Spam comments are on the rise again - December, 2011

  • Problem
  • Updated 4 months ago
  • In Progress
Not sure what more can be done, but I am starting to get 4 and 5 spam comments everyday now that are making it through your filters.

David Ewart, Champion

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  • bothered

Posted 2 years ago

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Asha Dornfest

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Same here. When I reported it via the TypePad ticketing system, I got a pretty generic answer that didn't acknowledge or explain the big increase in spam getting through. (Usually very happy with customer support, so I was surprised by that.)

Jen, Typepad Support Engineer

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Fighting spam comments is a constantly evolving process, and the filtering process for comments is updated in response to changing spamming techniques. For every one spam comment which gets through the filter, hundreds of spam comments are being blocked.

We'll work with TypePad Anti-spam to make any necessary adjustments to combat the increase in spam and appreciate your patience.

David Ewart, Champion

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Thanks. I know from checking the spam comments list that most spam is being caught. I thought I'd flag the issue of new spam here so that there can be an open discussion of what Typepad is doing to respond - rather than a Help ticket that is one-on-one.

Jeff Reine

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Hey, all, we are aware of the problem and have isolated the recent source of comment spam. Recently we've taken some additional defensive measures... I can't speak too openly about it in the forum unfortunately since it's a never ending battle we'd rather not communicate our moves to the spammers.

David Ewart, Champion

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Thanks Jeff.

suzaloo

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Just started getting spam on my page of a group blog...just on my page.
This is the 3rd time I've blocked the IP address, yet each time, the same IP addess is getting thru with spam advertising and jibberish. I hope I won't have to continue to block the same IP address every single day...
So Typepad has recently taken some additional defensive measures? I find that
difficult to believe right now.

Brianna, Official Rep

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Hello! You may want to make sure that the IP addresses you've added to the Block List do not have any empty spaces trailing after the numbers (e.g. "0.0.0.0 " vs "0.0.0.0"). That's a pretty common mistake and is easy to make when you copy and paste an IP address, so I recommend double-checking the addresses you're trying to block. :)

David Ewart, Champion

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my spam count has dropped to zero for the past 2 days. Hope this is working for suzaloo too.

suzaloo

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I didn't have any spaces after the IP address...however, I haven't had any spam today YET! I didn't copy and paste the IP address directly to the the Block list; instead, I copied it to a piece of paper (remember that stuff? - LOL!) and then typed it to the Block List. Only tme will tell, and thanks to all who are trying to stop
the Spam!
Happy Holidays!

Jeff Reine

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Upward and onward...

Jess

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We have seen an increase in the past few days in number of comments marked for Spam - it appears the spam filter has become more sensitive in its searches and now legitimate comments on our blogs are being marked as Spam by TypePad Anti-Spam.
Is this a result of recent spam algorithm tweaking?
Is there anything that could be done to prevent legitimate comments from being marked as SPAM?

Jen, Typepad Support Engineer

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Hi Jess! As you publish comments originally marked as spam, the TypePad Anti-spam will learn to recognize legitimate comments. Keep mind the learning process takes some time, so you won't see similar comments correctly filtered over time.

We would also recommend you check the Block List for your blog at Comments > Block List. If you've recently added any items to the list, the banned items may be the cause for the increase in comments being flagged as spam.

ratzelster

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I get 2-5 spam comments per day and this is something very new. I thought I should add the Akismet API key to help??? Is that right?

What can I do?

I moderate comments so I don't have them appearing but then I have to go and delete each one and it's a pain in the neck.

Can you help me fix this?

This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
I'm drowning in spam.

Brianna, Official Rep

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The ability to add an Akismet API key does not exist in TypePad. We recommend being diligent in marking each spam comment as spam, not deleting them, so the TypePad AntiSpam service can track and learn new spam trends. If you delete the spam comments, without first marking them as spam, then the system cannot learn how to auto-detect similar comments in the future.

Patty Seybold

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I'm also getting a LOT of spam--much of it on older blog posts.. It has now escalated to almost 10 per day.

Shoes
Chanel
some stuff in Russian I can't understand...

It's time-consuming to go thru everything. And, I don't understand why anyone would bother since I moderate all the comments.

Jen, Typepad Support Engineer

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We do recommend closing comments on older posts as spammers are more likely to target inactive posts and pages.

You can quickly auto-close comments on older posts at Settings > Comments. Check the box to auto-close comments and select a time period from the drop-down menu. Click Save Changes to update your blog.

Andrew Denny

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Jen, for me, comments on older posts are often very useful. My blog is very authoritative in its niche and I get a lot of genuine new information and contribution from new comments on older posts. The trouble is, for me, that when people can't add comments to older posts, they end up adding them to newer posts instead, so the comment is a non-sequitur!

