Man-day Post: Canning your SPAM

In Blogging, Man-day by Jensguy

Welcome to another installment of Man-day from Jen’s husband, Jen’s Guy!

Generally I am a big fan of SPAM.  I like it fried with with eggs and veggies.  Seriously, how can you not like this?

Well, that is unless you are my wife, who inexplicably doesn’t.  She IS, however, a very good cook and mother and looks as hot as Hawaiian lava, so we will keep her.

Then there is the type of spam that nobody likes, and is the real subject of my post.  So here are 5 straw man questions that I will ask and answer to help you out as much as I can (there have been requests).

1.  Why is such a horrible thing linked by name to such a delicious food?

Tragic right?  It is Monty Python’s fault.  Honestly, if you haven’t run into Monty Python by now, it probably isn’t for you.  One of their famous skits involves SPAM.  This one actually:

There is a lot more geek history involving usenet groups and such, but the upside is that you don’t get what you want without a little SPAM.  The name stuck.  Also Hormel’s style book says that SPAM the food (which is short for Spiced Ham) should always be capitalized.

2.  Why SPAM at all?

Because it is profitable.  Someone somewhere is ordering their Viagra from a spam message, and quite a few someones.  These are likely sad and lonely people just one step away from being liberated from the rest of their money by a Nigerian Prince, but enough of these people buy from the spam messages to make them profitable.

As far as the messages you get in the comment section of your WordPress site, there is another reason.  Likely none of the high echelon readers of JENerally informed would ever dream of buying their Viagra from the comments section (we would have to consider a sidebar ad for that).  What the spammers are aiming for is to create a “follow link” to their junk website.  If you can get several thousand of these links by spam messages, it will raise that site’s Google Page Rank, and push them to the top of the Google rankings for whatever product they are selling.  That is where the real money is.

3.  How do I stop SPAM from my email inbox?

This is easy.  Install Cloudmark DesktopOne.  It is free and excellent.  One of the biggest problems with spam filtering is that it takes email you want and files it as spam.  Cloudmark works by people reporting specific spam messages and Cloudmark blocking those particular messages from popping into your mailbox.  If you get a spam message, you can report it and it helps out the community.  If several hundred thousand people get together and do this, it is pretty powerful and works like a charm.  I have many clients running this and not one has ever reported a false positive.  Keep in mind that there is a free version and a Pro version.  If you like the free version, I would suggest showing your appreciation by eventually upgrading to the Pro version.

4.  How do I get rid of the SPAM messages appearing in my WordPress blog comments section?

Part A.  Install Akismet.  It is really easy and doesn’t need a whole lot of customization.  All you really need is an Akismet API key which you can create HERE.  Once you have the key, configure your Akismet installation and enter the key you generated into the field and you are done.  Alone, Akismet will send about 98% of your spam messages into the junk folder and not allow them to be displayed.

Part B.  Install Cookies for Comments.  Yep, dumb name, amazing results.  Once it is installed, configure it exactly like this:

What this does is rejects a comment composed within 4 seconds of clicking a post which a human would never do.  Robot spam machines will almost all fit this category.

Using these two programs will just about kill any worries that you have for spam and free you up to worry about other things.

5.  Can I make Sushi with SPAM?

You certainly can!  Although, technically it is called SPAM Musubi.  A Hawaiian friend I knew from church made some for me once, and it was delicious.  Here is the mouth watering picture:

And the recipe, all from the good folks at Hawaii Space Exploration Analog & Simulation.