Weblog comment spam rates continue to surge. This chart is from one installation of anti-blog-spam tool Defensio, showing an insane uptick through the last part of March, 2008:
(Thanks ViperBond). Akismet’s charts show more than 5 billion blog spams identified in the past two years. I’ve personally noticed a dramatic increase in hand-written blog spam recently. Knowing that tools like Defensio and Akismet are going to get spammers banned from blogs net-wide within minutes, the method is now one of social engineering – getting bloggers to consciously allow spammy comments to go live by making them highly relevant to the post they’re attached to, and plausibly written. All that distinguishes this latest form are the author URLs — which no longer point to cialis and poker sites, but to tile shops, beauty parlors, commercial art galleries, pool-cleaning supply houses, etc. Human blog spammers have been around almost as long as bots (to defeat captchas, etc.) but this latest form amazes me because it’s written so carefully. I really have to puzzle over some of these recent ones to decide whether to push them through or not.
Because Akismet is less likely to have identified these as spammy, the moderation burden falls back onto blog authors. It’s no longer possible to identify spam at a glance – we now have to study each message carefully to ascertain sincerity.