December 15, 2004

Welcome Mr. Allen!

Mr. Jay Allen, author of the indispensable MT-Blacklist and Director of Product Development (or something like that) for Movable Type has shown up to the comment on comment spam party, with lots of good things to say...

Posted by DeLong at 04:23 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 14, 2004

Major Combat Operations Against Comment Spam Are Completed--Not!

The Nielsen Haydens report:

Making Light: Smokin' spam: We’ve been hit hard by comment spam this weekend. I’m talking 480 spams in ten minutes on Saturday morning. None of it has gotten past the combination of MT Blacklist plus the latest version of Movable Type, and Patrick hasn’t had to devote undue time or trouble to killing it. I’d be interested in knowing whether anyone else got hit. In the meantime, if you’re having comment spam problems, consider upgrading to these fine, fine software products.

Two comments. First, Jay Allen's MT Blacklist is an amazing program. Everyone who uses Movable Type and suffers from comment spam should install it. And everyone who installs it should mosey on over to paypal and pony up:

MT-Blacklist v1.6.5 User Guide: As much as my altruistic side would love to continue to develop MT-Blacklist and maintain the Comment Spam Database for free, it puts a tremendous strain on me in terms of time and energy. Every minute I spend responding to technical support requests, poring over Clearinghouse spam submissions and upgrading the program itself is a minute stolen from my freelance work projects. Because I currently have a large level of personal debt, I do not have the luxury to spend those precious minutes on things which do not somehow contribute to its reduction. Under the current licensing terms, MT-Blacklist is free. However, if you would like to see the program developed for future versions of Movable Type or with additional capabilities, you may want to consider donating. Think of it this way: How much time and energy has MT-Blacklist saved you? You decide how much that is worth.

Second... Perhaps there are enough softer targets out there that the comment spammers will not devote the time and energy to crack the defenses of the well-armored... But perhaps not. For the weblogging world as a whole, major combat operations against comment spam are not over. As long as Google (and Microsoft, and the others) default to indexing weblog comments without a specific declaration at the head of the file that comments should be indexed, spamming weblogs with irrelevant comments is a good way to boost your website's salience in the search databases. And with idle CPU power and connectivity hanging around, there will be people--lots of people--who will think, "Why not?" for they believe that do what thou wilt be the whole of the law.

In this one area, GOOGLE IS EVIL!!!

The solution needs to come at the Google level. As long as Google provides a search engine that rewards comments spammers, there will be comment spammers and they will spend more and more time and ingenuity figuring out how to crack the defenses set up by Jay Allen and others.

Posted by DeLong at 06:14 PM | Comments (35) | TrackBack