On January 19 I did a short post titled I am so ready to get rid of these. It was about blog spammers winning the war against WordPress’s Akismet spam filter. What enraged me most is that if a comment gets pass Akismet, it is clever enough that it requires scrutiny by a real human (me) to determine if it is genuine or not. And even if 9 times out of 10 it’s spam, that 10th time it might be from someone whose comment I really value. I summed up the dilemma this way, “That’s the reason I don’t turn off comments altogether — the value of the real comments outweighs the hassle of the spam.”
Now the spammers have a new tactic that makes me completely blow a gasket. Yesterday I received a comment to the very same I am so ready to get rid of these post that consisted of one line:
That’s also the reason I don’t turn off comments altogether — the value of the real comments outweighs the hassle of the spam.
I literally had my mouse cursor poised over the “Approve” button because my first reaction was, “Right on — I agree with that comment completely!”
And then I had a tiny flicker of deja-vu…
…where had I seen that phrase before…?
I looked closer and saw that in fact I had 3 comments in a row on 3 different posts, all from “Patriots Jersey” and all using this “quote from the post” technique.
It’s so simple and clever I’m surprised I haven’t seen it before (for all I know it’s been around for ages and I’m just seeing it for the first time). But it completely fried my gourd, because thousands of real bloggers might be fooled into approving these comments the same way their blog spam filter was fooled into accepting them.
For me it was even more validation why we need move to higher level reputation systems based on real people and real trust relationships, not machine algorithms. That, in a nutshell, is why I’ve been working on Connect.Me and the Respect Trust Framework for the past year.
More on how this can help fight blog spam coming soon.