Milos Mandic And The Strange Case Of The Comment Spam

Thursday, July 20, 2006 18:51 | Filed in Technology

A very accosting layout and a interesting discussion topic, do you provide any Web-based services to universities or students?Milos Mandic

I received a comment on my blog some time ago (June I think) asking pretty much that question. Apart from mentally adding "well, do ya, punk?" to the end of it, I wasn’t sure what to make of it. Was it comment spam, was it not? It had no links other than the poster’s title, it wasn’t particularly relevant to the post, but it could just about be legitimate. What to do?

I deleted it. If they wanted to ask me that question, they should have used the comment form. And then I thought no more about it…

At least, until today when I was looking at me old mucker Gez’s site, reading his WCAG 2.0 Quick Checklist Post. And I noticed a comment on it which said — come on, you know it —

A very accosting layout and a interesting discussion topic, do you provide any Web-based services to universities or students?Milos Mandic

Hmm. It’s looking a bit more like comment spam now, isn’t it? So I googled it and found 70 matches. Yes, 70. Mostly on sites relating to web design – Clagnut, 456 Berea St, Collylogic, Molly, etc. Yours may well be in the list too. Now either he’s really interested in whether or not these people offer services to students, or he — or possibly someone pretending to be him, let’s be fair about this — is a producing what could be termed “comment spam”, and is trying to get links from other web professionals sites in order to improve his pagerank. There’s also a whole swathe of Milos comments in German, on German sites but I’ve got no way of knowing if they’re relevant or not, so I won’t pass comment on those!

Intriguingly enough, if you visit his site — not that I’m providing a link — you’ll find he has a newsflash, listing where exactly he ranks in google for various keywords and phrases — e.g. 3rd Place when searching for Milos Design. That’s not impressive. If you can make it into a top ten google list without using your company name, then you’re getting somewhere. And yes, I did have to pick and order my keywords carefully, but that’s not the point, dammit!

So, if you read this site, you might want to check you don’t have any comments of that nature and take whatever action you feel is appropriate, if you find them. Such as customising your comment blockers. Evenin’ all.

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5 Comments to Milos Mandic And The Strange Case Of The Comment Spam

  1. Gez says:

    July 20th, 2006 at 7:03 pm

    Nice bit of detective work, Jack, and thanks for the heads up.

  2. Mike Cherim says:

    July 24th, 2006 at 12:39 am

    I’ve gotten that one and others. The link in the name is what they’re after.

    I deleted one today that said this (close to it anyway):

    ibfui ub up7w e bddygdy g uygdygywbd gddygd uihufifu

    The name was a link to an online poker site.

  3. JackP says:

    July 24th, 2006 at 8:16 am

    What on earth would you delete that for? It looks to me as though it was a meaningful, insightful comment carefully crtiquing what you’d written and offering sound, well thought out advice.

    No, wait… it was just garbled letters from a spammer, wasn’t it?

    The whole “link in the name” thing, despite being what they are after is of little use on most blogs who use rel=nofollow on comments meaning that they might get the link in there, but it doesn’t count for purposes of calculating page rank and the like. Of course, the spammers don’t actually care about this because you’ll find the occasional blog which doesn’t, and particularly if they’re bot-driven, that’s all they need.

  4. Milos Mandic says:

    August 28th, 2006 at 7:16 pm

    Stop talking xxxxxx kid, I am not a spammer or “dirty rotten spammer”.

    By the way “A very xxxxxx and xxxxx layout and a silly discussion topic, I hope that you do not provide any Web-based services to anybody!”

    ;-( Milos

    PS: Stop spamming my guestbook.
    [Edited for swearing]

  5. JackP says:

    August 31st, 2006 at 2:23 pm

    Milos, I did say it could be someone pretending to be you. If it’s not you then I do apologise. Also, to reiterate that I’ve had nothing to do with any spam you’re getting on your guestbook — I don’t approve of spam! I’d suggest you look at blocking IP addresses if you’re getting problems.

    I wasn’t suggesting that whoever was doing it was an email spammer, merely a comment spammer.

    The wikipedia definition says:

    This type of spam originally appeared in internet guestbooks, where spammers repeatedly fill a guestbook with links to their own site and no relevant comment to increase search engine rankings. If an actual comment is given it is often just “cool page”, “nice website”, or keywords of the spammed link.Wikipedia

    …which could certainly be the equivalent of the “very accosting layout” thing. I hope you can understand why I believe the repeated comments of the same type which weren’t part of the discussion appeared to be comment spam.

    Incidentally, I’m sorry you don’t like the site (although I perhaps understand your feelings on the discussion topic). What is it about the site specifically that you don’t like — or is it just that you’re upset with me? I’ve not changed the design of the site at all since someone claiming to be Milos Mandic commented on it previously suggesting that I had “a very accosting layout”…

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