Monday, 19 March 2012

Giveaway Winner - Spam Advice? - and Ducks

TADA! The giveaway winner is announced!

S. was overwhelmed at the responsibility of choosing a grown up winner, and became so concerned about the people left out that eventually I hugged him for his kind heart and drew the winners from a hat myself.

The winner is.... Shannon Lawrence, a writer who hosts the Blogging from A to Z homepage and is always a good source of information and inspiration. She's won the white German chocolate and the Dutch book.

Congratulations, Shannon. If you'd like to get your details across to me, I'll get the items in the mail to you.

I've got something else interesting to post about (at least I think it's interesting) but won't have time to do it today. I do have a little question though, relating to my other blog, here, about my books on Lewis Carroll, and writing.

It's not too active any more because I'm now involved in other projects, but I do post occasionally. Unfortunately, it's obviously on a spammer's mailing list, so my comment moderation is always full of fake posts with links to dubious websites. I delete them, but I wonder if anyone can suggest who to complain to if you can identify large companies paying to pester people in this way.

For instance, Abercrombie and Fitch, a clothes store, recently sent me this fascinating message (I've only quoted part of it) "Very nice site, in future i ready to hear more from you. like your post so in future i ready to hear more from youVery nice site In future I ready to hear more from youVery " The link goes to Abercrombie and Fitch's French website., or a convincing facsimile of it.

I wouldn't shop at Abercrombie & Fitch anyhow because they were convicted in an extremely unpleasant case of discriminating against a disabled student - details here.

They wanted her to stay out of sight of customers in their expensive Savile Row shop because she has a false arm.

So they clearly don't care about sleazy publicity. On the other hand, there may be some way of getting this stopped. Or maybe not. Anyone got any suggestions?

Finally, anyone got any idea of what these two cute are talking about? I spotted them in the British Museum shop and they made me laugh.


  1. Hello Jenny:
    Many congratulations to the winner of your giveaway. Lucky person, indeed!

    Happily we get very few spam comments and those that we do get are quickly deleted. But we can imagine that if it happens frequently, then it is something of a bore. Unfortunately we have no idea what can be done about it nor from whom, if anyone, advice on the matter may be sought.

    We are appalled at what you report here of Abercrombie and Fitch.

  2. Congrats to the winner! :-)

    As for the spam messages: I have so far (fingers crossed) been relatively lucky and I don't even have word verification on my blog. Is it turned on on yours? Maybe that might help? Otherwise I have no idea who I'd complain to...

    Those ducks look so funny and they're looking like they're having a great time whispering to each other ;-)

    Have a lovely week xo

  3. Dear Jenny, people have managed to topple bills and stop governments by combining their forces on the internet, so I don't see why the same mechanisms should not work for Abercrombie & Fitch just as well.
    Recently, I had a rather puzzling spam comment on my blog, it said: "An organisation, particularly in contrast to a project or program which would introduce change, reveals his exciting new vision for the future. As a Force for Good ." To me, the sentence does not make much sense, and has nothing to do with what I had posted. The "person" who wrote the comment signed as "JD Edwards User Lists". Very odd. Other than that, I have not had many spam comments, but then of course I have nowhere near as many followers as you.

  4. Congrats to your winner!

    I wish I had some help to offer regarding the spammers but I am afraid I do not. Good luck. I bet someone will come to your aid.

    The ducks sure made me smile!

  5. Congratulations Shannon!
    Your S certainly does have a kind heart :-)
    It will be interesting to hear if it is possible to complain to someone about the big name spam.

  6. I keep getting repeated e-mails attempting to interest me in buying a Russian second-hand floating dock! Exactly which combination of words in one of my posts caused this spam ad spotter to pick on my sites I have no idea, but his or her persistence is causing me to weaken - if only I could think of a place to conveniently store it,

  7. I've received a lot of spam - much more than before - in the past few weeks.

    Concerning the A&F employee... when I first saw the pic, I didn't even notice she was missing an arm... all I saw was a gorgeous face. Such horrible things can happen to anybody... but instead of allowing her to live as normal a life as she used to, working in her regular day job, her employers even took that away from her? They must be a bunch of bastards.

  8. Congrats to the winner!

    Lots of advice on this website - - but the easiest way is probably to enable word verification.