Andrew Denny

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Can I add my voice to the spam problem? I used to get perhaps 3 or 4 a week, now I must get ten or more a day. I've had to introduce pre-approval, which means I have to watch it constantly. One of the big selling points of Typepad used to be its spam control. No more. :-(

Jen, Typepad Support Engineer

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Hi Andrew! We apologize for the increase in spam comments you are seeing. Fighting spam comments is an on-going process, and we're always working to improve TypePad Anti-spam.

Did you try enabling comment verification &/or registration before switching to moderated comments? At Settings > Comments, you can require commenters to complete a CAPTCHA &/or require commenters to sign in to help discourage spam comments. More information: http://help.typepad.com/comment_setti...

Andrew Denny

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Yes yes, I realise there are captchas. They irritate the hell out of me, and I don't bother to comment on blogs with captchas, and I DON'T want them on my blog. In fact I don't want any barriers to commenting. And for seven years it's worked pretty well.

The point is that spam filtering has worked pretty well on Typepad for several years, and only recently has it broken down. It's not the quantity of spam, it's the quality. Most of the spam coming through now is painfully, obviously spammy. You only have to see that.

Before, what little spam I got was often pretty clever (e.g. repeating paragraphs of previous comments, so at first glance it doesn't look like a spam comment. It was rare day when I got a cheesy 'pharma' spam filled with crappy links and not much else. Now, there are many of these crappy spams every day, and I've been forced to put on pre-approval, which means people can't see their comments go live until I get around to approving them, which might take a day or two.

Typepad spam filtering has broken down. What's frustrating for me is that for most of the last 8 years I've had the blog, I've used the most expensive Pro option, even though I could get by with the cheap service.

I don't know if you've done something and won't admit it, but in the last few months I've started to feel I should migrate my blog somewhere else, perhaps a privately hosted service. (It definitely won't be a free service - I believe you get what you pay for :-)

Brianna, Official Rep

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Hi Andrew. There have been adjustments to the spam filter, but all were improvements and we've actually seen an increase in spam caught by the filter rather than the reverse. We appreciate the feedback you've provided and we'll share it with the rest of the TypePad team for further investigation and efforts against spam.

Andrew Denny

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Thanks for listening! Well, if you examine my recent spam, it's almost all immediately identifiable with the worst, crassest kind of rubbish. It surely shouldn't be difficult to filter it out? Sorry if I come across as too crabby :-)

Jeff Reine

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Not crabby at all, Andrew. We take this seriously and appreciate your feedback and business these many years. We will try and do better to eliminate the comment spam that is plaguing you.

Alex Sirota, Champion

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One thing I have used is luckyorange.com to actually MONITOR and record visits to the site. I have witnessed a spammer actually leaving a comment from Bangladesh (according to the IP name lookup). These spammers are real people, entering "real" comments from real computers. Blocking these in a wholistic way is really tough -- it may actually block real comments and you don't want that do you?

The email spam techniques have been reasonably worked out by the likes of Gmail but unfortunately comments on website are much harder to filter I think due to the nature of the small amount of information you get as part of the "post" compared to the huge volume of data attached to the header of an email.

Even captcha won't help you with the type of manual comments that are coming down the pipe now.

Andrew Denny

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Good advice, thanks!

One thing that interests me about the new breed of spam is how it's supposed to work for the spammer. Currently most of them leave Facebook profiles as URLs. I've been to some of these (using a fake acct I set up for the purpose), and I can't see how they are selling anything. (Unless they are trojanning me!)

Alex Sirota, Champion

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They are not necessarily selling anything per se. They are working for SEO "experts" that want to rise the rankings of their various website targets. They have all sorts of ideas, insights into Google, etc, but it all boils down to one thing: scam.

The web works with inbound links as a measure of "relevance" and "popularity" -- the more inbound links your property has the higher chance Google will prioritize it in a search. To give you just an idea of how badly people will go to rise their "google" juice read this fascinating story from the New York Time:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/13/bus...

This very website GetSatisfaction was the source of his inbound links -- a form of "spam".

Mexico Cooks

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Like some other posters here, I have recently seen a huge increase in spam comments on my blog. It's annoying have to deal with four or five of these a couple of times a week, and at least one every single day.

I've been a Typepad blogger for five years and have seen good times and not-so-good times on Typepad. but I've never experienced the quantity of spam that I have been seeing and reporting during the last couple of months.

Surely the team can fix it...??

Kymberlie, Official Rep

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Hi there,

We're working on several things to help reduce the number of spam comments that you're seeing on your site.

