Down the rabbit hole with our friend comment spam

So we’ve been getting some SPAM from a site called “articlemarketingplr”. Through a spambot, we’ve received random comments on random posts; seriously people – surely by now we’d be able to programme a spambot to recognise text and insert some remotely intelligent content?

Anyway, articlemarketingplr is hosted by shopalife.com which purports to be a job advertising board but IMO looks very much like an email and facebook harvesting website. That they’re hosting a spam comment website makes this possibility higher rather than lower. The registrar for shopalife.com is the internet.bs corp, whose website looks reasonable enough as a registrar.

So why write about this? Well, to start with, I’m bored — no, wait, shutup! The reason I’m writing about it is that comment spam is so dull. It’s like what a 4 year old would spout if allowed to email anyone anytime: lots of words, little coherence. It’s either a random friendly or unfriendly comment ( I like this, I think this sucks) or keyword vomit such as brand-name bags.

What’s the benefit to the spammers?

Well, that only occurs if people don’t have spam filtering turned-on. I do, through Akismet, and it catches all this crap. But if you don’t have this, then the benefit is that the comments get whacked onto a random site in order to get the magical back-link from your site. In this case, I’d say it’s Black-linking (haha) as it’s black-hat SEO; in short, it’s automated and not valuable for search results.

Back-links are where your content is linked to from another site, and is used (among a bazillion other things) by Google to determine where your site appears in search rankings. The logic being that if you’re being linked to from other sites then you must have valuable content.

Except these days Google is onto this bullshit and all it serves to do is clog people’s comment threads with utter crap. But it’s easy money — like with email SPAM — for the million or so emails a hijacked server can send out, if only one percent of people click through (or in this case, don’t have SPAM filters and so they end up with the comments on their websites) then the net effect is a profit. It costs very little to send an email.

So how do you combat this?

Well, get comment filtering for starters. That fixes the immediate symptoms rather like a swift slap to the face of an over-eager suitor. But long-term there’s more of an issue: the spammers want the back-links, and the website owners don’t. They’re perpetually wrestling. Perhaps the solution posed by Randall Munroe of XKCD would work?

Spammers get around everything, so let's make them useful instead!
Comment spam solution

Author: gotheek

Sometime writer, full time human.