Every time I think I have exorcised spam from my life, spammers become yet a little cleverer. The latest twist: I am getting 2-3 “spam” comments a day to this weblog. Sometimes the comments include links to porn sites or just your run of the mill scams, sometimes there is an innocuous message with a link to a “homepage” which, of course, is a spam site. Today’s little outrage took me to a preteen sex site. Oh sure, I can’t wait to learn more about that. And my penis size suits me just fine, thank you very much.
I have a zero tolerance policy for spam. I simply won’t put up with it. I did for years because I had no choice. I looked at server-based solutions that would require a one-time authentication from someone unknown (not on my “white list” to use the terminology) who wanted to send me unsolicited email: such solutions typically require the user to type in an encrypted number or word embedded in an image in order to get the mail through. It’s a great idea except, of course, my ISP doesn’t offer it: I’ve got cox.net. Finally I stumbled on a PC based “white list” solution called ChoiceMail One that does the same thing. Essentially it creates a mailbox on my PC between my real mailbox, and only people on my white list get through. The rest have to go through the challenge and response system.
Yes, it was a pain for about six weeks. I had to go through my email and manually add lots of addresses, cutting and pasting from a text editor. (I use Eudora. It would not have been a problem had I used Outlook.) Then I constantly checked the spam trap to let those people in I forgot to add. There are lots of them you don’t think about: banks, very old friends, web sites you use a lot. But after six weeks I seem to get over the hump. I check the spam trap about once a week now, which is about how often ChoiceMail One shreds the stuff.
But spamming web logs … this hits a new low even for the spam industry, which has values lower than a ten-dollar whore. First of all I cannot figure out why they bother. Do they think this is DailyKOS? No, I don’t get a whole lot of comments, which his fine. I’d like my web log to be more popular but my self-esteem doesn’t depend on it. Most of you reading this will never bother to read my comments. I usually will since I have the software set up to send me an email when a comment is posted.
The Moveable Type software that runs this blog clearly wasn’t designed for this sort of attack. All I can do is ban IP addresses and that gets to be very time consuming.
But I won’t put up with my web log being spammed too. I figured there had to be a way around it and it seems like someone created a solution very recently. I went to Hotscripts.com and searched on “spam” and sure enough there was a free solution by a very nice fellow who put together a site called JunkEater.com just to protect web logs and guest books. I tried the solution and it works like a charm!
Is it perfect? No. But spammers are lazy. They have computers run canned scripts to post this spam on their behalf. They won’t actually be any humans sitting down and reading my web log and going through the steps manually. So it’s unlikely a computer will be able to read the image with the embedded number in it, and add it to the comment form for my weblog.
I now wait anxiously for the next form of attack from the spam community. I know they are planning their next moves. But I, or someone else, will find a technology that will foil the bastards.
Thank you very much, JunkEater.com for an elegant solution. All I had to do was register at their site, fill out a few forms and change the comment form on this site and I was done. I’ll be glad to give them some money occasionally to support this free site; we need to encourage people like this to give their best.
Enjoy what I hope will be my spam free web log.