26 March 2009

Mirela the blog crawler

I recently got a nice little comment from "Sarah", on my post about laptop screen quality. The exact text of the comment was:
"I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often"
The comment concluded with a link to a blog testing laptops.
Today I noticed that Ned Bunnell had got a comment with exactly the same wording from one "Ann" on one of his posts. "Ann", however, linked to a blog for large pets.
Since both "Ann" and "Sarah" are linked to the same blogger profile "Mirela", I got curious. A quick Google search on the comment phrase brought up more than 100 exact matches. All of which were in blog contexts. Now how likely is that, given the lenght of the phrase? I sampled some of them, and found them all to be signed by random female names and pointing to various blogs.
So clearly Mirela must be some sort of robot. She is probably set up to drive traffic to the blogs she advertise. For the sake of the authors of those blogs, I really hope they're not paying for that kind of service.
I have removed her comment from my blog, but left my naïve answer in. Little did I know then...:-)
So as of now, I have turned on comment moderation. As they say, I'm sorry about the inconvenience. But I don't want to play host for parasite promotions.


Frank M. said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along.

Just kidding! Your post on Mirela, the blog-bot, is a bit disturbing. These days, people tend to communicate more using internet-based applications than face-to-face conversation. And one often forgets how untrustworthy this communication can be. I'm sure Mirela doesn't even own a Pentax!

Yvon Bourque said...

Thank you for your observation. I will watch for the robot crawler!

Boris said...

Jostein, I happen to be one of Russian Penta Club forum moderators. Most recently we've been hit by a large number of spam robots that would register to the forum and post some primitive spam messages. However, one such message was very alarming. It was actually advertising a program that could automatically manage a meaningful conversation on the forum leading to a subtle promotional message somewhere down the line. The moderators discussed it some. This is, IMO, quite alarming.

As you can see from my most recent post under Blog_Admin tag, I survived just about 20 mins without comment moderation until I got a spam comment in my (very modest) blog...

Call it technology hiccups...

cog said...

I've had hundreds of these types of comment, though I don't think Mirela has discovered me yet. Using a combination of Spam Karma 2 and Akismet, I've trapped most of them before they got into the public comment threads, and since I get an email note whenever someone posts a comment I can get to the ones that slip through.