Archive for the ‘Akismet’ category

Stupid Email Trick to ID Those Who SELL Your Address

June 22, 2010

Sometimes someone shows you something so slick you don’t really appreciate it immediately for what it is. Such is the case here. So, bookmark this post… you’ll come back to it for a double take some day. Or Digg it or Delicious it… keep it close. It’s so stupid simple it’s almost elusive. I happened to be participating in a conversation today at (GREAT blog btw, highly recommend Fred) and realized I hadn’t shared this little trick. Let alone blogged in while. So, consider me to have fallen back on the blogging wagon with this post.

I’m sitting in a coffee shop one day grumbling to an acquaintance about my email address getting a ton more spam than usual and suspecting it was due to signing up for one of a dozen or more services recently. He said, “You should have appended your email address.”


“Yeah, all you have to do is put a PLUS symbol after your actual email ID (but before the AT symbol) when you register for stuff and you’ll know who’s doing what with your email. If an email comes from someone unexpected with THAT appendage it was obtained… somehow… probably without your knowledge or consent.”

Bullshit! It couldn’t be THAT easy. I need a service or something to do this… I think those were my exact words to him.

“Oh, yes it is that easy and you don’t pay a penny to do it. Helps me figure out who I can trust and who I can’t. Try it.”

Hell if he wasn’t right (mostly). I’ve registered with a TON of third party services since as Gerald+SERVICEID@mydomainname.something… and it’s worked like a champ on my domain, on gmail but not on Dot Mac (or Mobile Me or whatever the hell they’re calling it this year… iMe?) Anyway, point being I’ve been able to isolate some offenders. I’ve been able to prioritize some actions based on the TO: field (AT&T, Apple, special vendors I really don’t want to miss messages from, etc).

Test it yourself. Not all email servers will behave with the + symbol in the ID area. If you send yourself a message with +TEST after your ID but before the @ symbol and it delivers… you’re in tall cotton. If it bounces your email server doesn’t play nice. Not sure why some do and some don’t. That’s just the breaks I guess. But, once you figure it out there are all sorts of things you can do from there. Have fun & spread it around.

If someone’s intent on doing you wrong they’ll be able to GREP that +TRACKING@ element out and THEN sell your information downstream. But, not all sleaze bags are that smart. Trust me, it’ll be eye opening and you won’t have to have a bunch of email addresses to keep up with.

Odometer hits 400,000

January 26, 2008

Last November I blogged about reaching 300,000 visitors here at the gWHIZ blog. While I was taking a hiatus from blogging/tweeting it hit 400,000. That took less than three months. For some, that’s a couple hours or a long day

Here sometime soon I’ll pass the 925 posts mark on posts too. That’s roughly one entry per day since I started blogging. I can feel good about all that.

A couple of interesting bits of tid:

  • There are 825 comments on the gWHIZ blog (a ratio I’d like to improve). But, it means we do have discussions sometimes (gasp!);
  • The gWHIZ Technorati rank is at 110,648. I’d love to break into the top 75,000… Favorite us and help that along please? (shameless, I know);
  • According to Google there are only 31 links into the gWHIZ bl0g (could use more…doh! shameless again);
  • The single biggest day on the gWHIZ blog was  17,479 visits on October 30, 2007;
  • I’ve used 635 tags (half of which are misspellings I can’t seem to delete);
  • And the gWHIZ tag cloud says I’m HEAVY on Apple, Leopard, iPhone, iTunes, MacOSX and WWDC;
  • Surprisingly there have only been 7,572 spam comments (all caught and killed by Akismet);
  • And the all time post “views” leader is sitting at 124,346 views. (over 1/4 of the total traffic) and it’s not that good a post…

Now, I’ve been totally winging this and posting on an “as I can” basis. I’m not a professional journo and 110% sure I don’t want to be. The beautiful thing is… most of the people I enjoy reading aren’t either. They’re either subject matter experts in interesting fields, highly opinionated and interesting on that alone, or they have something unique to offer.

A couple of things learned in the last several months: Pick a handful of topics and work them like mad; Digg and StumbledUpon are super helpful; Tagging is super helpful; Writing often is super helpful; Insightful commenting on other peoples blogs super duper helpful; Trackbacks to other blog entries indispensable; Most of all LINK OUT liberally but with good reason and pure intention; Establishing an alternate FeedBurner feed is super helpful.

To follow up that last point… RSS Feeds… I happen to be of the mind to ALMOST always offer a full rss feed. There have been two exceptions I can think of recently. I highly recommend full-feeds. Once I did that… traffic went ballistic (by my standards).

I also highly recommend as the engine behind your blog. Free with some primo options you can pay for… Very nice. The number of times people have said, “Wow, you stayed up through the big Digg.” Yeah, because I have great infrastructure (for free).

