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May 04, 2006

Trackback SPAM

Unfortunately, a "housekeeping" item chewed up my blogging time today.  I discovered this morning that MysteryPollster has been receiving several hundred pieces of "trackback" spam every day for since mid-March.   Now, I have quite a mess to clean up. 

A trackback, for those unfamiliar with that particular term of art, refers to the mechanism that allows bloggers to link to and comment on each other's posts simultaneously.  Trackback links appear on this site just above the individual comments left by MP readers.  Unfortunately, the Spammers that have bombarded our email accounts are now hard at work doing the same to the comments and trackback facilities on blogs.

MP has also attracted a smattering of "comment SPAM" -- commercial or otherwise totally off-topic messages left as a comment  -- but it has been so light and sporadic that I was content to simply delete it when it appeared.  However, the trackback spammers posted their deluge of garbage links on MP posts that are more than a few weeks old, so I was unaware of literally thousands of incoming trackback links that mucked up this site. 

As a result of this barrage, I have been experimenting today with the various features offered by Typepad, the service that hosts this blog, to block comment SPAM.  My apologies for any unexpected weirdness to anyone who attempted ot post a comment earlier today.  One change I have put into effect today:   Readers that enter comments will have to "pass a test," as the folks at Typepad put it, "to validate that they are a person and not a machine."  You will be asked to enter some letters and numbers that will appear in a small graphic.  Anonymous comments will remain possible.

Also please note this one minor addition to MP's informal but evolving comment policy:  Comments or trackbacks that refer or link to products or services for sale, that post random news items or include jibberish text unrelated to the topic of the post are all subject to deletion without notice. 

PS:  Readers may have also had difficulty accessing MP on Tuesday night.  That was apparently the result of "sophisticated denial of service attack" aimed at the service that hosts this site.  The Typepad blog has details

Related Entries - MP Housekeeping

Posted by Mark Blumenthal on May 4, 2006 at 05:34 PM in MP Housekeeping | Permalink


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