Entrepreneur, executive, and investor; octo-dad; former Googler, now VP Product at

Over at, we frequently have to spend several minutes a day manually parsing through comment spam (not all of it, thankfully; just the close calls). Starting with the past week or two, I’ve noticed a huge jump in the difficulty level of determining whether something is spam or not. Check out the following spams:

  1. On a WordPress 2.x story: “Progress is normally a great thing but ever since WP 2.X IBP stopped working.”
  2. On a Harry Potter story: “dis is kul!!!!!!!!! harry potter rocks!!!! harry potter rulz!!!!!!!!! cn’t w8 4 the nxt buk!!!!”
  3. On an Ajax chess website story: Are you interested in learning chess? Do you already know how to play and want to advance your game to a new level? I can help. My name is Karen and I have seven years of experience working with students of all ages and abilities, from grade one through twelve. You can contact me at thanks

All of these comments appears to be legitimate (if inane); the only clue is the website associated with the commenter (not shown) and in the last example here of course the email address is a clue.

These are by no means the best examples I’ve seen, they’re just the ones I have on-hand right now. I’ve seen some very suspicious comments that seem to fit right in to the technical discussion being had — until you look at the website. And even then, it’s not always clear at all… and what if the commenter just happens to work for an e-tailer? Ugh… when humans have a hard time figuring out whether a comment is spam, I’m guessing it’ll take a while for automated comment processors to catch up.

Perhaps it’s time to strongly encourage login accounts to comment on stories…


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  1. February 2, 2007

    Perhaps it’s time to strongly encourage login accounts to comment on stories…

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