    Abercrombie and Fitch is beyond my budget, but now there's yet another reason not to visit them! :(

  9. Congratulations, Shannon!

    "I delete them, but I wonder if anyone can suggest who to complain to if you can identify large companies paying to pester people in this way." Sorry - no suggestions. I've had the same problem, Jenny, and I can't even get Blogger to do anything about abusive ablist, racist and obscene commentors let alone spammers! One day I'll list the sites that spam me on my various blogs and ask people not to buy from them or use their services. (And I'll add the dreaded Abercrombie and Fitch to the list!) If it wasn't so annoying it would be amusing how irrelavasnt their comment is to the post despite their atttempts to make an all-embracing one.

  10. I get those spam comments all the time too. There is a setting on your comments that you can use that will make it go directly into a spam folder and I empty it every few days. It does let those who are legit comment and publish without having to moderate and I like that option. But it could get worse, I get the ones who are pushing sexual stimulants including wives from the Ukraine.....

  11. I wonder if they have an affiliate scheme, where people can make money if someone clicks their links? That could encourage spammers to link to companies that aren't themselves sponsoring the spam (I'd expect A&F to have better grammar, if nothing else). I've never even checked where the links go before deleting mine, perhaps I will now!

  12. I hope you have comment moderation on the blogs. I use it because I had lots of Chinese porn for a while, daft as it was unreadable!

  13. I think the quality of spam detection depends on your host. Blogger seems quite adept at keeping spam in the background, not right in your face. But yes, other platforms make it more of a manual process. It is unlikely A&C directly commissioned that person, they were probably paid to just dump 1000 links.

  14. Bless that sweet S. What a good heart. I did go back to word verification when my son-in-law assured me it does cut down on spam. Aren't those ducks wonderful? Have a wonderful week. Bonnie

  15. Interesting about Abercrombie and Fitch, not that I've ever bought from them but will spread the word among family and friends who have.

  16. I have only gotten two spam comments and I quickly reported them as spam. I do worry about many of the traffic sources and countries of origin as it is obvious that they are not bloggers. Wht can one do though?

    When my children were teenagers, I often took hem to A&F. Today, I would never even consider taking my adolescent grandchildren even near that store. It is a business without a conscience.

    Love the ducks.

  17. Congrats to your winner.

    Remember, too, that it might not even be Abercrombie & Fitch, but a spammer with a fake site that mimics theirs to get credit card info from people. If it is them, shame on them (and no, i don't shop there or know how to get off the list).

    Love the ducks!

  18. I get spam all the time lately, usually directed at different posts on my blog and notified by email - which means I have to delete both sets. They are inches long and full of links to other sites which I totally ignore. I don't click ANYTHING unless I know for sure what it is. It is extremely annoying and I don't know what I can do other than delete, delete, delete.

  19. It sounds like an opportunity not to be missed, Alan. The ducks are tremendously interested too.

  20. I've had little spam, but one repeat offender got me to looking more than cursorily at blogger help and I read that not only should I mark the spammer as spam, I should occasionally empty the spam bucket. Then google looks at it and makes decisions about who to block. For myself the repeat offender hasn't made an appearance since I dumped her; I can't guarantee A&F. I've never shopped there; now I never will.

  21. Are those rubber ducks Anthony and Cleopatra? They look like props from a really low budget movie.

  22. I occasionally receive those spammy messages about wanting to advertise on my blog or sell my products. It is always so obvious that they haven't even seen my blog!

    The story about A & F saddens me.

    But since I am a big fan...the tut duck make me smile again!

  23. Congraulations to your winner. I get a few spam comments that I quickly delete but I would rather do that than install the dreaded word verification.
    Those ducks with a historical theme are cute!

  24. Congratulations to the winner!
    I wish I had entered the giveaway draw. Sorry I missed visiting you, but I have not been feeling too well lately. It was lovely to read your comment at my blog though. Thank you! ;-)
    Spam is a real pain. You can change your settings to only having google and blog members leaving feedback. You won't get spam then!
    It seems that spam is posted if your blog is public and if anyone can comment.
    By the way, nice duck! ;-)
    All the best,

  25. Here in America A&F always is getting sure bad press (great for sales) but I think it is the way to lure dumb teens to shop there.
    Their catalogs have had a bunch sleazy almost nude ads, lots of sexual overtones, one year was call drinking 101... target demographic 16 to 22 kids. Controversial Asian bashing tee shirts that they pulled after a few days but they got the press.
    Chasing the almighty dollar we call it.
    If anyone family shops at this store I would wonder if they really knew where and what their children were doing.
    On a happier note love the duckies ! Kawaii ! ! !

    cheers, parsnip

  26. Congratulations to Shannon, and I think one Duck is telling the other duck that they should shop at costumes-R-us all the time from now on, and not go to A & F.

