Spammers use trackbacks, pingbacks, and reblogs
This has been a record year for spam attacks on WordPress blogs. And while it may sometimes seem like it, the spammers aren’t targeting just you. Or me. They’re hitting all of us, hammering on every opening they can find, exploiting every possible avenue.
The WordPress Reblog function can be used by spammers to plant a link on your blog. When someone reblogs one of your posts, don’t just accept it as flattery or a way to increase your blog’s visibility. Don’t let that reblog notification and link appear in your comments until you’ve carefully checked out the reblogger’s website to make sure it’s legitimate and not a splog or commercial website trying to boost its own ratings. If it looks like spam, delete the link. If it’s a WordPress blog, report it (see below).
Trackbacks are notifications/links from non-WordPress websites saying they’ve mentioned and linked to one of your posts. Pingbacks are notifications/links from other WordPress blogs or from your own internal links (self-pings). If you allow it, such links will appear in or just below your comments (depends on your theme’s design). If the linked website is a splog or commercial website, you don’t want their link on your blog. Check out such websites as carefully as you would a reblogger’s website.
WHAT TO DO: If a link is spam, delete it. If it’s a trackback, pingback, or comment, mark it as spam so Akismet will block it in the future. You can block all pingbacks and trackbacks under Settings > Discussion (clear the second box from the top) or block them on a per post basis on your Add New or Edit Post pages. If the offending site is a WordPress blog, report it. To do this, mouse over the blog’s name in your administrator’s bar. In the dropdown menu you’ll see “Report this content.”
Even your own self-pings can be exploited. I recently noticed that mine were being flagged for moderation, so I contacted Akismet to find out why. Here’s my note to them:
Akismet recently starting holding my own pingbacks for moderation. It never used to. I read somewhere that this could be be because at some point I had inadvertently flagged one of my own comments as spam. I searched through the spam bin at that time and found one cryptic item with “Pied Type” in it and marked it “Not spam.” However, my pingbacks are still being held for moderation.
I did another search of the spam bin today and found three items where spammers had included the words “Pied Type” in their spam messages. As I understand it, leaving those items in the spam bin means Akismet will keep flagging my pingbacks for moderation. (My comments have not been getting flagged, only my pingbacks.) But if I mark them as “Not Spam,” I’m giving a green light to those three spammers. I’m not sure what’s going on here. Hope I’ve explained it clearly enough. If the devs can access it, the three items are here:
[URL for spam files]
And here’s the reply from Akismet:
Trackbacks and Pingbacks were meant to help inter-blog conversation when the specification was created years ago. These days almost 100% of Trackbacks and Pingbacks are spam. They are very heavily abused and the next version of Akismet will block all of them by default. It is the only way to cut off this spammer behaviour as many people do not understand them and leave these links. They see them as harmless when in fact they are not.
What this means is that you will need to manually approve your own pingbacks though we may be adding something that allows self-pings to go through (we need to test that though).
So the answer is I’m afraid I can’t help. The pingback has become a casualty in the spam wars and it’s days are over.
The spam wars continue.
Vigilance, my friends. Eternal vigilance.
RELATED ARTICLE FROM WORDPRESS
- Trackbacks and Pingbacks (dailypost.wordpress.com)
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