Sunday, August 21, 2005

Spammers are D0uch3b4gs

Sometimes I get bored and click on the "Next Blog" button at the top right-hand corner of this page, which whisks me away to some other random blog by some other random blogger. I find it interesting to look at snippets of other people's lives, even if I don't know who they are.

Most of the other blogs are not that interesting. (Of course, I'm sure most of them would say the same thing about mine.) Many are "Here are 43 pictures of our new baby! All pretty much identical!" Some are political, usually leftist, but sometimes very conservative. Some are just random pictures of oddities or funny images (these are usually my favorites). Some consist of "Well today Tyler had a tummy-ache and my husband got home from work late and ..." No matter the content of these blogs, at least they're real.

Let's face it, blogging is really a very masturbatory exercise. It's more or less a web page about yourself, no matter how self-deprecating it may be. [Cough, cough] But that's okay. Blogs are the new chat rooms. They allow us to connect to our friends and other people all over the world and see through the small windows they open up to us. They are good for sharing opinions, getting things off one's chest, and especially for posterity.

But of course, a bunch of assholes decided they would take advantage of the democracy that is the internet and fuck it up for everyone.

Whenever a new technology comes about, you can count on two things: the porn industry will be the first to exploit it, and some dickhead "entrepreneurs" will try to overload people with advertisements.

This spam stuff is so much worse than the commercials you see on TV or even at the theaters before the movie starts, because they pretend not to be ads. At least when you're at home watching "Joe Millionaire" or some such thing, when they go to commercial you know it's a commercial. You know they're trying to sell you something, and since you have this understanding with the advertiser, you are open-minded to their product. We all know the rules of engagement here.

But spammers and e-tailers have no such candor, no such desire to alert you of their desire to sell to you. How many emails do you get every day for anything from C14L1S to a mortgage? I get maybe 10 emails a week from actual people I know, and the rest (closer to 20 a day) are from companies desperately trying to get my credit card number or some other information from me. And they're almost never selling actual products, most are just trying to get information so they can steal your money and run off with it. Many are overseas, mostly in third world countries, so it's hard for the government to track it or stop it. Still, it's amazing how rampant this criminal activity is.

It's bad enough that half the random blogs I visit are in different languages, but a good 25% of them are ads for something. Ads for real estate, or to buy books or t-shirts or prescription drugs or a new cell phone or your "free" credit report (which was also a goddamn scam). But they are just a bunch of nonsense. They offer no content, no insight, nothing interesting to read. Just a bunch of cheap bastards who decided they didn't even want to spend the advertising money to put an ad in the paper and instead decided to set up a free blog. But when you're hitting the "Next Blog" button, this is equivalent to commercial breaks, but much more dishonest.

I'm glad the internet is free, but isn't this just taking advantage of a good thing. These assholes always have to ruin it for everyone.

What's even worse than having the blogs set up, though, is the new trend of getting comments on blogs from these ads. And it's not just "Drink Coke" or "Check out my website." Instead, it's something like this:

I really liked your blog. I have bookmarked it. You made some really good observations. I read a lot of blogs and yours is one of the best!

If you are interested in finding out more about the Timber Industry, click this link!

The fact that these people are trying to put forth the impression that they are just "someone who was passing by" when they it's really just some dickweed who loaded some kind of program to scan through blogs and leave these comments. The disembodiment of the source of the ad is Grapes of Wrath-esque.

[Amusing aside: Clicking on the "Next Blog" button led me to a site where it was some woman telling very graphic sexual stories. Honestly, I ended up there unintentionally. Seriously. Anyway, it was very very graphic with a lot of salty language. So, there was a comment on one of the stories that said something to the effect of: "This is a great blog. I am going to bookmark it for sure! If you want to learn more about the holy word of God and his son Jesus, click this link!" So classic.]

The worst part isn't so much the dishonesty, but that it's clogging up the internet with useless bullshit, as usual. Instead of getting real folks' real blogs (regardless of quality), we get a bunch of mumbo-jumbo, interrupting the natural flow of the internet.

Since the government can do little-to-nothing about all this, what's the solution? Old-school, Wild West justice.

I propose this solution: if you find a blog site like this, go to the "Comments" section, and leave one of the following comments...

  • "This site stole all my credit card information and used to to buy drugs."
  • "This site supports terrorism and I have proof."
  • "This site gave over $100,000 to the Ku Klux Klan in 2003"
  • [Create your own slur here.]

Better yet, if you see a link like that on your or another person's blog, follow the link and see if you can leave that comment on their site.

Why? Because, as Dave Chapelle once said, Fuck 'em, that's why.

Most of these people don't bother checking their blogs anyway, so it's not like it will come back to bite you. Plus, what these people are doing is the very essence of dishonesty, so what moral high ground do they have?

Wouldn't it be magnificent if the entire blogging world could unite to outspam the spammers? To fill up the mailboxes of these wretched people who fill up ours? To punish those who punish us with their attempts to further blur the line between truth and advertising? If every blogger did this only five times, we could make the snake eat its own tail. At least I think so.

I am hooked up with "SpamPoison" which uses computers to try and overload the robots with phony email addresses. You can get hooked up with it by clicking here .

Also, if you ever happen to meet a spammer, beat the living shit out of him.


Cindy said...

I found your blog by chance. I have some of those boring personal blogs you mentioned...BUT...I just wanted you to know that I am also becoming aware of an increasing number of spam blogs and the despicable blog comment-spam in my daily blogging forays. I wonder if we can report them to Blogger. What really irritates me is when you try to see who these guys are and it says "Profile not avilable". So we can't trace them. But maybe Blogger can.

Bill said...

Actually, Blogger has added the "Flag" option at the top right-hand corner (to the left of the "Next Blog" button). I think if enough people flag these they take them off the "Next Blog" ring at the very least. But don't quote me on that.

As for the comments, all I can do is sit back and enjoy and try to spam the shit out of them.

bsoholic said...

Old west style it is, and I'm in!

Fuck 'em!

snavy said...

I'm with you & BS on this issue. I got spammed 9 times last week on 1 post! What pissed me off most is that I use Spam Poison & it didn't help. BS is using word identification & I am using a dummy post - we'll see if they help.

FantasticAlice said...

Every time I get spammed I flag their asses and hope that at some point someone will remove them... otherwise I eventually delete them.

Yep, The Woodsman was excellent. Please, tell me what else you think of some of the movies I chose to blog about.

Reverend Raheen M. Shabbazz said...

I want to hear more about the salty explicit sexual episodes. No link?? Hook a brotha up!

Caryn said...

Bill, great post! I also surf from blog to blog. I try to leave (real, relevant) comments where I go, and I often get people saying, "who the heck are you???". And I've been flagging sites with a vengeance. But your style of commenting on advertsiers' blogs cracks me up. Think I'll have to try that one.

Fantasticalice, I, too was under the assumption that SpamPoison prevented spam comments, but it doesn't. It just prevents spammers from stealing any e-mail addresses listed on your site by sending them in endless circles. You can change the settings to only accept comments from people who have signed in (not very helpful, I believe) or to require people to type in a listed code in a word box. Blogger has those options.