Battling the Napoleon of Spam

As an independent author, I have to deal with a lot of unexpected tasks. Like designing a book cover. Or marketing. And of course, maintaining this blog, which arose as a way for me to connect with my readers. (Which has been awesome. Thank you, readers!)

One of the quirks of hosting a blog are the thousands and thousands of spam comments that come in as comments. WordPress filters out 99.9 percent of those before they ever reach me [statistic unofficial]. But a few get through. And once in a while, one tricks me and I approve it. It’s a minor nuisance and I feel cheated. More spam follows, attacking the same post, as if I’ve swung open the gates and let in the giant wooden horse. What was I thinking? How did I miss this!

So that was my world for several months. And then came something I never expected. The mother of all spam comments. The one that let me see the underbelly of the great spamming beast.

Something must have gone haywire on their end.  They sent me ALL of their spam messages, in ONE comment.

Fascinating! I feel like a general coming into possession of the other side’s war plans. Now, in the safety of my tent, surrounded by my sleeping army, I can quietly assess the strength of my opponent. What are his strengths? What are his flaws? How close did I come to losing control of my blog by falling for his subterfuge?

Imagine a great general – a Kutuzov, say – had he been given all of Napoleon’s battle plans IN ADVANCE. Imagine the thrill! The fascination, the appreciation for genius, the frisson of narrowly avoided disaster that he might feel. Those were my emotions as I undertook my task.

And this battleground? Words. Language. The very landscape that I, as a writer, have declared as my area of expertise.

Enemy, I’m ready. Let’s begin.

I have been surfing online more than 3 hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It is pretty worth enough for me. In my opinion, if all website owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the web will be a lot more useful than ever before.

The stilted English is definitely a tell. And “the web” will be “useful”? From my stories? Not likely! Mark as spam!

I couldn’t refrain from commenting. Perfectly written!

Ack. This one appeals to my vanity. Love the idea that I wrote something perfectly. And that a reader could not refrain. Fooled!

I will right away take hold of your rss as I can’t to find your email subscription hyperlink or newsletter service. Do you have any? Kindly allow me recognize in order that I may just subscribe. Thanks.

What? Go ahead and “take hold “of the rss, whatever that means. I won’t be allowing you recognize. Or approving your comment. Mark as spam!

It is appropriate time to make some plans for the future and it is time to be happy. I have read this post and if I could I desire to suggest you few interesting things or advice. Maybe you can write next articles referring to this article. I wish to read more things about it!

The first sentence might have exploited my general practice of rewarding optimism. Who am I to rip up the fortune and crumble the cookie? But the next three sentences seal the deal. Write next articles referring to this article? What kind of robo-blogger does that? Mark as spam!

It is the best time to make some plans for the future and it is time to be happy. I have read this publish and if I could I want to counsel you few fascinating things or advice. Perhaps you can write next articles relating to this article. I desire to read even more things about it!

Again with the “write next articles relating to this article”? Who needs that “advice”? And “counsel you few fascinating this or advice”? That’s worse than before! Next time, set the language on the online translator to “English” and not “Spam English”!

I’ve been surfing on-line more than three hours these days, yet I never discovered any attention-grabbing article like yours. It is beautiful worth enough for me. Personally, if all webmasters and bloggers made excellent content as you probably did, the web shall be much more useful than ever before.

I’m sensing some patterns here. Now I can appreciate the variations. “It is beautiful worth enough for me”? What punctuation goes between “beautiful” and “worth” in that sentence? A colon? A hyphen? An em dash? A comma? The meaning would change, but the result would remain the same. I also like this: “Personally, if all webmasters and bloggers made excellent content as you probably did.” Personally?  Probably? Mark as spam!

Ahaa, its good conversation regarding this post here at this weblog, I have read all that, so at this time me also commenting here.

Ahaa! Me also marking as spam!

I am sure this post has touched all the internet people, its really really fastidious piece of writing on building up new web site.

