Messages from Spammers Part 7

By Shamus Posted Sunday Jun 18, 2017

Filed under: Random 111 comments

It’s the height of the cold war, and your task is to infiltrate the Kremlin and steal the plans for the top-secret Soviet Hammer-Gun. You’ve slipped into the country. You have the perfect cover story. You’ve created a military uniform that’s accurate to the smallest detail. It’s been tailored to look like a garment that has been scrupulously cared for despite continuous use. You forge all of the proper papers, to the point of fabricating your own ink and paper to make sure everything is just right. You’ve spent weeks memorizing the faces and names of all of the important people inside. You’ve watched the patterns of people leaving and entering so you know when and where you can enter while arousing the least curiosity. You’ve spent a fortune to track down and bribe various custodians, electricians, plumbers, chefs, and other workers so that now you have a completely accurate map of the interior. You know where your goal is and you know how to get there. You’ve put three years of your life into this operation.

As you approach the front door, one of the nearby guards greets you. You reply with “Howdy partner!” because you don’t speak a word of Russian and it didn’t occur to you to study it.

This is roughly how things go for spammers. So much time and effort is spent customizing their bots. They identify forms, parse captchas, spoof bot-detection systems, work through proxies to avoid IP filtering, and avoid bot-traps to make sure their messages get through. And then they post gibberish that sticks out like a Texarkana accent in Moscow.

The usual defense is that this stupidity is deliberate for one reason or another, but I harbor a secret suspicion that they are actually just incompetent. In any case, let’s see how they fared this week…

I do believe all the ideas you have offered for your post.
They're really convincing and will certainly work.
Still, the posts are too short for beginners. May you please extend them a little from next time?

Thanks for the post.

We see this one pretty often. It’s a bot that fills in the name field with “website”. Also, there is no link in the website field so this spam has no payload. Using our spy analogy, this is like our agent getting all the details right except his forged papers identify him as “Bob Kremlin”.

long distance movers company
Hi there! I know this is kinda off topic however , I'dfigured
I'd ask. Would you be intersted in exchanging links or maybe guest authoring a blog article or
vice-versa? My website addresses a lot of the same toics as yours and I think we could
greatly benefit from each other. If you might be intdrested
feel free to shoot mee an email. I look forward to hearing from you!
Excelent blog by the way!

The job of this kind of spam isn’t to get me to click on a link. Instead, this one just wants the comment to be left alone so that the link associated with the name can be discovered by the search engine spiders and make its infinitesimal contribution to the website’s page rank. Which means that the goal of this spam is to be ignored and invisible. This is hampered by the atrocious typos and the efforts to engage the site owner. In our spy analogy, this is like the spy deliberately going out of their way to strike up a conversation with a guard who might have otherwise ignored them, and then speaking in such mangled language that they immediately blow their cover.

趣味などではなく現実的にã"れからずっと、ネット読破でお金を稼ぐã"とを計ç"»ã—たうえで、事業のための漫ç"»å…¨å·»ã‚’æ-°è¦ä½œæˆã™ã‚‹å ´åˆã§ã¯ã€ã‚る程度の費ç"¨ã‚’かけて有æ-™ã®å…¨å·»ã‚»ãƒƒãƒˆã‚’利ç"¨ã—て、æ-°è¦ã®å…¨å·»ã‚»ãƒƒãƒˆã‚’手に入れる

Howdy partner!

brown leather jacket with black shirt
Truly no matter if someone doesn't be aware of afterward its up to other users
that they will help, so here it happens.

“brown leather jacket with black shirt”? That is a REALLY specific spam. Someone is employing spam bots to boost their site ranking for “brown leather jacket with black shirt”. You think you’ve got an unfulfilling job? Imagine this poor spammer. He comes home at the end of a long day at the spam factory and is greeted by his wife. “How was your day sweetheart?”

“Well, I had to put in some extra hours, but I managed to improve the client’s page rank by 0.001% with one incredibly specific search term.”

