Seemingly pointless comment spam wave: What's the angle?

wordpress

#1

I have a small webcomic that recently got (or really is in the process of getting) a wave of maybe a dozen attempted comment spam posts from the same source over a 24-hour period.

Normally I wouldn’t have even taken note of that; I’m used to seeing Wordpress comment spam of every shape, form, and volume, and I have moderation on so they didn’t even get posted.

However, they don’t fit any pattern I’m used to.

The posts, although they’re directed at random pages throughout the site, are all very obviously ~1 paragraph comments copied from a single thread at either a webcomic or fanfiction story, but with one word near the start having the letters jumbled randomly, probably to make it harder to copy and paste a chunk into Google to find other occurrences (a quick look turned up the same “conversation” on some blog with post dates over a year old, and a random memorial with post dates almost three years old).

Every post comes from a completely different IP address, and while most are in China some are from France or the US, so it’s probably a botnet. Every post has the expected random-character free email address (gmail, yahoo, outlook.com), and every one has the URL pointed at a different, normal-looking Facebook page.

And that’s it.

Essentially a legit-looking chunk of text, a legit-looking URL, mostly-legit-looking IP addresses, almost-legit-looking email addresses, and no spammy content.

So… what’s the point? There is literally not a word of advertising in it, and the URLs are equally useless even if they had made it through.

Is it an effort to poison spam filters by getting people to flag spammy content that is indistinguishable from real content? Are they looking for places that these get whitelisted so they use it to detect sites that are going to then let actual spam through from those IP addresses? Some other angle I’m not getting?

I just can’t figure out why you’d bother setting up a system to generate spam with no commercial value.


#2

Not sure what your spammer is up to. Understand tho, that there are many many misunderstandings across the web about how “SEO optimization” works.

You mentioned a link to a normal looking facebook page, it’s possible they think they are cultivating that “person” into some sort of noted expert on a topic by associating the individual with “good” information. It doesn’t work that way, or at least at the level the spammer is attempting.

In the end, it’s my opinion that there is actually more “SEO misinformation” than valid information out there. Don’t forget there are those that believe the misinformation like they are words written in stone by a deity.


#3

God knows.

Really I have no idea what they’re trying to do or expecting to get in the end :confused:

Are you running akismet? It’s pretty good about catching and blocking the spammers.


#4

[quote=“LakeRat, post:2, topic:62464”]You mentioned a link to a normal looking facebook page, it’s possible they think they are cultivating that “person” into some sort of noted expert on a topic by associating the individual with “good” information.[/quote]SEO is obviously 50% snake oil, 40% garbage or outdated information, and 10% abused loopholes.

Trying to plug the Facebook page was the first thing I thought of–90% of comment spam these days is just an attempt to get the profile link in as SEO, which is particularly ironic since Wordpress and a lot of other comment systems automatically add nofollow tags.

But each post links to a different Facebook profile, they at least superficially looked a lot like just a randomly-selected profile, and most of the other places I found the same set of comments being used to spam didn’t even have profile links. There was literally nothing but the text.

My best guess at this point is that somebody’s old prepackaged spambot or small botnet has that scraped text in it as one of the options, and incompetent spammers are unintentionally using it without setting the option to actually include the spam.

Reminds me of my all-time favorite spam, when some moron botched the syntax or used a buggy bot to send out not the generated text, but the original build file for it, with each of the random dialogue options visible. An excerpt:

[quote]{It’s|It is} pretty worth enough for me. {In my opinion|Personally|In my view}, if all {webmasters|site owners|website owners|web
owners} and bloggers made good content as you did, the {internet|net|web} will
be {much more|a lot more} useful than ever before.|
I {couldn’t|could not} {resist|refrain from} commenting.[/quote]

It goes on like this for 4000 words, all in an attempt to generate garbage, content-free posts that have enough variety to fool a simple pattern-recognition spam filter.

Oh, and I’ve used Akismet before with some success, just hasn’t been enough spam at this site yet to bother.


#5

I’ve always agreed with that. I’ve seen people who have tried to get their site ranked highly before they added any content to it.

It’s probably mostly harmless, but do let us know of any developments. Thanks.

And there’s my HHGG reference for the day.