Monday, June 4, 2012

Adventures in Spam

I don't normally publish spam comments, but the laziness and ineptness of this one tickled me.

Merrifield garden center1 said...
Congrats! You have a beautiful blog and I enjoy reading your posts. Your kitty picture is adorable.

This is one of the adorable kitty pictures they were talking about:

So, not having anything better to do this morning,2 I tracked down the Merrifield Garden Center on-line and sent them this:

I was wondering if anyone could explain to me why my blog is being spammed on your behalf. It's coming from this site:

and I wouldn't mind so much except that it's pathetic, lazy spamming. I mean, on Saturday, "Merrifield garden center" left a comment telling me that "Your kitty picture is adorable," when it was 1) more than one picture, 2) of balding spots, 3) on a dog.

So if this is something you're paying people for, you should get your money back. Nobody likes to be used (I'm not getting anything in return for inadvertently promoting your business) and disrespected (if you're going to hire someone to advertise on a third party's site, you might at least have them read the posts they're parasitizing). While it's true that I wasn't aware of your business before, and am now, I also have a thoroughly negative opinion of it, which surely can't have been your intention.

As far as I recall, this is the first such spam about MGC I've gotten, but the same gardencenterguide (and the UK version, gardencentreguide) has been leaving comments like this for a while now. So, if you think I'm overreacting, keep in mind that from my perspective, this has been going on for months: you're just the first place I could find contact information for.

Fair warning: your response, if any, is extremely likely to wind up posted to my blog.

I'll let you know if they reply.


1 Link removed, because it wasn't even a link to the Merrifield Garden Center; it was a link to a "gardencenterguide" website, which has been spamming me for some time now, along with the UK version ("gardencentreguide"). And fuck those people.
2 Totally not true; I have a completely ridiculous list of things to do today, and will almost certainly not get all of them done. It's been this way for months.


Bom said...

What's wrong? Your kitty picture IS adorable. LOL! Looking forward to a part II should there ever be one.

Kenneth Moore said...

I'm assuming that it is, perhaps, the Merriield in Virginia? It doesn't seem to me like they're the kind to knowingly pay for such third-party trolling. The trolls themselves probably just use names that are similar to respectable businesses.

At least, that's what I'd like to believe!

Tom said...

Wow. Sometimes spam is so absurd you can't help but laugh.

Diana said...

If you think it's bad now - don't EVER create a post called Plant P*rn!

mr_subjunctive said...

Kenneth Moore:

The very same.

You'd think that no respectable business would do this on purpose, yes. And you'd think that if a respectable business were doing this on purpose, they'd at least make sure that all the words in the business name were capitalized in the spammer's name. But people are still strange about the internet (not understanding how it works and whatnot) and the gardencenterguide site may be presenting itself as something other than what it is. I really don't know. Hence my writing to ask the people at Merrifield themselves. (No response yet.)

Is Merrifield somewhere you actually go to buy things?

El Gaucho said...

This cracked me up. I'm glad that there are other that people take time out of their busy day (at the expense of actual important other tasks) to enact some random spammer justice. I really, really hope they respond.

Ginny Burton said...

Merrifield Garden Center is the big dog amongst nurseries here in Northern Virginia. It's huge, the parking lot is always packed with cars, they have an enormous landscaping business. Line Kenneth, I doubt that they are actually involved.

orchideya said...

Website does look spammy and adsense ads are just blending in too perfectly.
According to whois info - owner of this domain is from Netherlands -
You could contact him about this spam issue.

Kenneth Moore said...

Mr. S.,

I've never successfully gotten to Merrifield. It's not *too* far from the metro stop, but I'd have to transfer lines, and, well, it's in Virginia--the "over the river" mentality, you see.

But I have heard of its stature from local gardeners, and it even has its own TV show on a local cable channel. Ginny's right--it's a big dog.

Bret said...

I think the response will be interesting. Most likely it's just the gardencenter website spamming to get hits (it looks like a general website with nursery info). It is odd that it chose Merrifield though. It could be that Merrifield, being a large center, paid some money to advertise without knowing how the site advertises. Regardless, it's good to draw that attention to Merrifield as obviously gardencenter is generating bad attention for them.

mr_subjunctive said...

Kenneth Moore:

Ew! Virginia cooties!


I'm not sure I necessarily want to talk to the domain owner, but the fact that it's not even a U.S. owner (and Google Translate says "domein" is merely Dutch for "domain," so it's not like it's somebody's actual name or anything) suggests that it's probably set up solely to generate ad revenue.


It's definitely not only Merrifield; I've gotten similar comments from people claiming to be other garden centers, all of them leading back to the same gardencenterguide site. (Until this one, I had sort of been assuming that they were in fact all the same garden center, so similar and forgettable were the messages.)

Still haven't heard anything from Merrifield, though, which makes me think that possibly I'm not gonna. I'm thinking I might call them, if I haven't heard back within a few more days.

cave76 said...

Spammers just prove there are more horse's asses in the world than horses.

Gardener on Sherlock Street said...

Funny. I got that spam comment too. And, there are no kitties on my blog either! HA!

Anonymous said...

Looks like a MFA (made for adsense) site to me. I'm assuming the company that owns the site isn't terribly worried about quality links, any links will do.