Anyone Who Saw that Coming a Mile Away Raise Your Hand

Posted by Ben on 2011-01-15

Anyone who’s hand isn’t raised should hang their head in shame, including me. Really I should have expected it, but I can’t even claim that I had it in the back of my mind and just forgot about it. Yes I’m referring, of course, to the recent bout of spam and the addition to the ReCaptcha security.

As to what exactly happened? Well, we recently signed up with an account with Project Wonderful. Lovely advertising company, very useful in their own right. We’re currently awaiting approval to host ads on Dubious Company. With luck you’ll all be able to get a good crop of decently funny webcomics. But, whilst waiting for approval, we can get our own ads up on any site that we win a bid for. To that end the founder of Mythedge Comics donated a couple of bucks into our account and agreed to hunt down some bargain ads for us (really nice guy, if you ever start your own webcomic, or really any artistic endeavor, I suggest you pop him and email to see if he can help you out).

Well, we were getting our ads up on other pages, and indeed there’s been an increase in traffic since our um.. “aggressive” marketing campaign, but that brought the attention of spammers. Booo spammers. Without proper foresight, our poor unprotected comments were being inundated with calls for payday loans, cheap refinancing of your house and biggererer peni for the ladies (though I thought ladies were people with no peni at all, but whatever). The only saving grace is that we disabled html code from displaying so it was really obvious to see what was spam. And they didn’t even have the courtesy of paying us for using our site to advertise.

Anyway, Tria and I were deleting posts at a pretty decent clip and it looked like we were going to have to quit our jobs to keep track of this full time (I think my total kill count is around 20). However, Greg, our awesome site admin, saw this coming and had a plan in place. Thus the ReCaptcha security you see. Kind of inconvenient to be sure, but the only solution we could come up with that blocked out the spambots with as minimal interference to you guys as possible.

On the plus side, we are getting a consistent in traffic, so, “Hello New Fans! You are awesome! Feel free to join in on our conversations.” Also the ReCaptcha protocol seems to have worked so the spamming has stopped and we can go back to actually producing the comic.

Sadly, Greg has just informed me that he is doing something silly like applying to grad schools, so the rest of the noncritical upgrades are going to be trickling in slowlier. But slow is better than not at all. Right? Right?!