Real Comment Spam
The spam filters on WordPress are very good. At the time of writing, in just over a year of blogging, “Akismet” -as the filter is known- has marked 9132 comments as spam. Of those, only 1 was a “false positive“, i.e. not spam. Of the 525 comments submitted which were not marked as spam, none were spam. So that’s a low rate false negatives, too (the lowest possible, in fact).
Most of the comments which are classed as spam are a load of gobbledy-gook, including one or several links pretending to be websites selling cheap Ugg boots (ikr, wtf?!) or similar, but which are doubtless something else entirely, and not something I would want my readers to click on (I can’t be sure exactly what the content is, having not clicked on the links myself).
I say “most”, when what I really mean is “all of them until now”. Today, my spam queue contained the following, posted to my “about me” page.
My name is J** and I’m a member of M***** ([website]), an international research agency based in London.
We have some interesting and well-written technology articles, tutorials, reviews, infographics and news-story content and were wondering if it would be possible to have them published on your fun and resourceful site,
Our articles and infographics include one relevant link in the article body and we would be able to send the content for publication immediately.
A recent technology-related piece we provided to a popular weblog was this fun and informative infographic: Facebook’s Global Future ([link]). Editors did cut down the article substantially, though
We are very confident in the quality of our content. The following article was published on TekGoblin, a technology blog and was quickly selected for special quotation by BBC. BBC URL is:
[link] and the TekGoblin URL is: [link]
We could easily write something similar for your site, or there’s a less elaborate review article I could let you have right away.
If there’s something along these lines you’d like, or you can advise what kind of articles you’d be likely to accept, just drop me a line or call us on [UK phone number].
Look forward to hearing from you!
M***** of London
Well done Akismet & WordPress for spotting the spam! Despite being a reasonably well-written set of words, the links will have no doubt set off a few red flags.
The comment pretty much speaks for itself, but here are a few quick thoughts as to why I chose not to respond, nor rescue it from the spam queue (except to comment on it here):
- I know this is a blog and the Internet can be a minefield of how to address each other, but would it kill you to address me as “Dear Alex” or even “Dear Mr Brown”?! “Hi” doesn’t offend me exactly, but it puts me in an informal attitude. It’s not conducive to business propositions. Similarly with smilies.
- While we’re at it, who does that kind of thing in a blog comment? How very 2003. I specifically recommend getting in touch with me on Twitter.
- wtf is an “international research agency”? That could mean anything.
- Check your punctuation,
- The articles given as examples are genuine, but I have no way of knowing that this company “provided” them to the websites running them. I could check directly with them.
- I suspect “let you have” would mean “at a price”. Unless the articles would actually be undercover adverts for “research”. But then anyone who pays attention to this blog would know I don’t have much time for that kind of thing. (don’t worry, occasional readers, I don’t mean you; but the least I would expect from someone trying to sell me something would be to read a few of my recent posts)
- I don’t write about technology (though I think J** really means “gadgets”) much at all. Again, that should be obvious.
- Finally, what is “#ixzz1vz2aQSmw”? Something like the algorithm, perhaps?
So I’m sorry, J** of M***** of London, but I’m afraid I must decline your offer (was it an offer? It’s not really clear…)
Whereas I do occasionally take guest posts, with the exception of collecting Science Shoeoff stories they are all posts I have asked people for (even most Shoeoffs have to be pestered for content for a long time). I’m reminded of Jo Brodie’s post about receiving such spam:
If you email me asking me if you can write a guest post on this blog my first reaction is to assume that you’re either a spammer or a moron who’s not done their homework, sorry about that.
Has anyone else come across something similar? How did you respond?
From → meta