More blog comment spam

It’s amazing: I have been running this blog for a few months, and while there are a few visitors, I don’t think anyone has as their home page 🙂

The people who visit the site the most are… spammers! I have tried to keep up with these by implementing various increasingly aggressive anti-spam measures, and the latest one is that users now have to type in a random string of letters shown in a picture in order to comment on a post. Thanks to gudlyf for his authimage plugin!

This is really annoying: how many people actually visit the online poker or viagra-selling sites because of a comment posted in my blog? I guess that if it didn’t create at least a few hits, they wouldn’t do it – but it still boggles the mind. To put the issue in perspective, there are perhaps 20 “real” comments on this site that have been left over the past few months (thanks!). But the site also get between 5 and 50 spam-comments every day: a noise-to-signal ratio of 100:1 or so.

Until now, standard anti-spamming measures (keyword matching, etc) has worked reasonably well, but in the past few weeks, a new type of spam has arrived where this just doesn’t work. The new approach is for the spammer to leave an innocent message such as “Very nice site you have here: good work” – and then put a link to his viagra- or poker-selling home page as an IP address.

Sigh. I hope this new mechanism helps keep the comment area reasonably clean. The main problem is that it doesn’t work for the visually impaired or people using text-based browsers. Sorry – I don’t know what to do about that…

Finding a home in the UK

Mamta and I are currently trying to determine where to live once we move from our current rented house in East Sheen – and it’s not easy. Of course, the fact that the price has to be reasonable is a factor, but the biggest frustration really is that it’s so hard to find out whether what is available is in any way suitable.

Continue reading