There’s a great book in this

Look at these four comments that I just scraped off this blog’s comment-de-spamulator; each from the same sender, each on a different post:

  • If you ever want to hear a reader’s feedback :) , I rate this post for four from five. Detailed info, but I have to go to that damn yahoo to find the missed parts. Thanks, anyway!
  • If you ever want to hear a reader’s feedback :) , I rate this article for 4/5. Detailed info, but I just have to go to that damn yahoo to find the missed bits. Thanks, anyway!
  • If you want to see a reader’s feedback :) , I rate this post for 4/5. Detailed info, but I just have to go to that damn msn to find the missed bits. Thanks, anyway!
  • If you want to read a reader’s feedback :) , I rate this post for four from five. Decent info, but I have to go to that damn msn to find the missed parts. Thank you, anyway!

Pretty similar, right? And, by the links the commenter tried to give, pretty spam. (Not lovely spam, however; internet spam is never lovely.)

The same “person” was responsible for several more comment-wannabes, all carefully quiet on the exact subject the commented post was about, and pretty unclear on what I had said, but usually very ego-appealing and nice:

  • Hey, nice tips. Perhaps I’ll buy a glass of beer to the man from that chat who told me to visit your site :)
  • The style of writing is very familiar . Did you write guest posts for other bloggers?
  • The topic is quite hot in the net at the moment. What do you pay the most attention to while choosing what to write about?
  • FANTASTIC!
  • My fellow on Orkut shared this link with me and I’m not dissapointed at all that I came here.
  • This is very up-to-date information. I think I’ll share it on Twitter.
  • This is quite a up-to-date information. I’ll share it on Twitter.
  • Not that I’m impressed a lot, but this is a lot more than I expected when I stumpled upon a link on SU telling that the info here is awesome. Thanks.
  • Not that I’m totally impressed, but this is a lot more than I expected for when I stumpled upon a link on Delicious telling that the info here is awesome. Thanks.

Thanks to the wonderful nature of the Internet, it’s no giveaway that the nick of the commenter is weird, his sentence-formation shaky and his content lean — internet being what it is, you can’t manually tell a spam-commenter unless the cretin leaves a bunch of such similar comments, all so puzzlingly vague. (Oh, and he links to some scraper blog.)

Eh, my sanity is preserved and my paranoia kept in check because WordPress has a very good spam-filter (comment-de-spamulator; whatever); most of these were caught by that. The inner workings of such a filter must be very interesting. (Then again, when web content becomes more machine-readable, spam is going to get really interesting, too.)

I wonder if some computer churns out these comments on its own, or if some minimum-wage keyboard slave in the Philippines does. Some automated and slightly randomized system anyway: find blog, spin the wheel to generate the next variation and hit post. Repeat, then move on.

There has to be enough fascinating things in the subjects of email- and blogcomment-spamming (not to mention link farms and faux blogs and similar “simulating humans for fun and profit” things) to make a very, very interesting book; not a dry “how to guard against these” but an investigative, authoritative “this is how these things work and this is what they do”.

I wonder if anyone’s written that book yet. Maybe a CIA agent working with a high-ranking SPAM defector?

* * *

The examples above are what I call “friendly spam”, stuff that tries to suck up to you to get in; some other attempts go the old Route WTF and, as far as I can tell, just take some random snippet of text from some other site and append a link to Morbo’s Genital Enlargement Weights to it.

And then again, not all would-be spamments are subtle (the following is simulated, but representative):

That’s not even a remotely plausible comment; there are cats that Twitter better than that!

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