You are correct: all the internet people have been touched! What can I say? It’s not easy hosting a billion-hit website. Of course, it helps that my writing is really really fastidious. Too bad it’s not about building up new web site. Mark as spam!

Wow, this paragraph is fastidious, my younger sister is analyzing such things,
therefore I am going to let know her.

And I will as spam mark.

bookmarked!!, I really like your site!

Close one. Notice, enemy, that the shorter your post, the better your chances. This would slip through. Again, it appeals to my vanity (you…like my site? aw shucks… really…?). I would notice the exclamation marks followed by the comma, which would raise my eyebrows. But then I would feel guilty for being a snob and would let it through. Very psychologically devious, enemy! You’re back on your game!

Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you writing this write-up plus the rest of the website is very good.

Nobody ever appreciate the fact that I write my write-ups. Mark as spam.

Hi, I do think this is an excellent site. I stumbledupon it 😉 I am going to come back yet again since I saved as a favorite it.

The wink is very appealing, but the rest of the comment falls apart. I would mark as a spam it.

Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to help other people.

I like this one! It sounds so hopeful and helpful. But…it makes no sense! Money and freedom is best way to change? Those things help you change? Those are the goals you should have? Too much thinking. Mark as spam!

Woah! I’m really digging the template/theme of this site. It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s challenging to get that “perfect balance” between superb usability and visual appeal.

Here’s another pattern I learned to recognize: discussions of the website’s technology or form. But this blog is just a wordpress template; the appeal to my vanity is therefore low (and my spam detection ability is high). Mark as spam!

I must say that you’ve done a great job with this. In addition, the blog loads super quick for me on Chrome. Exceptional Blog!

Thank you. But the pattern continues. I’m onto you now! Mark as spam!

These are really impressive ideas in about blogging. You have touched some nice factors here. Any way keep up wrinting.

That’s my goal: touch some nice factors in setting forth really impressive ideas in about blogging. And rest assured, spammer, I couldn’t stop wrinting if my linfe depended on it. Mark as spam!

I love what you guys are up too. This type of clever work and reporting! Keep up the excellent works guys I’ve added you guys to blogroll.

Guys? One guy here, up too something other than what you describe. No reporting. Very little cleverness. Mark as spam!

Hi! Someone in my Myspace group shared this site with us so I came to give it a look. I’m definitely loving the information. I’m bookmarking and will be tweeting this to my followers! Great blog and wonderful design and style.

Huh? Myspace still exists? But I doubt my readers are “loving the information.” (Next time try something like “the gloom resonates with me.”) Mark as spam!

I enjoy what you guys are usually up too. This type of clever work and reporting!

Here’s another thing the “guys” here are usually up too: marking as spam!

Keep up the terrific works guys I’ve added you guys to my personal blogroll.

Thanks for adding the guys to your blogroll. Mark as spam.

Hi there would you mind stating which blog platform you’re working with? I’m going to start my own blog soon but I’m having a difficult time deciding between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your layout seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something unique. P.S Apologies for being off-topic but I had to ask!

I want to help fellow bloggers. But different layout? Not really. Mark as spam.

Hi there would you mind letting me know which web host you’re utilizing? I’ve loaded your blog in 3 different web browsers and I must say this blog loads a lot faster then most. Can you suggest a good web hosting provider at a fair price? Thank you, I appreciate it!

Why would someone do that with my blog? Mark as spam.

I love it when people come together and share thoughts. Great site, continue the good work!

This would probably work. No major errors. I share thoughts. People coming together! Appeal to vanity plus clean English equals comment approved!

Thank you for the auspicious writeup. It in fact was a amusement account it. Look advanced to more added agreeable from you! By the way, how can we communicate?

Easy: you can write a comment that sounds like a short-circuited robot. And I will mark it as spam. That’s some advanced looking added agreeable communication!

Hi there just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The words in your article seem to be running off the screen in Chrome. I’m not sure if this is a format issue or something to do with internet browser compatibility but I thought I’d post to let you know. The design look great though! Hope you get the issue solved soon. Thanks

Thanks? For helping me? Hmmm. I probably would have approved this one, worried that otherwise I’d be kneecapping some Good Samaritan. Comment approved!

