A successful blog like this one receives a large quantity of spam comments. How large, I hear you ask? Well, at the time of writing, there were 3745 messages in the Notes from the Slushpile spam folder:
Now, this would be a nightmare for us to administer, were it not for the fact that Google (who owns Blogger) has a very clever algorithm for automatically detecting spam comments. So, for the most part, you can go on surfing our blog without ever having to know about the turbulence below the surface.
But, as writers, we all know the feeling that what we’re writing is falling into a void. We send out streams of queries to agents and publishers, with no idea if anyone is even reading the material, let alone responding with anything more encouraging than “meh.” Do the spammers feel that way too? Maybe they’re sending thousand upon thousand messages out there in the hope that one – just one – will connect with a living human being.
Spammers of the world, it’s your lucky day! Because I’m here to dig deep into the spam folder and provide the critique that your unique work so richly deserves...
The Structure of Spam
Just like a novel or screenplay, spam blog comments have their own inherent structure. But rather than a beginning, middle and end, spam comments have just two elements:
This is a paragraph of text whose content can differ widely (as you’ll see). But in most cases, the primary function of the tease is to trick you, to make you think you’re reading a real comment from a real person. If you read to the end of the tease, it’s done its job, because then you get:
This is a link to a website that the spammer hopes you will visit, and subsequently enjoy the fake Ray-Ban sunglasses or borderline illegal diet pills they're selling.
The tease and the payoff aren’t entirely aimed at you, the human reader. In fact, the spammers may be far more interested in tricking the most voracious readers on the internet – the search engine bots. If the spam comment is convincing enough, the search engine bot crawling the Notes from the Slushpile blog pages will record a genuine link from our site to the spammer’s site, thus raising the ranking of their site in search results. Sneaky, huh?
OK, let’s get onto the business at hand – spam critique!
The Flattery Spammer
This is the largest category of spam that we receive. Of course, it could be because we’re wonderful, but it’s more likely to be a bit of cunning social engineering. Who doesn’t like flattery?
I’ve been surfing online more than three hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It’s pretty worth enough for me. In my view, if all webmasters and bloggers made good content as you did, the web will be much more useful than ever before. Investment offshore bonds offshore bonds Financial Assets financial advisers financial planner pensions IFAs life retirement investment international adviser
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The Civic-Minded Spammer
We are a group of volunteers and starting a brand new scheme in our community. Your site offered us with valuable information to work on. You have done a formidable task and our whole neighborhood shall be grateful to you. My blog: Trump for President.
The Fake Technical Problem Spammer
Now this is devious! Here’s a spam message that pollutes your blog and makes you feel bad about it at the same time!
I do not know if it’s just me or if perhaps everybody else experiencing problems with your website. It seems like some of the text within your posts are running off the screen. Can someone else please provide feedback and let me know if this is happening to them too? This might be a issue with my browser because I’ve had this happen before. Thanks Feel free to surf to my blog :: Vietnam Travel
The Public Service Spammer
I wish that more householders would understand the serious dangers posed by carbon monoxide poisoning. Each year more than twenty people are needlessly killed by this odourless, colourless gas leaking from faulty central heating systems and many hundreds more suffer health problems because of it. Check out my webpage: Boiler Servicing
The Almost-Poetic Spammer
Because the good pellet progresses the item melts as a consequence of shear from the wall membrane and for that reason touches and moves to the liquid sales channel. So the sturdy route filters gradually and the fruit juice funnel broadens.
I don’t|do not even know|understand how|know how I stopped|I ended|I finished up here|right here|but I thought|I assumed|I believed this|used to be|was|was once good|great |I don’t|do not realize|recognize|
understand|recognise|know who you are|you might be|but definitely|certainly|should you|when you|in the event you|in case you|for those who|if you happen to are not|aren’t already
The Slice of Life Spammer
Today, I went to the beach with my children. I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” Shhe placed the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside annd it pinched her ear. She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is totally off topic butt I had to tell someone! Feel free to surf to my site: Kacer Kawin
The Cut-and-Paste Spammer
This last category is one that accounts for a good proportion of the spam messages we receive. As far as I can tell, the spammers have a program that scrapes random phrases off other websites and then recompiles them in an order that invariably makes no sense. But occasionally, the pieces fall in a pleasing pattern:
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The endlessly inchoate, incessantly restless and unfinished character of modern capitalism haunts the officers who have to deal with them. Less obvious are the ways in which the Internet has made the variegated forms of life of former times decreasingly viable. His fear that ordinary people might be unprepared for an age of leisure proved to be unnecessary, since such an age never arrived. Behaviour of this kind is not only irrational, but – Hobbes at times suggested – a symptom of madness.
Nick Cross is a children's writer, literary wunderkind and qualified spam archivist.
As well as being an Undiscovered Voices winner, Nick has also received a 2015 SCBWI Magazine Merit Award, for his short story The Last Typewriter.