Thank you a bunch for sharing this with all folks you actually
realize what you are speaking approximately!
Bookmarked. Kindly also talk over with my website =). We could have a link change agreement among us

That first sentence is a gorgeous disaster. “Thank you a bunch for sharing this with all folks” is basically a complete thought, and if followed by a period it might have passed cursory inspection. But instead it takes us to the demented second half where it explains that “you actually [incongruous line break] realize what you are speaking approximately!” If I’m reading this right, then it’s suggesting that the author of the original post (me) has realized what he was talking about. Approximately. It’s framed as a compliment, but isn’t. And then it ends with a bit of surrealism by inviting me to discuss things further with their website.

hiking boots sale australia
This blog was… how do I say it? Relevant!!
Finally I have found something which helped me. Thank you!

This one is a lot better. In fact, this one is probably the best of the bunch. It’s ruined by the telltale line breaks and the name field being a dead giveaway, but that probably can’t be helped. It’s still a badly designed message, but if I didn’t look at the name I might assume this was an idiot and not a spam bot run by an idiot.

Isn't it strange how holographic universe changing??
You remember ‘Luke, i'm your father?'
Have look then:

This one is curious because the Vader quote is so similar to the help text I have in the comment form below. But I think this is a coincidence. This one is almost a word salad, and it’s probably just cobbled together from random bits of text from around the web.

sock subscription
Hi, all is going well here and ofcourse every one is sharing data,
that's in fact excellent, keep up writing.

“sock subscription”? Is this a real thing? Is it like a Loot Crate except every month they send you a pair of socks? According to Google, yes, it really is! What a terrible idea!

Can you imagine the horror? Every month they send you a completely different pair of socks. Instead of your socks being universally interchangeable, you now have to carefully match each heinously loud pattern with its equally heinous mate. Which you can’t do, because one sock will always go missing!

Every year I get a bag of a dozen white socks. They’re all identical and I don’t need to make any special effort to make them match. A year later, attrition has reduced their numbers. Some have holes. Some have vanished into the sock void inside the washing machine. Some have begun to unravel at the top. The rest are still in serviceable condition, but aren’t enough to carry me through the week. Which means I need to buy more.

But when I go to the store, I discover I can’t just buy another bag of the same socks. Even if I get the exact same brand in the exact same style, they will have pointlessly changed the design. They’re a different length, a different thickness, they have a different ankle angle, and employ a different color pattern. One year they add a strip of color across the toes and the next year they drop it again.

Even if I don’t care about looks (I don’t actually care about looks) I can’t mix the new with the old because the socks will feel different on my feet. That will drive me crazy. I’ll spend all day thinking the left sock is falling down, then tug on it to realize it’s already at full mast.

So every year I have to add a new sock style to my sock drawer, which increases the amount of sock-sorting I must engage in. I could fix this by throwing away the old when I get the new, but that means throwing away a handful of perfectly good socks. If just one manufacturer would simply stop messing with the gorram designs they would gain instant lifetime brand loyalty from me. But no. Every year I have to play sock roulette.

A sock subscription is an invitation to spend extra money in order to make this problem twelve times worse. I hate the very idea of this service. I hate that such a thing exists in the same universe as I do. If I had to choose between this spam or porno spam on my site, I’d rather allow the porn. At least porn isn’t going to fill the world with frustration and waste in the form of endless mismatched socks.

I think maybe I strayed off-topic there for a minute. The point is, spammers are awful.


From The Archives:

111 thoughts on “Messages from Spammers Part 7

  1. Content Consumer says:

    Bonus points for the word “gorram.” You are now my favorite person in the Verse. :)

  2. Hawk says:

    Rules for life: never attribute to conspiracy what you can chalk up to incompetence.

    And I think you underestimate the potential value of the sock subscription model. New socks, delivered weekly to you front door, no effort required, and a new and exciting pattern for your feet 52 times per year? Priceless!

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Except that it has a price.And its higher than getting a dozen pack once a year or two.

    2. Tizzy says:

      Here’s another good rule of life that I learned from my years of teaching: few people care about doing a good job.

      Shamus points out of all these obvious spams that he’s removed for our sake, but I routinely see even worse on countless discussion forums. The spammers have won this battle: regrettably, many site managers have given up curating public discussion.

      1. Droid says:

        I’d reformulate that as “Few people care about doing more than is necessary.” In the case of, say, a firefighter, it’s kind of crucial to do a proper job, and not stop when the fire’s 80% gone, so fires will be put out completely by every professional firefighter whenever they’re able to.
        On the other hand, the difference between stacking a pallet of mineral water into shelves in a way that is fastest instead of most convenient to take out of the shelf, yeah, I can see that kind of stuff happening all the time.
        The consequences of these actions are not really comparable, though, which is why doing one of them will get you fired and sued, and the other merely builds up annoyance.

