Akismet Just Broke Another Record

Over the course of the last few days the comment spam has been increasing at a phenomenal rate. I worked out that by this afternoon I was receiving spam at a rate of one every 15 minutes. Not much you might say. But you would think so considering these are the “comments” that make it through Akismet and into moderation! Not the total volume.

This for me is a real issue as I have all comments moderated. So I am getting a bucket load of crap with some that might be legit comments.

The reason for this sudden spike is unknown. Did the spammers find a new exploit, their pay rate go up, bots smarter? Who knows. But you might like to know that I am not the only one. Seems that Akismet broke a few records today:

Akismet Graph 310507

This Graph represents the Spam to Ham ratio since the beginning of Akismet.

So far today 8,818,521 and counting, it is only going to get worse. 95% of all comments today are spam. At least that explains that the spammers are working harder than usual. I was beginning to think it was just me.

Interestingly, ham has seen a jump in the last few days as well. Might have something to do with the fact that there are some big stories breaking. Or is it that people are getting more involved in the conversation? I hope that it is the latter.

I can sit here and moderate my comments and train Akismet to be able to better identify spam. But it must be worth their while to keep doing this despite the fact that most bloggers are doing the same. So really one of the best weapons is our readers!

If you notice that a blogger has missed some spam and it has ended up in the comments. Don’t click it! Leave the blogger a comment or email and let them know; so they can remove it. If no one clicks the damn stuff then there won’t be any point in spammers trying to post it. Only a fraction of it gets through, here: make that none. So all that effort for bugger all success, make no mistake they are making money (a lot of it!) and you the clicker are paying them!

Akismet is a great service and it 99% effective, check out the stats for it. But not perfect, I don’t think one thing on it’s own ever will be. Just do us all a favor: if you are looking for porn, Google it and don’t click comment spam. Thanks.

Blog News and a Bit More on Splogs and Spam

First up I am sorry I have been quiet the last week or so. In honesty I have been doing a lot more posting on the podcast blog lately. I find it a constant battle to split my time. As well as trying to decide if a story should go there or here. It is important that I keep both sites current and active.

Today I added the MyBlogLog Widget. I joined the service last night. Adding the widget was easy thanks to engtech’s advice and a bit of tweaking from my side. It added a bit of code that had to be removed. I am enjoying the fact that you can see “who” has been here and actually having a look at their profile on MyBlogLog. You can see mine there as well. For those who host their blogs elsewhere there is also some nice statistics services that you can implement with a Java Script snippet. So join the community and appear over there in the widget.

I also noticed today that WordPress have upgraded their Blogger importer. Good for those that are wanting to move house to WordPress.com. This is especially true since it would appear that if you have a Blogger blog then you are probably living next door to a splog.

In the wake of my spam rant the other day I noticed that Steve Rubel posted some interesting stats on spam. These stats are from the ebiquity group and their latest spam analysis. Notable facts that leap out for me:

  • 53% of all pings are spam
  • 56% of blogs that ping are spam
  • 51% of Blogspot Blogs are spam
  • 99.7% of .info domains are spam

That last one is a shocker. I know that engtech has blacklisted this domain from commenting on his blog, not surprising. Now to my thinking; if this is the case, why not get rid of the domain? If I was a serious blogger or otherwise I would definitely not use the domain after a bit of research. The legit ones that are there? Why not give then a discount at Godaddy or something to get a better domain? Silly logic I know because what I am suggesting doesn’t work that way. I know that, so don’t flame me okay. But what the heck is it good for? Then again that would just force the splogs to move on and infest some other domain. At least this way we know where they all are and blocking the domain is an effective method of preventing comment spam.

Comment Moderation and Spam Stats

CanOSpamDue to the massive volume of spam and what is getting through Akismet I have resorted to turning on comment moderation. From now on if you have had a previous comment on the blog it should post without any issues. But if this is the first time you have made a comment it will be moderated.

It would seem the spammers are on the war path tonight as my inbox is getting hammered with comments. A lot of comments have been flagged as possible spam and require moderation. But some of it is breaking through. Hopefully Akismet will learn the new rules soon and it will ease up. I don’t think this is a limitation of Akismet so much as the spam is becoming more sophisticated.

Foe example last week I had a spam comment slip through. The reason it got through was the fact that the comment was attached to the URL of an image that was associated with the post. So when I viewed the comment I got the blog entry with no text just the image with the spam. Nasty. I advised WordPress about it and they have responded saying that it is a new type of spam that they are aware of and to submit it to Akismet as such. Anyone else seen this type of comment spam?

