My blog, since it has a posting frequency and readership in the single digits, doesn’t generate a lot of traffic or original viewers. But like any blog, comment spam is a continuous problem. I use the Akismet and WP-SpamFree plugins which seem to do a very good job of keeping out the spam, even without captchas. However recently I have been getting a few comments which I can’t really determine if they are spam or not. Here are some of them:

This sort of details will need to be valued by everyone – it is some thing that I believe we can all draw upon. I very significantly like the theme you’re applying right here which I consider is wordpress isn’t it? I have been searching all around for one thing simular but have yet to uncover anything suitable for my site. I looked at the link on your footer and will try and download a copy of it for myself – thanks.

I just wanted to let you know that I learned a lot from your post and I really enjoyed reading it. I was doing some research on google and I’m happy I discovered your blog. Again, thanks for the info.

Wonderful Blog :) Very Entertaining and I love your perspective. I’ll be adding you to my feed reader and be back again the next time you update. Regards

Hi, I thought I would drop you a line and inform you that your web site layout is really screwed up on the Firefox browser. Seems to work good in IE though. Anyhow keep up the good work.

So I’m not too sure what to make of comments like these. They’re not blatant spam, I mean, they obviously aren’t shilling for viagra or Texas hold-em’ or pump-and-dump stocks or some such. However, what makes them so suspicious is how generic they are. Any one of these comments could be put on almost any blog post anywhere, and they wouldn’t seem out of place… But not quite. That first one is suspicious because the specific post it was commenting on was not really a diary of personal experiences like the comment was alluding to. Also the English seems a bit non-native to me. The last comment there is bogus because I only use Firefox and I know the layout is fine.

So here’s my theory. I think these are all spam, but their initial purpose is not to put blogs in comment spam hell. I think that these are essentially ‘tracer’ rounds in the arms race between spammer and spam blockers. In other words, the spammers are just testing to see what kind of comments can make it through the spam filters, so they can more finely tweak their spamming programs.

I don’t want to help the spammers, so I’ve decided to think of these comments as the appetizer that comes before the main course: a main course of spam. Spam + appetizer = spametizer ?