Spambots say the nicest things 1


Cute Robot Holding A Big Red Heart. IsolatedDuring the course of our first year, InsightaaS.com has marked a number of milestones. We’ve published more than 400 posts. With the help of our amazing sponsors (HP, CenturyLink Technology Solutions, Information Builders, Dell and now Hitachi Data Systems – thank you!), we’ve proven the viability of a new business model. We’ve built traction in our market, with an anticipated 300,000+ page views and well over 60,000 visits in sight for this month. And buried in there is another milestone – maybe one that you need to squint a bit to see, but…

1000 spam comments. Spam comments are kind of a fact of life with a well-travelled website, and for the most part, we consign them to the spam folder without a second thought. But with this milestone, I thought I’d review what we’ve been sent, and found…spambots say the nicest things!

Now I know what you’re thinking – thanks and praise for spambots? And hey, I get it. Spambots have a bad reputation, and for a good reason: how many website owners haven’t had their hearts leap to see that there are comments on a post, only to find that they link to sites with knockoff Hermes or Gucci, or Nikes and jerseys, or to random YouTube videos or giftcard generators or hair maintenance tip sites?

But after 1000 spambot messages, I’ve come to appreciate some of the subtle ways that spambots have evolved. For example, as far back as July 2013, I got a taste of where spambots were headed: “You completed specific very good details there. I did a lookup on the concern and discovered virtually all folks will go alongside with with your weblog….”

Yes, these days, spambots say the nicest things! This wasn’t always the case, though. A year ago, most spam was cloaked in deferential requests for help:

  • I’m really loving the theme/design of your weblog. Do you ever run into any web browser compatibility problems? A few of my blog readers have complained about my site not operating correctly in Explorer but looks great in Firefox. Do you have any advi…
  • Good day! I know this is kind of off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could find a captcha plugin [ed. or in other cases, SEO plugin, WYSIWYG editors] for my comment form? I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having difficulty finding one? Thanks a lot!…

Although spammers have a reputation for plugging products that boost “performance,” some try flattery connected with technical performance:

  • Greetings from Los angeles! [ed. or California, or Florida, or Colorado] I’m bored at work so I decided to browse your site on my iphone during lunch break. I enjoy the info you provide here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home. I’m surprised at how quick your blog loaded on my phone …
  • Awesome blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere? A theme like yours with a few simple adjustements would really make my blog shine. Please let me know where you got your design. Thanks…
  • Woah! I’m really enjoying the template/theme of this site. It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s hard to get that “perfect balance” between superb usability and appearance. I must say you’ve done a awesome job with this. Additionally, t…

In some cases, they substitute concern for flattery:

  • Hi there just wanted to give you a quick heads up and let you know a few of the images aren’t loading correctly. I’m not sure why but I think its a linking issue. I’ve tried it in two different web browsers and both show the same outcome….
  • Howdy just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The text in your content seem to be running off the screen in Firefox [ed. – or IE or Safari or Chrome]. I’m not sure if this is a format issue or something to do with browser compatibility but I thought I’d post to let you know. The st…

…and in some cases, you get both concern and flattery!

  • Wow that was unusual. I just wrote an incredibly long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Regardless, just wanted to say great blog!…
  • It’s a pity you don’t have a donate button! I’d without a doubt donate to this superb blog! I suppose for now i’ll settle for book-marking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to fresh updates and will talk about this site …1000Spamv2

Sometimes, the subtext is louder than the spambot text, and begs some kind of response:

