Comment Spammers try something new.

If you’ve run a blog for very long then you’ve probably had your comments spammed at least once or twice in the past. Each blogging package has its solutions to the problem each requiring differing amounts of effort on the part of the site owner and overall the problem has been largely contained. The exceptions being those sites that are run by people who don’t really care if they get comment spam and now the comment spammers are trying a new tactic which Adam Kalsey talks about on his blog:

It appears the spammers have a new tactic in increasing their PageRank. They find a site that doesn’t delete comment spam and fill it with links. Then they boost the PR of that site by spamming it in blog comments. Once the spam-friendly’s site has in increased Google ranking, all those spammed links in their comments will get a boost in rank as well.

It’s rather clever, actually.

Indeed. Most site owners are loath to put a legitimate blog into their blacklists and most blacklists work based on the URL the comment spammer inputs at the time so the idea seems to be to spam the hell out of blogs that don’t care about comment spam and then spam everyone else with links to that blog. Curiously enough, though, the comment spammers are still putting in names such as “online casinos” which makes it obvious that it’s a spam comment even though it links to a legitimate blog entry. Jay Allen, author of MT-Blacklist, has also noticed this trend:

In the past, I’ve sent emails to site owners when I see tons of spam on their sites, but, despite the proliferation and success of MT-Blacklist, it seems like the number of people who have just given up is increasing. This unfortunately affects us all because leaving spam links on a blog is like throwing blood in the ocean where people are swimming. Spam begets spam and pulls the sharks in from all quarters.

So the question: What should be done?

Personally, I’m of the same mind as Adam who says that he’ll add any blog that’s apathetic to comment spam to his blacklist thus preventing them from commenting on or trackbacking his blog and I think that’s the approach others should take as well. The only way to combat this is to try and deny the comment spammers what they’re after: increased page rank. Anyone who isn’t part of the solution becomes part of the problem and should be blacklisted accordingly.

Of course, this is less of a problem for me under ExpressionEngine as it doesn’t currently use a blacklist for comment spam as it has the captcha method of protection which works surprisingly well. Still, EE does use an internal blacklist for referrer and trackback spam and I’ll be adding sites to that to prevent trackback spam if necessary.

5 thoughts on “Comment Spammers try something new.

  1. I agree, I will block any site that promotes spamming. Either the site the spam in directed to or a weblog/website that is allowing spamming to occur on their site. Spam is spam.

    I have already received a few referral spams from places like IAEA dot ORG. A ligit site, but for some reason, I am getting referrals. There are no links to my site there and I can’t imagine how they go to my site from their main page.

    Fortunatly, I still haven’t seen any comment spam or even registration spam since switching to EE, so for that I am grateful!

  2. Heya…
    IAEA is an old one, see this for more information… I got hammered by it before in the past, and now it looks like it is back

    Seems to be a malicious email-address-harvesting spambot. Swell. Apparently it’s been terrorizing sites for over a year now. Obviously it spoofs the referrer, and it seems that the hacker who wrote it has either a weird sense of humor or a grudge against the IAEA.

    If you want to block it, add

    RewriteEngine On
    RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER}
    RewriteRule .* – [F,L]

    to your .htaccess file (if your host allows) and you will not get referrals from anymore … and really, how many do you expect?

    All too funny, my captcha = nuclear or NookYouLarrrr as Dubya likes to say grin

  3. Some bloggers link to listing sites, maybe to increase traffic to their blogs. Looking closer its nothing but spam farm. One blogger keeps getting hit with 500 comments in her entries I tried to warn her about the link on her front page. A month later she still has it and still fights spam comments with blacklist and anything else and puts up with her blog down time. Really makes me wonder about people.

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