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Blog comment spamming being outsourced to India

Blog comment spamming being outsourced to India

Tim Finin, 1:00pm 25 November 2006

As reported by Charles Arthur in The Guardian and subsequently on Slashdot, blog spammers are outsourcing the placement of comment spam to India and perhaps elsewhere.

“The other day, while administering the Free Our Data blog … I came across an unusual piece of comment spam – a remark left on one of the blog posts. … The surprise was that despite the automated defences to prevent such junk being posted by a machine, it had got through. … The electronic trail explained: the “captcha” … had been filled in. …. So who had done this? The junk filter had recorded their IP (internet) address. It resolved to somewhere in India. Which rang a bell: earlier this year, I spoke with someone who does blog spamming for a living – a very comfortable living, he claimed. But he said that the one thing that did give him pause was the possibility that rival blog spammers might start paying people in developing countries to fill in captchas: they could always use a bit of western cash, would have the spare time and, increasingly, cheap internet connections to be able to do such tedious (but paid) work”.

Our blog relies on Akismet to reject most of the spam comments and it does a great job. Anything that it doesn’t reject is left for us to moderate. In the last few months, we’ve noticed an increase in spam comments we believe to have been left by people, not machines. They are typically just a sentence or two and fairly general, yet still quite relevant to the meaning post. These are distinct from another common post-specific type of comment spam which seem to key off a key word in the post, such as mentioning Google and are undoubtedly automated.

The only way I can identify these as spam comments is that they (1) don’t add a very meaningful comment to the post and (2) the commenter’s URL points to what is clearly a commercial site unrelated to the post or comment.


3 Responses to “Blog comment spamming being outsourced to India”

  1. Blogs, Spam And Rank | Merjis Internet Marketing Blog Says:

    […] Blog spam is interesting for several other reasons, of course – not least being that there is a widely used technique to de-rate comments – the NOFOLLOW attribute for links. As with a bunch of other bloggers, I tend to prefer using spam rejection tools rather than nofollow. IMO, it’s better for users to see real comments than to (ineffectively) defuse spamming efforts with NOFOLLOW. CAPTCHA is moderately effective, but still places a burden on real users – and also still allows outsourcing spam generation to low cost economies. […]

  2. Jason Says:

    Tim,

    Maybe if you made it clear you were using “no-follow” tags that may chase them off?

  3. juan Says:

    well I think that you have reason, however I think that the idea of blogs and the chance to post comments on them is that people give their opinions and beliefs about the topic, so if you liek what people comment and want to go to the website he is writting from, I find no problems, howeber, I know how annoying it is to have spent time writing someting in order to have other reading it, and find comments like “I agree with you” or “nice!”. But if people really sepnd their time reading the text you wrote and are expressing their ideas about it, I think it’s quite reasonable. I don’t know what you think about this.