the spammer's commercial site being listed ahead of other sites for certain searches, increasing the number of potential visitors and paying customers.”

tulips_wikimedia commonsThere are solutions out there like software, apps and self coding bits – none of which I trust or want to spent time learning. I am not a wannabee evil techie; I just wannabee an internet citizen, safe to traverse my harmless, artistic path online.

So after much research and brainstorming I’ve decided to retitle the post that brings in the most spam and see what happens. Watch, those pesky spammers will get on the bandwagon of this post : D

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Images from Wikimedia Commons

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