September 13th 2007 -
I think I worked out what this clickbank malarkey is about. It is, indeed, spam, but it’s human-generated. They appear to be running some kind of scheme where people can earn money by commenting on people’s weblogs, thus presumably opening up those weblogs to spam once the initial comments have been approved, thus inflating their search engine rankings.
Just a guess, mind you, but it explains the generic and impersonal (yet curiously relevant) comments from random strangers on clickbank IP addresses. For example, a typical one:
“Great Article! Vik”
“I have to agree. This was the best of the series.”
(in response to a post about the last HP book being good)
“Looks like youâ€™re having loads of fun; now maybe you can find some time to sleep.”
Here’s a more cunning one:
“I would really like to learn how to make things out of balloon. Iâ€™ve always been interested in how to come up with creative images very quickly. Iâ€™d like to see more. Please post more images. Thanks.”
…which I almost approved, except that it comes from clickbank.
The penny kinda dropped when I got this comment from a clickbanker, in response to my previous posts on the topic:
“No, itâ€™s just someone advertising their websites, just like everybody else advertising on the web. Even the owner of this site is advertising his website here. Thatâ€™s how he continually get viewers such as yourself to come here and read the articles and make comments. So what if youâ€™re advertising a website. Thatâ€™s what itâ€™s about. Someone took the time to visit your website, now you can â€œchooseâ€ whether you would like to visit theirâ€™s, IF it interests you of course. I have a website to advertise also but when I come to these sites, I search through the articles like everybody else, looking for a topic that Iâ€™m interested in reading just like everybody else, click on it, read it , post a comment, like everybody else. I have a website that others can choose to check out if theyâ€™re interested. If you donâ€™t like advertisements, maybe you should stay off of the internet. And really, I would teach you how to advertise, which posting a website to comments is such a small way for exposure compared to others but I am making over 5 thousand a month by advertising clickbank companies and i started only 2 months ago.”
So, yeah, a spam scam.
Anyway, I’m not sure the technology for resisting spam will keep up with this approach for long. Soon they will be able to conceal that they come from clickbank, and then I’m straight into paranoid mode. Hence: if I don’t know you, and you send a marginally relevant comment, I’m afraid I’m not going to approve it. If it’s a *good* comment, I’ll post it directly in a weblog entry. But not in the comments.
It’s friends-and-relatives-only in the comments from now on.