Google block spam, instead of marking it as spam?

I have a number of virtual servers, and they run Logwatch.  They mail the daily Logwatch reports to a local user which forwards them to my gmail account.

Sometimes, Google marks them as spam because sometimes they contain spammy URL’s, source domains, etc.  Recently however, they stopped arriving from one server, and following the rejection note, it appears Google has started blocking spam at source.

said: 550-5.7.1 [******] Our system has detected that    
this 550-5.7.1 message is likely unsolicited mail. To reduce the amount of    
spam sent 550-5.7.1 to Gmail, this message has been blocked. Please visit    
for 550 5.7.1 more information. 7si10895397qeh.110 - gsmtp (in reply to end    
of DATA command)

Google isn’t blocking all the mail from my server, and it sends quite a bit to various destinations, so this is just because of the content of the message (which is a standard Logwatch formatted text e-mail).

I guess it was inevitable, and maybe they’ve been doing it for some time, but now you can never be sure that your mail is arriving at Google, and you’re not longer sure you’re seeing everything even if you check your spam folder.

Stupid Spammers

So I’ve commented before on how stupid spammers are, mostly blog comment spammers clearly in the context of this blog.  Obviously there are bots which submit spam, and there are clearly people being paid a tiny amount of money to post spam, and here’s another favourite.

If you are given some boiler plate text to copy into blog comment spam, and the boiler plate text says ‘examples in this post’ then you really should replace that text with some examples, rather than leaving it in verbatim, otherwise it doesn’t work.

I really enjoyed this post, especially the ¡°examples in this post¡± portion which made it really easy for me to SEE what you were talking about without even having to leave the article. Thanks

See what I mean?

Also, if you post this comment to a blog,

Great crap as usual…

with the hope that it’ll get approved and your URL will get spidered, think again about your choice of wording.  Seriously.

Sometimes I wish they’d just stick to selling fake watches.

New spam comment tactic

I’m always intrigued by how the spammers try and get comments onto threads, the latest approach is to copy someone elses comment verbatim, but hoping that it gets posted so that their name-url link is published.

On huge blogs with a lot of comments it might actually succeed.  On a tiny blog like this with about 40 comments, it’s pretty easy to spot the dupes instantly.

Ego-stroking Spam

Spam comments have changed over the last few months.  When I first started the blog the spam comments were essentially heavily laden with links to other spam sites.  Either blatant (just lists of links) or thinly disguised (long diatribe of text with links spread throughout).  Recently though, there’s been an increase in short comments in which the spam is just a URL link of the submitter.  The comments all have the same thing in common – ego-stroking.

They cover the following types,

  • Personal ego-stroke: Something like ‘you have really good insight, please keep blogging, I love your posts’.
  • Site ego-stroke: Something like ‘I love this site, it’s great, I recommend it to all my friends’.
  • Site ego-stroke with question: Often goes ‘I love the site but can’t get my RSS reader to subscribe’.
  • Ego-stroke with debate: Something like ‘this sounds really good but can it last until the future?’ (I had one of these today attached to the ’77 trailer post).

I guess some people get suckered in by the ego-stroke and are encouraged to approve the posts where they would normally ignore them.  Since my ego is already the size of a small mountain I need no further strokage and so am immune.  Or maybe it’s because I’m not as easily fooled.  Or maybe my self image is so bad I can’t for a moment believe any of the comments are true.  Whatever the reason – they still don’t make it past the spam filter on the site.

Soon we’ll be seeing the following class of spam,

  • Pet ego-stroke: I love your cat, you should let them post more often.
  • Family ego-stroke: Your [significant other] looks great, you should blog about them more.
  • Country ego-stroke: I love the part of the world you live in, please post pictures and talk about it more.

I’ll hold out against those as well I think.


To the authors of spam bots, or to the people paid pennies to submit spam comments – don’t you think it would be worth your while to check after submitting the spam (say after 5 days), to see if it was actually posted.  If it wasn’t you can assume that it was successfully blocked, and can stop trying to submit to the same site again.

If it was posted, you can assume it wasn’t blocked and resources you save from trying to post to sites which don’t publish your posts can be re-directed at the sites which do.

Clearly this is more efficient at your end, saves you money and time, and reduces green house gasses across the planet.  We can presume that sites accepting your spam either want it or deserve it, and hence are acceptable targets.

None of the spam (several thousand, a tiny amount I should think compared to real blogs) you ever try and post here makes it through and yet the same sources try and try and try again – give it up guys – it’s not working for you.


Got a sudden influx of spam, all of it one line and on random posts.  Looks like a tracking mechanism, so the bot makes a spam comment, and then looks for the tracking ID.  If it shows up, it knows it’s ‘good to go’ with as much spam as it likes.  Askimet stopped 2 out of the 5 and I manually flagged the other 3 as spam.  We’ll see how it goes.  If I end up marking 50 a day as spam I may need to force registrations on comments, we’ll see.