Saturday, August 27, 2005

Javascript Spam Fix

I just found some very interesting stuff on Spam Huntress' wiki. Marco seems to have to have a pretty good solution to referrer and trackback lists becoming unusable again. By using some Javascript he can tell which ones are legitimate visitors and not bots. At least for now, most of these bots don't handle Javascript.

See his posts:
Trackback Spam Eliminated
Bye bye referrer spammers (2-1)

But these solutions aren't able to prevent the spammy referrers and trackbacks in the first place so it still doesn't solve the problem of spammers wasting your bandwidth. And it wouldn't be too hard for spammers to work around this, it would likely be less automated, but if this prevention method becomes prevelant they likely will try it.

It seems Marco currently has a low opinion of Google: Google doesn't give a shit. I have to agree they don't seem to be solving the problem. But they do try, they are just a little misguided and slow. But compare what they are doing to other search engines. I don't know how the other search engines are planning on surviving if they don't do more to fight spamdexing. Google may be full of spam, but there is only so much they can do when spammers have filled up so much of the internet with their garbage.

I have to agree on what you wrote about Google. No, they are far from being perfect. But the competition seems to be years behind. Just think about Yahoo. They actually try to show off with the raw number of pages in their index. Easy to have such large numbers if you index every doorway page, every dictionary page, and every darn texas-holdem-134.html page there is.
What you can do to prevent them from stealing your bandwidth is logging all IP's from those who failed my tests and add them to a .htaccess list of 'deny from' rules or even better: add them directly to a firewall such as iptables on Linux.

I realize it's all not perfect or anything but the aim of the game is to stay ahead of the spammers with our anti-spam tools. For now, and I think for quite a while, we're definitely ahead.
Adding offenders to .htaccess is a good idea for the short term. But spammers don't keep the same IPs for too long and I don't think you would want to overload the file. So you would have to prune the old entries.

I agree, there is no perfect solution. All we can do is combine as many partial solutions together and hope we stay a head of the spammers.

This certainly is one of the better methods for saving trackbacks and referrer lists. Without protection they certainly would have become obsolete.
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