The following post by Stephen Baker reminded me of something I saw the other day:
"My colleague Rob Hof has been complaining about a new kind of comment spam at Tech Beat that appears to be personalized. It focuses on the content of the post. I have trouble understanding how spammers, working one blog at a time, can generate a return on such detailed work."
(Answer: the same way a government can afford to create a firewall by zapping one IP packet at a time. Cheaply. Btw, the above story related to something Tom Coates wrote up about someone comment spamming his blog)
I've got an annoying little twat doing this exact same one-comment-spam-at-a-time thing to me. Each day, some muppet adds a comment that says something along the lines of: 'ooh, yes, you're quite right!', or 'yes, I completely agree?', pointing to some poker porn site.
And there is RSS spam. This is what they do: They know there are losers like me who track links to my blog or mentioning my name (and smart pr folks who are tracking citations of their company name or product brands). I use Technorati, IceRocket, and PubSub, etc to set up a search and track new results via RSS (trackbacks to posts do this too, but trackbacks are generally unreliable, certainly on this blog...they also require a link to work). What the RSS spammers do is pour a whole bunch of items into their RSS feeds that contain names of people (bloggers they've found I assume, or re-use email list names?) and links to blog posts. This acts as oney to bears...
The technique is similar to trackback spam, but is RSS powered - they aren't relying on trackbacks to work. I clicked on one of the RSS baits, not knowing it was spam and was greeted by the followin on a webpage:
'Hi Alex, how would you like to be a whole *two inches* bigger?'. <Click here> for immediate improvement.
Since I'm on a diet, I passed on this generous offer, but I was secretly impressed by the spammers slyness and inginouity. No doubt more 'respectable' online markteters will be trying this trick out soon...
Question to the feed search engine folks...(David Sifry, Blake Rhodes,
Bill Bob Wyman are you listening?)...how do we stop this? Can we? It can't be good for your business if this kind of thing takes off, can it?
(Update: Oct 16 2005: All this has a name - splogs (or splogging) - and it has a finally got noticed by others as a problem.)