Spam Nuggets

Anyone who has been using the internet for longer than about 45 minutes will have noticed the problem of spam. “Spam” was originally used as a term to describe unsolicited e-mails, often advertising porn or under-the-counter pharmacology. On the modern internet, there’s also the problem of spam comments.

When running a website like the one you’re looking at now, there’s the option of reader interaction. Readers can post comments and start a discussion about whatever drivel I’ve written that day. You normally also need to fill in some additional information, such as your e-mail address and an optional website. What happens is that “people” (and that’s more often than not, just an automated computer program) attempt to put comments on my blog that are irrelevant to the actual post in an attempt to advertise whatever illegal or pornographic wares they’re touting.

Handily, there’s a system to detect such spam comments and filter them out before they reach the unwitting reader of my blog, and it’s called Akismet. Basically, before any comment appears on my website, it goes via someone else who gives the thumbs-up or thumbs-down as to whether this is a genuine comment or a computer programmer trying to offload some Viagra. To give you an idea of how prevalent comment spam is, the Akismet website claims approximately 83% of all comments posted to blogs and the like, are spam.

As part of the weekly running of my website, I regularly review comments that have been marked as spam and delete them. Sometimes the spam text is a fairly simple message shouting “Get Your Viagra Here”, along with a website to visit. Other times, it’s fairly subtle. An example is a genuine-sounding comment along the lines of “I like your article and will read your blog often”. The hook comes with their (automatically linked) website being the porn & pills page. There’s also a category of posts that put together very long paragraphs (several hundred words), but almost completely randomly. To non-programmers, it’s surprising to find out that it’s very hard to distinguish between several paragraphs of random words and some prose written by a normal person. Bit like my blog really, but that’s beside the point.

Normally I just delete these unwanted spam comments, but some of the comment texts are genuinely funny. I’ve included a list of my favourites below (note some website links have been removed to avoid giving them a free ride):

When you order frogs legs at a restaurant what do they do with the rest of the frog ? – Well surely they just throw the rest of the frog away and take it to the tip.

This question genuinely intrigues me. I doubt the French really do waste large amounts of amphibian, but struggle to think of a time when I’ve heard of “frog-back soup”.

I am completely impressed with the article I have just read. I wish the writer of http://www.ianburnett.com can continue to provide so much useful information and unforgettable experience to http://www.ianburnett.com readers. There is not much to say except the following universal truth: Progress cannot be achieved without suffering. I will be back.

Flattering, deep, and The Terminator all rolled into one.

Although the dog was dog shoes particularly associated dog shoes with The Shoe it is also recorded that it made appearances througout the parish of North Wraxall. The dog shoes village of Ford has a parish journal from April, 1794 that claims the dog was heard outdoor the vicarage immediately in the past the ruin of Richard Wooley, the vicar. http://www.<websitedeleted>.com

I’ll just have a half of whatever he was on.

Wow, ya got me… im going into the members area now !

What members area?

How much money has passed thru your hands in a lifetime?

I probably don’t want to think about that, because I’ve got bugger-all left now.

I would appreciate more visual materials, to make your blog more attractive, but your writing style really compensates it. But there is always place for improvement

Everyone’s a critic – even the spammers!

Just the FA Cup Semi to concentrate on now. 4th Place is out of the question.

Martin you [n]eed to sort out the awful display after this weekend. Too many tired wasters.

Oddly these two football-related comments were on an article completely unrelated to sport.

I’ll leave you, however, with a comment which was received yesterday and sums things up nicely:

I truly enjoy your site… Even the spammers are quite entertaining.

Damn right.