  3. Duoae says:

    I’m surprised that you go through so many socks! Unless maybe you throw them out at the least sign of wear (e.g. a very small hole by one of the toes?). I go through fewer socks even though I usually walk a couple of kilometers per day for work and on the way home.

    Though, to be fair, I tend to spend a decent amount on socks… so maybe my experience isn’t the average.

    1. Viktor says:

      A dozen socks is only 6 pairs. It’s very easy to go from that to “not enough”

      1. Duoae says:

        Oh, I actually presumed that was a typo. I’ve never seen anywhere that sold socks in anything less than pairs – so I read that as a dozen pairs. I mean, 6 pairs of socks won’t get you through a week like Shamus describes.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Depends on how often you wash them.If its every 3 or 4 days,then theres plenty of time to have the old ones dry before you have to rotate them back in.Also,as Shamus has mentioned,he does not throw away old ones when he gets the new 6 pairs,so theres a stockpile ready.

    2. Shamus says:

      It’s probably due to the fact that I work from home, so I spend all day walking around the house in socks instead of shoes. For some reason this seems like it would increase overall wear and tear on the socks in question.

      1. Dreadjaws says:

        I never walk in socks. In fact, it outright terrifies me the thought of not having a sole between my feet and the floor. Yet I still have the same problems as you. I always request socks for my birthday for this very reason.

        1. Piflik says:

          At home I am usually barefoot. I wear socks mostly as a layer between my feet and my shoes.

          1. KarmaTheAlligator says:

            Same here. I don’t really like having socks, but it’s a necessity when I wear shoes. At home, though, barefoot all the way.

            It’s surprising how much I save on socks that way.

      2. Steve C says:

        Speaking as someone else who has similar tastes in sock purchases; buy more sock less often. Buy two bags every other year. Or three bags every third year. Same sock consumption but bigger cache. Some aren’t going to last that long because they weren’t made correctly. Others will go the distance. It’s literally survival of the fittest. It creates a buffer for defects and getting rid of the badly made socks won’t cause a sock drawer population collapse.

        Don’t sort them at all. The only sorting is LIFO- last in, first out. So newly washed socks go at the bottom of the drawer. The goal is that all the socks wear out equally. At the point where you want to buy a whole new set of socks, the old ones will all be well past their prime and it won’t be a waste to retire them en masse.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Thats pretty much what I do.I havent counted,but I have about 30 pairs of socks in my drawer.Whenever they are washed,they go to the back,until the front is completely empty.Then I move them from back to front.Slightly more effort and space required,but I had no need to buy new socks for over 5 years now,and I threw away less than a dozen socks.They are all the same uniform black,of course.

        2. Echo Tango says:

          Newly washed socks at the bottom of the drawer is FIFO, not LIFO.

          1. Joshua says:

            Thanks, was going to say the same. LIFO would always be throwing recently washed socks on top of socks that have been in there awhile so the same few sets of socks are getting constant wear and the other half are almost never worn. So, basically how I do it.

          2. Steve C says:

            Doh. You are right of course.

      3. Duoae says:

        Could be because our footfall patterns change between shod and unshod. I usually have a herl-to-toe pattern with shoes but a front-to-back when shoeless.

        I can’t simplify my sock purchases because I have work socks and summer socks. Confusingly, work socks are all dark colours but I use them for day to day use as well because they’re long. Summer here would be hell inin long socks so I have technical/running/cycling socks for that which have a lip just above the rim of my shoes so I don’t get blisters.

        Usually, a pair of three socks will cost around €10 give or take – but if I don’t spend that much they wear away too quickly. I do most of the clothes washing so I usually ensure that socks that match get washed at the same time and don’t go awol.

        1. Duoae says:

          I should point out that I don’t buy socks very often. I’m not trying to brag saying I spend a lot on socks, I’m pretty sure it evens out over time. I mean, I’ve thrown away 3 or 4 pairs of socks over the last few years but am still wearing socks from 2000 – though admittedly these are now nearing end-of-life.

