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Monday, August 06, 2012

The Strange Mystery of Return to the Edge of Nowhere Part V

Google's spam filters do a pretty good job of protecting this blog from comment spam, but one particular post seems more vulnerable than others: Return to the Edge of Nowhere, Part V. Two or three times a month a spammer - usually from Australia - will leave the typical "great blog" or "awesome post" message that's really just a cover for the website links they're pushing, only discovered when you click on their username, which appears above the comment they've left.

It takes only a second to delete this sort of spam, and it doesn't really bother me very much to do so. But I do wonder why spammers - or, more likely, their automated software - targets this particular post so often. There's nothing particularly remarkable about it; it's the halfway point of a story about Leaf Rapids, Manitoba, a subject of limited interest and therefore one would imagine little profitability for spammers. The post does feature an abnormally high number (for this blog, at least) of photographs and embedded videos; perhaps these somehow act as flags for the spambots.

The problem isn't a greatly troubling one, but I am curious about why this post gets attacked so disproportionately. I welcome any insight from my more web-savvy friends.



Does it have the most views?

SW said...

Just wondering if they target blog posts with the highest readership.

"ManJeffnt" said...

On JSVB, the bots don't target the posts with the most traffic. I can't figure out what the bots look for, either. It's not random, but it's not sensible to me. Most of my bots are Russian. Sometimes I get a spike of them from Iran or Pakistan.

I suspect that the bots follow people who are infected with their virus. So if you are Skronk Maboob from Upper Kreplekistan and you've picked up the virus from surfing gambling porn at, and then you travel to My Name Is Earl (J. Woods) looking for news on Jason Lee's latest Scientological preclear audit, you'll also deliver a new target for the bot.

The bot doesn't care anything about Scientology (hypothetically), but it does have a list of keywords that it seeks: "return" "edge" "nowhere" "Part V", let's say. Then it picks that entry and does its thing.

That's my guess, not based on any real knowledge of the situation, but on observation of JSVB's statistics.

Earl J. Woods said...

The post in question is in the bottom half of the top ten as far as pageviews go, but there are richer targets if they're looking for the broadest exposure.

Earl J. Woods said...

Actually, I'm mistaken. "Return to the Edge of Nowhere, Part V" is not among the blog's most viewed posts. However, "Journey to the Edge of Nowhere, Part V" *is in the top ten. How odd.