Take a look at the comment below, caught by Akismet and held for moderation on a client blog I have access to, but not automatically marked as spam and removed when clicking the Check for Spam button. Why do I have to see it? What in this comment makes it even remotely possible to be a valid one?
Don’t get me wrong, Akismet is a great service, and it saves me a lot of time, as it does numerous others, but sometimes it amazes me what it lets through. And I’m not only thinking about the porn spam that litters most blogs’ moderation queues (or comment areas) should they have obtained some degree of traffic. read more
Let’s analyze the shady data processing economy of India, discuss exclusive photos of Indian workers breaking MySpace and Google CAPTCHAs, and take a tour inside the web applications of several Bangladesh based franchises, whose team of almost 1,000 international workers is actively soliciting deals for breaking Craigslist, Gmail, Yahoo, MySpace, YouTube and Facebook’s CAPTCHA, promising to deliver 250k solved CAPTCHAs per day on a “$2 for a 1000 solved CAPTCHAs” rate.
The story goes on to examine a few different “de-CAPTCHA” firms and has pictures of the workers and links to their websites.
Suspended Accounts which is really a better internal admin tool
Community Powered Alerts which is really better analyzing of spam blocking by users
Dedicated Personnel which is hiring more people to manage the spam problem
Sure, the explanations above might be my interpretation, but I believe it pretty much sums it up. This is all well and good, but what calms me the most (had I been upset, that is), is how Biz Stone wraps up the post:
There is no magic wand we can wave or switch we can flip to make it all go away. Spammers will keep finding inventive new ways to advance their motives and harm user experience and we’ll keep shutting them down and slowing their progress. We just wanted to make sure everyone knows that we are taking spam seriously.
Thanks for not bullshitting us, Biz! To be completely honest, spam isn’t such an issue for me (on Twitter). Then again, I’m not re-following everyone following, so I’m probably not that easy to get to for the spammers.
It appears as if Google’s Blogger service have had some issues over the weekend. On Friday, they marked bunch of blogs as spam, which was quickly identified and written about. The issue was resolved on Saturday, with explanations:
We want to offer our sincerest apologies to affected bloggers and their readers. We’ve tracked down the problem to a bug in our data processing code that locked blogs even when our algorithms concluded they were not spam. We are adding additional monitoring and process checks to ensure that bugs of this magnitude are caught before they can affect your data.
This isn’t a good thing for Blogger of course, and certainly hurts the brand.
Fighting spam has proved to be a nearly impossible task.
The best and brightest minds of the legal and technical worlds have failed to come up with solutions to stem the flow of junk email, splogs or spam comments.
Every new law or technological advancement has just been an escalation in a never-ending arms race between the many who hate spam and the few that send it out.
To be certain, spam plays a much smaller part in our lives today than it did a few years ago. We rarely see spam in our inboxes, spam comments are largely filtered out and only search spam seems to work with any reliability, especially with blogs.
For the past few days we’ve been receiving complaints of comments being blocked or IPs, emails and domains being blacklisted from posting comments. Blame it on overactive spam filters or perhaps oversight on our part. Spam Karma 2 has been blocking most comments recently, and nothing has been able to get through, for some reason.
We have yet to check whether this is due to plugin incompatibilities or other reasons, but for the time being we’ve switched SK2 off. This could lead to some spam comments being published, but we’ll try our best to weed these out. What’s important is that valid comments get through, and on time.
At any rate, folks, we’re sorry for the inconvenience. Some of you have been very vigilant about this. Thank you for the reminders. After all, being the Blog Herald we’re supposed to be advocates of open communication through blogs. And it’s also in our comments policy not to pre-moderate or censor comments unless they’re blatantly spam or offensive.
Some of your comments may still be in the moderation threads. As Spam Karma uses a different moderation queue from WordPress’ own, and since the interface does not exactly make it very easy to recover the few valid comments from among the thousands of spam comments, it’s going to take a while. If you think you’d rather re-post your comments, please feel free to do so.
Again, on behalf of the editor and other contributors here at the Blog Herald, we express our sincere apologies.
Six Apart has announced that it’s making the technology behind TypePad’s blog comment spam system freely available to bloggers using Movable Type 3/4, WordPress 2.5, or “any other platform which supports spam plugins”. The system is already built in to TypePad.
The beta version of TypePad AntiSpam is now available to both personal and commercial users, regardless of how many comments their blogs receive. It’s a self-learning system, meaning that whenever a user reports a comment as spam, the system should learn from that, and improve its spam filters.
As a potential rival to Akismet, TypePad AntiSpam is also fully compatible with its API.
As for concerns that open sourcing the system will simply aid spammers wishing to circumvent the system, the FAQ explains: “We aren’t sharing all of the rules and logic that we run with our implementation of the TypePad AntiSpam engine. We are open sourcing the core engine, allowing others to build on top of our system allowing them to build and operate their own spam service.”
An enterprise-class service may be offered in the future, along with a customised service for users with specific requirements.
Download Squad profiles Twerp Scan, a nice little application that checks your followers to see if there are any known spammers there. Personally, I wonder why Twitter is so quiet about the fact that there’s a, probably great, number of spammers perusing Twitter and luring users into their scams.
Twitter, a service created by Evan Williams (who founded Blogger.com and Odeo.com, both sold to Google and Sonic Mountain, respectively) has helped hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of users find out the “latest happenings” via micro updates that the service has become famous for.
While Twitter is a useful tool to help one get out of a dangerous situation (or two), a few less than honest companies/individuals may be trying to use the service to promote their product. read more
Last weekend at The Next Web Conference in Amsterdam I spoke with Anton Johansson and CEO Martin Källström from the new blog search engine Twingly. They present themselves as a new spam-free blog search engine with a strong focus on the conversational nature of the blogosphere.
Lorelle VanFossen recently addressed the issue of spam in blog search engines and keeping their index spam free is one of the main objectives of Twingly. On top of that they focus on conversational search in the blogosphere by partnering with traditional media. They have closed several deals with major newspapers in Europe which provide links to the blogs that reference them. This is another step in showing the two-way links between blogs and online newspapers. Their main competitor in this area is of course Sphere but Twingly focuses on different markets. Read all about their ideas to start another blog search engine in the following interview and grab a special Blog Herald beta invite code while you can!