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  • Joe 11:58 on June 5, 2009 Permalink
    Tags: spam,   

    Fun with Twitter Spammers 

    Actually, Twitter spammers aren’t funny at all. But sometimes they use such stupid names and avatars that you wonder who in their right mind would ever  follow them.

    A common way these spammers try to get your attention, hoping you will follow them, is just start following your twitter account “at random”. Now one day I found the following two low lifers, with apparently opposite intentions, in sequence in my followers queue:

    These followed me in sequence, too stupid to be true?

    These followed me in sequence, too stupid to be true?

    Now I’m pondering which one to pick, the pathetic diet promoter or the fat cheesy one?

    Seriously, advice to those who create such spammy accounts: don’t waste the effort, you make me laugh at very best if I don’t outright block you.

    Conversely, if you’re a human being and like to follow my sometimes random tweets, you’re still more than welcome to follow me (@jlapoutre) on Twitter!

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  • Joe 10:30 on April 25, 2009 Permalink
    Tags: , spam, technorati, trend, , whatthetrend   

    Twitter trending upswing: whatthetrend? 

    What the trend

    What the trend

    Update: yes, there are more such services now, I just discovered tagdef.com which does more or less the same. And is much less complete as of late Aug. 2009. Their complementary twitter account is @newtagdefs.

    Since Twitter search officially launched, Twitter trends have become an essential part to keep up with the service. These trends are shown on every search page.

    Many trends are marked by the often cryptic hash tags (e.g. #www2009 stood for the WWW conference, 2009 edition.

    But also regular terms emerge in the trends if people are using them often enough, for example names like Susan Boyle become real Twiter trends this way.

    In many cases, looking at the trends will give you a quick impression what is hot right now in the world. But sometimes terms and hash tags are not obvious at first glance, if at all.

    A new service, whatthetrend.com, has been launched to solve this problem. The site shows the latest trend terms, along with a small user-editable explanation what the trend is about. This looks a lot like the awkwardly named technorati experiment WTF (intended to be a funny acronym for where’s the fire).

    Clicking on such a trend displays related tweets, news and photos, very neat.

    Of course, whatthetrend comes with its own @whatthetrend twitter account which announces new trends and invites followers to explain them. And you can also use wttrend.com to save on your 140 chars limit.

    I really like this service!

    Some more random observations around Twitter trends


    The local timezone of an event is often very relevant for something to become a trend. Right now, #hksummit is trending (Apple event in Hong Kong, at local time somewhere afternoon). With Twitter becoming more and more popular, geographic restriction on search/trends might become useful for disambiguation and better signal to noise ratio when following local events.


    Spammers are starting to abuse the popular tweet terms and post tweets with just these terms, together with their spammy links.

    There is one twitter account (which I won’t mention here to avoid free publicity) which does just that: take all trend terms, convert them in a Amazon search query with affiliate code and post a tweet, many times per hour.

    This was first discovered by the @paggr folks during #www2009. They are now trying to keep the spam out of their system, yet another arms race against spam has started.

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  • Joe 00:13 on April 3, 2008 Permalink
    Tags: linkspam, Mark Pilgrim, pretty solid solution, spam,   

    WordPress 2.5 and link spam 

    Yesterday, I upgraded to the much improved WordPress release 2.5. There are so many improvements that I won’t even start to talk about them. You better watch this 4 minute screencast instead.

    But something else happened as well: link spams started to flow in by tens per hour, while this normally was at a stable, low rate of about one a week. I think this is pure coincidence, some spammers having found a new way to massively abuse wordpress blogs. But nevertheless, it;s very annoying.

    Luckily, there’s a pretty solid solution around the corner: the plugin Bad Behavior seems to catch this kind of spam very effectivel, at least for now. Let’s see how long this will stand in the spammers’ arms race.

    Some links from my little research on blog spam:

    The OpenID post learned me about the term Club Solution (Club vs. Lojack solutions, Mark Pilgrim). Nice!

    • Lorelle 15:12 on April 3, 2008 Permalink

      You are not alone and it has nothing to do with WordPress 2.5 as some of my blogs not upgraded, including WordPress.com, were slammed over the last couple of days. It’s a new comment spammer on the loose. Since their information is not in the Akismet database yet, it’s up to us in the community of Akismet users to help each other and mark all of these comment spam so the information will get into that database.

      New comment spammers get through because they have changed how they work and it’s up to us to teach Akismet to recognize them. There will always be new monsters lurking in the corner spending way too much time trying to waste our time. The fact that it happened a few days after the release of WordPress 2.5 is just a coincidence.

      Just start marking them and we all win!

    • Joe 15:21 on April 3, 2008 Permalink

      @Lorelle: I already thought that the upgrade to 2.5 was sheer coincidence, so I’m glad that this is not the cause.

      The Bad Behavior plugin does block the new spammer pretty effectively (not a single one went through last 24 hours), but I feel almost guilty not being able to mark these comments as spam anymore.

      Be sure I contributed my deal already by getting rid of some 50 of them through akismet before!

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