Monday, August 22, 2005

Uncle Mark Spammed!

Well, I'll be! Blogspot, who is graciously hosting this blog, has been having a slew of issues with "spam blogs" or... "Splogs." A splog is a blog created on a free blog service, like blogger/blogspot, and has a progran that runs periodically that just spews advertising on it. The blog then posts as new, and the search engines, like "google" and others, pick it up. What it does is pollute the blog world.

In Ask Uncle Mark's case, we got a "spam comment." Some lowlife saw the change on the blog, and auto-posted a comment selling worthless stock. I had thought that by limiting comments to registered "blogger" people, that that would cut that out. But no, the spammer had a temporary blogger account with which to do the deed.

To stop this abuse, Blogger has put in place some new safeguards. The first is to allow readers to flag a blog as offensive. This is not a bad idea, but is after the fact -- someone got offended by a blog. The one I am using to prevent spam comments is "word verification." You may or may not have seen this. If you decide to comment, you will be asked to enter a word into a form. The word (sequence of letters, really) is a graphic image, which us humans can fairly easily read, but which computers can't. A computer can play chess against Garry Kasparov and win, but it can't easily read a graphical rendition of letters. This will prevent spammers from automatically entering comments into the blog. I want people to comment, but not spam people!


Paul said...

Glad to see I wasn't the only one. I made a post this afternoon and tonight I checked and found three comments. "Cool!" I thought. I think maybe one of them was legit, but thought it was odd that one linked to a 2nd Mortgage site and the other to an escort service in Atlanta. Then I noticed that 'anonymous' had the exact same sentance twice, I knew something was fishy. Since I run a clean blog and wasn't able to delete the comments, I just deleted the post and sent a new post (I have Zoundry Blog Writer, so it saves my posts). Then I noticed the Blogger article about spam comments and I added the word verification. I also noticed the flag on top, too.

Sure are a lot of scumbags out there in cyberland. Probably wouldn't last an hour on the mean streets of New Orleans.