This is a topic that is near to my heart… Many thanks! Where are your contact details though?

Um…all over my blog? Mark as spam!

It’s very simple to find out any topic on web as compared to textbooks, as I found this article at this site.

My stories are really not the information you’d find in textbooks. And what is the point of this comment? Yes, you found an article on a website… are you sharing the thrill of doing so? Does anyone think the Internet is less simple to use than textbooks? Google is very, very simple! Mark as spam!

Does your website have a contact page? I’m having problems locating it but, I’d like to shoot you an e-mail. I’ve got some creative ideas for your blog you might be interested in hearing. Either way, great site and I look forward to seeing it develop over time.

Jeez, how lazy are you? It’s in the About Jacke page. Mark as spam!

Hey there! I’ve been following your website for a while now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Houston Texas! Just wanted to tell you keep up the good job!

Oh, I don’t want to lose shy readers from Texas… let me think about this…

Greetings from Ohio! I’m bored to death at work so I decided to browse your blog on my iphone during lunch break. I love the info you provide here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home. I’m shocked at how fast your blog loaded on my phone ..
I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyhow, fantastic site!

Okay, that seals the deal. Mark as spam, Texas, and mark as spam, Ohio.

Its such as you read my mind! You appear to know so much approximately this, like you wrote the guide in it or something. I think that you can do with some p.c. to power the message home a little bit, but instead of that, that is wonderful blog. A fantastic read. I’ll certainly be back.

Okay, thanks for the compliment that I appear to know so much approximately this. (How backhanded can a compliment get?) Why would a guide read your mind? Why would my stories be like a guide? And why on earth would some p.c. (personal computing? political correctness?) power home a message? Mark as spam!

I visited various web sites except the audio quality for audio songs existing at this web page is in fact superb.

How does “except” work in that sentence? Does it mean “and after analyzing them all found that”? Wow. That’s a great new use of a preposition. Except I have no audio songs. Mark as spam!

Howdy, i read your blog occasionally and i own a similar one and i was just curious if you get a lot of spam feedback? If so how do you prevent it, any plugin or anything you can recommend? I get so much lately it’s driving me insane so any support is very much appreciated.

AHA! How clever is this? First, bombard me with spam. Then pose as a similarly beleaguered blogger. Well played, enemy! Comment approved!

Greetings! Very useful advice within this article! It’s the little changes which will make the most significant changes. Thanks a lot for sharing!

Maybe this would have made it through if the article had had some advice. Provisional comment approved!

I absolutely love your blog.. Excellent colors & theme. Did you develop this website yourself? Please reply back as I’m wanting to create my very own site and want to know where you got this from or just what the theme is named. Many thanks!

Might have gotten me – I want to help bloggers. But my colors are black and white. Mark as spam!

Hello there! This blog post could not be written much better! Going through this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He continually kept talking about this. I am going to forward this post to him. Fairly certain he’s going to have a good read.

Fairly certain I will mark as spam.

Thanks for sharing!

Short and sweet. Ugh. Comment approved!

Incredible! This blog looks just like my old one! It’s on a completely different topic but it has pretty much the same page layout and design. Wonderful choice of colors!

I chose black. And I chose white. Actually I didn’t choose at all; those were the default colors. But I will choose this: Mark as spam.

There’s certainly a lot to find out about this subject. I love all of the points you’ve made. You’ve made some good points there. I checked on the internet for additional information about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this site.

And I’ve found most individuals would agree to mark this as spam.

Hi, I read your new stuff like every week. Your story-telling style is awesome, keep it up!

Aw, thanks. Comment approved! (You devil.)

I just couldn’t leave your website prior to suggesting that I really loved the usual info an individual supply to your visitors? Is going to be back frequently in order to check up on new posts. I wanted to thank you for this very good read!! I certainly loved every bit of it. I have you book-marked to check out new stuff you post…

Thanks. And I is going to mark as spam. (Actually, the question mark here makes me laugh. That’s how I would read that crazy sentence too, no matter what punctuation was used.)

