Spam Talk

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After receiving a bit of comment spam I hunted down the hosting company of the offending party and asked that their account be suspended, since that’s the penalty set forth for spam by the host’s acceptable use policy. The host apparently complied, since the spammers site was shortly taken offline. Not surprisingly, the spammer didn’t like that very much.

He sent me a little love note.

If you accuse me personally of Spamming your web site again, without evidence, and where you invite replies anyway (please tell me how “Good point!” is spamming when you have a form on your site inviting comments). You will find I will have your own web site account terminated / blocked by your upstream providers. And, if I can see you have more money than manners / class, I shall gladly relieve you of some for defamation too.

Do I make myself clear?

[signed —]

Now normally I would just ignore this sort of rubbish, but the spammer copied his ISP on the email so for some reason I felt compelled to respond.

Normally, I just ignore such blustering responses, but you asked “please tell me how ‘Good point!’ is spamming when you have a form on your site inviting comments,” I’ll explain it.

Posting an email address in a public place is not an invitation for companies to send unsolicited advertisements. Hosting a public Web forum or Usenet server does not give companies permission or the moral right to advertise on it. And soliciting comments from the public on a weblog entry or other Web page does not mean that companies or individuals are invited to use it for their advertising purposes.

Your comment WAS an advertisement. Using the word “Viagra” as your name and linking that to your Viagra Web site is clearly intended to advertise Viagra and to increase your search engine rankings under that term. Unless your name is actually “Viagra.”

That advertisement has been repeated across the Web. It is substantially the same comment everywhere it is posted. You can find evidence of that at http://www.google.com/search?q=link:xxxxxxxxxx.com and http://www.google.com/search?q=%22xxxxxxxxxxx.%2Bcom%22+comment

It’s commercial, it’s posted in places it is not wanted, and it is repeated. By any common definition of the term, it is spam. In fact, it’s even spam by most legal definitions of the term.

Want further evidence that the comment was intended as spam? You spent a grand total of four seconds on my site before submitting your comment…

217.xxx.xxx.xxx - - [06/Nov/2003:18:40:15 -0800] “GET /2003/09/comment_spam/ HTTP/1.1” 200 40273 “-” “Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.0; MSNIA; Windows 98; DigExt)”
217.xxx.xxx.xxx - - [06/Nov/2003:18:40:19 -0800] “POST /cgi-bin/mt/fbda07e9fd3bb656bbf62c5b0ed6480e.cgi HTTP/1.1” 302 5 “-” “Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.0; MSNIA; Windows 98; DigExt)”

Unless you possess magical powers, you didn’t read the article and post a comment in the span of four seconds.

Since you also confirm below that you did indeed place the advertisement on my site, you have no libel case. It is impossible to defame by telling the truth.

Spam won’t be tolerated by bloggers. Go find somewhere else to peddle your wares. If you continue to spam comment forms you will find it to be an unprofitable venture. Each time you do, someone like me will complain to your hosting provider, the people that provide them with bandwidth, your ISP, and the companies that supply your products. I’m certain that none of them are interested in being associated with spam. So do yourself a favor and go away.

I replied to your comments because you asked me to (“please tell me…”). In case it isn’t abundantly clear, I’m not asking you to respond. Quite the opposite. I don’t have any desire to hear from you ever again.

I’ve removed all the information that might identify this individual, since there’s really no point in including it. Doing so might be considered harassment, and I don’t really want to go down that road.

Since I’ve already tracked down his ISP, his hosting company, their upstream providers, and the pharmacy that supplies the Viagra he sells, I’ll watch to see if he spams again. Not to mention the fact that Pfizer would probably be interested in his domain name since it uses their trademarks in ways that might make a consumer think that the site is owned or endorsed by them.

Update (Nov 9): Despite the fact that I asked him no to, the spammer replied again, once again copying his ISP.

Listen Hate / Bone for Brains

I have already stated I did not post the comment. What proof do you have? Your own need to hate? The person that posted that message is in Spain, do you know where I am?

You have committed defamation.

FYI, it was probably a competitor of mine (am sure I know who it is, but without proof, unlike you, I will not say). Work it out you nasty little boy. Why would anyone post their own message on a Spam hate page?

I did not read your pathetic text as it is meanigless, just about your own wishes, not law.

Now get a life and stop your acts or you will lose your web site. Go on, try me.

[signed —]

Replying at this point would probably be counter-productive. I’ve already shown his ISP that he’s an ass; jumping into a flame war would only serve to show that I’m an ass as well.

