How Spammers Limit Platform Choice

By Deane Barker

Joe and I have been working with eZ publish for the last few months. It is, without a doubt, the best content management system I’ve ever used. I got more done in one week with eZ publish than I did in nine months with Documentum.

I like it so much, that I’d like to use it here, on Gadgetopia. But I can’t. Why? Spammers.

Gadgetopia racks up tons of comment spam. We’re running MT Blacklist, and it automatically intercepts hundreds of spams a day. In addition, I manually delete a couple of dozen more every day that didn’t trip the filter, but that were entered on entries more than two weeks old.

If we switch to eZ publish, I have no anti-spam solution. This is offset a little by the fact that I wouldn’t be using a “standard” comment interface, so there wouldn’t be any spammers out there with scripts written to find and enter comments on an eZ publish-powered site. But what if someone wrote such a script? I’d be screwed beyond belief. I’d have to shut down commenting completely.

I could try to obfuscate the comment form as much as possible, but it’s still going to be a HTML form of some kind. And I’m quite sure that comment spamming has evolved to the point where a spammer can isolate a particular site and write a “plugin” or “profile” of the form on that site in about 30 seconds, so their script can handle that form specifically. (That’s how I would have written it, anyway.)

Even if they didn’t write a spidering script, you could put together a JavaScript-powered bookmarklet in a few minutes that would pre-fill my comment form and submit in one second flat. There are even Firefox plugins that will do that. Someone with that bookmarklet and an hour to kill could wreak havoc.

My only solution would be to write a Blacklist implementation for eZ publish (there are already implementations for other platforms, like WordPress), but there’s just no way I have the time to do that.

So there you have it, spammers are limiting my platform choice. I can’t afford to leave a well-marked trail through the jungle because there are dangers lurking in darkness that would finish me off for good.

Too bad. Spammers ruin everything.

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