Know Your Spammers

Album Cover: Black Holes and Revelations

"Come ride with me through the veins of history. I'll show you a god who falls asleep on the job."
Muse / Knights of Cydonia

Posted on March 01, 2006 12:45 AM in Blogging
Warning: This blog entry was written two or more years ago. Therefore, it may contain broken links, out-dated or misleading content, or information that is just plain wrong. Please read on with caution.

For well over a year now I've been dealing with comment and referral spam in various forms here at my blog (and at other sites). The referral spam isn't a big deal because I don't link to referrers anywhere on my site (though I used to). The comment spam, however, is annoying and as most bloggers know, the spammers themselves are relentless. Because my blog isn't powered by a widely distributed CMS like Wordpress, I've got a slight advantage in the level of deterrence. That being said, I still get my fair share of comment spam and I've probably had to spend about 20 minutes a week, on average, removing comment spam so as not to give Googlebot a lot of time to come through and index the spam links.

Over the course of the past couple weeks, I've taken the spam a bit more personally and have therefore decided to kick the deterrence up a notch or two. The comment spammers who keep on coming back for more have obviously put a lot of effort into getting to know how the Bernzilla CMS works, so I figure it's the least I can do to put just as much effort into figuring out the methods of their madness. In doing so, I've been able to keep a tally of IP addresses that have come back for seconds (and sometimes thirds or fourths) and have also picked up on some other very obvious (and stupid) traits that make the spammers very easy to identify programmatically. I don't want to give away all the goods here 'cause, afterall, who knows...the lowlifes may just be reading this.

The moral of the story is, know your spammers as well as (if not better than) they know you. If you can dedicate as much time to getting to know your spammers as you do to cleaning up after them, it will pay off in dividends. The very small and seemingly minor stopgaps I have put into place here have paid off over the course of the past few days. We'll see if the trend continues or not. Either way, I've learned a very valuable lesson: when it comes to comment spam, a little intel goes a long way.


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