Game Design, Programming and running a one-man games business…

AI Spam

Spam is getting cleverer. I deleted some spam from the forums yesterday, and about 100 spam comments this morning form the blog. The thing is, they are becoming more and more cunning. They are contextual spams, that do a passable job of imitating genuine comments from people, albeit confused people with English as their second language.

For example, on my blog post about PC power consumption I got this:

“I don’t have concrete figures, but they should be using very little power with no load attached”

I suspect that the blogspam AI has scanned that post, then gone through a huge database of sentences that contain similar words to words which show up in my post (such as power, load, figures) and pasted in a sample sentence from what is obviously a different, but relevant conversation. All very clever. But two things strike me as not very clever:

1) If you are trying this super advanced AI-spam, try not posting 100 comments in 1 day from the same username on different topics. Thats kind of a big huge giveaway isn’t it?

2) This is a shit way to make money. Do you really think that if you spam a million blogs with pointless comments, enough idiots will follow links in the posters signature to convert to paying customers that make it worthwhile? Do you actually think google are stupid enough to push up your search engine rankings because you get 1,000,000 backlinks from totally irrelevant blogs?

The spammers seem to think that if they send enough spam, and get enough traffic, they will get rich. I think that’s an incredibly naive and scatter-gun approach. I earn enough money, but I don’t get a lot of traffic. The reason my traffic converts into enough sales to pay my bills is because I get relevant traffic. Traffic from people who play PC games, preferably strategy games, ideally (at the moment) sci-fi fans or political gaming fans.

If I look at traffic from ‘stumbleupon’ the site that semi-randomly sends visitors to something roughly in a category they enjoy, it converts at a rate of about $0.01 per visitor. If I get traffic from a PC strategy gaming website the return is up to sixty times higher. Quality not quantity. The 1,000 true fans, and all that. My tip for the people behind new AI spam is to go write some decent AI software for something useful such as natural language processing for customer service support enquiries. You will earn more money and feel better :D

7 thoughts on AI Spam

  1. I get this sort of spam as well. Fortunately Askimet usually catches it all for me. Sometimes this spam looks pretty genuine though, but as this stuff has gotten more common I’ve become more accustomed to deleting things that looks like they ought to be legit.

  2. Somebody (I think an american economics school) became involved in a spam operation to see if it was making money – and they are. They only need a very, very low response rate to make money – it’s called the “Economics of spam”.

  3. I figured most of them nowadays are to get you to click a link that dumps some malware so they can steal all your info. At least that’s what I would do…

  4. “Do you really think that if you spam a million blogs with pointless comments, enough idiots will follow links in the posters signature to convert to paying customers that make it worthwhile?”

    1) If the likelyhood of someone falling for it is 1 in 1,000,000 and the profit from that one chump is greater than the effort of sending out a million spam messages, then by definition it is worth it to them.

    The key factor being the effort it takes to send out the million+ spam messages.

    Moore’s Law has some unfortunate consequences.

    Also: much spam is connected to foreign mobs who have absolutely no problem clogging up the system. I figure most spammers are frustrated CS guys who can’t get a decent job due to even worse economic conditions than the U.S. is facing and therefore spam really is the most profitable use of their time.

  5. You’re missing the point of this spam. It’s meant to increase google ranking by having other sites link to their sites.

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