I was hoping that I would not have to moderate comments as it takes time and is a bummer for legitimate commenter’s. But I have implemented this on the podcast blog and readers don’t seem to mind. I will endeavour to approve comments as soon as I can if it is any consolation. This measure might just decrease the attractiveness of this blog as a target.

To put the spam issue into perspective: it took from Feburary 2006 until the 9th of December to reach 10,000 spam comments caught by Akismet. Compare that with the fact that it just reach 20,369 today the 3rd of February 2007. Yes it doubled in about a month!

Failure at Spamming Class?

Spam comments continue to be an annoyance and yet I am amused at the same time. This spammer (or bot reject) must have failed at spamming class:

Hello All!I am sorry, i am not a spammer.

Followed by about 100 porn links. Please. The links gave it away.

Rooster’s Rail Milestone

Well the Rooster’s Rail reached a statistical milestone today. Nope not the kind of statistic you might be expecting.

As of just this moment in time Akismet has successfully blocked 10,001 spam comments.

10001 Spam Canned

Now I have talked about blog spamming methods before but I have noticed a distinct increase. The other thing is that this blog in this space is nine month old. Is that a reasonable amount of spam one could expect in that time-frame? Sure this blog is listed everywhere and it gets exposure due to the podcast but I am sure there are more popular blogs that get more than this blog. What about Scoble? He must surely have a heap.

I am starting to see less and less genuine comment flagged as spam and I am considering not bothering to check it for genuine comments. Sometimes I forget to do it for three or four days and I have 500+ to go through. I really don’t have the time it takes to do that.

So WordPressors what do you think, am I a target, or is this about normal? What are your experiences with spam volume? Does Akismet do the job right for you? Do you check your spam or just can it?I bet this post gets spammed.

In the time that I have composed this post there are 7 more waiting…

Comment Spam is Getting Philosophical

This made me laugh. I was going through the spam today checking for legit comments that were accidently caught and it would seem our comment spammers are try something different.

If you are in the mood for a few words of wisdom, look no further than the caught spam in your Akismet window on WordPress:

“He that serves everybody is paid by nobody…”

“Every man has a fool in his sleeve…”

“That which one least anticipates soonest comes to pass…”

“To come away none the wiser…”

Akismet does a top job and this rubbish that is trying to pass for educated comment is in the spam can. Thanks Akismet. Inventive tactic though, I have to admit.

Don’t know if anyone else goes through their spam, I know I have found a few genuine comments in there a few times. I always check, I feel sorry for the person that wrote the comment and ended up marked as spam. Anyone else check the spam can?

What’s with “Link Dumping” and Invisible Advertising?

I subscribe to a lot of RSS feeds. I have noticed a bit of a change lately and I am not sure I like it. I am not sure if it is because people are stuck for things to write about in their blogs or they are just using a new feature. But what I am seeing is the practice of “link-dumping” getting a bit out of control. It is almost RSS spam.

Every other post that some bloggers are doing is just a list of links. While these links are usually related to del.icio.us or something similar and related to their area of interest and maybe mine. I just do not see the point. I am not really that interested in what they have bookmarked for the week or day. In addition if I was interested in what people are bookmarking I can always subscribe to their del.icio.us feed. As this is usually the tag that is added. Why cross post their links on their blog and del.icio.us?

It does seem like an excuse to post rather than something useful to say. I realise that they think they are providing their listeners with useful information or curious content, I would rather no post than a “link dump” thanks. It would seem that the proverbial social bookmarking phenomenon is taking over the world.

Something else that angered me this week was a nasty trick that some RSS feeds seem to be employing. It might be an error but it has occur more than once and I am starting to think it a ploy. What has been occurring is “invisible” adverts. In other words an embedded ad that you can not see but if you hover over it there is a link there in the feed-reader screen display. I think that for most the temptation to click would outweigh leaving it alone. While there is nothing wrong with clicking the ad – who wants to? In addition yesterday I accidentally clicked one and I was so annoyed at myself for doing it. But perhaps they are banking on that too.

Adverts in RSS was always going to happen but when companies try to trick people into clicking their ads I believe that to be wrong and uncalled for. The best way in my opinion to combat this as users is to not click anything, make the ploy ineffectual or boycott the feed until they shape up. I don’t mind the advertising but please lets be sensible and abstain from trickery and nasty ploys of entrapment.