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The perseverance of spammers

After changing the URL structure of this website the stream of spam suddenly stopped. Unfortunatly it only lasted for a couple of hours.

In the previous post you can read that I changed the URLs of my weblog. Everything used to be in the nucleus sub-directory but now everything has been moved to the document root. One of the first things I noticed after making this move, was that the constant stream of comment spam that I receive stopped.

It took only five and a half hours though. The spammers quickly found the new location and by now the stream of spam is up to the same levels as before the move. I am simply amazed how quickly these spammers adapt.

Another example happened just a week and a half ago. Unlike other weblog software, Nucleus only accepts either an URL or an email address for each comment. In other software you can enter both, but with Nucleus you have to choose which one you want. Because other software did allow both, somebody developed a patch that allows Nucleus to do the same. This patch was incorporated into the upcoming Nucleus 3.3, which I installed on this server to test out some of the new anti-spam plugins I’ve been working on. Imagine my surprise when no later than 8 hours after upgrading spammers started to populate both fields.

It also made me wonder. If spammers are this flexible, why don’t they check if their spamming attempts are actually effective. If a weblog is protected by some anti-spam measure, or even rel="nofollow", why even bother continuing. Rats leave a sinking ship, locusts move on when everything edible is gone. Why won’t spammers?

6 Responses to “The perseverance of spammers”

  1. Roel wrote on December 7th, 2005 at 7:56 pm

    Very interesting observations. I knew those comment spammers were quick to adapt, but this is amazingly fast (and not very good news).

    Regarding your question: it probably takes more effort to check if a comment has been posted then just continuing the unsuccesfull spamming

  2. humblethorn wrote on December 25th, 2005 at 5:04 am

    Isn’t most of the spamming done using bots? If our sites are showing up in searches (as yours are) those bots find us quickly and efficiently. Unfortunately, the only solution seems to be control – which tends to discourage posting. There is a solution somewhere, but the commerce of the web is going to have to change

  3. gRegor wrote on January 26th, 2006 at 8:39 pm

    I’ve implemented my own little spamcheck by including the time of the original post (itime) as a hidden field and verifying it against the database. Obviously if it’s missing or doesn’t match, the comment doesn’t go through.

    It’s worked quite well for some time now, but i’m getting spam comments _occasionally_ (maybe once or twice every couple weeks). Sometimes it’s 5 in one burst, but no more. I’m surprised by the relative infrequency, which makes me almost wonder if I’m being manually spammed. I would figure if they made a bot to get around my system, I’d be getting a lot more than I am now.

  4. Salih Pekcan wrote on January 28th, 2006 at 11:02 pm

    I think we are harassed by the spammers just because sending spam is a baby’s job except the efforts of those good programmers who develops the necessary scripts. This won’t stop until they realize that spamming does not increase their bussiness performance. And it is the duty of marketing people to persuade them as they gave the idea of increasing sales through advertisements.
    I wish a world where people really respected each other.

  5. kelet wrote on February 9th, 2006 at 8:32 am

    We can never expect the spammers to be sane as supposed to be .They are just enjoy the spread of those junk without a moments thought of the efficiency.
    The worst case I’ve met was that my host provide stopped my site for one day because the supporter take the gamble spam as my post ,because of lacking care of my site, spams were increased to a huge amount .After that ,I just visit my site panel periodically ,just to clear the weeds.

  6. Tony wrote on January 22nd, 2007 at 3:23 pm

    Actually, the spam isn’t the end of the means. It’s the means to the end. They aren’t necessarily looking for people to click the link in the spam as they are interested in Google and others indexing the fact that the link is there, and raising their page rank.