Seen at The Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden - Chinese proverb

Saturday, 11 April 2009

@*&! Spammers - My Apologies

This morning a delightful (not) spambot decided to start going through my blog leaving a comment on each posting. It would appear these were then forwarded to at least some of you as part of the spamming process.

Luckily I found out what was going on before the spambot had gone through all 600-odd posts on my blog: unfortunately it had managed to get through 140 of them. If you are one of the unfortunate ones who received forwarded email(s) as a result of this, I can only offer my sincere apologies and I do hope it wasn't from all 140 comments left on my blog.

Word Verification is back on now and this instantly stopped the spambot in its tracks. If you were affected, do leave me comment about your experiences (or email me at vegplotting at gmail dot com if this is easier for you) as I'd like to understand the extent of what happened ready for a post I'm now planning to do about lessons learned and Blogger options to stop spamming. At least that way some good may come out of this nasty experience.

24 comments:

  1. I had 3 posts from the same "person" in chinese this morning commenting on different posts on your blog from some time ago....as I couldn't read them I deleted them...They were from your blog, was that part of it?

    Anyway, if you have to do WV, thats fine by me...

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  2. i got some 50 messages from the spambot. having seen this sort of message on another (u.s.) blog, i was fairly certain upon seeing the odd 'name' of the sender what it was. clicked one & deleted the rest. no biggie.

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  3. Another thing you might do is require approval for comments on posts older than xx days... I have mine set to 14 days, and then if a bot comes along only I get the emails about accepting or rejecting the comment. Of course, I reject them!

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  4. I didn't get anything. Maybe that's because I have a Mac?

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  5. Compostwoman - yes they were from me, sorry.

    Petoskystone - as one of my most prolific commenters, it looks like you were 'rewarded' by being one of the worst affected. I think it might be because you also ask receive follow up comments when you add one to my blog? Thanks for being so understanding.

    Carol - thanks for that. I did think hard about that option when I put WV back on. I get so few comments that are older than 14 days and they've been genuine comments so far, that I've decided not to for the time being. If and when my blog becomes as popular as yours, I may have to reconsider!

    Victoria - I thought Mac users would be immune - thanks for confirming it :) WordPress bloggers will also be unaffected as spam blocking software is automatically included for them. I'm not sure about Typepad, Livejournal or other blogging platforms, but I don't think I have many of these amongst my readers (Kate Manic and EmmaT are notable exceptions) anyway.

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  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  7. Hi Zoe - thanks for the clarification - I was coming round to thinking that signing up for follow-up comments was key to the whole process.

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  8. Its not whether its a PC or a Mac that makes the difference as to whether or not you received the emails. It is whether or not you have signed up to receive follow-up comments emailed to you when commenting on a blog. There is a box you tick to implement this when commenting.

    It's one I avoid to prevent my mail box being filled by spammers in exactly this way. Its also why I have word verification and post moderation on my blog, annoying as most people find it, it prevents Bots, spamming, or worse still directing the unwary and innocent to malware as I can delete them before they appear and are seen by the unsuspecting.

    Hope that helps a bit.

    Zoë

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  9. opps sorry VP, now we are out of sink! I omitted a couple of words and decided to resubmit the comment, and deleted the one with errors! Sorry!

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  10. Zoe - for some reason your comment's come through twice, so I've deleted the second one.

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  11. Zoe - Ah now I understand. Thanks for doing the edit yourself :)

    Have a good Easter!

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  12. Spam is a real pain!
    As you say Wordpress block virtually of it which in my case has been almost 1 in every 3 comments made on my blog! xx

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  13. Hi VP, bad luck. I saw nothing. I host my own blog and IPs from troublesome parts of the world are banned at the server level, and my blog software also has some anti-spam built in. I don't think my e-mail address is exposed when i comment. I also moderate blog comments, though I hardly ever get spam.

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  14. And there was me thinking you had a very enthusastic new reader who was leaving comments on your last 20 odd posts. I didnt open any of them which is probably a good thing

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  15. All my comments have to be approved before appearing, and that gets rid of spammers. I really don't like the verification codes, often they are hard for me to see, so I tend to not leave comments if I have to go through 2 or 3 tries to get it posted.

