Blog Spam

Of all the topics I thought I might cover in my blog, I never imagined that blog etiquette would be one of them. Yet here I am…

One of the beautiful things about blogging is thatI can present ideas, concepts, situations or hypotheticals about anything and then open it up to comments. Often I have found the comments offered by readers to provide more value and insight than what I originally wrote. Sometimes they prove me right, sometimes they prove me wrong. Either is a value add to the original blog post.

One of the nuisances of running a blog is having to delete extraneous comments and spam. Every blogging service is fighting commercial spam in its comments. We are getting better at excluding them.

Even the spam from the juvenile, the “you suck” or “eat shit and die” variety is manageable because it doesnt take that long to delete it.

This week was the first time I had to deal with “babba booey” (sp ?) spam from a website. For those who arent fans of Howard Stern’s radio show, his fans would often call other talk shows or live events and spit out the now infamous line to the host. A nuisance for sure, but not much more.

This week on the ESPN.com Page 2 column, Eric Neel decided to do aparody of what a David Stern blog might contain. No question that it was a fun premise. Unfortunately, part of his article suggested that the readers come over to blogmaverick.com and post the comment “nice hair” on every post.

And they did.

I spent hours deleting posts from the idiots that took what he wrote literally. Great threads were pushed aside and filled with this spam.

Collateral damage and just the cost of writing a blog? Sure. Avoidable, yes. Especially from a major media organization like ESPN.

I expect the Naked Short idiots to flame the site when I write something they don’t agree with. I expect Republican and Democratic swarms from zealot websites to spam the site when I write something they don’t agree with. Thats part of the deal. Cleaning them up is part of the expectation when I write the post.

WhatI never expected was that a Howard Stern moment would come from the Disney Company. That a call to spam would come fromone of the largest media companies in the world. The last thing the blogosphere needs is one outlettrying to diminish the voice of anotherby initiating an avalanche ofspam.

I don’t think Eric Neel was trying to do anything nefarious or intended to flood blogmaverick with spam, however that’s exactly what happened.

The lesson learned is that we as a medium need to set some groundruleson comment spam.

For commercial blog hosting sites likeweblogsinc, livejournal, blogspot, or other portal offered sites, one of the terms of service should preclude spamming or spam promotion.

For media or corporate websites, it should be an editorial common sense.

Otherwise, we might find ourselves slidingdown a slippery slope that ends up silencing what some might think is the most valuable part of a blog user comments.

48 thoughts on “Blog Spam

  1. I agree that it must have been a pain for you, and When I read that mock David Stern blog in ESPN calling for the ‘nice hair’ comment, the first thing i thought was ‘shit is he gonna get alot of those’ but you know what? it’s still funny to most people. anf really that’s all most of us care about.

    ps. NICE HAIR.

    Comment by Jason -

  2. RamZ:

    “Aren’t blogs basically personality spam?”

    No, because you can opt not to read blogs. They’re not sent to your inbox.

    If I get tired of reading Mark Cuban, I stop coming here (or unsubscribe from the RSS feed). If I get tired of being peddled Viagra decades too early, I still get it flooding my inbox.

    Comment by Joe Grossberg -

  3. Actually Mark, what Eric Neel wrote was a make believe blog of David Stern (the commish) NOT Howard Stern!!! also, please tell Dampier to stop saying he is the best center in the west, it’s embarrasing because he has not been a factor in this series, you feel me?

    Dan.

    Comment by Dan -

  4. Aren’t blogs basically personality spam?

    RamZ

    Comment by RamZ -

  5. “Isn’t directing people to spam someone elses site considered a denial of service attempt? and isn’t that punishable by law?”

    Holy crap–it was a humor column, and it was a damn funny joke. No need to roll out the speech police because Mark had to delete some comments. Yeesh.

    “That’s the difference between us Fans and the Business men that own a lot of the other teams. We enjoy the game.”

