Jun 16 2007

Humans Prove Too Temperamental To Be Good SpamBots!

Category: PersonalChrisM @ 4:44 pm

I recently have received a lot of spammy comments on this blog, particularly on my sponsored posts.

Anything that is an advert for another company is not approved on sponsored posts – otherwise I won’t get paid.

However for both reasons of courtesy, and an attempt to increase my income, I e-mail each company to inform them why there comment will not be published, and that they can always sponsor their own post here if they would like some coverage.

I have had a couple of people responding, who have taken me up on the offer, the rest I never heard back from, and a few are most definitely spam bots, fully automated, as they try and repeat the same spam comments two or three times a week.

Most of these sorts of comments are caught by the Akismet plug in, and so are all stored in the spam area of the comments admin section. Actually, most spam bots are now blocked by the Bad Behaviour plug in, so I’ve seen a large reduction in the rubbish to empty recently. (See the Extras page, linked at the top for links to all plug ins used on this blog).

So, I recently received a rather insulting response to my explanation of why a particular comment was not published, and it intrigued me. I spoke to a couple of colleagues, to ensure I was not just mis-reading the language, and eventually decided to make this post.

OK, his comments are in red, mine are in blue. I’ve changed his name, identifying details and the site he was ‘plugging’, as he does not want to take part in this post at all (see last section).

Other than that, no editing has taken place, all typos from both sides were left as is.

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A new comment on the post #838 “Suffered From Serious Skin Problems?” is waiting for your approval http://www.chrismerriman.com/index.php/archives/838/

Author : John Smith (IP: 127.0.0.1)
E-mail : JohnSmith@gmail.com
URL : http://www.madeupname.com
Whois : http://ws.arin.net/cgi-bin/whois.pl?queryinput=127.0.0.1
Comment:
Great feedback! Thanks. Another place to look for SoCal suregons is www.madeupname.com. They are in Crewkerne. I used them when looking for a lasik surgeon. What I liked the most was that my profile remained anynomyous until I was ready to decide what to do. I received replies from four surgeons that met all the things I was looking for. I liked having that complete control without the sales pressure that some of these places can be known for. Check them out.

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—–Original Message—–
From: Chris Merriman
Sent: Tuesday, June 12, 2007 10:42 AM
To: JohnSmith@gmail.com
Subject: Your comment on my blog

Hi John,

Unfortunately I am not able to approve your comment, as that particular post was sponsored by a company. If I allow other web site links to be published within their post, I would not get paid. Sorry.

However, if you wish to sponsor your own post on my blog, please do let me know, and we can sort something out.

Thanks,

Chris Merriman

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—–Original Message—–
From: John Smith [mailto:JohnSmith@gmail.com]
Sent: 13 June 2007 12:05
To: ‘Chris Merriman’
Subject: RE: Your comment on my blog

You call man. I disagree with your blatant act censorship. It was an honest opinion. Frankly if you are that picky about opinions maybe you should not have a blog in the first place. You asked for a website on the form…I gave the one I used. The company does not sponsor anything.

You have to get out more.

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—–Original Message—–
From: Chris Merriman
Sent: 16 June 2007 03:44
To: ‘John Smith’
Subject: RE: Your comment on my blog

No need to stoop to personal insults John. (“Shouldn’t have a blog” & “Need to get out more”).

In case it was not clear, you are welcome to comment on any post I have, but those that are specifically sponsored by the company I blog about, are not allowed to have competitors web sites mentioned, as I would not get paid.

I would not call that censorship personally, I am not attempting to curtail anyone’s activities in a public area, nor do I edit or refuse serious comments on ANY of my personal posts. However, at the end of the day, my blog is just that – mine. I do not publicise the site as an open forum where anyone can say anything they like. It is a personal site that others are welcome to read and contribute their thoughts. Whether they will be published or not is down to me – almost all blogs are run in a similar way. Forums are not, but then my blog is not advertised as a public forum.

The website address field you refer to is normally used for your own personal web site (most blogs have a similar field in the comments section). I apologise for not realising you were simply providing the address of a company you have used yourself. Please understand, I receive a lot of spam comments, every day, where a competitor to the company who I have blogged about try and get free advertising. On posts that have been specifically paid for by someone, I need to be very careful not to allow other sites access to that post.

Re. the company not sponsoring anything, that is not a problem, if they do not want to sponsor a post on my site, then that is fine. You do understand that the sponsorship I was referring to was one of my posts, yes? Any post on my blog that is in the ‘interesting’ category is sponsored – these are not open to comments that are commercial in nature, hence the mis-understanding. If you check the disclosure link at the top of my blog, you can see a full explanation of what effect a sponsorship may have on my posts.

However, you do raise an interesting point; with your permission I would like to write about this issue, and invite you to comment on the new (personal) post specifically. If you would rather not get involved, I understand, I will not mention any names if you would prefer to not take part.

I try to make sure the tone of the e-mails I send out, regarding refused comments, are civil, I am not quite sure why I appeared to have achieved such a vitriolic reaction form yourself. My blog receives a lot of spam each day, mostly on sponsored posts, so rather than simply emptying the Akismet spam area (where your comment was automatically placed by my spam filter), I respond to each person and inform them why I can not publish the comment.

I await your response with interest,
Chris Merriman

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—–Original Message—–
Chris,
I could honestly care less to debate this on your blog. I had no idea it would garner this much attention. If you are worried about a shameless plug from someone who had something to say about a good service…that’s your reality. I think a better way would have been to ask me for a referral or soft introduction into that company so you can go to them directly and have them possibly advertise on your blog rather than decide to censor what people are saying. That to me would have been a much better use of my time…that’s just me. I am a business man too…I have used blogs constructively to make connections and seek referrals which now account for 40% of my income. Food for thought.

Saludos.

J-

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So what do people think, should I have just binned his comment and forgotten about it? Sent a different sort of e-mail initially? Ignored his first reply?

Or just posted about it and hoped to draw in a little traffic with it 😉

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