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  16. I didn't get any bizarre emails, so no worries here. I read every comment before it's approved, so that also stops spammers. I'm on Mac computers here too and as Zoe says, that has nothing to do with the spambots getting through. They're annoying, but as you've seen, there are ways of stopping them.

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  17. I haven't had any spam, but don't tick the follow-up comments box (and in any case I probably wasn't commenting on your blog long enough ago).

    Crafty Gardener - I have the same problem with wv. Now I look at it before I start to type my comment, and if I can't read it, I re-load the page. I keep re-loading until I get a nice clear wv which I'm sure I'm going to get right, and only then do I type my comment.

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  18. Nothing here VP. What a ****** !

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  19. So that was Chinese! (I wondered.) I did the same thing Carol did with requiring approval for comments on older posts. I've also left the word verification thing on to prevent this kind of junk. It's the price I'm willing to pay to not worry about this stuff.

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  20. Hi VP

    Tyepad is a good platform for stopping spam but I too had to revert to verification.

    In the last two weeks I have had one spammer who was trying to launch a malicious program through a link on the comment.

    I write a weekly newsletter and the spammers target this constantly (although the 'doorman' does kick them back out).

    I also ran three competitions simultaneously and received nearly a thousand comments on them - it was quite a task keeping up with what was legit and not:-((

    Keep up the good work:-0))

    Phil

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  21. Flighty - 1 in 3 - crikey! I also believe friends can get filtered out as well as foes - have you experienced this? What filtered email review facilities do you have?

    Simon - thanks for letting me know. I was wondering how the more 'unusual' sites like yours got on.

    PG - thank goodness for that! Sorry you had them though.

    CG - I'm doing a follow up post which will cover WV vs comment moderation and what to do if WV's unreadable. I'd also like to understand how CM gets rid of spammers. With my understanding of how it works, I can see that a spammer could get through, but you get to see it and get rid of it that way. There's plus and minus points to either approach and it's up to us to weigh those up and decide what we think will work best.

    Jodi - thanks. It's a shame that a few idiots spoil the party for everyone else isn't it?

    Juliet - thanks for that. That's one of the things I've put in my follow up post

    Anna - exactly

    MMD - I think it was Chinese. Looking at my site stats it would seem that way. I've learned my lesson - I'm afraid I can't be nice and make things easy for everyone. WV would appear to be the necessary minor evil that stops a far major one.

    Philip - I will. BTW Typepad is not the easiest of platforms from a reader viewpoint. It takes much longer to load compared to Blogger and WP.

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  22. Hi again VP - thanks for your response.

    I had not noticed a loading problem with Typepad - it has certainly always been fast for me - it would be interesting to hear what others think?.

    From a bloggers perspective, I suggest Typepad is the better platform for optimisation of the site?

    All the best

    Phil

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  23. Sorry to hear this, VP: Very irritating. This won't help you, I know, but I host my own WP blog and use Hashcash to remove all spam. It's extremely effective (albeit at the price of occasionally deciding a real person is a robot and refusing their post!)

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  24. Phil - I can't comment about which platform is best for optimisation as I haven't used all of them and there's lots you can do irrespective of the blogging platform anyway. From this users perspective Typepad is very slow for every single Typepad blog I've found and there can be problems with page time out problems when commenting.

    Soilman - thanks for that. I'd been wondering whether spam filters also managed to capture friends as well as foes as that's my experience with the email one on AOL. At some point I will have to review where I'm going with my blog platform wise as I'm already over 50% of my allocated space, so I'll bear your comments in mind later on in the year.

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I love reading your comments and welcome thoughtful conversations :)

Comments aiming to link back and give credence to commercial websites will be composted!

4/4/2014 - Anonymous comment spam came back with a vengeance today, so sadly I've had to halt this facility for a while for the sake of commenters who like to read what the genuine follow-up comments say.

If you're having problems leaving comments, you can contact me using the Contact Form at the foot of this page, or via vegplotting at gmail dot com, or @malvernmeet if a quick tweet is more convenient for you. That way I can get things sorted.

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