Why this post? Why now? Blogging is gaining in speed, popularity and acceptance. My post earlier this week on helping a local family with some serious needs wasn’t a massive success in traffic count, but it was a help in getting the family some relief and additional attention from people who were in a position to be able to help in big ways. Blogging did that. Sure, the emails I sent out helped. But, they simply linked back to the blog.

This post is for people who don’t yet blog who wonder what they can expect in the way of traffic, participation and how long it will take to build a following. The real answer to all the above is, “It depends.” of course. Look at Fake Steve Jobs blog. That went nutso crazy. It’s unique and super hard to duplicate. There are precious few blogs out there focused on the Apple platforms right? 🙂 So, I’ve found my place by focusing on things others don’t, but things I like. Reviewing high-end software (Daylite, DivX), writing detailed How-To’s, all things Apple Developer Connection (ADC) and live blogging the big events. Podcasting and XServes are really my passion in the middle of all of this and I’ll focus more on that in the coming year.

An Akismet Idea. Shock & Awe.

December 24, 2007

I don’t know what the typical amount of comment spam is on any given blog. I know I get a lot more STOPPED by Akismet than ever before. The volume is up and the kill rate is 100% (no false positives). I also know Google’s Blogger has become known as the playground for the professional linkbaiters, linkfarmers and the ilk. Don’t know about Six Apart or any of the other platforms.

I wonder if it’s possible for Akismet to subscribe to and contribute to the black lists like Spamhaus and Spamassassin? Maybe they already do. Anyone know? I seldom (perhaps never) see an email address like someone at It’s always a free (ie. disposable) email address of one variety or another claiming the offensive comment spam.

Seems to me if there WAS a full court press in the end all it would do is escalate the sophistication of the tactics employed. I fear the collective creativity of the white hats is less than the sum of the creativity of the black hats. Like antibiotics, the more you chase the bug the stronger the bug becomes through adaptation and consequently the harder it becomes to create effective antibiotics to keep up with the new strains. Still, I’d like a little old school Shock and Awe released on the spammers. They’re going to wind up causing the Scobles, Jarvises, Wilsons, Godins, Kawasakis and TDavids of the world to shut down their comments one by one and then we’re set back to the Web 1.0 world with no two way discourse. At which time I hope OpenID matures so we won’t have to remember the 19,003 account/password combos for all the conversations we participate in.

The 100,000th Visit & Traffic Mongering

June 26, 2007

Passed the hundred thousandth visit mark last night. For some reason that’s a whole lot more fun than the 99 thousandth which I remember so fondly…I’ve had a couple of 13 and 15,000 visit days. Those were both because of DIGG’d stories related to Tiger and Leopard pre-release news. The gWHIZ blog is no TUAW. But, for a hobby site… yeah, we can pack em in. And, I can’t say enough good stuff about WordPress. I’d love to know more about their scalable computing approach (hmm…. there’s an interview itching to happen! I summon thee Matt Mullenweg!) A few tips on traffic mongering and WordPress:

  • Transparency. At ALL times. You can’t disclose your motives enough;
  • Don’t be afraid to DIGG your own stuff;
  • Occasional linkbaiting is fun sport; 
  • Catchy headlines catch readers; 
  • Blog about interesting stuff;
  • Link. Liberally.;
  • Use FeedBurner in addition to WordPress’ own RSS;
  • READ lots of RSS feeds. Feed your fire;
  • Watch your WordPress stats. Thar be gold!;
  • Play to the keywords referring traffic to you;
  • Customize your space with headers or CSS tweaks;
  • Write often, write well;
  • Use pictures. They add a certain je ne c’est quoi;
  • Tag. Liberally.;
  • Dare to piss people off (sometimes);
  • Be open to apologizing;
  • Must develop thicker skin;
  • Open your comments up;
  • Spell check… Om doesn’t & look at him go!:);
  • Allow trackbacks.

Most of all though. Be yourself. Let your excitement and passion carry through in your writing and you’ll have an engaged audience in no time. (I wanted to file this before I left for work. I’ll swing back around mid-day to add the links I had intended to put in.) 

Worst Akismet Spam Day Yet

October 11, 2006

I checked right at lunch to see what this site’s blog stats were looking like and found 0 spam comments awaiting my attention. Just a minute ago I get a nasty little gift of 42 Akismet spam detects. That is the worst I’ve ever experienced. Well shy of some I’ve heard of. But still…

However, I’ve been doing a little fighting back (thanks to Blogspot!). All but one of the offending linkbacks went to and on each one I flag them as objectionable content. I’ve been doing that for a week now and some of them have actually been taken down!

Granted it’s stupid simple to set them back up again… But, hey, make it a bit of a pain in the butt for them too! Right?