      4. Lanthanide says:

        When I started my proper job 11 years ago, I bought 30 identical pairs of socks. They all seemed to wear out fairly quickly (my socks hardly ever go missing), so I threw out the ~10 or so pairs remaining and bought an entire new supply of 30 identical pairs of socks 6 years ago. Think I’ve got about 16-17 pairs left at the moment – in another 12-18 months I’ll have to throw these ones out and get a new batch.

        Sock matching problems avoided.

        1. Richard says:

          I’ve not bought any socks or indeed underwear at all in the last five years.

          Though I have just realized that I didn’t buy the socks or underwear that I’m currently wearing, so there must be a gnome bringing me socks and underwear.

          The socks say “Wednesday”, so I guess they came from the future. Thanks future!

  4. Viktor says:

    The only possible use I can think of for that sock service is signing your enemies up for it. Why would anyone want that?

    1. Echo Tango says:

      If you actually spend time sorting your socks and enjoy a variety of socks, this would make sense. I however, like Shamus, just buy socks in bulk every year or so. Unlike shamus, they are black – it hides dirt and stains better! :P

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Its also cool and edgy.

    2. djw says:

      Alternatively, the plan is to wear each pair of socks ONCE, so you need them to send you a new batch of 7 pairs every week.

  5. Alan says:

    I know there is at least one sock subscription company whose thing is sending you absolutely identical black socks. I admit to seeing an appeal.

    1. Worthstream says:

      If they do send you the exact same pair every time, the quality is not too terrible and the price not too unreasonable, could you share the name of this wonderful company?

      (Note: i’d still accept terrible and unreasonably priced socks, just not too much. That’s how much i’d appreciate the convenience.)

  6. Sebastian says:

    Sock subscriptions are not only a thing, they are one of the earlier phenomenons of the commercial internet. They were like the comic relief of TV’s internet explanation pieces. “You can get news, this is ebay, that’s amazon, and look at this odd thing, you even get your monthly socks! Check out AOL!”

    1. CoyoteSans says:

      Reminds me of all those “x-of-the-month club” gags you’d see in 90s sitcoms or something. I decided to look it up, and there actually is a website that aggregates a bunch of Month Club subscriptions. And… is just it me being cheap, or is the pricing on them really out of whack? $65 for three months? $200-$250 for a year? For a single package of tea or potato chips or cigars a month or whatever? (Actually, the premium cigars kinda makes sense.)

      For services that’s essentially supposed to be sampler platters to get you to start buying products you normally wouldn’t, they seem awfully overpriced and double-dippy.

  7. Piflik says:

    Luke, I am your father.

    Fun fact: Darth Vader never said ‘Luke, I am your father’. He said ‘No, I’m your father.’

    1. RichardW says:

      I mean, yeah, that’s true, but without the amendment the quote doesn’t work as well in isolation. It’s easy to see how the line became altered over time in general use. Adding the Luke at the start provides a bit of context, and it does work better on its own instead of having to be prompted by another couple of lines beforehand to set it up.

      1. Scampi says:

        I think it works worse in isolation, but way better for humoristic effect if employed in a specific way.
        In general, most people don’t use it for the specific effect I have in mind, so it might hamper its usefulness.

    2. Noah Gibbs says:

      Clearly you should set up a second spambot looking for their forum posts, and posting a correction.

    3. Actual Lee says:

      Actually, he said: “No, I am your father”

    4. Syal says:

      “[Luke,] I am your father.” (emphasis deleted)

    5. Decius says:

      Vader said “No. I am your father.” Full stop after ‘No’, strong emphasis on ‘I’.

      1. MelTorefas says:

        I am really glad someone posted the correct version. >.>

        Also, somehow in my head this line has been conflated with Scar’s “No. I will be king!” from the Lion King, so now in my head it goes “No. I am your father. Stick with me, and you’ll never go hungry again!”

    6. Duoae says:

      I , Luke, am your father!”

      1. Philadelphus says:

        “It me, your father!”

        1. 4th Dimension says:

          I wonder why I have just heard this line in Mario’s “It’s-a me, your-a faather” tone.

          1. Sleeping Dragon says:

            (Late again but what the heck)

            I, on the other hand, thought of this xkcd strip.

    7. Bubble181 says:

      “Who’s your daddy? Me, buddy-o!”

    8. Richard says:

      No, no, it’s not true!

  8. Radagast says:

    Finally, someone who feels the same way about socks as me! I once bought 48 pairs of identical socks when I found some that I liked. Then, sadly, as they wore out the design had changed. Now I can’t even get them anymore so I’m on the hunt for a new brand that I like.