  • Hello! Do you know if they make any plugins to safeguard against hackers? I’m kinda paranoid about losing everything I’ve worked hard on. Any suggestions?…
    • Is this a case of the bot calling the hacker black?
  • Hi, 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 stop it, any plugin or anything you can recommend? I get so much lately it’s driving me crazy so any help is very much…
    • Actually, I don’t bother with plug-ins – I like to think that deleting spam messages one by one is somehow empowering.
  • Hey! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any issues with hackers? My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing months of hard work due to no back up. Do you have any methods to protect against hackers?…
    • Whistling, eyes down, as if I was in a strange and scary neighbourhood after dark…
  • I’m curious to find out what blog platform you happen to be using? I’m having some small security issues with my latest site and I’d like to find something more safeguarded. Do you have any solutions?…
    • See above
  • With havin so much written content do you ever run into any issues of plagorism or copyright infringement? My blog has a lot of exclusive content I’ve either authored myself or outsourced but it looks like a lot of it is popping it up all over the int…
    • I tried to keep pace with the plagiarism, but the spelling variations kept throwing me off track.
  • The survey, which names the 10 most complained about adverts of the last 50 years, also includes campaigns by the likes of KFC, Volkswagen, Barnardos and Marie Stopes….
    • Who complained? Spammers or people with inbox overload?

And sometimes, the noise is in the text itself:

  • Im not confident the place you’re receiving your information, but excellent topic. I needs to devote some time finding out far more or comprehending more. Thanks for magnificent information I was seeking for this data for my mission….
    • That must be a disinformation mission, right?
  • The particular now estranged couple revealing to Fowler their daughter needed jaw surgery after which you can a heart transplant…
    • The jaw bone connected to the…
  • not surprisingly, this type of readiness to convert plan is character selected. that is, you happen to be from a operation grade of this lasagna whilst still being in precontemplation on which unfortunately train content. You’re not probably very prof…
    • Wait – wait! Prof…? Professional? Profitable? Profound? DON’T LEAVE ME HANGING MR. SPAMBOT!
  • Many thanks for an amazing publish, may read your particular others posts. thank you your thinking on this, I soon became a lttle bit made an impact to by this article. Thanks again! You earn a good time. Has wonderful data here. I believe if more peop…
    • I’m blushing. It’s a confused sort of blush, but still…

You want to feel wanted? The spambots want you!

  • Have you ever considered creating an e-book or guest authoring on other sites? I have a blog based on the same information you discuss and would love to have you share some stories/information. I know my subscribers would value your work. If you’re ev…
  • Hello! Would you mind if I share your blog with my zynga group? There’s a lot of folks that I think would really enjoy your content. Please let me know. Many thanks…
    • A “lot of folks” in your zynga group? dunno. Is SpamVille really that densely populated?
  • Hello! I know this is kinda off topic nevertheless I’d figured I’d ask. Would you be interested in trading links or maybe guest authoring a blog post or vice-versa? My website addresses a lot of the same subjects as yours and I feel we could greatly …

And if you’re in need of help – the spambots are ready:

  • My spouse and I absolutely love your blog and find most of your post’s to be what precisely I’m looking for. Would you offer guest writers to write content for yourself? I wouldn’t mind composing a post or elaborating on a lot of the subjects you wr…
    • A married spambot – that’s seriously advanced technology!
  • Please let me know if you’re looking for a author for your site. You have some really great posts and I feel I would be a good asset. If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d love to write some articles for your blog in exchange for a link …
    • Dear sir/ma’am/bot: After careful review, we regret to inform you that we cannot offer you a role as load-taker-offer…

But the spambots really shine when they offer thanks and praise. Go ahead, admit it – you’ve at least considered letting some of these slip through, just so the comments on your blog would have a few complements pointed your way!