    Abe Pollin, the dean of NBA owners, has put more of his own blood, sweat and tears into this sport than you could ever imagine. You have an NBA to watch today because he and other “business men” made sacrifices and took risks on a game that was formerly seen as a way to fill hockey arenas on off-nights. Just because the dotcom-style NBA owners don’t wear suits and don’t comport themselves with any class doesn’t make them bigger fans of the game. Mark has a good track-record as a successful owner, but I don’t see any big reason to bow and scrape for him.

    Comment by Jake Haselswerdt -

  6. Blog spam isn’t going to be anything compared to RSS spam…just wait…

    And agreed with some of the previous posts, I wouldn’t have even known about this blog unless ESPN mentioned something about it. I guess there is not such thing as bad publicity.

    Comment by Pat -

  7. Try more vigor fit. Good point. Nice Hair.

    Comment by Robot Greggo -

  8. That took me quite a long time but I got it done.

    Comment by Bill Taylor -

  9. If the people who send all this spam would put their energy to use to better this country or to help people who need help this would be a
    better world for all. I don’t know enough about setting up a web site at the present time but I am learning from computer courses that are offered for senior citizens to better myself and help others that I can. At present I
    have 4 projects going at once and have a great instructor in computers. I suggest that those who don’t know enough about computers try the same thing. It gives you a great sense of satisfaction knowing you did something good in
    this world of ours.

    Comment by Bill Taylor -

  10. Not that
    I would ever
    Consider doing something so
    Egregious

    However, I’d like to
    Add something here:
    I think spam is a
    Really bad problem.

    Comment by Daffy -

  11. Isn’t directing people to spam someone elses site considered a denial of service attempt? and isn’t that punishable by law?

    As for the publicity, I thought this blog was very nice and had very good interaction before the ESPN article. Having a higher quantity of people doesn’t equate to a higher quality of product. If Mark makes any money off of my interactions good for him. Otherwise, how does my reading and responding to his blog help him? Why does he need MORE publicity?

    I think, what is refreshing with Mark as an owner, is that he acts like I would if I were an owner. I would want to be near the game. I would want to be able to yell at the refs. Or high five my employees.

    Have you ever imagined yourself in Marks shoes? Of course you have. Wouldn’t it be great!? Of course I’m a fan, I’d be out at practice with them too, make Dirk school me. That’s the difference between us Fans and the Business men that own a lot of the other teams. We enjoy the game.

    Comment by Aquariuzz -

  12. Wow that is pretty crazy, I think blog spam is becoming a problem, what I think needs to be done is for programs to automatically detect postings that have the same things over and over and delete them…

    Comment by Kendall -

  13. ‘that a call to spam would come from one of the largest media companies (Disney) in the world. The last thing the blogosphere needs is one outlet trying to diminish the voice of another by initiating an avalanche of spam.’

    Really Mr. Cuban. Is this a conspiracy that reaches to the top of the Disney Corporation? Is Disney really gunning for you personally? Take a step back. Mr. Neel’s fake blog was an attempt at humour. However bad his attempt was, I would be impressed to find out that he had been directed by his superiors to start mucking with Cuban Inc. by assaulting your blog.

    Comment by Marc Juliar -

  14. Hey Mark,
    I agree with what you’re saying about comment spam. On my blog I just screen every comment — they don’t even show up until I approve of each one. With some of the comments people are making right now, I think your post is completely true. Remember, it’s your blog and your voice, so don’t let other people give you crap about it.

    Comment by Nick -

  15. Crap. Blog spam. Why do I have the sneaking suspicion this is going to become a problem all across the blogosphere?

    Back to the game. Go Mavs!

    Comment by Ryan -

  16. I too had much difficulty with spam while I use the Movable Type utility for my blog. I switched to WordPress and so far haven’t encountered much trouble.

    What I’m thinking of doing is posting a legal “Comments Advertising Rates for Unsolicited Advertisers.” I’ll charge about $5.00 a minute and bill the casino, parmacy and porn companies that employ these lowlifes to pepper our comment sections with links to their sites.

    I doubt I’ll ever see a dime, but maybe somebody will get the message.

