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Unwanted Gifts


Keeping the seasonal theme, we are having a bit of a problem with unwanted gifts, specifically automated spam comments. For the last few days – and ongoing – there has been a particularly heavy flood of them. We usually get about 200 a day, but that has gone up to over 450 and increasing. Nearly all are caught by the automatic defences and the rest are quickly mopped up, but the problem is that they come in waves. When a flood is going on, you may find the site slow, or even temporarily unavailable.

I’ve also given up going through the caught spam to weed out any genuine comments wrongly flagged as spam. If anyone’s comment doesn’t appear when they submit it, or soon afterwards – I’m sorry but it has probably gone down with the spam.

Botnets. That’s where such automated floods come from. Can everyone running a Windows PC please get proper anti-virus/security software (there is good free stuff) and stop using Internet Explorer 6. Pretty please?

Giles Peaker is a solicitor and partner in the Housing and Public Law team at Anthony Gold Solicitors in South London. You can find him on Linkedin and on Twitter. Known as NL round these parts.


  1. Michael

    There’s nothing worse than blog spam; it irritates me in a way that email spam has never done!!! I even made a ‘call to arms’ for fellow blawggers to fight the pesky spammers a few weeks ago over at Law Actually (link below)

    (Ironically, though, I’m not sure whether by including that link, this comment will be flagged up as spam). Oh well… :-)

    • NL


      We use self-hosted WordPress and the askimet plugin takes care of 99.5% of the spam automatically. But the deluge has reached the level where it is actually interfering with the site’s responsiveness at times. The sheer numbers forced me to give up checking for false negatives, alas. The spam is wholly automatic, and comes from botnets, rather than individuals, so there isn’t even any point in banning or filtering IP addresses – each spam has a different IP address for the source and there is no particular nation of origin.

      Having read your post and the comments, I’d have to confess to being very tired of being emailed by ‘web marketers’ seeking advertising or link exchanges for some PI claims farmer or other ‘legal’ site. I have a slightly less than polite response email on autotext.

  2. Penny

    I hate the one that asks to speak to the site moderator. It drives me crazy. And as for that Japanese one, don’t get me started…

    • NL

      The Japanese one???

      I’m just rude to whomever from whatever dodgy SEO/link farming company has emailed me, if I can be bothered. Sometimes they even apologise. Not often, granted, but sometimes.

      On the spam, now up to over 500 per day, I’m compiling a dossier on a particular US real estate agent whose site was the link for 30+ spam comments. There is a phone number on her web site and everything. Given that she hasn’t had the grace to reply to my email, I may or may not feel a slightly forensic naughty step coming on, depending on time and energy…


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