Monday, February 05, 2007

Touched by a spammer

Mostly the same spammer too - a mysterious sort whose visits don't register on my SiteMeter count. Probably it means that the little visitor was a bot plugging directly into the commenting URL and not getting there at all through the post.

Hast been duly reported, and hopefully quashed.

The volume of spam at work is far greater, of course, but in some ways even a little bit fun. For one thing, we have excellent filters now, and they catch a good majority of the stuff. For another, I get to browse the list of subject lines and enjoy the evolution of spam. I have three theories on it:
  1. Spammers all spam each other, too, and get ideas for new wording from each other
  2. Spammers are actually like vast schools of fish, moving like a solid curtain, with no individual responsible for any change of direction
  3. There is an Ur-Spammer, like the Master Control Program in Tron, issuing its imperious commands. (End of line.)
Any of these would cover the facts as observed, to wit: spammers keep up one pattern for a couple of days and then swap. So, for a few days I'll get a hunk of subject lines: "Name says." Then, all at once, it will be "Name wrote." And THEN all at once it will be "Talk to Name."

Yeah, well... no thanks, anyway. You're all Nigerian discount mortgage casinos that sell foreign drugs. But I do find it fascinating to see how you all turn on the same dime. There's never any overlap. It's not like I'll see a stray "Name says" after everyone is saying "Talk to Name."

For a while after that, I saw something new - fake news headlines. Or rather, real news headlines cribbed from actual news sites, only used as subjects. For a little while, they were even introduced as (for example) "CNN: Bush to ask for higher troop deployment." Very quickly, however, the CNN was dropped in favor of the generic "News Service."

[And THAT was quite interesting. We small fry don't have the deep pockets to permanently end these annoyances - but don't tick off Ted Turner.]

It didn't last long. In fact, for a while "Name" returned to action; it was like meeting an old college buddy you'd lost touch with after school, when it became obvious you hadn't really had much in common in the first place beyond a class and the same dorm floor. Not one of those pleasant meetings either - a meeting where you're shocked at how Federlinish he looks, and are trying to escape after 23 seconds.

At home, weeding through blog spam, one finds a different tone. They don't work nearly as hard in the home version of this game. Usually there's nothing more than their suspicious little URL, sometimes not even hotlinked. One may get a string of words that one normally avoids using in the body of posts precisely because it attracts spammers - in other words, it's like spam cannibalism (Spamibalism?); they'll catch other spambots but no actual readers.

Sometimes I think I'd rather have Bingley's breed of spambot, who generate fabulous names like "Euphonious K Dirigible" or "Daunting Y Mallomar." Those are fun.

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