    Comment by Another Robert -

  17. Dude, when my company conquers the email spam, which our newest release does do, we’ll jump all over the blog spamming pain in the asses. Here’s the email server of the future, which almost kills spam. http://www.xmmailserver.com

    Comment by Rob Thrasher -

  18. Tip for you. Go over to a freelance coder site and request a script that spider your site and automatically removes post with banned words and phrases. Test it out, improve it, then sell it here. Last laugh for you.๐Ÿ™‚

    Comment by Dan Boyd -

  19. It irks me to come to the defence of someone who was lucky enough to hit a legitimate jackpot, though his pedigree shows some sincerity for the game. But bad for the game? Free publicity is just a matter of missing out on the scale of things, I think Mr Cuban can afford it; but anything that leads to better basketball is good for the game. While I have not been able to catch a full game since I left CA and moved to Belfast the Mavericks are a better team then they were before Mark Cuban and as a result are better for the game.

    Comment by Conann -

  20. Spam is one of the reasons I prefer Livejournal over Blog. I made my journal where you have to be a registered user to reply, most people can’t be bothered to signup (just to spam). It really helps prevent spam; you can also screen all comments, if you choose to. Maybe you should consider LJ as a source for your Blog.

    Comment by Robert -

  21. I use Livejournal often and love it and I would hate it if some moron did the same thing to me. It takes the fun out of a blog and often times the user will only make it available to a certain few. Hopefully yours doesn’t resort to that. Sorry but go Suns!

    Comment by Mark Hit -

  22. > I challange you to please explain why you think Mr. Cuban is bad for the game…

    Because he thinks he’s above the law. I respect him as a business man and he has done well for the city, but he does not know nor respect the game.

    If you think you need an owner to be on court and to exert undue influence to energize the fans, take a look as SAC and SA. Well run and respectable franchises, loyal fans, etc. Their owners don’t compromise the league. If what Van Gundy says is true Cuban would be forced to sell his franchise.

    Comment by Jason K. -

  23. If you love sports media so much, why did you rip on Eric Neel on comment 34 of your last blog? Do you love the sports media, or do you just love them when they’re on your side? Nice hair, by the way.

    Comment by Jackie Chan -

  24. If you love sports media so much, why did you rip on Eric Neel on comment 34 of your last blog? Do you love the sports media, or do you just love them when they’re on your side? Nice hair, by the way.

    Comment by Jackie Chan -

  25. Nice hair! Dude, T-Mac is gonna explode for 73 points tonight and you will be helpless. It’d be really cool if you started wrestling with one of the officials though. Wrestle with Steve Javy if he is there. Then watch Yao score 39 and T-Mac score 41 in Game 7 as you, once again, lose in the first round. Nice hair!

    Comment by Prince Hapi -

  26. Nice hair! Dude, T-Mac is gonna explode for 73 points tonight and you will be helpless. It’d be really cool if you started wrestling with one of the officials though. Wrestle with Steve Javy if he is there. Then watch Yao score 39 and T-Mac score 41 in Game 7 as you, once again, lose in the first round. Nice hair!

    Comment by Prince Hapi -

  27. I believe Mark is self-assured enough that the “n*** h***” jibe doesn’t bother him. The stunt had a negative effect because it hurts us, the readers who are trying to have a conversation in the comments section.

    Mark’s article here is an editorial on the stat e of blogging in general, and a small suggestion of the direction he thinks it should head.

    Filtering for text isn’t always a great solution. If there was a filter, and I didn’t self-censor in the first paragraph, this whole post might get chucked. I remember over a decade ago on some online service you couldn’t use the word “saltwater” in a post.

    I leave it as an exercise for the reader to find out what the objection to that might be๐Ÿ˜€

    Comment by Mike -

  28. I agree that comment spam is a nuisance, but is this Eric Neel thing really the incident that elicits a comment from you? Lighten up. If all the comments are indeed the same, “nice hair,” and you have a reasonably competent technical staff, getting rid of them should be simple.

