More Fun With Spam!

Well, so, Josh didn’t get his wish about the video Airport Express, but I still think the new iPod video stuff is neat (especially the part about downloading TV shows). But we’ve been a bit too busy today to debate the finer points.

The thing keeping us busiest this morning was a huge influx of referer spam. This is a really dumb problem. The spammers just want to have a high ranking on our customers’ pages that list referers, like this one:

top referers

This not only gets their URLs in front of anybody who views that page, but they also believe that it’ll help their Google ranking. Which is dumb because it’s easy for Google to spot and work around.

And the absolute DUMBEST thing they do is post this referer spam at a high enough rate that it actually overwhelms the webserver. Which creates obvious headaches for us and makes us do something to stop them. We usually can just isolate individual cases and block the attacking IPs, but this morning was so huge and pernacious and widespread we sort of had to solve the referer-spam problem itself, just so these jerks will leave us alone.

So we’ve stopped most of it with mod_security and will keep our eyes on things.

The biggest lesson is that if you write or run any sort of bloggy software that has a page for the top referers, get rid of it! It’s just asking for abuse from unsavory types!