What’s up, just wanted to say, I enjoyed this article. It was practical.

You’re welcome, robot. Mark as spam!

Keep on posting!

Ugh. I’m such a pushover on these short ones. Comment approved!

I write a leave a response whenever I especially enjoy a article on a site or I have something to contribute to the discussion. Usually it is caused by the sincerness displayed in the post I browsed. And on this post What They Knew #16 | Jacke Wilson.

And when I see a computer generated comment like this one I mark a leave a spam.

I was moved enough to post a thought 🙂 I actually do have a few questions for you if you usually do not mind. Is it only me or do a few of these comments come across as if they are written by brain dead individuals? 😛 And, if you are posting at additional sites, I’d like to follow you. Would you make a list the complete urls of your public sites like your twitter feed, Facebook page or linkedin profile?

The “hey isn’t spam terrible” gambit fails! What else do you want, my social security number? Greedy, greedy, greedy. Mark as spam!

Hi there, I enjoy reading through your article. I like to write a little comment to support you.

So…is that it…that’s the comment…? I’m waiting… (and marking as spam.)

I always spent my half an hour to read this weblog’s posts everyday along with a mug of coffee.

Coffee definitely recommended! But I don’t have daily posts. Mark as spam!

I constantly emailed this web site post page to all my contacts, since if like to read it after that my contacts will too.

Thank you for the comment. But if like to mark spam it.

My developer is trying to convince me to move to .net from PHP. I have always disliked the idea because of the expenses. But he’s tryiong none the less. I’ve been using Movable-type on a number of websites for about a year and am nervous about switching to another platform. I have heard good things about blogengine.net. Is there a way I can transfer all my wordpress posts into it? Any help would be really appreciated!

Too transparent. Mark as spam!

Howdy! I could have sworn I’ve been to this blog before but after going through some of the articles I realized it’s new to me. Nonetheless, I’m definitely delighted I stumbled upon it and I’ll be bookmarking it and checking back frequently!

Hmm… a little stilted, but I probably would have erred on the side of inclusiveness here. Comment approved!

Great work! This is the kind of info that should be shared across the web.

No info. It’s turtles all the way down. Mark as spam!

Disgrace on the search engines for not positioning this post upper! Come on over and discuss with my site . Thank you =)

Agree that it’s a disgrace that my post is not positioned upper. But your site will need to discuss with someone else. Mark as spam!

Heya i’m for the first time here. I found this board and I find It truly useful & it helped me out a lot. I hope to give something back and aid others like you helped me.

Heya first timer! Too bad I don’t have a board. I’m for the first time marking this spam.

Howdy, There’s no doubt that your blog could be having browser compatibility problems. Whenever I take a look at your web site in Safari, it looks fine however when opening in I.E., it’s got some overlapping issues. I merely wanted to provide you with a quick heads up! Besides that, excellent site!

Howdy, spammer.

Somebody necessarily help to make critically posts I’d state. This is the very first time I frequented your web page and to this point? I amazed with the research you made to make this particular publish incredible. Fantastic process!

I amazed too. It’s not easy making a particular publish incredible like your comment. Mark as spam!

Heya i am for the primary time here. I came across this board and I in finding It truly helpful & it helped me out much. I am hoping to offer one thing again and help
others such as you aided me.

Heya primary timer, you sound a lot like the first timer we just had. I am truly marking this spam and it is being marked as spam.

Hello there! I simply would like to give you a huge thumbs up for the excellent information you have here on this post. I will be returning to your web site for more soon.

Hmmm. Not much “information” here but with the right post it might have fooled me. Comment provisionally approved!

I every time used to study paragraph in news papers but now as I am a user of net so from now I am using net for content, thanks to web.

Hey, not everyone speaks English as a first language. This one does not sound like a spambot might have gotten me in my early days. Not now. Mark as spam!

Your method of telling all in this paragraph is truly pleasant, every one be capable of simply understand it, Thanks a lot.

