Russian Astro-spam?

by on August 8, 2008 · 16 comments

This is fascinating. A co-blogger on my other blog did a very short post about the Russia-Georgia conflict. Within a few hours, we got 11 comments, not obviously spam, from different IP addresses, all of them pro-Russian. And, it should be noted, my other blog gets even less traffic than this one does, so it’s extremely unlikely that I just happen to have dozens of Russian readers who have never commented before.

I’m really curious why this happened. I can think of three explanations:

  • The comments were made by distinct, real people. This would be similar to the Ron Paul fiasco, in which a ton of genuine Ron Paul fans apparently Googled for Ron Paul’s name and spent a ton of time promoting his candidacy. This seems to me like the most likely possibility, but it’s pretty impressive if true.
  • They’re distinct people, but it’s some kind of organized campaign, perhaps funded by the Russian government or some other pro-Russian group. This would make it astro-spam like the ill-conceived anti-network neutrality spam this blog received a couple of years ago.
  • The comments are automatically generated, using a botnet to give the appearance that the comments originate from different places. This option would suggest some pretty sophisticated software, as at least one is responsive to the post, and there’s not obvious repetition.

    I think any of these three options has interesting implications. Perhaps we’ll find out which it is by the response (or absence thereof) to this post.

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