  27. Ah. Wish I could help with the spammers. I don't get a lot of that myself, but I do have someone who leaves me bizarrely capitalized ramblings at least once a day. I delete them as fast as they show up...


  28. ASKIMET protects my blog - I never see or have to filter spam on it and it's been out there since 2005. Perhaps you should contact who-ever provides the SPAM filtering for your other blog - their service is clearly letting you down

  29. ASKIMET does a good job so apart from the odd glitch when I began I have not been troubled. Congratulations to the lucky winner... and a hug to the kind hearted one who worried about those missing out.

  30. Roman duck: How goes the pyramid?
    Tut duck: Quack up. At least my pyramid is intact while your Colosseum is in ruins!

  31. I hope you get your spam problem sorted out, it's not something I've had a problem with really but I know one or two people who've had real problems. I have my comments set to Registered Users which seems to do the trick.
    What a lovely little boy S must be, he deserved a hug for being worried about those who didn't win. Great photo of him too:)

  32. Congratulations to the winner and I love the story about your son, how sweet. Those ducks tickle me - I'm easily amused.


  33. Wow, I never heard that about A&F. Shocking.

    I get quite a bit of spam on Twitter, which really does my head in!

  34. Jenny,
    What a disgusting company A&F is!! There is no future such a company like this as long as it has discriminative policys. But, who are buying dresses from them?
    There seems no barrier between two cute ducks. The photo made me smile.

  35. A & F is just a nuisance as far as I'm concerned. If the perfume spritzed every 15 minutes and the blaring music aren't bad enough, the orgy type half naked posters of teens does me in. The clothes are cheap and the whole place is a debacle. Well, now you know how I feel about A & F.

    On my blogspot site I can set it so comments are moderated. This way I don't get any spam. I guess I'm lucky still, because even with that, my comments have never had any spam. I do get it on my regular email once in a while but never open it. I just delete, delete, delete.

    I'm off to peruse your blog some more and by the way, your little guy is precious. What a tender heart.

  36. "Say, that's a mighty nice head-piece you've got there. Is that cotton?"

    Yay! I'm so excited about winning! I'm going to try to message you privately.

    I'm not sure what to do about the spam. Mine has been crazy lately, but because I have anonymous comments blocked most of it is mitigated without ever being posted, and I just get a notification of it. Once upon a time, I had it set so I had to approve all the comments before they were posted, but I think that turned people off, so I stopped. It's sad that spammers are something we have to deal with. Really, is ANYONE going to buy anything based off a ridiculous spam post? Absolutely not! Good luck.

    I don't know much about A&F, but what I'm hearing turns me off completely.

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse, co-host of the 2012 #atozchallenge! Twitter: @AprilA2Z

  37. Perhaps you could stop anonymous commenters?

    One duck says to the other: what are you doing in my century?

  38. I'm not sure why I didn't leave a comment when I first read this post yesterday. Oh yes. I went off to read more about Riam Dean (who won her case). I'd never even heard of A & F. I always like to see both sides of an argument - part of my training and I've never got out of the habit. Not sure why I didn't come back then.

    Anyway first impression was about S. Obviously has a caring nature. Seems to run in the family.

  39. I didn't read the link you posted to but I vaguely remember hearing about that case against A&F.

    I've only gotten spam once or twice. I moderate my comments so I can delete any spammers. I don't know who you might go to to complain about it though if you're getting too many.

    I've noticed that since I shared my email address on my blog (a new one that I created specifically for the blog) that I've gotten emails from companies wanting me to work with them but then I never hear back from them. That's happened a few times.

  40. the one duck is telling his-story to the other...haha...

    my spam catcher catches most of the stuff...i get a lot of porn sites on mine...i dont know what that says about my writing...ha

  41. I did some research and found out the presenter's name is Domini Littlewood, the other one was the late Kristian Digby. It's been six or seven years since I last watched that programme, but I guess it must've been "To Buy Or Not To Buy", which aired on BBC One. Don't know why I thought it was an ITV or Channel 4 production. Must've confused it with Time Team on Channel 4 (they're awesome!)


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