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Monday, 19 October 2015

To Russia Without Love: Shirtfronting the Spammers


Richard P said...

I had been wondering what kind of spam you meant — spam comments on the blog, or miscellaneous e-mail spam. I am somewhat relieved to know that it's the latter, because that means that it's not the blog that is generating it.

Yes, your e-mail address was visible at the bottom of your blog, and that may be how it originally got onto spam lists, but at this point, deleting the blog will have no effect. Spammers do not conscientiously purge their e-mail lists to keep them up to date. Your current Gmail address is "out there" for spammers in perpetuity. So I think the solution is to change your e-mail address, while keeping the blog intact — I am not sure how to do that, but am confident that there's a way. Then, be very selective about who can see or know your e-mail address.

The other thing that occurs to me is that perhaps your Gmail spam filter needs to be turned on, or made more sensitive. I think Gmail has a pretty good record of spam-catching.

All the best to you!

Bill M said...

Sorry to hear this Robert. I say make the blog into a book. Print has no spam. You have done wonderful work and many many many great posts.

The way I got the Hermes people from spamming my email and blog was to create an email specifically for the blog, but that keeps folks who want to contact me from doing so because I created the account and lost the PW and backup email account. The other thing I did was create a sign-in, turn off the captcha, and I think enabled the no anonymous comments.

I use Gmails spam filters for all my Gmail accounts and they seem to work about 90% or better.

Joe V said...

I recently changed the email address associated to my Blogger account. From your dashboard, select your blog, then settings, then email settings, where you can enter the name of the email account associated with the blog.

I have spam filtering turned on for my email account, which seems to work okay. Occasionally a new spam message gets through, but I'll then add that message to the spam folder and all future messages from that same sender are filtered.

I liken email spam to postal junk mail. A nuisance, yes, but it easily gets tossed in the recycle bin.

Robert, tracking your blog's readership via Google analytics is tempting to do, as many other bloggers can attest, but for myself it's a labor of love, and so I don't keep track at all. I do it because I want to, while also not wanting to get discouraged by whatever negative implications might reside in statistics.

Finally, thank you for the fine work you've done over the years. I've been lax in not always commenting your articles as I should.

Gordon Tillman said...

Robert I do hope you are able to sort out the spam issue and keep this wonderful blog alive. I only recently discovered it. I feel like an anthropologist who has discovered a vast treasure trove.

Ted said...

Interesting that spam gets through your Gmail account. Gmail is usually *very good* about auto-trashing spam in my account (I generally get 20-100 spams a day, but almost never see them as gmail instantly regulates them to a "spam" folder that gets deleted after a month or so). Every once in awhile one stays in my inbox, but I just mark it as "spam" and I never get repeats. I should note also that Gmail learns from what you mark specifically as spam.

A Reader said...

As others have said, having your email address visible is likely the problem. Changing your email address should alleviate the problem of receiving spam in your Gmail inbox, but deleting or discontinuing the blog won't. You can also switch to a "contact page" which uses a form where the sender has to enter their information but doesn't get to see yours unless you reply to them directly.

Anonymous said...

Have you tried turning Gmail's "spam filtering" setting to the *on* position? That will usually take care of the problem.

Someone (a kid, probably :) needs to show you in person how to do that, since it isn't exactly intuitive. You can set it up so that only the people you *send* email to can send you email back, etc.

You might want to set up a *new* email address -- an address which you *NEVER* mention anywhere on-line, including your blog -- and give that one out to only your friends, business contacts, etc.

It can be very *close* to the cool one you have now -- get creative -- and then keep that one out of public view.

Good luck! :)

FW said...


I keep forgetting to pass this on:

There is a tiny computer program for Macs called "Typewriter Keyboard" -- adds keyboard sounds to any and all of your Mac keys. (Comes with great typewriter sounds... and... is also completely programmable with any of the included sound effects... or... any other "wav" sound-file on your computer, in case you want to one of those instead.)

All my "keyboarding" now sounds like actual "writing." :)

Just thought I'd mention it.

Thanks for your time! Love the Blog! Best of luck!

And... always double-space after periods!

It's just the right thing to do.


Malcolm Carpenter said...

Dear Mr Messenger, I see that I am not the first to say that I am sorry that you are harassed by the spamers. Or the first to suggest that you get an IT specialist to adjust the filters on your account to keep out the spammers. Your blog has been a fantasticaly detailed source of information about typewriters, a roundtable opening to other typewriter bloggers, and, especially for me, a view into the world of journalism from your part of the world. Of particular enjoyment have been the information filled background pieces about people and events not necessarily associated with the world of typewriters. I hope you can weather the spam storm and do know that there are hundreds, if not thousands of us, who appreciate your hard work.

Many thanks,
Malcolm Carpenter
(near) Heidelberg, Germany

..... and I thought Ludmilla was writing to only me!

Nick Bodemer said...

I have always loved your blog--it has inspired me for the last four years! Is there any way that you could either post your Safari reviews (from last October) or email them to me at typewriterrrsearch (at)

Taylor Harbin said...

I'm sorry for all of your trouble, Robert. I was going to send you a personal letter, but can't find the mailing address of the museum. Could you help me out?

mpclemens said...

Chiming in to say "what they said." Gmail's spam filtering is pretty robust, if it's activated. I know I get about 50 pieces daily to that account, and to another address that I've had and publicized for years, the numbers are more around 150 per day. But all of it lands in the Junk Mail folder (or the equivalent) and except for a quick scan now and then, I just toss it all.

If you're getting junk mail from a known contact, then it likely means that either that contact or a mutual friend has a computer issue. Most spam is "outsourced" onto hacked computers, so if a friend-of-a-friend has an infected PC, you both are likely to recoup the "rewards" of the infection. Lucky you.

Once again, time to wax nostalgic about the Good Old Days when it cost someone a proper stamp to tell me that I've won the Nigerian Lottery. :-)

the sports hack said...

Robert, try and tweak your gmail account to block more Spam. Also delete your email address from your blog and replace it with one that has ' at ' instead of the @. People can work it out.

Unknown said...

Robert - please do not delete your blog. The typosphere depends on it. Seriously, I cannot count the times other typewriter bloggers have quoted you on their own posts. I agree with the tip to obscure your email address. If you want to set up a new email to use for your blog, you can do that, go into your blog settings, and let the new email be an author for the blog. There are also a number of things you can do with Gmail filtering to cut down on spam. I do a bunch of blogging and would be glad to Skype with you about it if you'd like. David

Marvin said...

Hello Robert,

I will keep this very short because I am only recently rekindling my love for typewriters after having found my old Galaxie Deluxe: Please do anything, and I mean ANYTHING, to somehow keep your blog going. There are plenty of outlets out there that won't be compromised by spamming or what have you. Your blog is simply a great great source of both inspiration and information concerning typewriters and writing in general. It would be sad and, frankly, unnecessary to cease the blog completely. Do what you can. There are plenty of people who would greatly benefit from your keeping it going, and plenty who would miss out as well. You're a treasure and I mean that.

Marvin G

Unknown said...

Robert! I can explain why so many page views come from Russia. In the past three months I have accessed ozTypewriter literally hundreds of times, from Moscow - I am a US citizen living in Russia. That's where the page views are from.

TonysVision said...

Robert, it has been through your blog that my interest in typewriters has continued to be encouraged, and much of whatever smarts I have gained about these wondrous machines has been gleaned from these pages. So i will add my voice to the clamor to keep it up. Actually, i suspect that you will find it impossible not to, given your addiction as a writer to compiling, clarifying and sharing. And given the information in the comments to this post it seems that the existence of your blog and your spam problem are unrelated anyhow.