Spammers Get Trickier

Now that automatic comment spam is becoming less effective, thanks to tools like Akismet, the miscreant marketters are addding a new few tricks to their their arsenal.

According to Mark Ghosh of Weblog Tools Collection, spammers are paying people to write long and intelligent comments on your posts. These comments look like any other comment, except perhaps a little longer, but the author link points to a spam site.

Since automattic spamming of blogs has mostly been reduced to a trickle due to the likes of Akismet, spammers are now individually targeting blog posts with highly relevant, and in many cases highly convincing comments. I moderated and subsequently spammed a comment today that was over a hundred words long, on the pros and cons of one of the themes on our daily theme posts. I thought the comment was a very well written review of theme until I looked closely. The URI of the poster was a refinancing Made For AdSense page.

In other words: It’s getting far to hard to tell the difference between a legit comment and a spam comment.

Should you delete such comments, or keep the message and just redact the URL? I think the latter is a better option, except for the point that Mark makes:

[There] is lurking danger in just delinking a comment author since if the author was really a spammer, authorizing a comment is akin to authorizing them to post comments on your blog without moderation (they still have to go through Akismet even if the author was previously authorized). So if the comment looks really legit but has a lurking spam link in the URI, and Akismet thinks it is ham then you as the blogger never see it because it never gets put into the moderation queue and the spammer is successful.

So what should you do then? Should you delete the comment? But what if the linked site you think is spam is a legit site, and just looks like spam to you (due to a bad design, bad writing, too many AdSense blocks, etc)?

What if you moderate out the URL and replace the comment email address with a Mailinator dummy email so Akismet won’t give the potential spammer a free pass in the future? Would that work? (I don’t know exactly how Akismet does it’s magic, just that it does. :D)