I get a lot of spam.
Not emails though. Comments on this website!
I tried various ways of dealing with it, but last August I switched to using the free Spam filters from Defensio, who are owned by Websense so know a thing or two about dodgy web content...
It was actually a year ago today that I turned on that antispam system, so here's the stats...
Statistics since August 6, 2012 (366 days):
- Total Checked: 7599 (avg: 20.76/day)
- Total Spams: 6632 (avg: 18.12/day)
- Total Hams: 967 (avg: 2.64/day)
- Total False Negatives: 961 (avg: 2.63/day)
- Total False Positives: 5 (avg: 0.01/day)
That might not seem like a lot, but this is a very quiet corner of the web. The only people that come here are my friends, and a few people who need vCardSplit.
I also post, shall we say, sporadically, so folks like Google and Bing aren't terribly fussed about me. It's likely to look about the same next time they drop by...
So 20 comments a day is a pretty high volume. High enough that I find it a burdensome little chore to clean up the false negatives... (And I’d rather have false negatives than positives.)
The problem is also only getting worse, as this graph from my Defensio account shows:
(2013 on the left, 2012 on the right...)
What I find a little odd is the content. The spam I get breaks down into three vague types - link spam, more link spam, and link spam prequels.
Link spam and more link spam are self-explanatory - more and more prevalent every day. Fortunately, that gets caught fairly easily by the filters.
Link spam prequels are odd messages, though. Usually in very badly written English, they congratulate me on how excellent my writing is, what a wonderful blog I have, and how often they return to read it. They’re also full of contextual non-sequiturs, like the fact that I relied too much on a video to make my point when there is no video in the page they’re commenting on...
I call these link spam prequels because, despite having no links, I believe their purpose is to try to flatter me into letting them survive. The idea is to poison the spam filtering system, allowing their name/IP address to seem clean, before they can then go on a spamming spree elsewhere. These messages tend to get through the automated filters, but not past me. I kill ‘em as soon as I see ‘em...
So what to do about it? Well, I have very few comments on this site anyway, and I was recently reminded that there are places like Google+, Facebook and Twitter where people can discuss these things if they want to. Which is probably for the best, as I'm sometimes busy (or drunk), and won't respond for a while anyway...
So comments are going.
It’s probably for the best.
I’ll be removing the ability to comment on every place that spammers find, as they find them. (Except the vCardSplit page, as I need the feedback there until the next version ships...)
It’s kind of sad to have to say that. A small section of society means that running a commenting system that allows anyone to post is just subject to too much abuse these days... It feels contrary to the principles of the world wide web, but I don’t think I’ve got any better choices.