happy-askiversaryI noticed this afternoon that the WordPress Askimet spam counter for Heiseheise.com had a major milestone rollover recently: we’ve just hit our 10,000th spam comment. The wonderful spammers that clog and pollute the internet in general and blogs/forums in particular never take a day off. Here are some stats for my two and a half year old site (stat-keeping software is kindly included with Askimet, which is of course also free).

I got an average of 941 spam comments per month, from October 2008 til now. Interestingly enough though, in December, January, and February, I got less than 100 per month. I have a kind of morbid curiosity about which spambots find which blogs/forums and how. I wonder about the bot-writer who found my blog. He seems to speak disjointed English. Does he speak Arabic? Is that how he found me? He obviously speaks Russian, due to the number of Russian Viagra comments I’ve received over the years. How quickly did he share my blog with his bot-writing buddies…did he do so right away, selling off the information on a juicy new target for a few pennies. That’s about how much information is worth on the web these days. People like this circulate your stolen credit card information within an hour, and that gets about $5… IF the credit line is still good.

No, instead I like to think that I was special to him, and he kept my blog secret and all to himself, sending me happy messages of “Thanks you are blog good! I am add you to favourites now! CLICK HERE FOR AMOXICILLIN” in order to let me know he was thinking of me. Those were the good old days, when I only received a few drug-sales messages per day from my penpal-spam-buddy. I named him Raoul.

However, since he sold me out to the Russians (and Armenians; I’ve found a few spams using the Armenian character set in the past six months) though, things have gotten a bit more verbose. Askimet is a talented, very accurate spam-catcher, but you don’t have to be an expert piece of software to flag a comment that contains more than 50 product links and is over 27,000 characters long. That’s about seven pages in Microsoft Word. Come on guys, that’s just lazy if you think that’s going to ever get past ANY filter.

That last bit brings me to my blog-update related news. I added a new plugin tonight, “Greg’s Comment Length Limiter” which pretty much does exactly what it says. When I’m quickly perusing the spam folder to make sure that one of my dad’s comments with a few links in it didn’t get systematically filtered out, the last thing I want to do is wait for three dozen 27,000 character posts to load. My goal: perhaps this plugin can help nip those in the bud before I even load fire up the spambox.

If you like the idea, I encourage you to check it out at the above link as well. Some people have already warned that this plugin is more to prevent actual humans, using Javascript-enabled browsers, from putting typing-diarrhea on your blog. Spam-bots, because they usually don’t use Javascript in their robotic search-and-spam missions, would just beat their way right through. However, the key is in this plugin option: “Truncate – Forcibly Trim the Comment to Length, Then Let it Go Through.” The spam will still get posted, and it will still get dutifully caught by Askimet…but at least now, I only will see a small amount (3,000 characters, by my current whims) of its total length.

Your move, Raoul!