Common Internet Morality?

If you haven’t noticed the rush of comments here on the blog lately, let me apologize on behalf of the spammers. That’s right, despite my image captcha verification I’m still getting comment spam.

How, you ask, can an automated tool figure out the text that’s in the captcha image? They can’t. Instead, these are real people posting nearly understandable comments that are almost relevant to the blog post itself. For example:

"I think it’s quite possible…so let’s wait Jake’s answer:)"

"RSS advertising can become more effective in future, than you think…"

"It is very interesting…but Mozilla is no good browser…i use Opera."

Many of the spam comments I’ve gotten lately have required a second look to see if they’re real people or not. (Sorry if I deleted your non-spam comment) Ugh. This comes so close to being something cool – i.e. someone from a company interacting on a blog, sharing their opinion and URL. Unfortunately, it’s nothing more than a scam, made possible by overseas outsourcing and Mechanical Turk.

Annoying as this is to deal with, I suppose it’s the price of doing business on the internet. But it’s lead to me to wonder lately – is there a "common morality" on the internet? If someone in the US was getting paid to manually spam blogs, they’d likely know what they were doing was in a moral gray area. But if you living in India, working as a manual spammer, does the morality of this task change? Do you have the same guilty feelings about what you’re doing that an American (or heck, European) might? My guess is that this isn’t as much about location as it’s about income levels. That said, it’s hard to ignore the fact the amount of spam coming from Eastern Europe (and especially Russia), the amount of pirated software in China, and the levels of shady outsourcing coming from a number of third world countries.

Maybe I’m just pissy that my blog’s getting spammed and short of shutting off commenting all together, there’s nothing I can do to stop it…


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