What's up with this strange guestbook spam, and how do I stop it?

I have a personal web page that is mostly dedicated to family photos and stuff, and on it I have a guestbook. It keeps getting spammed with the strangest spam. Periodically I will rename the guestbook link and it will be spam-free for a couple of weeks, but then it starts again. How do these spammers find my guestbook? And many of the comments don’t have links or anything like that, so what exactly are they trying to do?? How can I stop this once and for all?

Some examples are below:

What?? “The coveal of my son?” WTF does that mean? :confused:

Um, oh-kay… First of all there are only like 15 real comments in my guestbook, and they are all in English. NOtice how the two above don’t have links or aren’t trying to sell anything. What is their purpose then?

OK these two are obvious, they link to sites selling stuff…

Again, no links or anything… what is the purpose of this spam?

These appear to be half-baked, bot-driven attempts to increase website rankings through guestbook spam. My guess is that the automated software that they’re using (the “bots”) were unable to post the links properly, or were unable to determine that your guestbook does not hyperlink the poster names (as some guestbooks do).

Assuming the spam is being distributed by bots, you can include Captcha validation such as this javascript version. You’d need to be able to modify the HTML source for your guestbook in order to use this, but it will keep bot-generated spam to a minimum.

Thanks Q.E.D., I will try that. I have been wasting too much time deleting spam!

Does anyone know how these bots find the guestbooks? Do they search for links called “guestbook?” I thought that might be the case, so I changed the name of the guestbook file to something other than “guestbook.” We will see if that works…

What software are you running the site with? If you’re using Wordpress (which is terrific, by the way), you can use Akismet to stop spam. A few weeks ago I suddenly started getting from 20 to 50 spam comments a day; I installed Akismet, and not one has gotten through their filter since then.

Their FAQ says you can use it for non-Wordpress sites too:

I have no idea how to do this though, and any computer project involving a “development community” is sure to be outside my meager abilities.

Unfortunately CAPTCHA validation of web forms does not meet accessibility requirements. So any government web sites where (US) federal funds are involved would violate Section 508, and other (commercial) web sites may be in violation of ADA requirements under the emerging Target.com / ADA case.