About this Author
DBL%20Hendrix%20small.png College chemistry, 1983

Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

Dbl%20new%20portrait%20B%26W.png After 10 years of blogging. . .

Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek email him directly: Twitter: Dereklowe

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March 26, 2013

A Malfunctioning Spambot

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Posted by Derek

A quick behind-the-scenes note: anyone who has a blog has to contend with comment spam. It seems like something that has no chance of leading to any clicks or any money, but it piles up anyway. Hundreds of junk comments sometimes show up in a single day around here, most all of which automatically go right into the bit-bucket and are never seen (by me or anyone else). As a side effect, that means legitimate comments that end up in the spam folder have to be rescued pretty quickly, or they'll scroll off into the void, pushed along by illiterate come-ons for replica sports jerseys and implausible money-making schemes.

A few of them make it in each day, though, and I noticed this morning while taking out the blog-trash that one spammer seems to have glitched up. Behold, pretty much every vague, oddly worded blogspam comment all at once, complete with Mad-Lib style word lists at every opportunity. I couldn't help but {laugh | cackle | snort} at the {stupidity | incompetence | cluelessness} of this {garbage | crap}.

Comments (11) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Blog Housekeeping


1. Rob on March 26, 2013 8:16 AM writes...

Thanks for the example. I'll use it in the computer security class I teach. It's amazing how little of a regular language generator is used. (it would not be surprising that the original authors had minimal English skills anyway).

Permalink to Comment

2. Robert Bruce Thompson on March 26, 2013 8:32 AM writes...

I saw that same spam or a close cousin a couple weeks ago at the top of my Akismet spam queue as I was clearing it.

My all-time favorite, though (at least of the few I've seen at the top of the queue) was the one a few months ago that was trying to sell used bulldozers and the equipment for high-colonic enemas. In the same message.

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3. Curious Wavefunction on March 26, 2013 10:15 AM writes...

Looks like that spambot needs a generous dose of Pepto Bismol. Reminds me of one of the messy robots from "Walle".

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4. Kent G. Budge on March 26, 2013 10:23 AM writes...

The problem is that spamming your blog, once the bot is up and going, effectively costs zero. Zip. Nada. So if a single person clicks through and patronizes the sponsor, out of the millions ;) visiting your site, it's a net win for the spammer.

You can't win. You can't impose any cost on the spammer that will discourage him. Even laws won't work since, if your experience is anything like mine, most of the spam comes from the Ukraine or Hong Kong.

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5. Anonymous on March 26, 2013 11:55 AM writes...

you should probably remove {his | her} link to www dot replicas-watches dot org dot uk. {he | she} is {probably | almost certainly} using comments on well-regarded blogs to improve {his | her} website's {google pageRank | bing click distance}

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6. John Spevacek on March 26, 2013 2:32 PM writes...

I was going to suggest that we have a contest between all of us bloggers to see who can come up with the worst spam, but that comment is so far beyond anything I've seen that I think you would have to be the default winner. Congratulations! (Better you than me!)

Permalink to Comment

7. Mike on March 26, 2013 2:59 PM writes...

I will second the suggestion made by "5. Anonymous" to remove the link to the website from the comment. The purpose of that particular spam is probably SEO and you are abetting him by leaving the link.

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8. Derek Lowe on March 26, 2013 3:19 PM writes...

Removing the link is an excellent idea - I've cleared it out. Of course, if any of you wanted to buy replica watches from some blog spammer, you're now out of luck, I guess (!)

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9. Anonymous on March 26, 2013 8:41 PM writes...

Greetings from {Idaho|Carolina|Ohio|Colorado|Florida|Los angeles|California}!

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10. James on March 29, 2013 5:48 PM writes...

It's the Ur-spambot!

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11. Brooks Moses on March 29, 2013 9:22 PM writes...

This reminds me of a poem that my beloved ex once showed me, that her father had written while the scientific advisior on a treaty-negotiation trip. Apparently they were doing a lot of hashing out the language of the treaty using a similar sort of brackets (though square, not curly), and so it was fully of sentences with bracketed bits that would mean one of two different things depending on which selection was eventually agreed upon.

So he wrote a love poem, in similar style, about the tentative moment of figuring out whether the other person feels similarly and whether one's feelings are requited.

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