Comment spam is down, referrer spam is up.

Seems like I need a form of MT-Blacklist for my referrer script now. Ever since I installed Jay Allen’s wondrous little tool the amount of comment spam I’ve had to clean up has been greatly reduced and the ones that do get through are cleaned up and added to the list with ease. It’s so good you’d almost think the comment spammers are backing off, but then when you check MT’s activity log you see all these comment denied notifications from attempts at spamming all the blogs we run here and realize they’re not backing off in the least.

The spamming trend that’s my current headache, however, is referrer spam. This is where the spammers setup a script that just hits my referrer logs so the links to their sites will register and be counted by Google when it indexes my referrer listing. It seems like the script being used was designed specifically to target the Textism Referrer script because it’s so popular. I run it mainly to see who’s coming to my site out of simple curiosity and I’m debating whether it’s worth continuing to use if it’s going to generate so much spam.

The script has the option to add in keywords from URLs you don’t want it to count, but the spammers must have tons of free time on their hands as they’ll register all manner of variations on a URL to get through and it seems they’re particularly fond of making use of the free Blogger offerings to set up false fronts to bring people to their sites. I’m willing to bet they’ve even automated that process by now. When you click on the URL it takes you to the “blog” they’ve set up that contains nothing other than a link back to the site they REALLY want you to go to and perhaps a warning that you need to be 18 to enter. One site offering a supposedly legal alternative to Marijuana has at least three different blogger front-ends they’re spamming my referrer list with including ‘marijuana-seeds,’ ‘pot-seeds,’ and ‘weed-seeds.’ Spotting these spams isn’t hard in part because of the URL, but also because they only hit my referrer script directly so the URL of the page they’re hitting stands out from all the other pages on my site. I could live without a referrer list and I’m growing tired of having to edit it to include more filter keywords and re-uploading it over and over again so I may just drop it altogether.

Just one more reason that if I ever meet a self-admitted spammer of this sort I will go against my better nature and probably punch him or her right in the mouth. I’m not the sort who’s predisposed to violence and I don’t feel it would solve anything, but it would make me feel a lot better and I think they could use a couple of good shots to show them how much we appreciate their efforts.

11 thoughts on “Comment spam is down, referrer spam is up.

  1. I’ve been hit by him a couple of times too and that REALLY bothers me. It’s bad enough I’m getting spammed by the assholes, I don’t need potential presidential candidates doing it as well. I’m trying to convince myself that it’s a misguided staffer and Kerry isn’t aware of the activity so I can still bring myself to vote for him if he gets the nomination, but it’s almost enough of a smack to a very personal pet peeve to make me decide against voting for him.

  2. The unfortunate thing is that they cannot be stopped, because there will always be another way to circunvent the system.  Is a reality, even though there are many companies including microsoft trying to stop spamming.

  3. Haloscan (a public, free commenting system) has very little spam. The author suggests that it is because he uses robots.txt to block search engines. This makes spamming Haloscan pointless if your goal is to boost your search engine stats.

    Just curious. Why is this not an option for MT comments and referrers? Do you gain much by having your comments and referrers spidered?

  4. It’s not really an MT thing.

    I suppose you could block it by simply using robots.txt or a META statement to block indexing of files that keep the comments (or referrers) in them.  Problem is, those are per-directory or per-file answers.  Is there a way to block spidering within a file (“track everything but the stuff here”)?

    If I didn’t keep comments in my permanent files, it wouldn’t be an issue.  Of course, that wouldn’t stop comment referrers from leaving stuff anyway (I already have a big fat warning about using MT blacklist and regularly scrubbing comment spam, and it doesn’t stop ‘em).

  5. The most important decision of our Finite Existence is this: Where shall I spend MY infinite Eternity? There’s only 2 realms, bro, and 1 of ‘em AIN’T too cool. Ketch my drift, SurferDude? Though this URL maybe hardcore and ugly, raw and rude… it speaks volumes which is louder than a neutron bomb in thy drawer. MAY GOD BLESS YOU WITH DISCERNMENT.

  6. What is it with the folks who want to proselytize always picking threads that have nothing in the way of a religious discussion going on to open their big mouths in? Aside from the fact that arguments such as the one KoldKadavr is attempting to utilize are possibly the worst way to convince someone they should convert, the fact is we weren’t talking about religion in this thread and that makes the comment not only useless, but inappropriate. Though I do find great irony is his last statement expressing hope that God will bless me with the discernment he apparently didn’t provide to KoldKadavr himself. Folks, if you can’t find a good thread to post this claptrap in (and all you need to do is click on the Religion category to find plenty) then send it to me in an email.

    Frac, it would certainly be possible to use Haloscan’s commenting system in MT as I’d just modify the template to point to it instead of MT’s internal one. I don’t use pop-up windows for my comments, though, so the only place to find them is on the individual archive pages that MT creates and I do think it’s worthwhile for Google to index those pages as I get quite a bit of hits from Google to specific entries rather than the main page of the site. If I were to use Haloscan then the individual pages wouldn’t have any comments on them and that would probably work, but I’d rather not rely on too many off-site services than I have to. I’ve already tried to replace Blogrolling.com with a local script because of problems it’s caused in the past.

  7. Yeah, I’ve been getting hit with the kerry blog as well. I got all excited because I thought my site was mentioned on on the Kerry blog and I thought “how interesting”.

    I went there all happy to find my site, but nadda.  That’s when I got pissed and I added the Kerry blog to my “block list” since referring sites show up on my home page. I still planning on giving the man my vote, but that pisses me off.

  8. I’m far from an expert on robots.txt, but you can use it to exclude any file or directory from all or a subset of spiders. There are plenty of tutorials around.

    This one, for example

  9. Thinking about this more, I have a feeling you’re doomed to spam with or without a robots.txt file.

    You’re getting spammed under the assumption that the product you’re using will get spidered.

    MT would have to make it a global policy to exclude search engines so their product became a less promising target for spammers.

  10. I’m using awstats to track referrers. I don’t post referrers on my webstie at all and I still get referrer spam like crazy. It’s kinda funny because hitting me with referrer spam that doesn’t get indexed by a search engine and doesn’t get seen by the public is useless.

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