Comment Spam: Industrial Sabotoge?

A new trend in the comment spam load that you don’t see involves a concerted attempt to post irrelevant comments with links to obviously junk websites. The URLs vary, but each site’s links cross-connect it with its peers in weird ways that recycle the few real pages of content (such as it is). However, every page of every website included a specific company’s contact information at the bottom, which is truly weird; usually junk websites have no identifying marks.

Generally I ignore such crap, but after discarding several dozen such comments over the course of a week, I called the company’s phone number and, amazingly, spoke to an actual person. It’s impossible to determine honesty over the phone, but he certainly sounded like a real human who’s busy running a small company and who has no idea what’s going down.

Perhaps his internet marketing company has gone mad?

Perhaps unsurprisingly, that series of spam comments stopped immediately after I hung up the phone. I’ll never know the end of the story, even though we all know the motivation: money changes everything.

The last time this sort of thing happened, I also talked to a pleasant voice who observed that it could well be an unscrupulous competitor (or a hired “internet marketing” company) trying to smear their good name. There’s no way to confirm or deny such a claim, of course.

For what it’s worth, Akismet reports these statistics since Day Zero of this blog, back in December 2008:

  • 42,143 total spam
  • 1,982 total ham
  • 225 missed spam
  • 10 false positives
  • 99.47% accuracy rate

It’s currently killing over 150 spam comments every day, leaving only a dozen or so for me to flush. The lure of easy money seems irresistible, so there’s no hope of a letup.