Ping Spamming from Deep Link Engine and How to Stop It

by Martin Malden

Spam, Here’s something to try if you have an article that’s being spammed with pingbacks.

I woke up yesterday morning to find more than 600 pingback spams on a single article.

I emptied the spam folder and half an hour later there were 22 more!

Luckily Akismet was doing its stuff and sending these pingbacks to the spam folder, but I was disappointed that Bad Behaviour seemed to be letting me down for once.

It didn’t seem practical to update my .htaccess file to ban the originating IP address because there was a large number of them.

None-the-less, I tried adding all the addresses from the latest 22 spams – but it didn’t slow down the onslaught one bit.

Frustrated, I clicked on one of the links to see what type of website it was, and to find the link to my article.

Predictably the site had zero in common with this site, but my link was appearing, along with a whole bunch of others, under a heading of ‘Related Blogs’.

Related my foot..!

However, that did give me a clue. If I could establish what plugin was being used, maybe I could contact the plugin developer (there was no contact form on the site I visited).

So I pulled up the page source code, did a search for my domain name and up it popped as part of the link to my article.

Scouring the code immediately before the list of links, I found this:

<!--pingback_start-->

That would, of course, imply there was a closing tag too – and there was.

But no clue as to which plugin was the culprit.

So off to Google to do a search for <!--pingback_start--> and it turned up a thread in the help forum on WordPress.org.

Going through the thread revealed that the plugin was the Deep Link Engine.

The next step was to go to the plugin site, where I discovered that it worked by looking for posts on which the ‘allow pingbacks’ feature was enabled.

And there lay my solution.

I went to the article that was being pinged and, in the post edit screen, went right to the bottom where it says ‘Discussion’.

Once there I unchecked the box against ‘Allow pingbacks and trackbacks on this page’ (1 below):

Uncheck the allow-pingbacks-on-this-page feature.

Scroll down to 'Discussion' and uncheck the 'Allow Pingbacks' feature.

And, hey presto, the pingbacks were stopped dead in their tracks.

Moral of the story

If you’re using the Deep Link Engine plugin to get links to other blogs, please make sure you set it up correctly.

Should you choose not to, you can be confident you’re causing severe aggravation for owners of blogs that have nothing to do with yours.

Cheers,

Martin Malden

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