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Simson Garfinkel

A View from Simson Garfinkel

Blog Spam

Technology Review readers may know that I also maintain a blog on my personal website. What you may not know is that I’m thinking about shutting down the blog that I’m running at home because of an increasing amount of…

  • December 28, 2003

Technology Review readers may know that I also maintain a blog on my personal website. What you may not know is that I’m thinking about shutting down the blog that I’m running at home because of an increasing amount of blog spam that I’ve been seeing.

The blog spam started about two months ago. People comment on a blog entry with a mindless comment, like “I’ve been saying that for years — well, for weeks, but it seems like years,” and then have a link to a website that is selling phentermine or viagra or porn or low-cost DSL lines or cell phones in Europe…

When it started up, most of the blog spam was coming from a single subnet in Asia. I dealt with it by blocking that subnet’s IP addresses to my server. But in early December the blogspam started coming from DSL lines operated by PacBell. I don’t want to block those. Now it’s coming from all over.

The first blog spam messages looked like they were being done manually. Usually I would get a blog spam message with the title “test.” Now they are increasingly automated. This morning I woke up to discover not five but 20 blog spam entries to the RFID Privacy Happenings Blog that I run with Henry Holtzman at the MIT Media Lab.

Both of the blogs are being run with Movable Type, which is a nice open source blog system. So I’m thinking that perhaps Movable Type is the problem — perhaps the spammers have written software especially for it — and I would be better off moving to something else, or writing my own system. But who has the time?

Or, perhaps, this is just another example of the spammers exploiting another “free internet resource.”

A quick web search finds a few blogspam comments at Teldyn.com and Blog Herald . So I’m not alone.

Indeed, there is even a website (blogspam.org) devoted to the problem.

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