    If/when I find a new type I like, I’ll buy a whole ton and donate all the old ones I have that are in good condition to a shelter. The more worn-out ones can be rags for painting, etc.

  9. Cinebeast says:

    These spammer posts are always funny, Shamus. In fact, you might say they’re… Relevant!!

  10. Dreadjaws says:

    There are actually monthly subscription services for pretty much everything you can imagine. Not just socks, but sunglasses, sandwiches, adult toys, hot sauce, pet treats, circuit building, LEGO, LEGO knockoffs, beer, ties, digital games, rollercoaster paraphernalia, etc.

    It’s insane, but there actually is a large enough market for everyone of those. The subscription services that tend to fail are those who don’t specialize and try to be jacks of all trades, and that’s probably because services like LootCrate are good/cheap enough to suffice and people don’t look for many alternatives.

  11. Turtlebear says:

    The Japanese text reads (according to Google Translate anyway):

    Chihayafuru cartoon complete volume set:
    I planned to earn money by net learning all the time rather than hobbies etc. In the case of creating a whole manga drawing for the project, it is necessary to pay a certain amount of money and use the entire volume set of paying Get the new full volume set
    Whether or not it must be chapped is different for each person, but if you can not predict, if you can possibly prepare for the usual Chihayafuru, we recommend choosing a comprehensive comprehensive set of chopsticks, Chihayafura is best I want to do it.
    Those who read a solid cartoon complete volume, in private thought, if possible we had to look for a cheap cheap full volume set of charged fee if possible, and after obtaining the whole volume set for site reading in advance, I will recommend you beginners or veterans.

    No idea how any of this is relevant.

    1. Rosseloh says:

      It’s relevant in the sense that, I’d bet you a lot of the unintelligible spam out there is due to the spammers doing exactly that – using machine translations.

      Or maybe this isn’t spam and they’re just trying to get Shamus back into anime? Conspiracy!

      And really, is there actually anything out there quite like a good comprehensive set of chopsticks?

      1. YinYinYeng says:

        I once watched a Japanese YouTuber attempt the Duolingo English placement test, and suddenly I understood where a lot of the inexplicably incoherent comments online come from.

        1. Majikkani_Hand says:

          You don’t happen to have a link or any other way to search for that (like the name of the YouTuber), do you? I can’t seem to find it.

      2. Philadelphus says:

        A comprehensive comprehensive set of chopsticks, no less.

        1. Sunshine says:

          Is that a set of all sets of chopsticks?

    2. Nate A.M. says:

      It’s not much more coherent in Japanese. This text is pieced together from fragments on the web the same as many English language spam messages.

      Algorithm has A+ taste in manga though!

  12. Brainbosh says:

    I know several people that would love a sock subscription. I don’t wear patterned socks since none would fit, but friends love the hamburger, whale, cat, etc designs.
    And I feel you Shamus. My sock drawer has a rotation of different year models of socks, eventually rotated into the rag bin.

  13. Prana135 says:

    Wait a second. You put a link to that sock subscription in this post which talked about how you removed the comment which had the link. If I understand the spammer’s motives correctly then, all they care about is a link floating around the web. So didn’t you just give them what they wanted. Ps- I’m not that knowledgeable in computers

    1. Paul Spooner says:

      I’d wager it’s a different service.

  14. Mintskittle says:

    As someone who just bought a half dozen new identical socks last month, I’m already seeing differences in length and width of the new socks just compared with each other, never mind the old socks that are still good. They’ve formed distinct pairs despite having been all the same at the start.

  15. Longer posts says:

    I do believe all the ideas you have offered for your post.
    They're really convincing and will certainly work.
    Still, the posts are too short for beginners. May you please extend them a little from next time?

    Thanks for the post.

    PS: Make the next one longer

    1. Duoae says:

      You used a correct contraction, thus giving yourself away! ;)

  16. Syal says:

    For mismatched sock issues, I recommend investing in some mesh stockings.

    …or soft slippers. Those are basically really durable socks.

  17. Daemian Lucifer says:


    link associated with the name can be can be discovered by

    Double can be.

    I'd rather the porn.

    You a word there.

    1. Droid says:

      I think this is actually a somewhat common somewhat accepted (or just ignored) usage of “rather”.

