My spam filters seem to be having a tough time recently. I’m thinking more of email filters, rather than Akismet. That said, I wish that Akismet was a little less hospitable to certain Russian-writing agents. While I took a little Russian in high school, the main result was that I realized how bad at languages I am.
Three messages that gmail somehow let through (to andrew at changingway dot org) made me smile, though.
- Healthier way to smoke.
- Make happy the girlfriend! Present to the girlfriend unforgettable night!
- hi! My neighbor died because his viral infection was mistaken for bacterial…
Each one pure spam comedy gold, but I have to give first place to the last on the list. The switch from the chirpy “hi!” to the details of death has a sort of brilliance.
If gmail is going to let spam through, then I’m not too unhappy that it picked these three.
After the good news about themes at WordPress.com comes some bad news about themes for self-hosted WordPress sites. Siobhan Ambrose at WPMU.org wondered what she’d find if she Googled “Free WordPress Themes.” She examined themes from each of the top 10 hits for that search.
The result? Only one of the 10 theme sites was “safe.” Another was “iffy.” For the other 8, Siobhan’s advice is “avoid,” on the basis that some of the themes use Base64 encoding in order to sneak spammy links into the theme. Base64 can also be used to include malware.
The safe site is the WordPress.org themes directory. Since it currently includes well over a thousand themes, there seems little danger of a free theme shortage. Each of the themes there is under the GPL, and so is free as in freedom and well as free as in beer. In other words, you are free to modify the code of those themes.
This doesn’t mean that every source of free themes other than the official WordPress.com directory is bad. What it does mean is that, just as social media attracts spam, social media tools attract spam-producing components. It also means that some of the people who make those components also study the dark side of SEO.
Mollom is one of four spam comment fighting services that I’ve covered before. Mollom has enough recent news to merit a fresh post. Centernetworks’ Allen Stern summarized as follows: Mollom Leaves Beta, Hits 10 Million Blocked Spams, Launches Paid Plans.
The Mollom site provides further detail. Dries posted that: Drupal is still the main platform for users with Mollom subscriptions, with Joomla! coming second, and WordPress third. The pricing page contrasts two levels of service: Free and Plus. Plus costs 30 Euros a month (which, at current exchange rates, is about $40, rather than the $30 Allen quotes).