Wed, 19 Jan 2005

Wouldn't It Be Nice?

...if we were older, then-- oops

Anyway, Google has led an initiative to take the steam out of various forms of online link pollution / abuse by proposing (and implementing, with the partcicipation of a lot of vendors) an extension to the venerable anchor tag: rel="nofollow". I hope it works. Fast uptake and wide implementation of this really promises to drain the monetary incentive from blogspam / refer(r)er spam / trackback spam / guestbook spam / wiki spam. If the people doing this realize that their links won't be spidered, hopefully they just wont bother any more.

The problem, however, as Mark Pilgrim stated a while back, is that these jokers don't read weblogs, they just write to them. The time/financial economics of spamming are such that it's cheaper for a spammer to blindly spew on thousands of sites without error checking than it is for them to spend time individually checking their work to make sure that their scripts are working as intended.

My own weblog is a perfect example. Over the life of this site, I've basically had 3 spammers who have accounted for upwards of 99% of all the spam attempts. The earliest was a guy I refer to as "Unca Philtie", since his primary method was to produce hundreds of fake refer(r)erals from a set of shell Blogspot blogs which linked to various Paris "Horsey" Hilton pr0nsites. For months after I removed the refer(r)er display from this site, he continued to bombard me with several hundred requests a day. It was cheaper for him to keep bombarding me with requests than it was for him to check his logs.

The second was the "Greets from me" guy, a pr0n comment spammer, so named because he actually signs his spams that way (still active). Of the three, he is certainly the cleverest, as he's occasionally made adjustments to his scripts to adapt to my countermeasures. He only has access to a limited number of zombie hosts, so I've largely been able to keep him neutralized at the firewall. I usually get a flood from him about once a week or so, when he picks up a few more proxies.

The third is ol' Joe Incest, so named because all his incoming pr0n spams mention incest. They also mention a veritable cornucopia of other things, many of which I am certain are still impossible until we as a species evolve a few more protuberances and/or orifices, but I digress. I trust that the most straightforward way to defeat a spammer who always spams the same topics is self-evident. His script also has a pretty glaring bug (that I'm not going to help him fix by going into detail) that keeps any of his spams from ever even showing up here at all. Indeed, I expect that this bug would bite him on any Blosxom blog, so he must not be paying attention, which reinforces the point I made earlier on...

Anyway, it would be nice if this new initiative shows results, but we should certainly be prepared for the possiblility that these assholes may just leave their buggy, braindead, and above all fast-cheap-nasty scripts running forever. After all, how often do you bother to clean up your crontabs?

:: 12:14
:: /tech/computers/internet | [+]
::Comments (0)

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Which planet is closest to the sun? (hint -- it's Mercury...)

There are two kinds of fool. One says, “This is old, and therefore good.”
And one says, “This is new, and therefore better”
— John Brunner, “The Shockwave Rider”