You do have several settings for comments which you can adjust to help prevent spam. In addition to reporting comments as spam, you can enable comment verification &/or registration at Settings > Comments to prevent automated spammers.

We also recommend closing comments on older posts as spammers are more likely to hit inactive posts. You can set comments to auto-close at Settings > Comments after a few weeks or months.

More information on comment settings is available here.

If you notice you are receiving comments with similar content, you can add keywords, website URLs, and email addresses to the Block List. Go to Comments > Block List to add items to the list. All comment fields are checked for blocked content, and you can use partial URLs and emails. More information on the Block List is available here.

If you haven't tried any of these options, we do recommend enabling them to see if that helps.

Thanks,
Kymberlie

Alex Sirota, Champion

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Thanks Kymberlie for the awesome post on spam comments. I dealt with spam on a discussion forum few years back with block lists (IP, length of name, length of password, keywords). This took more time than simple moderation and review.

The issue with moderation is that comments cannot be made realtime to encourage conversation and they must always be reviewed by a moderator which slows down the rate of information exchange. This is ok for very low volume sites with not a lot of comments.

As soon as the comment rate becomes quite high, moderation is not an option but rather you have to scan preapproved comments and then delete/censure the posts that look like spam. The easier that can be done for high volume sites the better. Block lists work in cases where there are repeat offenders -- that is trolls that keep bugging you and never stop, but that's about it. It's not an effective nor efficient spam deterrent in my mind

Kymberlie, Official Rep

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Hi Alex,

Thanks for your feedback; we certainly appreciate it.

We are working on making it harder for spammers to post comments but, in the meantime, we do recommend taking advantage of the features I mentioned. It will help at least a bit with the issue.

Thanks,
Kymberlie

sbpoet

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I am getting hammered. I have enabled comment moderation, which I don't like to do.

I mark these spam comments almost immediately, but it doesn't seem to help.

Furthermore, these are "underage porn" comments. Does anyone pursue these with law enforcement?

This is worse than distressing.

Melanie, Community Manager

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Unfortunately, there isn't anything illegal about mentioning underage porn, but if there are links involved, please feel free to open a help ticket and let us know more - we want to investigate that.

Can you elaborate on the word "hammered"? How many spam comments are landing on the blog daily, or in your moderation queue?

Thanks!

sbpoet

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Well, I just marked 13 as spam, and I've been doing that - probably 6 or 7 times already today.

sbpoet

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And yes, there are always links. I've assumed that when I "mark as spam" it comes to someone's attention at Typepad. Not so?

sbpoet

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and whoa! instantly, another. sent to help.

Jen, Typepad Support Engineer

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Thanks for following up with the additional information. We're aware of the increase in spam comments lately. We apologize for the inconvenience while we continue the fight against spammers.

You can use the Block List to add any keywords you are seeing in the porn related comments. There's usually pretty obvious keywords you can pull from those types of comments. Any future comments containing words added to the Block List will automatically be queued as spam.

Liz Demaree

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In the last few weeks I have been getting spams comments every day - sometimes 3-4 a day. They are almost always repeats of the same company. Is there no way you can filter these?

Mexico Cooks

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Let me add my voice to Liz's email.  It concerns me greatly that SO much spam is coming through to my Typepad account.  As Liz said, is there no way these can be filtered?  

Mary Helen

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Hi there,

We're sorry that you are seeing a higher than usual amount of spam coming in. We're currently working with the spam service at Imperium to improve the filter and reduce the volume of spam. We're also working on some internal changes to the comment system that should help.

In the meantime, there are some steps that can be taken to reduce the volume and to make it more manageable. We recommend setting up Comment Moderation to make sure that none of the spam comments appear on your live blog. Enabling Comment Verification can also help to reduce the amount of incoming spam.

Another step that can help quite a bit is to set your blog to auto-close comments on older posts. Spammers have a tendency to attack older or inactive posts, so we have found this step to be especially effective. You can set your comments to close automatically after one week, one month, one year, etc.

All of these options are available at Settings > Comments. To learn more about any of these features, please check out this article from our Knowledge Base: http://help.typepad.com/comment_settings.html

We'd be happy to help offer some more specific help if you need it. If you open a ticket at Help > New Ticket we can take a look at your account and settings to see if there is anything else that can be done to help. 

Thanks!
Mary Helen

Mexico Cooks

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Mary Helen, thank you for your prompt reply.  I have all of the safeguards you mention in place already.  Naturally none of the spam actually gets posted to my account, but it is annoying to have to delete so much of it--the Typepad deletion system is clumsy and takes too much time.  Plus, the spam comments continue to appear in the list of comments until other, real comments push them down below what is visible.  "Deleted" should mean DELETED, not just partially removed.