  • Hello! This post could not be written any better! Reading this post reminds me of my good old room mate! He always kept chatting about this. I will forward this page to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thanks for sharing!…
    • A spambot with buddies! Probably related to the married one.
  • Ahaa, its good discussion regarding this paragraph here at this weblog, I have peruse always that, so by this period me likewise commenting here….
    • Sounds like we made your day! Er – or something like that…
  • Thanks on your marvelous posting! I certainly enjoyed reading it, you might be a great author.I will be sure to bookmark your blog and will often come back someday. I want to encourage you continue your great job, have a nice holiday weekend!…
    • Wait – “might”? Where are the really nice spambots?
  • Thanks on your marvelous posting! I really enjoyed reading it, you’re a great author.I will ensure that I bookmark your blog and may come back in the foreseeable future. I want to encourage you continue your great job, have a nice holiday weekend!…
    • That’s more like it.
  • That is really attention-grabbing, You are an overly skilled blogger. I have joined your feed and sit up for searching for more of your wonderful post. Additionally, I’ve shared your website in my social networks!…
    • Yeah, not just skilled but overly skilled. Take that too, Mr. “Might be” Spambot!
  • I am delighted that I came on this weblog, I could not find out any information on this subject prior to going to your publish. Thanks God I came throughout on this site and discovered the pertinent info….
    • Well, if the spambot deities endorse our pertinence, we must be doing something right…
  • Thanks for supplying this sort of a great report, it was excellent and quite educational. as a very first time customer to your site I am extremely amazed. I found a whole lot of useful things in your report. Preserve it up. Thank you….
    • Preserving it up, one can-full of tasty spam at a time!
  • I like the worthwhile info you supply within your posts.I’ll bookmark your blog and investigate yet again listed here recurrently.I’m quite convinced I will be taught quite a bit of recent stuff perfect right here! Excellent luck for the subsequent!…
    • One of us is going to run out of words – and it definitely won’t be you.
  • Greetings! I’ve been reading your site for a long time now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Humble Tx! [also: Austin, Huffman, Kingwood and Atascocita, Tx] Just wanted to tell you keep up the good job!…
    • How gullible do you think I am, Mr. Spambot? Well, okay…I was gullible enough to google “Humble Texas”…
  • Thanks so much for this! I have not been this thrilled by a website submit for very some time! You have received it, what ever that means in running a blog. In any case, You are certainly somebody that has anything to say that individuals need to hear…
    • Our followers will doubtless be impressed by our recent selection as “It” from SpamWorld Blogfollowers Inc.
  • Because of reading your blog, I undisputed to scribble my own. I had never been interested in keeping a blog until I slogan how helpful yours was, then I was inspired!…
    • Inspiring the inanimate. That’s got to be good for a second SpamWorld award, right?
  • Thanks-a-mundo for the blog.Really thank you! Will read on……
    • Thanks-a-mundo. How do you top that?

In the end, I have to say, there’s a corner of botdom that conveys an odd but somehow touching level of affirmation. After all, can any bot that believes “Whether you’re certain of it or otherwise, the public idolize you and you’ve got to lead by example to deal with. show them what you are unquestionably cut from” be all wrong?


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    admin Post author
    Quick update: since publishing this, we've continued to push through new milestones: last month was our first with more than 100,000 visits, and our first with more than 500,000 (and 600,000!) page views. Our increasing visibility has (of course) attracted more spambots as well. As of today, we have registered 3,501 comments; 110 have been approved (thanks, you humans!), and 3,391 have been relegated to the spam pile. Of course, some of the spam has come in the form of comments to this article, which has to represent some kind of tautological error. These second generation spambots exhibit some trends. Many are interested in our registry management (why, I wonder?) and anti-spam technology, warning of false positives. The spambots appear to be increasingly interested in music, with one insisting that it and its "partner" "adore Spotify," and another touting a service called "Playlist." Some continue to praise the site, even reaching out for a human connection: "I like your personal publishing really quite a lot! ...I would like an expert in this space to help unravel the issue. Might be that may be a person!" And some are offering helpful tips, ranging from "You must indulge in any contest, sweepstakes for starters of the most effective blogs online" to "Only Deduct Tax tax deductible Expenses." I appreciate the concern these second generation spambots express.One treated me to an extended description of mesothelioma cancer, while another was concerned about, well, something: "Can we stop to be checked when each of our condition is definitely invisible. I believe including our personal privacy has become irritated due to this kind software" But I have to say, the really nice spambots seem to have moved on. Other articles get spambot comments like "you're looking sharp," "youre so smart," "I'll be there for you," and - in a really unusual display of familiarity - "you have a good taste." Perhaps I should apply the advice one spambot game me: "allow your [spambots?] the opportunity to correct their proceedings by giving a very apology when disrespectful!"