If you want to see some unsettling comment spam, go to Google and type in [“stephan zielinski” “make me maintain AIX”].
Stephan is one of my authors. His first novel, Bad Magic, just came out, so we’re collecting the initial wave of reviews. But this past week, when I Googled on his name to see if any more reviews had accumulated, I turned up a lot of strange hits.
Backstory: At some point in the distant past, Stephan wrote and published the line, “Beat me. Whip me. Make me maintain AIX.” Somebody liked it well enough to include it in a LINUX quote file. More recently, when the whole comment spam thing got started, one of the spammers grabbed that quote, complete with attribution, and used it as the ostensible text of hundreds of spammed comments that were actually come-ons for Celebrex, Cialis, Levitra, Lipitor, Propecia, Soma, Tramadol, Viagra, Vioxx, Xanax, Zyban, and hot casino action. That’s creepy, to have your name used as spam.The sites where this has happened are also creepy in their own right. The spam was posted indiscriminately. Here are some of the places it wound up:
Re: outdoor ornaments Tonic: “Meterosexuals”The only thing they have in common is ill-maintained comment threads. Some of them have been hit repeatedly. I suspect that if you don’t clean up your spam, they send you more because they know it’ll stay up.
ComidaDeMama: IS MY BLOG READING#1
papalarge: The Last Limb
Scuttlebutt: Checked exceptions
Re: Manuals/Service books
Alien Jesus Collective: SARS mortality rates keep going up
Re: prduction of tea
Open Source Software News:
FreeLists / ewatch-devel / [ewatch-devel]
Spitting Image: Minor Atrocities of the 20th Century
Inside The Mind of Naked Jay - THIS ALMOST MAKES ME GLAD I’M …
MySQL Lists: maxdb: Case sensitive attributes and table names
SpeedLight: Eheti vendÔŅĹgeink
A Grown Woman: Happy Birthday!
Re: Used Text Book for Level l or ll
Re: looking for bare land in Oregon or Washinton, must have a running creek and owner willing to finance
mdcm5014: the electrician from hell
570Bars.com: Anthony’s Home Port (Shilshole) (#43)
Classics Network Forums — The responsibilities of being human
Scuttlebutt: Checked Exceptions
Into the Wind: Kite Forum: Re: Frequency of repairs?
When you click through to some of these sites, there’s no human interaction going on at all, just one comment spam after another after another. It’s like being in an abandoned house that vandals have been using as a garbage dump. There’s a good example here—practically a museum of the stuff, close to 500 separate spams, with a combined wordcount equal to a full-length novel.
The site’s a weblog called The Tough Democrat. It hasn’t been updated since April 2004, when its proprietor announced his “…switch from a well-paying but boring job to a lean but fantastic gig that takes an enormous amount of creative energy.” Near as I can tell, every post in his archives, June 2003 through April 2004, has a comment thread consisting of hundreds and hundreds of toxic comment spams. Lord knows how many abandoned weblogs out there are in the same condition.
Google’s spiders periodically come along and note the links, which is why the rest of us get hit with this stuff. I’m starting to regard unmaintained comment areas as the online equivalent of letting old automobile tires lie around in your back yard, collecting stagnant water where mosquitoes breed.