27 Nov 2007 11 am eastern

Guestbook spam gambit of the week

Among the messages I receive via this site’s contact form, I was thrilled to see a letter that began thusly:

I stumbled upon your site today and was quite impressed. I really liked the design. Did you make it yourself?

Yes, Jennifer, I did. I made it myself. How kind of you to inquire.

The note then went on to inform me about a non-profit library website similar to Bartleby, “except its far better organized and user friendly.”

The grammatically daft “its” is key to making the message seem like it was written by an average person and not by an internet marketer.

I love the smell of guestbook spam in the morning.

[tags]guestbook spam[/tags]

Filed under: 12 years, guestbook spam, industry

38 Responses to “Guestbook spam gambit of the week”

  1. Ray McK said on

    “I love the smell of guestbook spam in the morning.”

    The rest of the quote is suitable for this topic.

    “You know, one time we had a hill bombed, for 12 hours. When it was all over, I walked up. We didn’t find one of ‘em, not one stinkin’ spammer body. The smell, you know that gasoline smell, the whole hill. Smelled like… victory. Someday this spam’s gonna end…”

  2. Josh Stodola said on

    Alright. It’s = spam. Its = no spam. Thank God someone finally figured out how to fool these damn bots.

  3. Devon Shaw said on

    While we’re at it, can someone once and for all explain what the definition of “is” is?

  4. Justin Heideman said on

    Hi, I found your blog post very interesting. I’ve been having similar issues on my blog. Check it out…

    Oh hell, even I can’t bring myself to copy their shoddy techniques.

  5. John said on

    “I stumbled upon your site today and was quite impressed” might not trigger your spam alert, given your impressive site, but any mail coming to me that says that is obviously bogus.

  6. Eric Stoller said on

    Does anyone really stumble upon a site? (pun intended ;-)

  7. Simon Jessey said on

    I had a load of comment spam the other day that started with the words, “This is not comment spam!” and then went on to describe in extraordinary detail about how I would benefit from various potions and powders.

  8. Deaf Musician said on

    I really like the content you write on your site, do you write it yourself?

  9. Will Kessel said on

    I get a lot of the ones that go, “I didn’t really understand alot of (insert post title here), but then my [insert whatever potion here -- with a link] really helped out alot. Great site!”

    If he doesn’t see his comment posted immediately, why does he keep coming back so many times? Daily? Weekly? Monthly?

    That’s what I don’t understand.

  10. machiavelli said on

    B Its incredible, how
    U some people think
    Y that they can

    V make profit by
    I sending unrequested
    A mail or posting
    G unrequested comments
    R with hidden messages.
    A I would never do it myself ;)

  11. Siva Nadarajah said on

    A while ago, the company I work for went through some massive attacks of spam. For some reason, our filters wouldn’t pick these obvious messages and we would get about 30 emails in our Outlook boxes a day from Viagra to Electronics.

    I had to create rules manually to combat them. Fortunately, the IT department here figured things were going downhill so they did step in to fix the issue…took a couple of weeks, but they got the crap out!

  12. Daryl said on

    How about those pesky Link Exchange Requests? They always start with “Dear Sir/Madam, I am contacting you to inquire whether you would be interested in exchanging links with our client …”

  13. George Girton said on

    ok, ice is not hot, why do i keep getting that wrong? anyway, i was in the Santa Monica Public Library last night and guess what? they have ALL the Eames FILMS. Six DVDs full. The Eames (in vol. 3) answering succinctly and wittily (not the blurb’s actual wording) question about … d e s i g n.

    By the way, is it Eames’ films or Eames’s films? Either way, you have been comment spammed. Cheers!

  14. mike said on

    aw darn, i thought she really liked my site. it’s all a lie. A LIE!!!!

  15. Thomas Watson said on

    Spam is an annoyance… We get between 2000 and 3000 spam comments each day on justaddwater.dk.

    We’ll try to see how much this is in time and money if we would have to remove them all manually each day. So on the 15th of December we’ll disable our spam filter for 24 hours and record our frustration and manual labor:

  16. Mike Cherim said on

    Based on what I have seen of spam and the science thereof, it’ll come to a grinding halt about ten years after the last idiot actually follows one of the links provided. As amazing as it seems [to me and some others], it works because there are still idiots being duped by it. There is a sucker born every minute and that is what fuels the fire.

  17. Dan Schulz said on

    People, people, you’re getting it all wrong with the spam puns (though the first one was pretty good). This is how the masters (not that I would know) do it…

    “Dear Sir/Madam:

    My name is SomeStupidSpammer, My Father, who was Minister of Foreign Baloney Relations at the Ministry of Swindling & Shenanigans with the Government of Timbuktu died recently, leaving me with vast fortune worth over $500,000,000,000 US Dollars in gold, silver, platinum, diamonds and rare gems. I need your help to help me clean out your bank account and steal your identity by giving me your Social Security number, credit card numbers/card issuers, checking and savings account information so I can ruin your credit report with all three major credit reporting bureaus.

    I am sure you will not mind the hundreds of harassing and threatening phone calls from collection agencies each day, despite such calls being in direct violation of United States Federal “Fair Debt Collection Practices Act” and “Fair Credit Reporting Act” Laws, not to mention your mailbox being flooded with debt collection letters by debt collectors trying to collect the money you now owe them because of my unrestrained purchasing habits.

