Before I started blogging, I was only peripherally aware of an internet phenomenon known as comment spam.

As you could guess from the name, comment spam is a random blog comment promoting unrelated sites. Much like its deplorable cousin email spam, comment spam is both annoying and amusing at the same time. It’s annoying because it clogs up your blog with random crap and it’s amusing because the writing is usually terrible.

Because my comment spam is automatically blocked (more on that in a bit), I was much more amused by it than annoyed. Eventually, my amusement morphed into fascination. After all, there are real people (for the most part) writing these comments, trying to come up with strategies on how to get past spam filters AND attract others to their sites.

As I started noticing all of the different ways spammers approach their sleazy craft, I decided to record and catalog the comment spam I got. So, after a few months of doing so, I’m ready to share the results with you, dear reader.

But first, a quick note on protecting the blog. I use and highly recommend Akismet, a fantastic and free service which identifies and automatically blocks spam comments with uncanny accuracy.

And now, without further ado, I present to you flavors of comment spam.

The Praise

Probably the most common flavor of comment spam is praise. For example, here’s a classic from the category:

Excellent article, great webpage theme, keep up the good work   You gave tremendous positive points there. I did a search on the topic and found most peoples will agree with your blog.

What makes this sample great is that liberal amounts of effusive praise are backed up by facts (he did research the topic after all).

Sometimes, the spammer feels the need to quantify their praise, as is evidenced in this example:

Hi there I located your webpage by mistake when i searched Live search for this concern, I must point out your webpage is very helpful I also enjoy the style, its good!

I couldn’t tell you why he felt the need to mention that he got to my blog by mistake, but he found my humble thoughts on the “concern” helpful and esthetically pleasing!

Of course, comment spam wouldn’t be spam if it didn’t try to sell you something:

Excellent put up, I am checking back again on a regular basis to search for up-grades.   Sign up to <…> for free using our link below and when you log in and you will have $20 free credit to use and browse the site. Click the banner above to see free <…> samples.

Looks like I may have gotten a regular visitor out of this! He wants “up-grades” and “up-grades” he shall have. I also really like how he first acknowledges the excellence of my “put up” and then smoothly transitions into the sales pitch. And there is even a $20 credit offer! Well played sir, well played.

The following comment is a bit harder to categorize as praise, but it’s close:

this blog should anyone print out and installed on every restaurant in the city

I mean, aside from the logistics of printing out an entire blog, it’s pretty nice of him to demand that it be “installed on” every restaurant in the city. Sure some might say that a blog largely about software development really doesn’t belong on (or in) a restaurant, but still.

Finally, my favorite sample in this category has got to be the following:

What a great web log. I spend hours on the net reading blogs, about tons of various subjects. I have to first of all give praise to whoever created your theme and second of all to you for writing what i can only describe as an fabulous article. I honestly believe there is a skill to writing articles that only very few posses and honestly you got it. The combining of demonstrative and upper-class content is by all odds super rare with the astronomic amount of blogs on the cyberspace.

First off, I love the use of the more traditional “web log” instead of blog. Second, this comment contains just the right amount of praise for both the style and the substance. And finally, it’s just nice that someone considers my content “upper-class”, especially in light of the “super rare” odds of existence of such content. Really made my day.

The Offer

Spammers, like most people, are not above bartering. This flavor of comment spam is characterized by blunt offers to trade links. Here’s a sample request I got from a Russian site:

How much is a link to your site? My site <…> Nice topic – respect !

There is no question as to what’s going on here. I’ve got a site and he’s got a site. Both sites have URLs. URLs which can be posted on other sites. I mean, what else is there for me to do but exchange links with random sites in Russia selling God knows what?

Here’s another one:

Amazing article. I need you up-to-date your weblog much more often, I just cannot appear to be to own adequate of one’s blog. I saved your weblog in my bookmarks. Would it be feasible to do a guest article sometime?<…>

An interesting variation on the theme, this spammer actually offers to write a guest article! Since his comment ended with a link to some random site, I can only imagine what his article would contain. Probably more links to random sites. Sign me up!

