We naively expected our readers to leave thoughtful, meaningful comments at the bottom of the articles on CyberPunks.com. Instead, we’ve been swamped by spam.
Not to worry, though; when life hands us lemons, we ask David Rutland to make lemonade. Sometimes, it’s spiked with Cialis.
You can fuck dogs in Finland.
That’s the opening line of my next novel: Dog Fuckers — a Cyberpunk’s Guide to the Nordic Nations.
In truth, you can’t just pick a Jack Russell off the street and impale (or be impaled by) it in full public view; there ARE decency laws after all. And to avoid charges of animal cruelty, the animal needs to be of sufficient size to enable/facilitate the act. Very few men would be able to start a legal romantic relationship with a Chihuahua, while most would leave a Great Dane feeling unfulfilled .
From what I’ve determined, it must be your own dog (read: pet), otherwise you’ll need permission from Spot’s owner in order to “get jiggy” in the doghouse, or to join the kennel club, if you will.
If getting it on with the birds and the beasts is your thing, but you can’t afford the airfare to fabulous Finland, land of lonely men in isolated cottages, you’re in luck. Local animal lovers have you covered as well, and there is a wealth of online porn catering to your very specific need. They’ll even put on live shows crafted to unusual fetishes involving lubricated ostriches, balloons, and possibly even dwarfs. Whatever you want.
We know what you’re thinking . . .
How do I know this, you might ask? What possible reason could a cyberpunk have for researching deviant mating habits in frozen wastelands on the edge of the Arctic Circle, and why the hell are they telling me about it?
If you’ve ever tried to leave a comment on CyberPunks.com, you may have been frustrated and annoyed that your carefully distilled wit hasn’t appeared for a few days while it waits for moderation. Sometimes it can be weeks, or even months, before your angry rants about how that David Rutland guy is a complete dick, appear. Anyhow, I digress. Why must they screen your brilliant comments? The answer is S-P-A-M. But what do these particular spammers hope to gain? What makes them tick?
Their main motivation appears to be Search Engine Optimization. In order for a site’s Google ranking to rise, the page doesn’t need carefully crafted and thoughtful articles on topics relevant to its readership; the page needs incoming links from quality sources (you’ll be pleased to know that CyberPunks.com is such a source), and for most “black hat marketers,” the easiest way to get said links is to dump links to their own sites into the comments section of other websites. In words variously attributed to Lenin, Stalin, and Thomas Callahan, quantity has a quality all of its own.
The other reason is that bad people want to steal your stuff.
That’s a lot of Spam
The ratio of poorly planned spam to genuine comments is somewhere in the region of 200 to one. We’ve already covered bestiality, and you’re still here, so what can we show you, our jaded audience of cyberpunks, to give you a true sense of the wonder and horror that lies within the unmoderated comments queue?
I’ll point out that around 40% of these comments are in Russian script. Judging by the thumbnail links on the posts, we’re pretty sure that if these comments were approved, we’d be advertising liquor stores in Saint Petersburg (not Florida), double glazing in Smolensk, Youth Celluvation (some risky nootropics), and/or middle-aged Russian-speaking women in St. Petersburg (Florida). And if we ever need to supply ourselves with bulk fishing tackle while practicing our Cyrillic letterwork, we know several places we could look. It’s like the Slavic Yellow Pages.
When half-mast won’t cut it . . . enter the penis pill
One question that’s posed to us several times per day is, “Have you ever tried cybersex?” We politely ignore this inquiry, despite the exhortation to “give each other pleasure tonight!”
On the off-chance we actually did fancy a bout of “cybersex,” which sounds eerily close to knocking one out in front of a webcam for blackmail at a later date, we’d want to make sure our assets were as impressive and engorged as possible for when the evidence is mailed to our friends and co-workers — including our high school crush, Tiffany*. Half-mast simply won’t cut it when we’re knowingly falling victim to an extortion scam.
There are a large selection of meds available, in whatever language you choose, and shipping from and to wherever you want them. Cialis, Levitra, and Viagra ads are most common, but there are also mechanical penis extenders and pumps for when you really want to make a good impression.
Not that treatments for defective erections are the only drugs on offer, and strolling through the neglected aisles of the cyberpunks.com back end, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d become lost and ended up in an actual pharmacy.
We have pills for prostates, home remedies for hair loss, beverages to beat belly fat, buckets of barbiturates, and antibiotics in armfuls (our alliteration circuit has now failed). Yes, you too can buy Amoxicillin – an antibiotic used to treat strep throat, pneumonia, skin infections, and UTIs online and without a prescription.
Disappointingly, there are no coronavirus cures or vaccines being advertised yet, although the term is being used for several spammy domain names.
They’re all promising on time deliveries, easy payment, and free shipping. And weirdly they seem to have the same prescribing chemist – an attractive early 30s lady with chestnut hair, glasses, and a skirt which is far too short for her lab coat – handing out the drugs for them. She looks remarkably similar to a horny single who is apparently in my area. It’s possible she’s a twin, separated at birth in a Parent Trap-style tragedy, with one sister becoming a PhD wielding chemist in St. Petersburg (again, not Florida), and the other living the grim and desperate life of an unceasingly horny single in the north of England.