      I’d rather it not, though.

  18. Scampi says:

    As you approach the front door, one of the nearby guards greets you. You reply with “Howdy partner!” because you don't speak a word of Russian and it didn't occur to you to study it.

    All through the introductory text I thought: “Okay, but he’s surely going to learn russian, isn’t he? Hm…he still has not mentioned language learning…Shamus, what are you doing?”
    And then came the quote and I felt a bit stupid for not immediately assuming intent on your part.

    1. Syal says:

      I’m just impressed he managed to bribe all those people without it.

      1. Droid says:

        Money seems to have this surprising property of being understood globally.

        1. silver Harloe says:

          Yeah, but if you go up to a random janitor and offer them money without being able to ask for plans to their facility, they’re unlikely to give you the plans to their facility. They’ll get that you want to bribe them for *something*, but what exactly do you want?

          1. John Beltman says:

            Dis strange person just bought my mop for 300 roubles!

          2. Scampi says:

            According to some acquaintances of mine, it might be expensive, but possible in several former soviet countries to bribe your way to whatever the person receiving the money has to offer, even if you don’t speak their language.
            Many people will just take the money and give you whatever they have of high value, hoping that you give them more money if what you got from them was worth your money to you.
            Meanwhile it’s assumed that items of small worth will not cause continued bribes.

  19. Cordance says:

    Anyone else see the fact that the sock subscription bot was super successful. Shamus now has it on a google search. They managed to get over 400 words out of Shamus on socks, peeking anyone who for some reason is interested in a sock subscription who reads the site to now be keenly aware of the product and where to get it. I am now aware that I have added to this word count on sock subs so successful bot infiltration. This is a spy that went in got shot and his family and loved ones got the medals posthumously rewarded for his successful infiltration and bating the hooks for the successful mission that followed.

    1. Paul Spooner says:

      Or Shamus just sold out.
      Really, it wouldn’t be that hard to do a sock subscription service where they send you a new pair of socks that is identical to all the other socks they sent you. If the volume was high enough, they could afford to do the production runs to ensure the socks were always the same. And hey, isn’t taken yet. There’s an idea for you Shamus!

    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Anyone else see the fact that the sock subscription bot was super successful.

      Well,not quite.The bot was shilling a specific sock subscription service,not a general sock subscription,which is a term that encompasses multiple companies.So if all of them get a boost in traffic,the one that was advertised still isnt getting an edge over the competition.

    3. Duoae says:

      I, for one, welcome our new sock overlords…

  20. Supah Ewok says:

    I guess I’m the only guy around here who doesn’t give a flip about matching his socks beyond “long or short”. Who cares if they have a stripe around the toe or not; I’m only gonna see that when I put them on and when I take them off.

    1. Paul Spooner says:

      Same with me. I’ll even wear totally mis-matched colors and designs. Don’t let it bother you Shamus!

      1. Philadelphus says:

        You guys are focused on the visual aspect, and missed the part where Shamus mentioned that they’d feel different and bug him constantly. I’m pretty much the same way; I couldn’t care less what my socks look like, but good grief if they are not perfectly matched my brain will be complaining the entire time I have them on. Like the other day last week when the elastic in one of my (ostensibly matching) socks was a bit looser and kept falling down before the other; words cannot express just how irritating that was (especially how it repeated several dozen times over the course of the day).

      2. Scampi says:

        I hope my girlfriend never finds out about sock subscription.
        She will buy the most ridiculously looking socks even without a regular subscription, but luckily she doesn’t go shopping very often.

  21. rabs says:

    Loved the spy analogy.

    his forged papers identify him as “Bob Kremlin”

    and he forgot what he had to steal (no payload).

  22. Decius says:

    The low-hanging fruit for these spambots is derelict or unused blogs with no moderation policy. They aren’t going to penetrate curation of any kind without orders of magnitude more effort, so they don’t try.

    1. Viktor says:

      “Great post. I never really thought of it like that. ” “TLDR, but the basic ideas seem good. Someone mind giving me the cliffnotes version?” “Damn, were you trying to piss people off? The comments for this are probably a garbage fire.”

