Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Smart spam?

Occasionally I'll get comments that are clearly spam (since this blog is rarely updated, feel free to replace "occasionally" with "rarely"). Ordinarily, I delete them without a second thought. Two recent comments, however, gave me reason for pause.

I am talking about this and this. These comments are a bit of a mystery to me. First, note that they are not only syntactically but also semantically more or less well-formed. They are even vaguely relevant to the post's content! So a natural hypothesis might be that they were written by humans. But then why the obviously spammy aliae (aliases) --- "buy sildenafil citrate" and "generic viagra"?

Explanations welcome...

6 comments:

Vladimir Nesov said...

These are probably comments copied from other blogs, selected from a big corpus of such comments to match keywords in the post.

Aryeh said...

Interesting explanation, Vladimir. But my post didn't have any human-marked keywords, so they would've had to extract those automatically... And why use such obviously spammy aliases?

Noam said...

Searching short substrings of these comments (e.g., "The problem with the coin case") points uniquely to your blog, so my suspicion is that these were actually written by humans in response to the content of your post. If these humans are spammers, well...then that's pretty cool! Perhaps spammers are now hiring people to read blogs at a sufficient level of comprehension to write shallow but passable spam-linked comments? (It would be great if one of these people, bored on the job, actually takes the time to write a *brilliant*, spam-linked comment...) Another possibility is that these were legitimate comments, but the spam-links are due to some security flaw (e.g., the commenter's machine was compromised).

Of course, the real question is what does "buy sildenafil citrate" think about all this?

Cosma said...

I have seen it suggested (I don't remember where, unfortunately) that this is a way of probing for "undefended" comments sections, for later exploitation.

But perhaps they were a clever ploy on your part to give an occasion for this post, and attract comments!

Aryeh said...

I've thought about all this. But don't spammers generate revenue from clicks? How many people who read my blog have read on the links of "sinedafil" and "viagra"? I certainly didn't. So even if their wickedly clever ploy to get a plug in a post succeeded, I don't see how they can monetize it.

Aryeh said...

Oh, wait a minute. I think Cosma is suggesting that I may have generated those comments myself. An accusation of spamming and sock-puppetry in one!

All I can say is, as soon as Cosma enables comments on his blog, the real fun will begin :)