Many years ago I was managing the website of comebackalive.com which is owned by my friend Robert Young Pelton. We were running a phpbb forum and for about one year when it seemed that “comment spam” started happening.
I was curious about this. A few years before I had tracked down a Romanian hacker and eventually became friends with him (Eastern European Hackers used to be really easy to catch since they always provided their photograph and their address and phone number on whatever website they frequented under their nom de guerre ) and in 2003 I visited him and his family in Cluj Napoca and had a wonderful time (we went fishing and I used maggots for bait) I asked my hacker friend what the deal was with this comment spam and he told me that he did not know much about it except that it was from the Ukraine.
I eventually started doing research and I found out that most of it was from a guy named Alex from Sebastopol on the black sea. Later “Alex” would write the comment spam program called XRumer. I still never found out the last name of Alex and it has always bothered me that I did not pursue this with more vigor because I surely had time back then.
Now XRumer is a mainstay of spam. It is now run like a Multi Level Marketing scheme in Eastern Europe that I like to call “Spamway”. It produces annoyances here and makes people think that by investing a few hundred dollars “over there” that they stand to become rich.