Sneaky Spammer

Judging by a quartet of comments posted this evening, 3 of which slipped past Spam Karma, someone’s started outsourcing comment spam to India. (I’m serious, the IP addresses were assigned to Bharti Airtel and BSNL Internet, both ISPs based in New Delhi.)

They were posted quickly, as if they’d been composed in another editor and pasted into the form. More importantly, they were actually posted through the form, not just sending data directly to the handler. And most tellingly, the posters had gone to the effort to fill out the CAPTCHA that Spam Karma provides to allow human commenters to recover from a false positive.

The one I liked best, from a technical perspective, was posted on Tall Ships of San Diego. The spammer had followed my link to the San Diego Maritime Museum, then followed that to a page describing one of the ships, the Californian, and generated a post by stringing together sentences from that page. The whole thing linked to a student loan site.

At first glance, it looked like a garbled, on-topic comment from someone who maybe didn’t speak English as their first language. That happens, and if it’s a legit comment, I leave it. In fact, I considered leaving the comment but deleting the author URL, until I looked up the ship. (It wasn’t one of the ships we toured on our visit, and I didn’t recognize the name.) As I looked at the ship’s profile, I started recognizing text from the comment. At that point it became clear what was going on, and I started looking at the other comments posted over the last few hours.

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