November 30, 2004

Comment Spam

As you may have noticed, Bloodless Coup has been receiving a good deal of attention from comment spammers, mostly of the "online casino" variety. What you may not know is that we wage a daily battle with dozens, hundreds, even thousands of these things. Many are blocked, thanks to MT blacklist and the hard work of Jay Allen and others. Adam Kalsey has posted an anti-comment spam manifesto. In addition to the link, I am also reproducing the post entirely in the extended entry. Likewise, I urge you to read his post about how to combat comment spam by reporting spammers and getting their web hosting accounts cancelled. If you don't host a blog, this may not seem like such a big deal to you. But for those of us who do, and spend enough frustrating hours cleaning our sites to think "is it really worth it?," and are seriously affected by comment spam, it's a very big deal indeed.

"Posting an email address in a public place is not an invitation for companies to send unsolicited advertisements. Hosting a public Web forum or Usenet server does not give companies permission or the moral right to advertise on it. And soliciting comments from the public on a weblog entry or other Web page does not mean that companies or individuals are invited to use it for their advertising purposes.

Usenet news succumbed to spam long ago. Email was next. Now spammers have turned their attention to weblogs and comment forms. In order to increase search engine rankings you are posting advertisements to our Web pages. What you failed to understand is that bloggers are smarter, better connected, and more technologically savvy than the average email user. We control the medium that you are now attempting to exploit. Youíve picked a fight with us and itís a fight you cannot win.

We have complained amongst ourselves, tried technological solutions, and tried to understand the nature of comment spam. And we are done. We now intend to fight back.

Spammers are hereby put on notice. Your comments are not welcome. If the purpose behind your comment is to advertise yourself, your Web site, or a product that you are affiliated with, that comment is spam and will not be tolerated.

Bloggers will track you down and notify your hosting providers about your activities. We will tell your ISPs what you are using their connections for. We will let the makers of the products you are advertising know of your despicable sales methods. We will hit you where it hurts by attacking your source of income.

You can move to a new host, find a new ISP, or sign up for a different affiliate plan. The end result will be the same. Each time you rise out of the muck we will strike you down and send you back to the hole you crawled out of.

Our sites belong to us and we intend to keep it that way. It will no longer be profitable to advertise through comment spam.

What you can do

Sign the manifesto by linking to it, leaving a comment or sending a TrackBack ping. Get the word out and let spammers know that their days are numbered.

Write tutorials on how to track down spammers and shut down their operations. I wrote about how to get spammerís affiliate accounts terminated. Perhaps someone else could write up how to trace a domain back to their hosting company. Or how to use tools like dig to find someoneís ISP based on their IP address.

Start a posse. People particularly good at tracking down spammers could volunteer to help others. If a blogger is spammed, the volunteers could track down the culprit and shut him down. Stopping comment spam in one corner of the web will be good for everyone."

Posted by binky at November 30, 2004 11:33 PM | TrackBack | Posted to SiteNotes

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