Simon Willison’s Weblog


21 items tagged “spam”


I remember that they [Ev and Biz at Twitter in 2008] very firmly believed spam was a concern, but, “we don’t think it’s ever going to be a real problem because you can choose who you follow.” And this was one of my first moments thinking, “Oh, you sweet summer child.” Because once you have a big enough user base, once you have enough people on a platform, once the likelihood of profit becomes high enough, you’re going to have spammers.

Del Harvey # 22nd November 2023, 4:59 am


Tell-a-Friend: Leverage Word of Mouth Marketing. I’d love to know how they intend to stop this free widget from becoming the world’s most popular spam proxy. And of course, they abuse the password anti-pattern despite the existence of safe API alternatives to address book scraping. # 20th September 2008, 12 pm

Using Akismet with Django’s new comments framework. A nice example that demonstrates two features that were recently rolled in to the Django 1.0 betas: the new signals library and the new comments framework. # 28th August 2008, 10:12 am

The law behind “tell a friend” services. Useful guide based on UK law, updated in July 2008. # 28th July 2008, 10:49 am

This is the new blog-spam. [...] ’web design company’ takes the highest ranking comment from reddit, and posts it on the site that the original comment is based on. [...] Neat eh? They get to have links on a site that won’t get blog-spam filtered, because the comment is ’relevant’, since the comment originates from a comment thread about the site.

ator_fighting_eagle # 20th June 2008, 6:55 pm

Craigslist is fighting back. Its latest gimmick is phone verification. Posting in some categories now requires a callback phone call, with a password sent to the user either by voice or as an SMS message. [...] Spammers tried using their own free ringtone sites to get many users to accept the Craigslist verification call, then type in the password from the voice message. Craigslist hasn’t countered that trick yet.

John Nagle # 26th May 2008, 8:40 am

OpenID and Spam. Matt Mullenweg: “OpenID has a ton of promise for the web—let’s not hurt it by setting people up for disappointment by telling them it’s a spam blocker when it’s not.” True for the case of general registration, but I still believe whitelisting known OpenIDs could be a powerful tool for fighting spam on personal sites. # 2nd April 2008, 7:33 pm


Sorry PR people: you’re blocked. I was added to some PR mailing lists a few months ago and they appear to be spreading my address around like a nasty disease. I’m tempted to contribute some addresses to Chris Anderson’s block list. # 31st October 2007, 5:22 pm

Quechup: Another Social Network Enemy! This is why we need to stop teaching users that it’s OK to give their e-mail username and password to any site that asks for it. # 21st September 2007, 11:36 pm

3rd Annual Nigerian EMail Conference. “Registration is via a confidential money transfer.” # 26th June 2007, 1:27 am

Unsettling. Sounds like there might be a massive scripted hack going on against out of date WordPress installs on Dreamhost. Check your site. See also discussion in the comments attached to this post. # 5th June 2007, 9:16 pm

Introducing http:BL (via) Project Honey Pot announce a new blacklist service for blocking comment spammers and e-mail spiders using information from their network of honey pots. # 25th April 2007, 11:39 pm

Fading Out Nofollows? Philipp Lenssen suggests automatically removing the nofollow from links in comments a few days after they have been posted, to allow administrators time to delete spam without penalising legitimate authors. # 15th April 2007, 8:27 pm

Thankfully, because of the accountability that is built into the web itself (the URL structure is fundamentally accountable), I believe that while the vulnerability of the live web to spam is real, it is managable.

David Sifry # 5th April 2007, 11:39 pm

i’m Home. “Every time you start a conversation using i’m, Microsoft shares a portion of the program’s advertising revenue with some of the world’s most effective organisations dedicated to social causes.” Microsoft are now getting their marketing ideas from spam e-mail forwards. # 2nd March 2007, 10:43 am

The bright side: web spam is an evolutionary force that pushes relevance innovations such as trustrank forward. Spam created the market opportunity for Google, when Altavista succumbed in 97-98. Search startups should be praying to the spam gods for a second opportunity.

Rick Skrenta # 15th February 2007, 11:15 am

Fake bloggers soon to be “named and shamed” (via) Apparently due to a new EU directive banning companies from “falsely representing oneself as a consumer”. # 12th February 2007, 9:35 am

Why people hate SEO... (and why SMO is bulls$%t). Jason Calacanis explains SMO, or “Social Media Optimisation”—digg spamming now has its own TLA. # 8th February 2007, 7:47 am

Social whitelisting with OpenID... ( Tom’s write-up of the social whitelisting idea. Lots of sceptics in the comments. # 26th January 2007, 1 am

Stopping spambots with hashes and honeypots. Ned’s analysis of how spambots work, along with some relatively simple tricks that should fool most of them. # 23rd January 2007, 1:39 pm


Hacked for Spam

From the New York Times:

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