Should we choose to have cybersex with a horse in Helsinki while dosed up on a Rexatal & Viagra cocktail, we can cure our various digitally acquired STDs with Amoxicillin from one of the chestnut-haired lady’s many online stores. We could arrange the wedding through one of the several Turkish online travel agents who choose stock images and the comment section over an actual marketing budget. For the honeymoon, we could purchase travel documents from a gentlemen who promises “real opportunity for you to get bogus e-passports of high quality,” and wind up waiting at the airport having shelled out hundreds because the company doesn’t actually exist.
Do we really need to mention that a good portion of spammers are good old-fashioned scams?
Are you surprised?
The desperate princes of Nigeria
The web as we know it has been around for a while now – almost as long as the cyberpunk genre itself, and since its inception, there has been a need for authenticity. A yearning for trust and, paradoxically, for anonymity. Personal accounts need to link to your online identity, and yet they should disguise your true identity from anyone who doesn’t know you. There needs to be a degree of trust that people who are trying to sell you something, be it antibiotics, cybersex, or even an idea, are who they appear to be, and that they’re more or less sincere in what they’re saying. This is one of the many reasons why cautious individuals tend to read reviews before making a purchase, and why Instagram influencers are sellouts and trash people.
It takes years to build a high-quality profile on Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest. Users create networks of contacts with varying degrees of closeness, and those contacts believe they can trust what is being said. A random advertisement may or may not convince you to visit a dating site for lonely North Korean singles or invest your entire month’s wages on the Moscow Stock Exchange, but an invitation from your brother-in-law to click an awesome link might just do the trick. Tweets from people you know will get your attention better than any number of conventional, black hat marketing techniques.
Legitimacy through personal endorsement is the holy grail of advertising, and Komrade Spammers know all too well that third-party validation can be manufactured via spammy skunkworking on unsuspecting sites who don’t screen their comments. Sucks for them, but we know the game. Score one for CyberPunks.com moderation team.
Why are they repeating themselves?
Aged, US-based, Twitter accounts, complete with verified email addresses and the original verification email can be purchased for as little as $5 each. Accounts opened in Turkey are considerably cheaper, with another seller offering newer accounts for as little as a dollar each. Stolen Pinterest credentials cost a bit more, presumably because Pinterest attracts a different demographic. A single login, together with password, and verification email from 2007 will set you back twenty bucks. By contrast, Instagram accounts are cheap, and according to the information dumped into the Cyberpunks.com comment section, we can buy ten basic accounts with no posts, created between 2015 and 2017, for 30 US-dollars.
What we love most about these comments is the level of customer service. You’ll be surprised by a spammer’s response time! And they all accept a wide range of payment methods such as crypto, Paypal, Skrill, and even CS:GO skins. Most encourage the use of an escrow agent so that buyers can be sure they get what they’re paying for. There’s a one-hour replacement guarantee if you have a problem with the account.
Those dodgy Facebook links your uncle keeps sending you? This is where they come from. Or maybe your uncle’s just a dick. We don’t know, we’ve (probably) never met him. Does he fuck dogs in Finland?
To be honest, we’re beginning to suspect that some of these comments aren’t even boilerplate or written by humans at all. It’s quite likely that they’re generated and posted by a script which scans the internet for WordPress sites, and posts random crap into the comments section, with links to whichever site is paying them today. Some of these scripts have been running for years, and while the links change, the comments themselves may not.
Take this comment, for example: “Hi there, You have done an incredible job. I’ll certainly digg it and personally suggest to my friends. I am confident they will be benefited from this site.”
It seems innocent enough. Yes, we do do an incredible job, and the promise of a personal recommendation is almost enough to make us click on the approve button.
But the user name is anal sex, and the linked ‘personal webpage’ is to a fake news site in Korea. Digg was a website which operated in a way similar to the way reddit does now. Users could post links, and their popularity would be determined by the number of Diggs they received — similar to an upvote or a like.
With the rise of Facebook and various pay-per-Digg controversies undermining its credibility (how we laugh from the distant shores of 2020), the site eventually failed. Digg still exists in some diminished form, but users haven’t been able to “digg” anything for nearly a decade. We needed to find out just how long this comment has been around.
A quick search shows us that the same exact wording has appeared in the comments section of over 479,000 different WordPress-based sites, and as far as we can tell, first popped into being on January 1st, 2000, on a Brazilian film review site which is still active today. It’s possible the comment was minted even earlier, but that’s as far back as Google will let us go.
It’s a ghost comment, floating across the internet like a virtual Mary Celeste. It may be even be the oldest-surviving artifact of comment spam in existence, and, to quote Dr. Henry Jones, Jr., “it belongs in a museum.”
Remind me why I do this?
Believe it or not, being a writer isn’t as easy as it appears. Sure, we get to sit around at home all day, drinking coffee while doing nothing more energetic than tapping a few keys every now and again, but the research can be hazardous to our mental and financial health.
We’ve just seen a woman taking 30 inches of throbbing horsemeat, and some guy in the comments is threatening to fuck up our lives unless we send him $500 in Bitcoin. We need a break to drink some more coffee and watch cockfighting being streamed live from Indonesia through a gambling site purveying “live loading chicken battles.”
Fortunately, the moderation queue offers potential respite in the form of, “safe and inexpensive custom writing service with high-quality writers” which are “written by experts, not by students.”
Seems legit to us! Don’t forget to Digg.
*The author attended a Catholic boys’ school & barely knew girls existed until he accidentally got one pregnant. There was no Tiffany.