Spam is one of the scourges of the internet.
And it’s getting worse, much worse. It seems that any publicly available service on the internet is prone to spamming. First Usenet, then email… and now, blog and wiki spam.
Spammers have discovered that they can raise their Google page rankings by entering fake comments onto weblogs. If these fake comments contain a link to a page selling, for instance, certain “lengthening” services, then Google will use that link in its calculations of the page rank of that page, increasing the page’s likelihood to be near the top of any results of a search. Result: increased referrals from Google and therefore increased revenue for the bad guys.
Both this blog and Gryfon’s have been spammed on numerous occasions, but recently it’s taken a turn for the worse, with as many as sixty comments posted within a very short time to the same page. And not just the usual ones for drugs and gaming. These have all been for the hardest of hardcore porn.
Worse, this torrent of crap is actually starting to impact on the ISPs that host weblogs. The sheer load and intensity of the comment spammers, and the tools used by bloggers to remove the fake comments, are straining ISPs infrastructure and causing problems for other users. My host is coping well, but is pretty concerned by what they are seeing.
I don’t know if there’s a long term solution. At some point I plan to move this blog off Movable Type. This will help, but only in the sense that we’d be increasing the diversity of the software ecosystem. Sooner or later the spammers will be back.
In the meantime, I’ve changed one or two things, the most visible of which is the addition of captchas to the comment entry form. These will provide an additional deterrent to the automated systems that post comment spam.
However, I must apologise in advance to any people, particularly the vision impaired, who find these annoying, awkward or difficult to negotiate. I’m just not sure what else I can do about it right now.