Thursday, November 29, 2012

Comment Verification

Several readers have complained about how difficult it is to read those distorted letters that appear when you try to leave a comment. Apparently they are supposed to verify that you are indeed a real person leaving spam rather than a computer programme.

I apologise and admit that they are a nightmare. Unfortunately when I tried turning the feature off a few days ago as an experiment, I was immediately bombarded with almost a hundred comments hiding links to all sorts of rubbish.

Now this makes me wonder. Everyone operates on the same cost-versus-benefit rule, no matter what line of business they are in or whether they are honest or not. No matter how cheap it is to send out spam, it isn't free. Nor is it free to host a website. Therefore somebody, somewhere must be following these links and buying the products on offer.

So this begs the question:

Just who exactly believes that they will get a cheap Rolex watch by visiting a website based in Russia? Or that a reputable chemist is waiting for them at the end of a link entitled "Best Cheap Price Viagra"? I want to meet the person who sends their money off to buy a "Lois Vuitton" handbag from Nigeria and more importantly, I want to know who was responsible for their education.

We should teach kids the meaning of the word 'gullible'? (Which by the way, isn't actually in the Oxford Dictionary)


Anonymous said...

"Gullible" isn't in the OED? No wonder so many people get screwed over.
My "word" could be either nedgel or nedbel, and the other is so blurry and minute i really have no idea, so will have to ask for another. Please pass on these concerns to your blog provider.

Anonymous said...

Why isn't gullible in the Oxford dictionary? Are there any other words theyve missed out?

Anonymous said...

Maybe the kids can teach you the correct spelling of programme when referring to computers.

Anonymous said...

Gullible is in our Oxford Dictionaries. Frank ,I told you to use them properly when you were a lad.
Frank's Dad

Dan said...

Actually the reason the venerable old Nigerian Oil Scam is still in use is because it is a very, very good idiot filter. For a Nigerian scam-artist, the object of the exercise is to find a complete and utter moron, then to go about scamming said moron out of whatever money said moron happens to have.

What the scammers do not want is a target who is even slightly smarter than a retarded woodlouse, since they are very often not the world's brightest and their English isn't much cop either. So, they always start off with a deliberately rubbish cover story and chuck in the sympathy immediately the mark takes an interest.

This does of course open them up to pretty much every bored person who cares to poke fun at some African criminal-wannabe, as the good folks at Scamorama and dozens of other places have demonstrated, but this is a hazard of doing business for the scammers.

Anonymous said...

The point is that the cost of sending out these spam messages is so low, that even one hit in a million will be enough to make it economically viable.

BTW if you switch to using Re-Captcha you'd actually be contributing to a useful project as well as screening out those pesky spammers.

Anonymous said...

That old naughty teacher's trick!!
Next you'll be asking for a can of striped paint!

John C. Kirk said...

Echoing Dan's comments about the Nigerian scam, Microsoft Research have published a paper on that topic: Why do Nigerian Scammers Say They are from Nigeria? I haven't waded through all of the maths, but other people may do better!

More generally, I don't think it's quite accurate to say that spammers must be making money. I think that they must believe that this will be profitable, but they could be wrong. E.g. I might see all the spam going around, assume that it's profitable, and follow suit. The companies who sell email address lists, botnets, etc. will benefit from this, so they may be making money.

Anonymous said...

Did you know that if you say "gullible" 3 times very fast, it sounds like "elephant"?

Agrodut Mandal said...

Try to put your comment-box as much simple and easy to use as you can. Don’t put CAPTCHA, verification code, login barrier for comments to your blog at starting. If your visitors will find it hard to comment then they will not comment.
Agrodut Mandal
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