      Make about 20 variants on those, give them a username that isn’t obvious product placement, and include the URL in the proper field. No filter will catch it and most humans won’t either. Just by being coherent english with no random line breaks they’re miles ahead of the competition, and any native speaker could make up 50 fairly universal comments in a day. Add in a bit of randomization and they’ll all get through to everywhere, not just the easy places. If someone wants more direct advertising then you’re SOL, but for the SEO bots? Getting some basic coherence would easily make it far more effective.

  23. At least porn isn't going to fill the world with frustration and waste in the form of endless mismatched socks.

    Tru dat! It fills the world with a completely different kind of frustration and waste.

    1. Bloodsquirrel says:

      I don’t know, I’m sure that somebody is making mismatched sock porn.

      1. Sunshine says:

        Searching reddit for “mismatched socks” returns a fair amount of pictures with that title of women wearing not much else, so yes, they are.

        1. Richard says:

          Rule 34 always applies.

          Even to Rule 34 itself.

          1. Droid says:

            Rule 34 does not hold. Try finding “Riemann Zeta function rule 34”. There is none! Sure, you need not believe me, go out there and look for it if you will, but your quest shall be in vain!

            Ehm, uh, where did that come from??

  24. Avina says:

    With great interest I read about your socks issue.
    An obvious solution to your problem would be a socks proxy. For low cost a great value socks cache is maintained. Collect only best socks to your satisfaction in large quantity!
    Contact our socks agent directly.

  25. Philadelphus says:

    If you dislike wearing socks, as I do, one of the major benefits to living in Hawaii is that depending on your job you may only need to wear socks a handful of days out of the year (unless you’re me, and have a job that involves working at 11,000 feet overnight operating a telescope in near-freezing temperatures…).

  26. methermeneus says:

    Tom Scott mentioned in one of his park bench videos (I think it may even have been filmed on a park bench) that deciding to occasionally throw out all of his socks and just but new ones is a simple decision that had noticably changed his life for the better.

  27. Bloodsquirrel says:

    I could fix this by throwing away the old when I get the new, but that means throwing away a handful of perfectly good socks.

    That’s what I did last time. Tossed them all out, got all new ones. Now I have white socks and black dress socks, and none of my time is ever wasted matching them anymore.

    Also, am I the only one who finds deep satisfaction in putting on a new pair of socks for the first time? There’s just something about a fresh pair of socks.

    My dad actually buys several pairs of running shoes at once, when he finds a make that he really likes, because he doesn’t know if they’ll still be around when he wears out the next pair.

    1. Echo Tango says:

      I only buy black socks, which double for dress and casual. I also have to buy shoes more than a pair at a time, since I have pretty wide feet. Normally that’s just a bit annoying, but lately it seems like shoe companies have actually made their shoes even thinner, so that my feet hang over the edge of the sole by about 30%. I have no idea who these are made for; Surely they’re to narrow for even the average person.

      1. Bloodsquirrel says:

        Wearing one pair of socks for dress and running doesn’t really work. The dress socks aren’t designed for it. The dress socks also wear out at a much slower rate.

        A lot of shoe brands have separate “wide” sizes, which is what I usually go for. It’s not always easy to find them in stock, though.

    2. Philadelphus says:

      You’re definitely not the only one who feels that way about new socks.

  28. Ninety-Three says:

    If just one manufacturer would simply stop messing with the gorram designs they would gain instant lifetime brand loyalty from me. But no. Every year I have to play sock roulette.

    My solution to this was to give up on my existing population of socks and just buy many dozens of new pairs all at once. Eventually I’ll have to buy replacements, but it’ll take a decade to wear through the majority of my massive pile of socks.

  29. Megan says:

    I have the sneaking suspicion that these spammers realized their tactics aren’t working anymore, so they began selling themselves as search engine optimization experts. That would explain why they’re doing such a terrible job: they don’t care about the websites they’re “promoting” except as a source of cash.

  30. wswordsmen says:

    I would argue that the spammers aren’t incompetent, it is just the solutions to the constraint optimization problem they deal with.

    Option 1: Do everything you describe to get the message seen. They are not much more than gibberish so they aren’t very effective but they can be seen and might work on occasion.

    Option 2: Write a bot that can make non-gibberish posts, but is easily identified as a bot by site defenses and have no messages posted at all, which results in mission failure.

  31. “Would you be inter(e)sted in exchanging links or maybe guest authoring a blog article or
    vice-versa?” < This is probably the best question/sentence in this group of spam.

