Daisy Duke

Daisy Duke Dances For You. Best. Thing. Ever. (Thanks to Ash Green for the link!)

Spam

Spam has become the bane of the connected world. Whilst it is simple for a human to be able to decide if an object (email, comment, trackback) is Spam, it appears that computers have a harder time of it. Perhaps the most surprising thing is that Spam exists at all. It relies on some sort of a payoff for the Spammer: for email Spam this must mean that people actually buy the crap they advertise. My Gmail Spam folder is bulging as we speak: I seem to get around 400 Spam emails per month. Almost all of these are automatically picked up by Gmail’s Spam filter - but this filter also picks up several Ham (or legitimate emails) in the average month. The majority of these are bounced emails: almost by default all bounced replies end up as Spam, since a common occurrence seems to be for Spammers to use real (other people’s) email addresses as the From: address, resulting in a whole bunch of Undeliverable Mail messages bouncing back to that person. Usually, this is not a problem, as most people I email I get the address right. However, as I have just taken over administration of a Sporting Organisation’s member list, I now get several bounced emails each time I do a mailout - I’m going through pruning addresses each time, but people’s addresses are often lapsing. Profit from comment and trackback Spam is a little different. Rather than getting people to buy things from them, these Spammers rely on clicks or links to make money. The second has been largely overcome in many circles by the rel=”nofollow” tag, however, unless use of this is universal, Spammers may still make money. The way linking makes money is largely by improving PageRank™, or prestige in Search Engines. The first one relies on users to click on links, and visit sites. If enough users do this, then it could concieveably make a significant amount of money for the Spammers. I’ve had some comment and trackback Spam where the URI isn’t even valid, so I’m not so sure how well this works for Spammers. I seem to have overcome the issues I had with comment Spam - just requiring users to have JavaScript activated seems to be enough for now. And if the Spammers catch on, then I’ll re-implement the catchpa. That leaves trackback Spam. This is the one that is causing me the most grief now. At least it’s not as bad as email Spam (in volume, anyway) on my blog. I’ll get around about 6-10 Spam trackbacks in a given month. I’m not sure how many Ham trackbacks I get - not too many, IIRC. I may turn trackbacks off, if I cannot come up with a decent solution.