Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam…

by vernsanders on April 10, 2012

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and that having someone steal your work is the highest honor.

But that’s not why you are reading this…

On the day that I am writing this, I found my blog to have been inundated with spam comments. Fortunately I have a good spam filter, but still…to have hundreds of bogus messages in a 24 hour period is just a pain.

But here’s the thing…

The spammers are getting yet more sophisticated. In probably 75% of the cases, the spam to this blog was clearly a real comment on somebody else’s blog. AND…they almost always were about church music and worship. The only giveaways that they weren’t real is that many of them were addressed to someone else (“Hi, Amy…”), and almost all of them had at least one word lmedrcsma scrambled. Which means that there is some pretty heavy duty software out there somewhere designed to steal legitimate comments, store them in a database, and then bot their way to other legitimate sites, look for keywords, and pick a “keyword appropriate” post from the database, scramble at least one (seldom more than that) word, and post it on the other blog as a comment.

Why go to all this trouble?

I can only assume that there is, somehow, money to be made by getting comments approved on blogs. Because if you get one comment approved, normally the blog owner doesn’t get to vet any future comments from that source, which means they won’t see them unless they actually read their comments and engage with those comments. And that is, my guess is, the point of the spamming software. To either shut down the blog by spam overload (I should be so important that that were the case…), or start sending “pay to post” spam ads all over the blog (more likely in my case…).

Which made me think…

In real face to face communication, especially in ministry, do you sometimes just “accept” a comment from someone without really engaging with it? And does that person then begin to launch an ongoing “spam” onslaught in future contact with you? And then you are forced to have a difficult conversation with them, or just “unlike” them from your life? It has happened to me…

I think the lesson here is that in spite of how distracted you might be, or the nuisance value of a first communication with someone, you need to be present, or let them know that you can’t help them. I’m sure there is a middle ground too. But as I look back at the “spam” people in my life,  there didn’t seem to be one. It was all or nothing at all.

Have you had this happen to you? How did you deal with it? I’m anxious to learn something from your experience. Please leave a comment and tell me what you know.

Ipod shuffle status (What is this?): 3755 (Helpless – kd lang)  of 7875

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