Maybe my favorite spam ever

Once a week, I clean the spam filter on this blog’s comments. Every since I added a basic math problem to my commenting system, the number of spam comments has gone way down. But always there are several dozen new messages. Somewhere around the globe, a spam commenteer — a real human being — has done the math and pasted the spam text into the box. The global economy at work.

But here’s where things get weird. A quarter or so of that spam is not the desired spam but a set of spam templates. Who knows why anyone would post them. Perhaps there is a rogue spam shop on the far side of the world where spam serfs have misinterpreted their instructions and gone wildly astray. But the template gives a great look into the work of creating spam at scale. You can see hundreds of text variations: nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, numbers, and more. Some spammer in this world is writing his or her heart out.

Here are my five favorite parts of the template:

Five. Finessing the opening.

I {couldn’t|could not} {resist|refrain from} commenting.

Four. Varying nearly every word.

{It is|It’s} {appropriate|perfect|the best} time to make {a few|some} plans for {the future|the longer term|the long run} and {it is|it’s} time to be happy. {I have|I’ve} {read|learn} this {post|submit|publish|put up} and if I {may just|may|could} I {want to|wish to|desire to} {suggest|recommend|counsel} you {few|some} {interesting|fascinating|attention-grabbing} {things|issues} or {advice|suggestions|tips}.

Three. The same, but even more gracious.

Your {way|method|means|mode} of {describing|explaining|telling} {everything|all|the whole thing} in this {article|post|piece of writing|paragraph} is {really|actually|in fact|truly|genuinely} {nice|pleasant|good|fastidious}, {all|every one} {can|be able to|be capable of} {easily|without difficulty|effortlessly|simply} {understand|know|be aware of} it, Thanks a lot.

Two. Using Texas for legitimacy.

{Hola|Hey there|Hi|Hello|Greetings}! I’ve been {following|reading} your {site|web site|website|weblog|blog} for {a long time|a while|some time} now and finally got the {bravery|courage} to go ahead and give you a shout out from {New Caney|Kingwood|Huffman|Porter|Houston|Dallas|Austin|Lubbock|Humble|Atascocita} {Tx|Texas}!

One. The irony of it all.

{Howdy|Hi there|Hi|Hello}, i read your blog {occasionally|from time to time} and i own a similar one and i was just {wondering|curious} if you get a lot of spam {comments|responses|feedback|remarks}? If so how do you {prevent|reduce|stop|protect against} it, any plugin or anything you can {advise|suggest|recommend}? I get so much lately it’s driving me {mad|insane|crazy} so any {assistance|help|support} is very much appreciated.

Bacon and spam shouldn’t go together

The new brand of attempted spam on the blog this month is a topical comment coupled with last month’s friendliness (and a Facebook URL). Certain attempted spams add bacon to the mix, which is evil genius:

Eliminating trigger misspells: “We meant to ask about the bacon when we were there a couple of weeks ago. Thanks for posting this recipe! Is there a particular brand of bacon you tend to use? Welcome to the blogosphere. Hope you’re more disciplined about it than I usually am.”

Thank you for all the encouragement spam

I love a nice trend in my WordPress comment spam. The Akismet plug-in does a good job of keeping the spam off the site, but I get a couple dozen messages in the holding queue, behind the scenes, each week.

Sometimes the trend is in language, like Russian. Sometimes an Asian spam house will manually enter promotions for sketchy Internet-only plumbing or car parts. But sometimes the trend is unexpected. Today, as I catch up after a few days away, I’m happy to see what’s arrived.

Encouragement! Good cheer! None of the spams promotes a company in the username, email address, site, or comment. Instead, I’m seeing common names, random email addresses, no promoted websites, and comments consisting only of attaboys. Which is nice. I’m guessing the occasional misspellings and odd phrasings are cues for serious spam engines, to see where they might get their content onto sites easily.

If that’s true, publishing their text in a post might be a poor decision. But on the mend today, I like the happiness. They hit the spot. Below are the 11 spams I received this week, counting down to my favorite.


11. “Thanks alot – your answer solved all my pobrlems after several days struggling.”

10. “In the complicated world we live in, it’s good to find siplme solutions.”

9. “AKAIK [as far as I know, sort of] you’ve got the awnser in one!”

8. “BION [believe it or not] I’m impersesd! Cool post!”

7. “You got to push it-this essenital info that is!”

6. “Visited your blog post through Digg. You already know I am signing up to your rss feed.”

5. “Appreciation for this infmortaoin is over 9000-thank you!”

4. “I’m not quite sure how to say this; you made it exrteemly easy for me!”

3. “Pin my tail and call me a doenky, that really helped.”

2. “If my problem was a Death Star, this article is a photon treopdo.”

1. “You put the lime in the coocunt and drink the article up.”

Spam sadness

I like to think of spam as machine-generated. You likely do as well. So, it’s too bad, when WordPress spam logs make it clear, to see staff at the Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board manually place spam comments on this blog. Maybe it’s not an employee at the company at all but someone who’s hacked in the address. Or maybe it’s not a real person but a machine mimicking human clicks from a Google search to a post to a comment field to submission. But it’s still sad clicks journey through one of the world’s poorer countries to post spam for “Engine and Transmission World,” beginning: “It’s that time of the year again. That time when the car companies are going to start advertising their cars with red ribbons and bows and all kinds of neat little fixings.”


The subject line is always “Heyz Darling.” The spam arrives steadily, with only some variation on the wording. “Would you like to keep me some company? My idiot Husband is out of town and I’m a little lonely.” Then there’s a link and “P.S. it’s me, Nicole f.”

In my deleted mail box, the first such items have interesting women’s names as the senders, probably due to computers generating most creatively than our parents. There’s Pasquale Berry, Christi Dumas and Bridgette Ewing.

But now, the computer has seemingly run out of women’s names. The senders this week increasingly have names of the male variety: Louis Jarvis, Otis Moyer and Rico Holcomb among the bunch. I give many of them a pass because they could be Morgan-Jordan-like crossovers, but the last straw is Ralph Dunbar.

When Ralph Dunbar tells me about his idiot husband and signs his letters “Nicole F,” my anti-spam program really has to do better.

Half Blood Prince needs you to transfer $30,500,000

Remember how Jamie got the spam from “Dumbledore” that tried to presell her the next Harry Potter book?

Well, Jamie got a spam yesterday morning from “Voldemort” that offered her a chance for a free copy of the book. Said Jamie, “Now, if I didn’t accept it from Dumbledore, why do they think I’d accept it from Voldemort?”

Spammer who cannot be named

“Dumbledore” sent Jamie a message, and it ended up in her bulkmail box. The message? “Be the first to read Harry Potter(r) Book 6: The Half-Blood Prince.”

“It’s all about knowing your target audience,” Jamie says, and she offers herself as proof. The message reminded her that she needed to reserve the book somewhere. She just didn’t do so with “Dumbledore.”