Another one. Might have approved this, thinking it was a fan. Comment approved!

Hello there, I found your site by way of Google whilst searching for a comparable matter, your web site got here up, it appears to be like good. I’ve bookmarked it in my google bookmarks. Hi there, just changed into alert to your weblog through Google, and located that it is truly informative. I am going to watch out for brussels. I’ll be grateful for those who proceed this in future. Many other people can be benefited out of your writing. Cheers!

How industrious! You’ll have plenty of time to watch out for brussels in my marked-as-spam folder.

I’m curious to find out what blog system you are working with? I’m having some minor security issues with my latest blog and I would like to find something more safeguarded. Do you have any recommendations?

Diabolical. But it’s so easy to find out this is wordpress! Mark as spam!

I’m really impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself? Anyway keep up the excellent quality writing, it is rare to see a great blog like this one today.

Too sycophantic. And the layout on my blog is too plain. Mark as spam!

I am really impressed with your writing talents as smartly as with the layout in your blog. Is this a paid subject matter or did you customize it yourself? Either way keep up the excellent high quality writing, it’s rare to peer a great blog like this one today..

“As smartly as”? You changed “and also with” to “as smartly as”? Didn’t I say the last one was too sycophantic already? Mark as spam!

Hello, Neat post. There is a problem with your website in internet explorer, could test this? IE nonetheless is the marketplace leader and a good portion of folks will miss your excellent writing due to this problem.

Hello, Neat comment. Yes, could test this. Prefer mark spam this instead.

I am not sure where you’re getting your info, but good topic. I needs to spend some time learning much more or understanding more. Thanks for magnificent information I was looking for this info for my mission.

For your mission??? From my stories??? What mission do you have – spend decades as a hack writer? Mark as spam!

Hi, i think that i saw you visited my blog so i came to “return the favor”.I am attempting to find things to enhance my web site!I suppose its ok to use {some of|a few\

And there we have it! The end of the carnage. The record needle scratches, the tape jumps the reel, the wheel falls off and rolls into the ditch. What was next, enemy? Some of|a few\EVERYTHING YOU’VE EVER WRITTEN? What happened to your courage? Where was your nerve? Did you recognize how evil you were? Or did you just get tired? Or are you in fact a robot gone haywire, and your master finally realized what was happening and pulled the plug?

My thanks to all my actual readers, who leave actual comments. And to my enemy the spammer, whom I have captured and forced into exile on his island prison…where he no doubt sits planning his escape, even as we speak…

Image credit: Wikipedia commons

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29 thoughts on “Battling the Napoleon of Spam

  1. Some of the spam comments seems so….familiar. You have nicely skewered them. When the enemy general’s plans fell into your hands, you did much better than Union General George McCLellan. All of Robert E. Lee’s plans fell into his hands in September, 1862, yet McClellan still managed to botch the battle of Antietam through his indecision and fear of phantoms.

    Like

    1. Wow, is that true? I’ll have to check that out – and it would have been a perfect example for me to use. (Although the painting of Napoleon crossing the Alps is one of my favorites, so I was glad to have an excuse.)

      Like

      1. true story. a soldier found lee’s plans which eventually made it to mcclellan. lee was actually dividing his army and mcclellan had the chance to smash him piecemeal. but, mcclellan always exaggerated his foe’s strength. lincoln fired him shortly thereafter.

        Like

      2. The relationship of Lincoln and McClellan would make a good movie. Has that ever been done? There must be some books that cover it well. Let me know if you have any recommendations!

        Like

      3. I don’t know of any movie. For books, if you like the old style of writing, there’s Bruce Catton’s Mr. Lincoln’s Army, which covers McClellan’s generalship of the Union Army of the Potomac over the first year of the war. For something more modern and scholarly, there’s Stephen Sears Landscape Turned Red, which is focused on the Antietam campaign. Probably Sears’ book would be better for this story.

