46,000 junk TrackBacks a week

My frequently cranky installation of Movable Type began throwing up even more Internal Server Errors than usual at the weekend. They seemed to appear instead of any admin screen that would show some TrackBacks. So I poked around in the database and realised the number of junk TrackBacks received by the system had rocketed recently, as made obvious by this graph:

Graph showing number of junk TrackBacks received per week

Each column is a week, starting when I upgraded to MT3 last year. For the last few months of 2005 the number of junk TrackBacks received hovered around the 1,000 per week mark but started shooting up just before Christmas. Each of the past two weeks I’ve received over 46,000 junk TrackBacks! Is this just me or has everyone experienced such a huge increase recently?

To its credit, MT has let only a handful of these through — there was a bad rash of a couple of dozen one day but otherwise it’s been almost nothing. I deleted all these in the database which seemed to clear up most, but not all, of my Internal Server Errors. Then I found MT’s option to delete this spam automatically, which will hopefully help in future.

Unfortunately, this hasn’t fixed the Internal Server Errors that often appear when anyone tries posting a comment, to the frequent frustration of Pepys’ Diary annotators. Grrrr.

Comments

  • Let’s see if this comment works! I use Typepad, which also accepts TrackBacks as you know, and I’ve noticed a consistently high amount of TrackBack spam in the last few months too … More than comment spam in fact. A few every day, and then the odd day of an attack of 10-20 or so … I add the incoming IP addresses to my banned list and currently have 300 in there (Comments and TrackBacks) - though I don’t think SixApart are combining/comparing those IP addresses across their users in any way sadly. No way near the amount incoming to you, Phil. But definitely an increase.

  • Hey Phil, I know I’m coming in here late, but I’d definitely urge you to file a help ticket with our tech support staff assuming you have a paid license. They’ve helped a great number of people with this problem so it’s totally solvable. No need to waste any more of your time with it or expend mental energy on it. This is what they’re there for.

  • Thanks Jay - I should do that. I must confess that I still feel slightly bad about opening a ticket. Maybe it’s an English thing about not wanting to be a bother :)