Blaming his competitors for trying to increase his Google ranking is an interesting tactic. While it’s true that the IP address used to post the spam was located in Spain and he is located elsewhere, that’s a tenous defense at best. The IP address traceroutes to Spain and belongs to a Dutch ISP. The spammer is sending email from a network in Australia though two different mail servers (one for each email he’s sent) in Thailand using an email account from a British ISP. So using multiple networks is routine for him, as it is for most spammers.

Add to that the fact that other guestbooks, forums, and blogs have been spammed with this same URL, and many of those spams came from an IP address that is registered in Australia and traceroutes to Thailand.

And his site proclaims that it’s not safe to buy Viagra from companies located outside the US.

Trackback from padawan.info
November 10, 2003 7:38 AM

The war against comment spam

Excerpt: There is a surge in posts about comment spam, and this vitality is a good sign as long as solutions...

JJ
November 10, 2003 7:47 AM

Brilliant, as well as useless. Nothing short of an intelligent virus that will wipe out all spammers from the face of earth will do them. But thanks for the effort, anyways.

David
November 10, 2003 8:56 AM

Very good job, this is an example of spam fighting that must be followed by all blog owners. They want our blogs to be the third generation spam victims after mail boxes and guestbooks. Regards from blogspam.org David

Chris Vance
November 10, 2003 9:16 AM

What I think JJ mean to write, is that we need an intelligentsia virus, insofar as it does not affect the intelligent. :-)

Trackback from Ensight - Jeremy C. Wright
November 10, 2003 9:34 AM

Open Letter to Spammers

Excerpt: Good morning, You may not know me. I'm the little guy. You could see me on the street and not even see me. I might even be the guy who asked you what time it was when you were in...

Trackback from Anders Jacobsen's sideblog
November 10, 2003 10:04 AM

http://www.jacobsen.no/anders/blog/sideblog/archives/2003_11.html#000805

Excerpt: Adam chases a spammer and lives to tell the tale in: "Spam Talk". Fun reading. Keep up the good work, Adam!...

Trackback from Memetank
November 10, 2003 4:18 PM

Bloggers fight back against comment spam

Excerpt: Two interesting tales of bloggers taking it upon themselves to track down the spammers who posted ads on their comments page. Burning bird and Kelsey. And for those bloggers who use MovableType, here is an essential tool in the fight...

Trackback from A Blog by any other name...
November 12, 2003 8:38 AM

The war against comment spam

Excerpt: You know that the world is becoming a crazy place when the spammers are threatening legal action! That's exactly what happened to Adam Kalsey -- he had a spammer's account shut down and is now receiving harassing notes from said...

Lyle Kantrovich
November 12, 2003 2:58 PM

Go Adam! Thanks for taking the time to put one of those *(&$@@$^$#;s in their place.

Trackback from kurcula.com
November 12, 2003 4:39 PM

How much spam do you get daily?

Excerpt: Just today, we've received 6 spam comments. That's it, I'm disabling posting comments. Just kiddin'. I took some steps to...

Trackback from Your Daily Cup O' Chris
November 12, 2003 4:54 PM

Adam Kalsey Shuts Down a Spammer.

Excerpt: Ah, a nice attack on Comment Spamming taken out by Adam Kalsey. One does wonder, how did he find out the host of the mysterious "Viagra" spammer? Also, how did the "Viagra" spammer find out that Mr. Kalsey was indeed...

Trackback from WrightStuph
November 13, 2003 1:35 PM

The gauntlet has been thrown

Excerpt: As those of you who have blogs (and those of you who read them) are aware, spammers have graduated from learning how to send email to figuring out how to post comments as well. Poor Luke was lamenting recently on...

Trackback from WrightStuph
November 13, 2003 1:37 PM

The gauntlet has been thrown

Excerpt: As those of you who have blogs (and those of you who read them) are aware, spammers have graduated from learning how to send email to figuring out how to post comments as well. Poor Luke was lamenting recently on...

Trackback from xiven.com
November 13, 2003 3:35 PM

The ongoing war against comment spam

Excerpt: During my wanderings, one particular thing caught my attention. One entry on Adam Kalsey's weblog where a person replied to an accusation of being a comment spammer: they said that someone (one of their competitors) had posted the spam whilst masquerad...

Jez
November 14, 2003 10:59 AM

I got about 20 "Viagra" comment spams a few days ago, and traced the IP to Spain. I'm not tech-savvy enough to go any further, though. So thanks for pissing off this spammer! If they're annoyed, as this guy clearly was, then you're doing the right thing.

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