    Others are right: you should be embracing the new readership Eric Neel drove your way…

    Comment by brian -

  29. Good Point-Baby arm.

    Comment by Robot Greggo -

  30. I hate responding to these types of things, but why is Cuban bad for the game?

    Because he sits courtside instead of up in an owners box counting his money?

    Because he cares about his team like a fan would and does everything in his power to put a winner on the court?

    Becuase he is young? Unlike other older stuffy owners?

    Because he criticizes officals that need to be criticized?

    What I don’t understand is that a certin owner of a MLB team in New York does a lot of the same stuff as Mr. Cuban does, and for some odd reason I would bet that you would love to have George as the owner of your professional sports team in your town because you would never have to go though what the fans of teams like Atlanta Hawks, LA Clippers, NO Hornets, and a list of other sports franchises have to deal with owners not caring about anything other than how much money the have made off of their investment.

    I challange you to please explain why you think Mr. Cuban is bad for the game…..

    Comment by Brian -

  31. holy smacakerals, i just love the mavs.

    heart,

    dra – surrounded by lame bandwagon pacers fans in IN for one more week.

    Comment by dra -

  32. I think you mentioned once (mr. bryant & rape case) that there was no such thing as bad publicity. The fact that some loser on ESPN displays his insecurities by picking on one of the most succesfull young american’s physical appearance will eventually allow the intellectual Cuban ‘haters’ (no one reeeally hates you, btw) to allow logic and reason to slowly have a new hero. Damn, that was a long sentence.
    Anyway, bottom line is that there is a very large % of people out there who are jealous and need to bring down the super achievers. Just look what has happened to Barry Bonds, who is the best overall player in the history of baseball. The so-called ‘media’ (and I fully blame ESPN and Sports Illustrated for a lack of professionalism and slippage into sensationalism and selling-out for the bigger buck) has tied Barry to taking steroids, even though it has NEVER been proved that he took anything illegal. Everything was speculation, even the ‘cream’ that Barry took was never tested. But ESPN told all of its viewers that this so-called ‘cream’ could have contained steroids. Higwash.

    Mark, you can thank weasles like Mr. Neel later as readers eventually leave his sorry blog and start to be regulars on yours, and they’ll realize which blogger has more profound comments and enlightened questions they pose to the public.

    NOW…. Get a win tonight in Houston so I can make a road trip from SD to PHX and pull for the Mavs in round 2 ๐Ÿ™‚

    Comment by greg -

  33. Living in Dallas and being a fan, i’ve frequented this site for a while. When i read the ESPN article today I was sure something like this would’ve happened.

    Do i think Mr. Neel intended it malisciously? No… but I do think he EXPECTED people to follow through with it. That’s pretty much what the masses do to the internet. So, while the article was quite humorous, he could’ve given you the pub just as easily without calling for the spamming of your site.

    Comment by Jeremy -

  34. Is that your excuse for censorship? Granted, you have every right to say whatever you want but don’t pretend to be fair-minded. Mark, you are bad for the game (bball). You think you’re entitled to break the rules because you’re rich. It’s not about money? What is it about then? More attention, more power, respect? …you will never get respect.

    Comment by Jason K. -

  35. Painful as it may be for you to clean up, you just got some great FREE ADVERTISING from ESPN. I agree with the others…thanks might be in order!

    Go Mavs – Wrap it up tonight!

    Comment by TXPKRBKR -

  36. It is true, the only reason I came here was to post: Nice Hair! It does make you wonder, what would a David Stern blog look like?

    Comment by Alex -

  37. Why should you be surprised that “the Disney Company” as you put it is engaged in “Howard Stern” behaviour? Walt did a good job at creating a wholesome image, but it seems to me that the Disney companies are relying on naive assumptions associated with the name Disney to protect them from the scrutiny they deserve.

    Comment by Jamie Phelps -

  38. I can only image that they must have been some of the most expensive comment spam in the history of the internet, but it is quite humanizing to think that you had to sit there deleting it yourself. You should tally how much it would cost where ESPN to hire you for that time and send them an invoice. Then deduct 10% and send it to me as a finderโ€™s fee.

