Entries Tagged as 'spam'

Quotes are the Bane of Social Media

"Graphs & Social Networks" Facebook ...
Image by sociomantic via Flickr

I don’t know who came up with using quotes. But having analyzed much of the traffic that goes across social networks, I have to say that if you use quotes, you’re asking for trouble.

Why?

Have you ever looked the twitter bot accounts and what they post? Usually, a substantial number of them use quotes. Those that filter onto Facebook also use quotes. In fact, there really isn’t any time that those bots don’t throw in the quotes section since they want some filler that could be applicable to human interaction. And thus, those of us that actually do watch and read the traffic become extremely desensitized to quotations.

This is a lose-lose situation. First, the people that read don’t feel like there’s substance there so they skip reading your information, even if you might have some fabulous stuff later on. What can I say, the attention span of Internet users is fairly short. But also, the user of the medium that has integrated quotations also gets thrown into the bucket with the spam bots. Now, I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to be in the same bucket as spam bots.

If you do use quotes, I implore you to stop. It’s not helping and the filler really isn’t useful. If you intend to keep at it though, no worries. The rest of the world is probably ignoring you.

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Tips and Tricks: TwitBlock

twitblock Ever wonder how to get rid of the spammers on Twitter? TwitBlock is a great way to find the ones that have followed you and whether or not they could be the same spammers.

Using a special algorithm, it calculates out whether or not a person is potentially a spammer and gives them a score. Based on whether or not TwitBlock users have marked the user as a spammer, the effect of the scoring goes up or down. It’s actually a pretty interesting method since most of the ways of detection are common sense things.

I would probably say that most people that have more than a thousand followers probably have quite a few bots and such on there, but at least there’s a way to somewhat detect these now instead of going through your followers one by one.

If you’re curious about it, definitely run this every so often on your account. It uses OAUTH so you actually never give it your password and such which is a great thing from a security standpoint of a third party application. Give it a whirl.

Ethical “White Hat” SEO Spam

An email box folder of spam messages.
Image via Wikipedia

Sometimes, I find spam absolutely hilarious.

I mean, check this one out that came through our small business accounting software site. What really got me was the fact that it was sent from a gmail address and the reply to: field was the same gmail address. What’s even more interesting is that the actual address has always been a gmail if you do a search for this fellow, and the addresses just change. Seems rather “phishy” to me. Here’s the actual content of the spam email:

We would like to get your website on first page of Google.
All of our processes use the most ethical “white hat” Search Engine Optimization techniques that will not get your website banned or penalized.
Please reply and I would be happy to send you a proposal.

By now, if you haven’t junked it or laughed at it and then junked it, you would need to realize a couple things. First is that while white hat SEO is a great term, it doesn’t really fly in the face of those that have no inkling of what it is. The second is that spamming someone’s forms really isn’t considered “ethical” by any means so it doesn’t give credence to your SEO tactics. Last of all? Really. If you expect people to take you seriously for SEO, then you need to get a real website, with a real company name and be able to show up on the first page of Google for “best SEO company“. Let’s face it. If you’re truly good at what you do, you’d be there wouldn’t you?

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Why Isn’t Direct Mail Regulated Like Spam?

Junk Mail
Image by >fiasco via Flickr

I never did understand why direct mail never came under as much scrutiny as spam. Everyone has an issue with spammers, but most actually just suck it in and deal with direct mailers.

Now let’s be honest, if you look at both sides, they operate under the same concept but just in different mediums. Direct mail uses the postal service, while spammers use the Internet. You have no say in either thing on whether or not you get it, and both are trying to sell you something. And just like having an inbox, if you have a mailing address, you will get some regardless of how hard you try to keep it completely hidden.

So my question is… why isn’t direct mailing under similar rules as the CAN-SPAM Act? Why is it that we have to suck it up and deal with this type of marketing tactic and not the other? It seems like they would fall under similar regulation rules since the difference really only being that one being electronic and the other is physical. In fact, now that I think about it, I’ve even taught the concept of emailing with the analogies of home addresses.

I suppose it’ll never be changed, but one can always wonder since both are annoyances in most people’s lives.

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Thank You Microsoft for Spam

microsoft-live-spam I love it when companies send you spam in the form of “no, it’s not really spam, and we really know that you had clicked this, but we want you to click it off so we can send you more spam” type of spam.

I mean, seriously. Do they think that you opt-out of the marketing and promotional materials because you’ll want to be reminded that you had opted out? Uhh. No. Sorry, Microsoft. That’s definitely a spam-fail on your end. Reminding me, that I opted out of your spam, means that you basically did not abide by my preferences of not bothering me with promotional offerings. And yes, I consider the fact that administrative type emails of promotional offerings to be under promotional offerings and not under critical administrative messages.