Mary Helen

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Hello,

Thanks for your response. Can you tell us where exactly you are seeing the deleted comments still showing up? Once comments are marked as spam or deleted, they shouldn't show up in your Recent Comments folder anymore. If you'd like, we'd be happy to take a closer look at your account to check this out for you. Just open a ticket at Help > New Ticket.

Thanks!
Mary Helen

David Ewart, Champion

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I wonder if this might be of any help ...
When comments are Marked As Spam in the Recent Comments folder, they are moved to the Spam Comments folder - not deleted. These comments will still show on the Dashboard until they are finally deleted from the Spam Comments folder. It would be better if we could Mark As Spam AND Delete in one click.

Mexico Cooks

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As David Ewart says, comments that are marked as spam still show up on the Dashboard.  Quite some time ago a Typepad representative told me that there is no way to delete those, they just have to 'age' out of view.  I find this remarkably non-user-friendly and annoying.  By the way, this week alone I have received at least 5 spam comments from ONE address, plus several more from other addresses.  The process to go from the Typepad comment notification in my email to the Typepad comments management page to the Delete page is cumbersome and almost as annoying as the spam itself.

David Ewart, Champion

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To be clearer - when you delete posts in the Spam Comments folder they are removed from your Dashboard as well.

What's annoying is that Marking Spam in the Recent Comments folder does not automatically also cause the comment to be deleted.

It's a two-step process: first you mark the comment as spam; then you go to the Spam Comments and delete the comment.

If you just delete the comment from the Recent Comments folder without Marking it as Spam, the Spam algorithm doesn't learn that the comment is spam.

Mexico Cooks

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I have been a Typepad user since 2005 and have received more and more email notifications of spam comments with every passing year.  Until today, my practice has been to use Mark as Spam (a three-step process: click on that in the email, click on it again when the Typepad comment page opens, and click again on ARE YOU SURE).  At that point the spam comment disappears from the list of comments and my practice has been to delete the email notification at that point.  It has always appeared (and I use that word advisedly) that the spam comment has already been deleted: it is gone from the list of comments.  How, exactly, is a Typepad user supposed to know that the entire process has to be done FROM THE EMAIL?  There is no instruction anywhere on Typepad to that effect; 8 years down the road is a very long time to have been unaware of something this basic and this user-unfriendly.  As David said, this needs to be a one-step process: Mark as Spam should automatically mark a comment as spam AND delete it, and all from the notification email rather than back-and-forth from the Typepad comments page and requiring a minimum of six clicks.

Typepad is, it seems to me, the best service of its kind.  But once in a while there's something that really, really needs to be fixed.  This is one of those 'somethings'.

Mary Helen

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Hello,

Thanks for your feedback. You have the option to delete comments either from your email notifications or from your Comments Page. While there isn't currently an option to mark a comment as spam and delete it simultaneously, that is certainly something we'll consider adding in future developments. Thanks for taking the time to let us know how you feel about the current setup. We'll definitely keep your feedback in mind as we plan future changes.

Thanks!
Mary Helen

Chad Sakac

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The amount of spam that I'm seeing is also spiraling out of control.  I'm moderating comments, using captchas - but something has got to give here, it's destroying my blog's interactivity.

David Ewart, Champion

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Over the years I've found that spam attacks come and go. The best way to get the filters working is to keeping marking them all as spam. After being pestered by spam over the past 4 or 5 weeks, I'm noticing that most of these are now being filtered out. Yesterday one made it through as a comment, but 16 did not.

Mary Helen

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Hi Chad,

If you'd like, we'd be happy to take a look at your account to see if there are any suggestions we might make that would help. If you are on a pro plan, can you open a ticket at Help > New Ticket. If you are on another kind of plan, send us an email at support@Typepad.com with your blog's url and we'll take a look for you.

Thanks!
Mary Helen

Mary Helen

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David, I'm glad to hear that you are seeing a reduction. We've made some changes recently, and we're seeing an improvement overall, which is great. We'll continue working on this until the volume returns to normal on all blogs.

Thanks!
Mary Helen

Kofla Olivieri, Champion

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The one feature I would like to see is, if I block a spammer, for them not to be able to continue spamming my posts. As of right now, their comments go into the spam folder, but sometimes I find myself deleting hundreds of spam from that folder.

Jen, Typepad Support Engineer

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Thanks for the suggestion, Kofla. We'll certainly consider adding an option to permanently block someone from submitting a comment at all. As we work on developing new comment management tools, that is something we will keep in mind including. Thanks!