    Comment by Conann -

  39. While I agree that all that unwanted comment spam was annoying, it might not have taken you so long to remove it all if you had gotten your blog provider to delete all comments from the comment database that contained a certain string. An SQL statement such as:
    DELETE from BLOG_COMMENTS where COMMENT_TXT like ‘%nice hair%’ and BLOG_OWNER = ‘BlogMaverick’
    or something like that would have deleted all the comments at once… Still, I can understand why you were upset, even though I think the whole story was pretty interesting…

    Comment by Chuck -

  40. I thought it was pha pha phoey instead of baba boey. Something to do with his teeth I think.

    What I really want to know is when is Mr. Stern going to start releasing day old podcasts of his show and when do we see Mark Cuban as a guest.

    Comment spam is a problem though. I’m able to delete what little of it I get pretty easily but for someone like you I’m sure it’s a little larger problem.

    Fred Wilson has also posted some other problems with comments over at his blog. In the past Fred has had people purposely misrepresent themselves claiming to speak for someone else. This is wrong and can damage someone’s reputation and is an unfortunate byproduct of anonymity which can sometimes be helpful in the blogosphere. The sometimes people can make some just outright horrible personal attacks. Fortunately in the past year I’ve only had to remove one of these.

    Michael Gartenberg over at JupiterMedia just doesn’t allow them which I think is a horrible byproduct of the irresponsible few.

    Comment by Thomas Hawk -

  41. Although I agree with Mr. Cuban’s position regardnig spam, I did not even know about his Blog until I read the ESPN article. Perhaps you should thank ESPN instead!

    Comment by Trevor -

  42. Hair? I don’t have any. Spam, I’ve got more than I need. Anyone else want to take some of this junk mail off my hands?

    Ain’t it amazing that someone would be naive enough to follow the direction of an article like that? Isn’t even more amazing that someone would write that in a highly viewed public article in the first place? I’m still laughing.

    Sorry, Mark, it’s not as funny if you are the one cleaning up the junk. Thanks again for trudging through it.

    nice hare. **pulls a rabbit out of the hat**

    Comment by Tor -

  43. I do have to wonder, though, how many people stayed for a bit and read through your thoughts. Do you have the site stats from that period, and if so, while there was obviously a spike in traffic, did they tend to linger or just post and leave?

    Comment by Barrett Garese -

  44. Mark, you are right. Blog spam is ridiculous, but mostly in the sense that people tried to use it to improve their search engine rank.

    But you do have to admit, it really is time for a haircut, don’t you? Or are you going with the whole playoff beard on your head thing?

    Having said all of this, would you or would you not want T-Mac on your team? He is one of the most prolific scorers in the history of the game, but he can’t seem to take a team very high. Sure, he can drop 30 a night on you, but his teams have either barely or never made the playoffs every year. What do you think?

    Comment by Dave -

  45. On the other hand, the Eric Neel column is the only reason I’m reading this blog. Come for the hair, stay for the well-reasoned discourse, as it were.

    Comment by Russell Lewis -

  46. There was a recent story about a radio DJ encouraging listeners to call and harass his ex-girlfriend/wife and giving out her number on the air. He got fired, I think there were criminal or civil penalties too, or that may still be pending. I don’t see how encouraging readers to harass you on your blog is any different, even if it was intended as a joke, it was a poor decision by Mr. Neel and should be punished.

    Comment by Jim Minatel -

  47. Thanks Mark, for cleaning the idiots out of your blog, and making it worthwhile for the rest of us to read.

    Comment by Paul D -

  48. Spam comments are like pollution on the roadways. And they do seem to take more effort to clean up than to create.

    I’m most amazed, however, that you personally deal with this rather than passing it all off to an admin. And delighted, I should add! What an incredible thing to be able to communicate with such a leader and have the chance to be heard. I hope a few idiots won’t spoil if for all of us.

    I know this is a bit off-topic, but… Go Mavs!

    Comment by BobR -

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