Dear SEO Experts

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<head>
<title><?php wp_title('-'); ?></title>

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I doubt this will work, but the effort required to edit header.php was small.[mnf]I guess this assumes that I don’t minify my HTML, too.[/mfn]

Don’t Reward What You Don’t Want

Oh, the joys of getting old(er). I just received a sales call for an “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” system. Instead of being forthright, the caller was “just confirming delivery of the system.” When I tried to say I wasn’t interested, she talked over me, following her script.

I’m not sure what bothers me more: that some businesses consider deception and rudeness a viable business strategy, or that these business target seniors.

Please, read the Boulder Pledge1Yeah, I’ve written about the Boulder Pledge before. and consider expanding its application from spam email to junk mail and junk phone calls:

“Under no circumstances will I ever purchase anything offered to me as the result of an unsolicited e-mail message. Nor will I forward chain letters, petitions, mass mailings, or virus warnings to large numbers of others. This is my contribution to the survival of the online community.”

Roger Ebert: The Boulder Pledge

Under no circumstances will I ever purchase anything offered to me as the result of an unsolicited e-mail message. Nor will I forward chain letters, petitions, mass mailings, or virus warnings to large numbers of others. This is my contribution to the survival of the online community.

Roger Ebert

Hat tip: Steve Kohler.

“We’re Done Now. Shut Up and Go Away”

I got an email from my legislative representative — at its bottom was the notice:

Please note that any reply to this email address will be sent to an unmonitored email address. To contact me, please visit the contact page on my website.

Instead of clicking “reply” and typing “Thanks for your support!” he wants me to go to a web form, re-enter all my personal contact information, and type my now-out-of-context message. In other words,

We’re done now. Shut up and go away!

I’m sure my representative would disagree with my interpretation, noting he closed his email with,

I hope you will continue to send your observations and thoughts my way.

Although “words mean things” I also believe “actions speak louder than words.” In this case, erecting a high barrier to responding “shouts over” his words requesting my observations and thoughts.

I understand: he doesn’t want a bunch of spam. Certainly, his IT experts could set up an email filter that accepts emails from accounts he just emailed.

Twitter Spam

Spam is hitting Twitter. Correction: spam is hitting Twitter users.

Spammers know they get one chance to spam: Twitter sends an e-mail to each person that a spammer follows, inviting them to check out the spammer’s profile. The spammer’s profile likely has a single tweet containing a single spam link. Spammers set up multiple Twitter accounts and follow thousands.

There are available solutions to the problem:

  • Watch who’s getting blocked. I block all spammers who try to follow me and I’m not the only one. After an account has been blocked X times, Twitter should review it. I believe Twitter is already doing this.
  • Make it more difficult to follow someone (more clicks, captcha, solve a math problem, etc.) Make it so spammers can’t use bots. For that matter, use something like Asirra or myVidoop’s login procedure. Easy for a human to do, but takes a little human time, increasing the cost.
  • Allow users to autofilter or autoblock people. For example, I’d like to block without receiving notification anyone who is following more than 1,000 people and has less than 50 followers. Allow me to modify those numbers so spammers don’t have a known system to game.

Twitter should choose its anti-spam tactics carefully. Spammers’ responses could make future spam detection even more difficult. For example, limiting the number of follows or follows per day has no impact on the number of followers a spammer could do per day — it only limits the number of followers per account. (After all, nothing limits a spammer to having a single active Twitter account.) As a consequence, a spammer account would have fewer follows, making them harder to detect.

Update. Twitter responds to spam.

Hat tip: Marshall Kirkpatrick at ReadWriteWeb.

Stupid Spam

Received this in my inbox today:

Good day Blogan!!

A Genuine Univers1ty Degree 1n 4-6 weeks!

Have you ever thought that the only thing stopping you from a great job and better pay was a efw letters behind you name?
Well now you can get them!

BA BSc MA MSc MBA PhD

Within 4-6 weesk!
No Study Required!
100% Verifiable!

These are real, genuine degrees that include Bachelors, Masters, MBA and Doctorate eDgrees. They are fully verifiable and certified transcripts are also available.

Just call the number below.
You?llt hank me later?

Just what I needed: an MBA “eDgree.” I wonder if the certified transcripts come complete with typos.

Seriously, who wants a diploma, even one that’s “fully verifiable” from an organization that can’t spell?

I’m fighting comment spam

The past couple of days, I’ve been getting deluged with comment spam. Fortunately, WordPress prevents virtually all of it from showing up where anyone can see it but me. That’s still unacceptable. I’m getting ready to have my blog automatically trash any comment that mentions “poker” or a pain medication other than aspirin. You have been warned. ;-)

As a stopgap measure, I installed lr2Spam by Anton Olsen. After activating it, I successfully left a test comment (and then deleted it). We’ll see how it works for the rest of you…

If you have problems publishing a comment on my site, please contact me.