Daily Archives: January 23, 2013

Spambots are getting smarter (or at least better)

Screen Shot 2013-01-23 at 10.25.29 AM copy

Above is a screenshot of one of the comments in my spam filter (click to embiggen). Sometimes real comments get lodged there, so I check periodically to make sure nothing needs rescuing, and initially, that seemed to be what had happened here. Citing Wayne Booth is usually pretty convincing evidence that you’re a real person.

A second look, though, draws attention to the link that redirects to some sort shady online “nutrition supplement” operation. Clearly, the spambot culled a few sentences about unreliable narrators from Google Books or an academic website. Still, the precision of that targeting is a bit eerie. If the spambots read enough narrative theory, will they become self-aware?