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A fake comment with a difference

One of the less enjoyable aspects of having a blog is having to dismiss all the fake comments that are blatant attempts at getting advertising links posted onto a website for free.

Traditionally, these fake comment adverts have been distinctly feeble. Some blatantly ignore the topic - so, for instance, a post about why I don't like opera might get links for the wonders of a brand of dog food. Others go for what they presumably hope is more subtlety. They start with a bland comment, something like 'Great post, I really agree with this! You should see this too'. But the lack of direct connection to the topic you are then directed to is a giveaway, as in a post about the totally shocking contents list of something I bought at the supermarket being linked to a site selling garden lights.

Today, though, and perhaps scarily, whatever algorithm is used to select a post to put a fake comment on has finally come up with something that appears to be directly relevant to the text of the post. There was an attempt to add to one of my book reviews what appears to be download links for that book, with links headed 'Download now', 'Download full' and 'Download LINK'. 

Of course I don't know if these actually are links to pirated copies of the book in question - I have no intention of clicking on one. But the fact remains that the comment looks far more legitimate than the other fakes - though the author of this pseudo-comment gave the game away by putting in a total of six links. And perhaps they should realise that no legitimate book review site would accept a comment with links to download pirate copies (or worse).

What did disappoint me was that they didn't choose one of my books as the one to award the honour of the first of these more sophisticated dodgy links. It wasn't even a review I wrote. It was a guest post by Michael Bycroft, reviewing the 2009 title Branches by the excellent Philip Ball. It's a good book, but I can't help but feel a little jealous.

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