Fascinating Spam Scam

Blogging is an interesting hobby. A bit narcisstic at times, I guess. There are minor irritants though. Spam being one of them. It is a very minor irritant. Barely irritating at all, thanks to Akismet, WordPress’s spam filter. Although every now and then Akismet goes haywire and lets a few through. That’s why a new commenter will find their ditty in the moderation queue. Once I’ve approved one comment, future comments get posted automatically though, so it’s no big deal.

I’ve had a total of 4,893 comments so far. Admittedly half of them are probably mine. Although it has to be said I lost all the comments I’d previously received when switching to WordPress in 2009. My Akismet stats page tells me that they’ve stopped a total of 39,979 spam comments from polluting my posts. That’s quite some tally. The spam ranges from blatant flattery, to rude critique…anything to get a response. And to keep the spam in place.

I encountered a new type of spam recently though. Sent by email, through the comments page. I’ve been nominated for a Fascinating Blog award! The ultimate in flattery. They’ve even, ever so kindly, created a badge to post in my sidebar. so that people will see how marvellous I am and then click on it to vote for me. And, of course, to be exposed to their scammy looking Accelerated Degree program. they get the added bonus of having a link to their website there to boost their ranking on Google.

It is a pretty badge though. Should I, shouldn’t I? There is a $100 restaurant voucher for the winner!  No, I think I’ll pass. Not least because, for their 2012 award, they’ve selected one of my posts from 2009. Pft. At least this scam is more imaginative than the plague of emails I’ve received in the last year from friendly souls telling me they think my blog would be a perfect fit for one of their guest posts! Oh thank you! So much! If I didn’t know that this is the cheapest spam scam going, I’d be flattered. Sometimes I entertain myself by replying and telling them I’d be only too delighted to have their post on my blog. Please send $200 to my Paypal account. Some of them optimistically reply telling me they don’t pay to have their ‘guest posts’ on my blog, because this arrangement, apparently, benefits me! Not them, they’re just doing it all for my sake.

Some real people do visit my blog though. Not as many, truth be told, as used to visit when I was blogging from Mexico. Most months, it’s half as many.But still, it’s about the quality of the audience, not the quantity. So let it be known, I highly value you chaps and chapettes who are still following along. I know who you are! Well, some of you. But thanks to a recent improvement in WordPress’ stats, I do at least know where ya’ll come from. Mostly the US. Followed by Mexicans. Those lazy, feckless Brits come in a distant third. A cheery hello to you brave Slovakians. Both of you.

I’d like to monetize those visitors. I used to earn a ton from blog advertising. Of course, the adverts were just as scammy and Google-spammy as all those offenders I’ve mentioned above. But at least I got paid for it. Handsomely. WordPress.com doesn’t allow freelance ads on their hosted blogs though. I understand the reasons why. Firstly, because they advertise on our blogs. I could pay $30 a year to be ad free, but that seems steep to me. Secondly, because they’d end up with a million or three spam blogs.

They have launched WordAds recently though. Finally, I can run ads on my blog and get paid. I gave it a whirl. For about ten seconds. And then took it straight off. It’s a ghastly implementation of a good idea. It screwed up the formatting of my blog, sending lines off the edge. I like the idea of a square ad in the sidebar. But it needs to fit my blog theme, and not go off the edge. I do not like the idea of the huge full width top ad banner. Horrible. I have serious doubts as to whether I’d ever have made much cash. But I’m not willing to trash my blog to find out.

11 Comments

  • Well, I’m glad that you decided not to trash your blog with ads. Though to be honest, I use Firefox with Adblock, so I never see internet advertising anyway.

    It wasn’t always this way, though. I was perfectly OK with internet ads until they discovered Flash. And suddenly, the content was impossible to read, what with all the flashing, crawling, and moving ads along the sides. It was then I discovered Adblock, and became a free-rider.

    But much to the relief of advertisers, I think that I and my ilk are in the minority. Most people seem to suffer right through all the ads.

    Hope you are well, amigo.

    Saludos,

    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Back from 3 blissful weeks in Mexico.

    • I’ve been running Adblock for many years too. Although in Chrome these days. Have you tried Chrome? Like any switch, it takes a little getting used to. But, in my humble opinion, it’s a slicker browser to use than Firefox. Which always ended up going buggy on me. Eventually.

      All is well here. You just had three weeks in Mexico? Lucky you. But, tick tock. Departure date gets ever closer…

      • Somehow I just can’t bring myself to trust the largest online advertising company to provide me with a browser. Call me paranoid, but putting Chrome on the computer just seems like an open invitation to be part of the next big scandal when someone discovers that Chrome scans your entire hard drive so as to better “provide you content more relevant to your interests,” i.e., advertising you stuff you might actually buy. (I know, I know — a fate worse than death.)

        This may be my nutty side, but I’m sticking with it and avoiding Chrome.

        Though judging by various friends’ computers, Chrome seems to require both significant effort and tech savvy to avoid installing. I keep having to uninstall it from my mother’s computer, F’s computer, other friends’ computers.

        Saludos,

        Kim G
        Boston, MA
        Where it’s not paranoia if they really are out to get you.

        • I wouldn’t call you paranoid. Perhaps, just maybe, a little overly careful! But anyway. Whatchagot to hide Mr K?!?! 🙂

          I understand your point, but as far as that point goes the same applies to any of the browsers. As far as likelihood is concerned, Google is the most likely culprit. But then, if one of the browser makers were to ‘steal my data’, I probably trust them more. Yeah, I know. The internet age comes down to which thief you’d trust the most…

  • Not all Brits are feckless right. I enjoy your posts and know those spammers will not disillusion–how else would I learn so much about England without traveling.

  • I am a sucker for maps. Have ou eer noticed howthe readership maps could easily be what the 21st century versionof the Hapsburg Empire might look like? There may be an mock-history novel buried in there somewhere. Something like — What if Austria had won its war with Prussia? Otto the Great: Holy Roman Emporer and King of Brooklyn.

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