    If you are willing to be submitted to years (possibly decades) of financial ruin and agony, not to mention the shame and humiliation of being taken advantage of by a fifth grader, please contact my Father’s estate in Timbuktu at the following address. In return for your assistance, I will let you keep $500,0000,000 of his estate once you have transferred the funds to your US bank account for processing and send me a certified cheque for the balance.

    Thank you.”

    See, not too difficult… The sad thing is, this kind of thing happens on a daily basis.

  18. S! said on

    “I love the smell of guestbook spam in the morning.”
    No, you dont :))
    rel=’ external nofollow ‘

  19. Andrew said on

    I can increase traffic to your site. I will submit your site to hundreds of search engines.

  20. AngusM said on

    I’ve seen a few of those today, sent to various accounts at my workplace. The ones I saw were pushing something different, though.

    The problem with “clever” spam of this kind is that you only have to send a copy to two addresses that are read by the same person and the game is up. Once I’ve seen something near-identical sent to both ‘support@’ and ‘info@’, I know what I’m dealing with.

    By the way, in answer to Will Kessel’s question, the spammers keep coming back because it’s easier and cheaper to spam a million blogs than it is to go back and remove the ones that blocked the message. Spam is strictly fire-and-forget.

  21. Philip said on

    I love the smell of guestbook spam in the morning.

    Interesting, I’ve not tried guestbook spam. Is it as nice as spam fritter? I love a nice spam fritter in the morning, hmmm.

  22. The Bat said on

    I suppose, these days, one should carry liability insurance for those wandering souls who stumble on to one’s site?

  23. Wendy said on

    Thanks guys you made my day. Very funny comments

  24. Pozycjonowanie said on

    nice post!


    ehhe machiavelli nice comment :)

  25. Eystein said on

    For a great take on spam check out the new Futurama movie :)

  26. cam thomas said on

    how do the penis enlargement people know i need that? i figured my girlfriend was rattin me out.

  27. machiavelli said on

    You won’t need to furtively put socks into your trunks anymore!

    Vixens confess, that small-sized pen!ses in no way are able to please them!
    They just don’t touch the vaginal nerve endings sufficiently!
    By good luck, due to MegaDik it’s now possible to increase the pen!s size!

    Enter zeldman.com in the referal domain field toget a 10% discount!

  28. Stefan Seiz said on

    I got th exact same spam. Can anyone explain the reasoning behind sending spam through a contact form? I mean these mails usualy do not end up on a website or such and thus won’t improve their PageRank or such at all. So why would anyone develop a tool to submit spam via contact forms? Is it that they’re just too stupid to differenciate contact forms from forums or such?

  29. Ben Kendall said on


    It is entirely possible that a spambot just grabs all the forms it can find on a site and spams them all. It would be quicker and easier to write than one that can identify specific forms and only fill them out while also making sure to not miss any weird comment forms and maximizes their chances of having something show up somewhere.

    With it being easier to program and less likely to miss a form they do want to spam, there’s not many reasons to make a spambot that hunts down only comment forms. I will admit that more advanced programmers wouldn’t have much trouble with this, but they also tend to do better things than design spambots.

  30. Stefan Seiz said on


    It would now be interesting to see what the forms through which some of us received the spam have in common. Maybe we can just rename som of our form fields to have the bots ignore them. It might be, that they are only using forms with certain names in the input fields or textareas. At least, they spammed me only through one form on our site which has more than one contact form…

  31. Dan Schulz said on

    Stefan, doing that may compromise the usability of those forms if not done properly, especially for those who rely on auto-form fill in tools available with the Google Toolbar or Opera’s built-in auto-fill feature.

    It’s just something you may want to consider and keep in mind.

  32. Tony Fendall said on

    Nice post!

    (Or does that count as spam too?)

  33. Chris Cox said on

    I don’t know if this counts as spam itself, but I’m a big fan of reCAPTCHA.

  34. Luuk said on

    The problem with spam is that it just works. Like laundry-detergent commercials, which are appallingly stupid all over the world. But they work.

    The people that buy stuff through spam are not all stupid, unfortunately. Example: say you’d like to try some Viagra. Where do you get it? Are you going to go to a pharmacy in your neighbourhood and buy the stuff while everyone is watching? Or are you just going to follow one of the little links in your mailbox? I know what I’d do – not that I ever need it, of course!

    So the problem is: some items are most conveniently offered through spam. We need to make Viagra and everything else more easily available on the streets, anonymously, to get rid of spam! Yay! Casinos everywhere. Viagra drive-thrus. Little Nigerian scam corners on every street. Blinking neon link-displays all over town.

    Naaah … on second thought: keep sending it electronically. Easier to get rid of and ignore.

  35. How About a Little Spam-Busting? - Beast-Blog.com said on

    [...] Zeldman.com: Guestbook Spam Gambit of the Week [...]

  36. timati said on

    how do the penis enlargement people know i need that? i figured my girlfriend was rattin me out.

  37. solvey said on

    http://forum.dcc.ca.uk – come here!!!!

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