        Like

  2. I too was sooo tempted to write a mock spam comment except it would have been so good, so subtle, that it would have been marked as spam and all that sweetness lost on the desert air. I hope the poor blighters get paid for their efforts, but only on commission.

    Like

  3. I was disappointed you seemed to have no spam about raspberry ketones. I get half a dozen a day, and could forward one or two if you felt you were missing out.

    Like

  4. Thank you for this long spam list. Some of them seem quite familiar…But as a similar thing is also described in one of them, I have a question. What made you like my last post? Was it “Hayao Miyazak” in the title or do you actually speak my mother tongue? Thanks in advance. I’m really curious to get to know this.

    Like

  5. Argh, I knew this would happen. This one just came in on another post:

    “What’s up colleagues, nice paragraph and fastidious urging commented
    at this place, I am really enjoying by these.”

    Spam? Or someone messing with my mind? How can spam be this perfectly awful?

    Like

  6. Update: A certain Mr. “Online Spielo” left this as a response:

    “I have learned result-oriented things as a result of your blog.
    One other thing I would really like to say is newer laptop
    os’s are likely to allow additional memory to be used, but they as well demand more memory simply to
    function. If an individual’s computer can not handle more memory as well as newest application requires that storage increase, it could be the time
    to buy a new Computer system. Thanks”

    My result-oriented thing? Mark as spam!

    Like

  7. I like the ones that say, “Hi, I really like the thing you said up there. It was very interesting. I’m interested in such things too. Come see at my website.”

    But by far the ones that annoy me the most are the phantom ‘likes’. Little bots with female profile images and a single name like “Jenny” or “Wendy” which for a while they were just liking all my posts. I’d have four or five random likes by Martha, Pamela, Crystal, Justine and the like. Creepy.

    Like

    1. Wow, I haven’t noticed the likes thing. Maybe the filter is catching all those? Or have I just been deceived??? All my likes are really spammers! And I thought I was well-liked! [sniff, sniff] I have a friend who gets a lot of page views based on robots trolling her site. Maybe the robots have checked mine out but didn’t like what they saw…

      Like

      1. Well, I don’t have the female robot harem liking my posts anymore. Maybe they moved on. Maybe they simply haven’t found you yet. Maybe when they do, you can crack the mystery during their limited visit.

        Like

  8. I’m sorry you got spammed so much, but I really enjoyed this! Your responses to the spam provided a much-needed laugh during my writing break. 🙂 Thank you for reading and liking my last post as well!

    Like

  9. I received a comment on my writing blog the other day that made no sense. This was before reading your above post, so I had no clear example of spam. Not knowing what it really is (and still not sure), rather than marking it as spam I simply deleted it.
    Is it better to mark it or just delete? What really is spam anyway? Is it robot generated, or are its purveyors just semi-literate ignoramuses with too much time on their hands? What are they trying to accomplish?
    Sorry for the run-on questions, but as a skeptical novice in this whole blogging thing, I often feel like i’m running my boat through rocky bottom with no charts–and no depth sounder.

    Like

    1. Hmmm, I’m not an expert either but I’ll try to answer your questions as best I can.

      I think it’s better to mark a comment as spam, so that the wordpress spam filter learns to recognize spam and distinguish it from actual comments. As I understand it, spam is sort of a neverending battle between spammers adjusting their tactics, and the spam filter getting smarter, and spammers readjusting their tactics, and so on. If you look at your “Akismet stats” (linked from the Dashboard) you’ll see just how many spams that wordpress has blocked from reaching your inbox. The better they are at this, the more time you’ll have to focus on blogging!

      I think the spam messages are written by humans (possibly in another language and then run through an online translator). But they’re not actually reading your site – they are blasted out to millions of sites, trying to find some way of getting by the filter and making it onto your comment. They have links back to their websites, which sell dodgy products. The more links they have out there floating around, the better their chance of selling some scam or other.

      Once you accidentally approve one comment, they find that post and keep bombarding it with spam. That was my experience, anyway.

      Hope that helps – and good luck to you! Even Napoleon lost, eventually…

      Like

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