Cheap Shared Hosting

Thursday, June 19, 2008

What is up with gibberish spam?

Every now and then you'll run across this - spammers dumping large amounts of apparentl gibberish in to comments, forums, etc. It's very strange - it's not code, and there's no links or anything else of apparent use to the spammer. So why do they bother?

I have a couple theories. One possibility is that it is a malfunctioning bot. That's kind of fun to imagine, but seems unlikely. Thinking about how a spam bot would be coded, I'd think it more likely to leave empty comments if something was wrong then long strings of gibberish.

The other possibility is that the bot is actually leaving a "fingerprint" in the form of a unique text string. The spammer can then check his work later by just doing a google search for this text. If the spam comes up it tells him several useful things:
  1. His bot worked and left a message
  2. The message was not deleted/moderated
  3. The page that was spammed is indexed by google
It'd be possible to have a second automated bot do this google search, get a list of the sites that worked, then go back through to leave more useful spam on those sites...

That's the best I can come up with, still seems a little far-fetched. After all, if you're going to be leaving a comment, why not include a more realistic seeming comment like "Great post" along with some gibberish, or a unique username or something?

No comments: