Sneaky Spam

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  • #1354657

    marcys
    Member

    For the past few months I’ve been getting a certain type of spam, and now it seems to be increasing to once or twice a day. I call it sneaky because the posters–there are more than one–disguise them as comments, but what they say is very general, like “You know so much about this topic”, not particular to my content. When I click their URL, sure enough, they’re selling something. Today the plot thickened: I’ve gotten 3 of these on the same post, an article 2 years old about the Golden Gate Bridge. Since they’re totally separate commenters and businesses, I wonder if the post is popping up somewhere, somehow, as a convenient target? Anyone have any ideas what I can do about this other than keep deleting them?

    The blog I need help with is marcys.wordpress.com.

    #1354758

    raincoaster
    Member

    How is that different from regular spam? Sounds like perfectly ordinary spam to me.

    In my experience, if one post keeps getting spam comments it’s because one of the comments you approved on that post is spam. Spam attracts spam.

    #1354770

    marcys
    Member

    It seems to me most spam says up front they are selling something, but these talk instead about my blog, or pretend they’re doing that. Anyhow, it doesn’t matter. If they’re ordinary spam why doesn’t Askimet catch them? And I don’t think I unwittingly allowed spam, in fact I know I didn’t.

    #1354823

    For the last few months, I’ve received an incredible amount of spam comments of this kind. Something has gone wrong with Akismet, it used to catch almost everything. I keep marking them as spam instead of just deleting, but Akismet doesn’t learn.

    #1354826

    raincoaster
    Member

    If you look around the forum you can find a few dozen people complaining that Akismet is letting spam through over the past few months. Two weeks ago they tightened it up substantially, and many WP.com bloggers could no longer comment. It’s a constant balancing act, but you’re right, they SHOULD catch obvious spam using stock phrases. Like the user “reconditioned dishwashers” who left a comment on my blog a few minutes ago. Akismet let him through.

    #1354827

    justjennifer
    Moderator

    Each of us has an “Akismet” stats tab in our site’s Dashboard. Have you looked at it recently? Do you see an increase in either Missed Positives or False Positives?

    #1354829

    justjennifer
    Moderator
    #1354830

    Thanks for your replies. Interesting. Yes, Missed spam is increasing dramatically, 5 in March, 22 in April, 25 in May, 16 in June, already 23 in July (and 4 today alone, and it’s lunchtime in Sweden). Spam detected has doubled and tripled in the same period, but the rise in Missed spam is not proportionate, since before March it was 0 or 1 per month. Something has gone wrong with Akismet.

    #1354873

    marcys
    Member

    Very interesting. It’s good to know I am not imagining things.

    #1354874

    timethief
    Member

    It’s not sneaky spam. It’s typical spam that I get all the time.

    Spammers are always trying to find new ways to get their links on our blogs. I do not use the comment blacklist because I am well aware that blocking by IP address is useless. IP addresses have not been unique for a decade. ISPs save money by placing hundreds of us in the same IP block. So using the blacklist for IPs means we may block legitimate commenters. Moreover, spammers can get a new IP in seconds flat and some have dynamic ie. ever changing IPs.

    May advice is stop wasting you time fretting over a single spammer.
    Akismet is a very accurate learning engine. The vast and overwhelming majority of all so-called information on the internet is spam. Over 80% of all so-called comments submitted to .wordpress.com blogs every day are spam. Spam comes in waves. There are human beings who get paid to post spam. There are robotic programs that post spam.

    The worst of all spam containing malware and viruses is not sent to us. It’s removed as it could bring down many blogs if opened.

    On the spam that Akismet catches it takes only seconds to click “empty spam” and you don’t even have to click “empty spam” if you don’t want to. Akismet will maintain comments it has caught for 15 days from the time they were received, and then it will delete the comment automatically.

    If you get spam that slips by Akismet then mark it as spam (do not delete it) and over time Akismet will learn it’s spam.

    There is no such thing as eliminating all spam but Akismet works very well. For more information please take the time to read “5 things every blogger should know about spam” on this page Akismet: How it works http://akismet.com/how/

    #1354921

    Sneaky or not, it’s spam, and it’s increasing dramatically. It’s not a matter of a single spammer. Nor is the problem that of emptying spam that Akismet has caught. And I mark everything as spam instead of just deleting it. Before March, there was at the most one (1) uncaught spam comment per month. Since March, there are on average more than 20, and this month already 28. This is a very radical and sudden change. In view of this, I am not inclined to agree that Akismet works very well. At the very least, it does not seem to work anywhere near as well as before March.

    #1354925

    justjennifer
    Moderator

    @janolofbengtsson – Read tt’s above reply to the end. Spammers are constantly changing their tactics to get past the spam filters.

    If you find the spam in the Spam folder, then Akismet is doing its job. If you find them in the comments waiting for your approval and you have marked them as spam, then you are helping Akismet learn its job.

    This is not a technical issue for the support forums. It would, however, be a great topic for a blog post.

    #1354926

    raincoaster
    Member

    It’s quite true that Akismet lately has been letting in things it previously would have stopped. Usernames like Dishswashersales.com and the like have been getting through.

    #1354928

    metan1
    Member

    I agree with raincoaster. I don’t get that much spam (not popular enough!) but I have noticed that it seems to have what appear to be legitimate sounding email addresses these days rather than the spammy sounding ones they mainly had in the past.

    It is like Akismet was targeting the email addresses so now the spammers have switched them to something that is easier to slip by the checks. The user names are becoming the spammy thing now.

    #1354929

    justjennifer
    Moderator

    Spammers are constantly changing their tactics to get past the spam filters.

    If you find the spam in the Spam folder, then Akismet is doing its job. If you find them in the comments waiting for your approval and you have marked them as spam, then you are helping Akismet learn its job.

    #1354930

    raincoaster
    Member

    I find them pre-approved, on my blog. I have had to send to spam comments from: Rebelmouse.com, Online Forms, Ticketsnetwork.com, research paper, and many others. Akismet would not have let those through a year ago.

    #1354931

    justjennifer
    Moderator

    @rain – Report it here http://akismet.com/contact/

    Pre-approved, meaning that you don’t moderate your comments?

    Every WordPress.com site owner, even those that don’t like or want to moderate their comments, can set their comment moderation so that a person has to have at least one previously approved comment before a new comment is automatically posted.

    If the spammers have changed tactics, site owners need to do so as well.

    #1354932

    justjennifer
    Moderator

    Also, if the Akismet contact form is not working for whatever reason: support@akismet.com

    #1354933

    raincoaster
    Member

    I don’t moderate comments, since I hate comment moderation, myself. I have never moderated comments except once a few years ago for a few hours. And this has never happened before. This is new.

    If I’ve marked them as Spam, what extra good does notifying Akismet staff do? Surely they’re aware of the recent complaints.

    #1354935

    justjennifer: I of course read timethief’s reply to the end. What do you mean? I responded to everything of relevance. It is crystal clear from my comments that the problem is not the spam folder, i.e. the spam Akismet catches, even if that increases too, but the spam Akismet does not catch, the spam among the comments awaiting my approval. I wrote: “I mark everything as spam instead of just deleting it.” You now say I am thereby helping Akismet learn its job. Whether or not this is true, the remark is beside the point, since, as I must repeat, Akismet did its job more than 20 (twenty) times better before March. The increase in uncaught spam is simply calamitous. Why is this not a technical issue for the support forums?

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