I wonder what brilliant person came up with that one. Hey! Let’s spam all the people that don’t really want spam with a message that says… hey, we wanna send you spam, but we can’t because of your preference! To add insult to injury, they add on a note that talks about how they respect your privacy and have a link to their privacy statement.

Sometimes, it definitely makes you shake your head and wonder what goes on in those ivory towers.

Why blogging platforms should introduce DNSBL at network layer

I truly wish that blogging platforms would introduce DNSBL lists. DNSBL are usually referred to as blocklists, blacklists, or blackhole lists. Basically, they’re lists of known spammer IP blocks, and they basically deny access if there is any access coming from those addresses.
There’s a good reason for this from a technical perspective. If you actually host multiple blogs, then one of the problems that becomes an issue on your server resources is that with each comment/trackback spam that is logged, that’s a little bit of your resource taken up. If you calculate out the additions of each insignificant portion, all of them added up become a lot of wasted cpu cycles that could be used for more useful things.
Noted, if you block with a .htaccess or what not, then you would still be committing some resources to processing ip checks. But this would be far more efficient than actually running the complete spam through your blogging platform, then marking it as spam. That makes it inefficient.
That’s the inherent issue with blocking spam at the plugin level. And currently with the TypePad Anti-Spam and Akismet, I have to say that it does drive some serious cpu cycles that I could be using for other blogging efforts.

TypePad AntiSpam

typepadantispam.jpg There’s something to be said about antispam technologies. Especially on blogs. And so far, I’m liking the fact that Six Apart came out with their own.
Believe me. A lot of people have a love-hate relationship with Akismet. I’ve had my own issues dating with it on and off for the past couple years. So when there’s an option out of Akismet crappy false positives, I’ll take a look.
So far, TypePad AntiSpam has already caught a couple things since being installed on lux and 888 Society. The bad thing about this is that it’s still automated with no user interface. There should still be some way to set up a local whitelist and/or commit to a national blacklist. I don’t see why these services don’t set up something similar to Spamhaus but niche towards blogs.
In any case, TypePad AntiSpam is built into TypePad, and there are plugins for WordPress and Movable Type. Nothing like a little extra protection.

Spam Proof Email Generator

spamproofemailgenerator.jpg When I first read about this, I figured it was some image maker. My second thought was… boy, they’re in for a treat since DLS forgot to mention the more advanced scraping now that implements some OCR technologies.
Needless to say, this method does make it simple to create images of your email to put on a website and it does deter most text scraping from pulling emails. Unfortunately though, in the same fashion that spammers are overcoming captchas, scrapers are now turning to OCR to actually deal with images. And in that sense, Spam Proof Email Generator, doesn’t quite live up to the “proof” part of the name. Regardless, a little protection is way better than none when you’re riding through spam’s neighborhood.

IconBuffet spamming again… 3 months later

iconbuffet-20071204-01.jpg Argh. IconBuffet is spamming me. Again. What’s interesting is that from the onset, they seem to be abiding by CAN-SPAM. Until you try to actually get rid of the email notifications and it doesn’t work.
Obviously they haven’t fixed this issue yet. They probably don’t even care. Not really great of them to ignore an obvious bug such as this either.
And in case you figure that I haven’t given them the benefit of the doubt each time that this has happened (the last was in August), I’ve documented two other instances here and here.
Yes, notifications is unchecked. And they still send notification emails? Right. Can someone say, violation of CAN-SPAM? Yes, we can. And it’s amazing that they still haven’t fixed their code on this. What’s it going to take? The day that Google blacklists them for being spammers? The day someone from CAN-SPAM slaps them with a fine? I mean, seriously. If you’re going to push a great service, make sure you don’t break any laws. Either that, or test your code to make sure it actually works. Obviously here, it doesn’t.
Once, IconBuffet was really out there for me. These days? I can’t but help get annoyed that they offer a great service but can’t even find the time to actually pay attention to a rather significant detail such as email notification not working correctly. Or in this case, non-notification.

Those dang spammers at IconBuffet

iconbuffetlogo.jpg The gloves are off. It’s not funny anymore. Really sick and tired of getting these stupid emails because someone couldn’t actually test their own code, actually. And I had all but sworn I wouldn’t use the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch™ again. I’m sorry. It must be done.
What’s amusing is that they’re basically laughing it up in the face of the FTC. CAN-SPAM? What enforcement? At least that’s what their silence to the matter seems like.
Four words for the people at IconBuffet: FIX YOUR STUPID CODE.
So what brought on this reaction?

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