The Non Sequitur

And finally, this is a special flavor of spam which I can only describe as utterly meaningless ramblings of a mad man. That may sound harsh, but you be the judge:

Five swill sprawled fallen to a army on the watches toilet, on its pale other survivors waiting like a face and fissure, towards a thick i’m wasn’t a back high cliff turn. Brand took. Once a cavernous pushing off their america can embrace i, and down of all. On raymond wanted to it he could reach off around the weil although replica bud. It fed his diablo and turned their lamborghini, and completely lay never a replica, until into his roadster, unnailed strong to be ice. Few had jules of his jorgenson. And they are logoart the own watches. The mace re – done and flickered answered of mounting. Little spade? Consciously the serious replica jacob who turned notched the company and was of writer’s on the part. The pitching had paused to have the dufonte watches, why time said waiting down beside the plate and rattling in a haired patriots. A galley bodied absorbed timex – rush watches, and i else didn’t, that he pointed warmer still with the force. He detested the quiet nigh swiss as rolex replica said by one warm father’s. And would she give out with a gray son, keeping the watches in he that your coat? Buy spoke. I pose prepare. Movado, around the watches with he, jerked going up the ladies to pray kept of the eyes or times of the yaeger, and giving by the line outside the seawater years and from the buffalo before a side in moon in the ground to that the canyon would know of eighteen. For having replica told his shells gave shaken, there almost keep i – – wedge heard m40 slithering he. Or that her stared. Him is him into the vicious replica. Tiredly rothberg was wasted forcing for her cold – early abandoned goods and come up in an new meanings, what heard spread even alarming like a endura watches in the major’s pat trailer that pulled dug i the fine atmosphere at setting onto leaving but checking his we’re conscience land of service creekside pole. I hurts it if a calvin, a hill next watches, but her constellation as a vapors, all parents for hideous, the grubby are – sonofabitch people of my sore and vestigial flannel. It spoke. On the armitron the one watches gave soft and endless, going from my to find up but swing his statue. Gun seemed in the replica and stood her knowledge in neither slow raincoat sea on. The sounds the sunken paul. When gucci watches was up a commander, her man had cheap but my arrival were clear. Pounding around along on buy it passed a replica of me, or on her turned her cars a walkway from i said to tell animal. He get the prayer for forward watches. I are surprise the citixen. Celebrity a engagement – replica ring, just? High discount at the kenneth if she slender of cole watches and duties from the thrower for his insisted feet to startled feet but meal eyes gushes shot up to guerrier. Shallowly the womens dress told precisely as the watches, sold without a bowl horn. And watches approaching down a west who placed so. Designer. Harry read. But a pular would touch i embrace maybe. At all leather with an bracelet, the watches did not with the centimetre monster, reporting to a spider’s.

Is it meaningless? Yes. Is it rambling? Absolutely. Is it nuttier than a can of Planters salted peanuts? You betcha! By the way, this comment is supposed to advertise a site that sells watches.

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This post got 4 comments so far. Care to add yours?

  1. Irina says:

    You have to give it to them- these are lot more amusing than most of real comments.
    Your commentaries are superb!

  2. I am personally fascinated by the patterns and content of comment spam. Much of it is hilarious. You and I, Alex Tatiyants, are not the only ones who find it to be so amusing. I have noticed others, some of relative prominence, who have observed and are perhaps even equally fascinated by the phenomenon of comment spam. I would include a URL or two, but that often triggers the comment spam filters.

    A related term which you may enjoy is “splog”, which means “spam blog”.

    I concur regarding the efficacious nature of the Akismet service. It is excellent. I use Akismet for both of my unfortunately spam-magnetic WordPress dot com blogs. Akismet has only one prominent competitor, the Mollum service, which is also well-regarded. I am puzzled by Mollum’s methodology, as it does not use reCAPTCHA, merely a rather agreeably legible (and pleasantly green-and-blue colored) one word CAPTCHA challenge.

    Interesting trends in comment spam that I’ve noticed: Lots of Cyrllic, presumably former Soviet-block country related pharma spam (erectile dysfunction remedies), economic rants, plenty of nonsensical or “non sequitor” spam of the sort you noticed, complaints that my RSS feed is dysfunctional, complaints that my CSS is broken or that I need more images (I use a free WordPress template, the same one, for the past 3 years, so I doubt that it has broken recently, and most of my posts have far too many images and insufficient content, so I doubt the authenticity of that complaint!) and my favorite: “Your blog’s been hacked!” type spam. Oh, also, many comments that start out with, “Dude”, which is amusing, since I am female, and one of my two blogs is named “Ellie Asks Why”, and is distinctly feminine, or so I thought.

    Well, this is sufficiently lengthy that it is probably poor etiquette. I enjoy your blog very much, all of it, and am now enthusiastically following you on Twitter!