    Hey though, you could become a blogger for moving companies. I've been living through spam call hell from moving companies after filling out a moving cost estimator website. Never again will I do that, I should add.

  32. Rivlien says:

    I wonder, if we deleted all human comments and left a blog post entirely to the spammers. How long would the comments section be?

    Would it be comparable to a regular one where the bots are deleted? Would they start communicating with each other? Would they form a small community of their own down here?

  33. Stu Hacking says:

    But when I go to the store, I discover I can't just buy another bag of the same socks. Even if I get the exact same brand in the exact same style, they will have pointlessly changed the design. They're a different length, a different thickness, they have a different ankle angle, and employ a different color pattern. One year they add a strip of color across the toes and the next year they drop it again.

    Even if I don't care about looks (I don't actually care about looks) I can't mix the new with the old because the socks will feel different on my feet. That will drive me crazy. I'll spend all day thinking the left sock is falling down, then tug on it to realize it's already at full mast.

    I know it’s not the main point of the article(?), but this! All of this!

  34. Sunshine says:

    The other part of the sock subscription post is the tone:

    Hi, all is going well here and ofcourse every one is sharing data,
    that's in fact excellent, keep up writing.

    Everything’s fine! No need to come in here! That’s not smoke, everyone’s okay!

    1. Philadelphus says:

      Sharing data is perfectly natural! See, all the cool bots are doing it! Help us help you!

  35. Vi says:

    Random loud-patterned socks in the mail every month?! That actually sounds awesome! I’d totally sign up for that if it were as cheap as buying random loud-patterned socks during clearance sales at Wal-Mart! Unless…do they have any with kitties on them, or that glow in the dark?? \(o,o)/

  36. Adeon says:

    Eh, I just toss out the left over “good” socks when I buy replacements. Sure, I’m technically losing some value in sock-use but so long as I wear my socks evenly by the time the number of remaining socks is below a critical threshold the remaining socks are pretty much worn out anyway (thin material on the sole, stretched elastic etc.) so even if they are still technically wearable they won’t last much longer and I don’t feel bad tossing them.

  37. jamie says:

    Have you ever thought maybe these bots are actually command and control channels for botnets or something more sinister than incompetent spambot authors? If there’s no actual link then their motive is not link farming, what else could it be?

    Makes a bit more sense than random spambots being random for no reason.

    1. Sunshine says:

      This headline makes me imagine that after her time in the spotlight and subsequent breakdown, Britney Spears became a hacker and Russian double agent, seeking revenge on America for using her and throwing her away.

    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

      The do have links,only its in the name field.Probably because not all blogs they spam have the website field.Its not for no reason,its to put their* sites slightly higher in internet searches by spamming either the name or the link of the site.

      *Or more likely someone else who paid them for it.

  38. Zak McKracken says:

    “Every year I get a bag of a dozen white socks. … (I don't actually care about looks)”

    yeah, you already said that :)

    pro tip: get black socks instead. They don’t look dirty so fast, and you can pretend to have made a sensible fashion choice. Bonus: small visual differences are even harder to spot.

    Also, wear slippers or something, and your socks will last much much longer. I still have some that must be 20 years old.
    They’re white with coloured stripes, and when they were new, that was completely okay. At some point so many went out of service that now I have to pair the ones with the green stripes with the red stripes. I try to pretend it’s a fashion statement, and sometimes that even works :)

  39. Mousazz says:

    Howdy partner!

    Hey, Trudy, just between you and me, I don’t really think that Victor fella that’s been loitering around Goodsprings is, well, y’know… human.

    1. Sunshine says:

      No need to rude to the metal fella, he’s all right.

  40. Jabrwock says:

    My wife always complains when I’m doing laundry that I have too many socks. I then point to the basket of unmatched socks and just prior to ducking and fleeing, say “It just looks that way because my sock drawer has 3 different kinds of socks, and yours has none because they are all unique.”

  41. General Karthos says:

    I suspect that the entire world is run by the sock industry.

  42. Joe B says:

    You could always, I dunno, buy 10 bags of a dozen socks at once, then only open one bag, use those socks for a year, then open the second bag year two, merge the survivors with the newbies, use those for a year, etc etc.

    But what do I know, I’m just a small-town Sock Merchant trying to make a living out here in the wilderness of TwentySided’s comment section. And totally not a Sock Subscription-Bot.

    Buy more socks.

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