Splogs, Spam Karma 2, and the Pingback Bonus

Lately, I’ve been seeing the same thing Alex has—comment spammers using pingbacks from splogs to evade most comment spam mechanisms. In particular, I’ve been getting a lot of spam from the maxblog.eu domain; tonight, I explicitly blacklisted this domain all over rmfo-blogs. Looks like Spam Karma 2 [at 2.3, anyway] sees the positive pingback, adds the +4 Pingback Bonus, and is happy from there. [I can’t tell whether it ignores the blacklist at +4 or not; I thought it was, and then I checked the last maxblog.eu spam I just deleted, and it was prior to my explicit domain blacklisting.] Of course, I’m not happy with the spam, but hey … I can delete it pretty quickly. But like Alex noted, it’s a pain, and hey … isn’t that why I grabbed SK2 in the first place?

Let me address two potential objections before they arise: yes, I’ve contacted Dave about this [but admittedly just before writing this post, so he hasn’t had any time to respond], and no, I don’t like running Akismet, even though I get how it’s designed to leverage network effects and all that. Man, I just don’t like depending on centralized stuff, and yes, I know that comments get processed on failure. I’ve thought about running Akismet and SK2 as a belt-and-suspenders approach, but honestly, SK2 does such a damn fine job 99% of the time that I don’t feel the need.

I guess the comment spammers weren’t content to ruin trackbacks only, eh?

Fixing the Broken Things

The rule of any long-running Web site is simple: content moves and old links break as a result. [caedmonscall.net] has been up and running since September 2001; it was, for its first few years, a hand-rolled site. Over the last year or two, we’ve transitioned it to WordPress, and things have been great. That said, doing that broke a lot of links, and until lately, I haven’t had a toolset for fixing those links easily. But here’s what I’m now using, WP plugin-wise, to fix the broken things:

  • Alex King’s 404 Notifier. I snarf the RSS feed, and that reminds me that I have new things to go off and fix. [Guilt is good.]
  • Google XML Sitemaps. A lot of the 404s I see are from Google and Yahoo! crawling the site looking for links that once were good. Might as well let the search bots know where things really are, no?
  • Redirection, which is the true star of the show. John Godley’s plugin is ridiculously powerful—regular expressions for moving an entire directory elsewhere, 410 reporting for links you’ve purposefully ended, the ability to create 301s on the fly when you change a post slug, you name it. I can’t say enough about the awesomeness of this plugin.

If you’re taking an existing site into WordPress and want to re-point things, or if you’re looking to reorganize your WP site, these tools will help you keep the Web from being broken. That’s a good thing.

CafeTurk.net is a Splogger

I went to bed last night about 10:00 p.m.; when I woke up about 20 minutes ago and blinked my way out here to the office, I asked the air in here, “Why do I have 98 overnight emails?” The answer was simple: a splogger had hijacked my content into a WordPress install at cafeturk.net and had pingback every link … which meant that I got lots of email.

My apologies to you if you got splogged in this attack as well. There’s not too much that you can do pro-actively about such things, at least that I’m willing to do. [Offering summary-only feeds, copyrighting my work, etc.]