Monday, 19 July 2010

Good Morning, Flattering Spam

If you comment on any article in this blog more than a couple of weeks old, it goes into an "approval" queue which I check and process 3-4 times a week.

I often find that, combined with some useful comments, a few spam messages. Over the last month or so I've suddenly found these spam messages have been written in such a way that they sound quite credible! Indeed I approved one of them until it suddenly dawned on me that it was a little strange and had to go back through all the comments to remove it.

Some spam-merchant, somewhere, has actually sat down and thought about a few general flattering responses that could be applied to any blog, even if the English is less than perefect. The only clue that it is true spam is that, at the foot of the response, a  link to a web site which has (I assume) paid for the spam. This is itself disguised as one short word (I don't see the URL unless I hover my mouse over it).

Here are some examples (viagra and fake rolex links removed, sorry):

This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. I love seeing websites that understand the value of providing a quality resource for free. It’s the old what goes around comes around routine.

There are certainly a lot of details like that to take into consideration. That’s a great point to bring up. I offer the thoughts above as general inspiration but clearly there are questions like the one you bring up where the most important thing will be working in honest good faith.

Your summaries are always top-notch. Thanks for keeping us apprised. I’m reading every word here.

Well Whattadya know, yet another great site to add to my reader! Google blog search has you pretty well indexed it seems! you have some brilliant contents!

Hi its really very nice blog i enjoyed a lot to visit.

Your article was quite intriguing and the information quite useful. Will check your site often to see other great posts you make! Regards

Of course it means I get to read your real comments as well and, where applicable, pass them on to the relevant people concerned. Ironically it also means that if your comment is flattering it stands a greater chance of being rejected, worst luck.

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As this blog grows in readership - and because it carries the Tesco brand - I have had to become more careful about the sort of comments that are acceptable. The good news is that I'm a champion of free speech so please be as praising or as critical as you wish! The only comments I DON'T allow through are:

1. Comments which criticise an individual other than myself, or are critical of an organisation other than Tesco. This is simply because they cannot defend themselves so is unfair and possibly libellous. Comments about some aspect of Tesco being better/worse than another equivalent organisation are allowed as long as you start by saying "in my personal opinion.." or "I think that...". ... followed by a "...because.." and some reasoned argument.

2. Comments which are totally unrelated to the context of the original article. If I have written about a mobile app and you start complaining about the price of potatoes then your comment isn't going stay for long!

3. Advertising / web links / spam.

4. Insulting / obscene messages.

Ok, rules done - now it's your go: