If you visit this site regularly, you may have noticed that every now and then lurid, bizarre, or simply commercial but inappropriate comments get posted here (personal favorite: “I don’t really think your thoughts are right. Maybe you need a loan?”). It’s comment spam, designed to increase the Google rating of some tasteless URL. My site has been receiving a marked increase in spam comment postings for the last month or so. Sometimes three or four get through, and once in a while several hundred get through, but mostly they get rejected, thanks to Jay Allen’s Blacklist plugin. Here’s a plot of the spam activity over the last month.
These are all comments that got blocked by Jay Allen’s wonderful software. Notice that when it gets bad, I’m getting more than 300 spam comments a day, usually in bursts during which I get two or three a second. It’s so offensive that it’s easy to take it personally. Those bastards are trying to take me down. But really, it’s not personal at all. I appear on a list somewhere in China or Russia or wherever, and so I come in for my share of punishment along with all the other spam-smeared Movable Type sites out there.
It makes me wonder about the economic aspects of this arms race. They have an infinite supply of email addresses; these are free, of course. But they have to pay to get domain names. I can block new domain names easily, but they can register new ones quickly. I am currently blocking 22 variations on Texas Hold’em poker domains! Is their increased Google rating really worth registering all those domains? The cost to them is small but real. The cost to me is a few minutes of annoyance every week. Who wins?