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A note regarding those “health insurance” comments on our comment board:

First of all, don’t open them. Flag them so that our staff can remove them.
These “comments” are malware. I’m sure our commenters have seen many more like it. It informs you that you can save money on health insurance if you click on a link in the email. We have heard complaints that these links launch a malware program that will track your activities and cause damage to your computer.
We have tracked these posts to a company in India that hires people to post thousands of these links on US-based Websites every day. We ban these posters when we find them, however because they are hand-posted by many people, it’s easy for these posters to get around the Disqus security system. Typically they are posted very early in the morning, around 4 a.m. our time.
The only way for us to guarantee that these posts will not appear on this site is to prevent links from being posted in comments. That means that when our commenters post links to resources or back-up materials, their posts will be banned too. I am hesitant to do that, however we will do it if these posts cause problems for our readers.

Thanks,
John Macone, editor

We here at The Daily News were under the wrong impression — we thought interest in our daily column on bridge had waned significantly, and so 2 weeks ago we removed the column and replaced it with entertainment news.

Since then, we’ve heard from many readers who loved the column and wished to have it back. Starting Monday, it will again be published daily in The Daily News.

As of today (Tuesday, Jan. 12) I have changed the Disqus comment format to a mode called “Narcissus,” which should eliminate some of the glitches with Disqus and make the comments more readable.

Commenters, please let me know what you think.

– John

Many of our online commenters have been flagging comments on our Website that link to a health insurance. For example, this one, which was posted (strangely enough) on our court log:

“That is very true. But You can get always get a full medical coverage at the lowest price from http://bit.ly/68ShhE if you do your home work you can find the best plan.”

Some of you have asked why these posts keep showing up. We tracked the source to India, where a small company employs people to post dozens of these things on Websites all across the globe.

We ban the posters when we encounter them on our site, but they are persistent. My thanks go out to everyone who has been flagging them. Flagging them makes it easier for us to find them and delete them.

As of today (Wednesday, May 27) we have temporarily disabled the Disqus widget on our Website. You can still post comments on stories, however the widget that tells you which stories have the most comments and the most recent comments has had some technical problems. We shut that widget down to avoid confusion.

We’ll put it back up once it works correctly.

No doubt many of our readers have gotten those automated phonecalls that claim your car warranty is about to expire.  We at The Daily News have received many phonecalls — in fact I just got yet another one today.

Most of these services are fradulent.  One way to smoke them out is to ask them which of your cars the warranty has expired on. At that point, they will hang up on you.

Here’s the story:

http://www.newburyportnews.com/punews/local_story_114222630.html

We use a service called “Disqus” to host reader comments on our Website.  Disqus occasionally changes features, usually adding something that improves the service.

However, recently Disqus made a major change in its posting policy that has left many of our posters in the lurch. Comments made by first-time posters are no longer automatically posted, even if you have a verified email account. We have asked Disqus to return to its previous policy.

We’ve begun adding some “community blogs” to our site. We’re focusing on blogs that are on the lighter side — sports, leisure, hobbies.

With spring finally here, we’d like to tap into two popular pasttimes in greater Newburyport — gardening and fishing. If there’s anone who would be interested in writing about one of these subjects, please drop me an email at jmacone@newburyportnews.com

More blogs coming

A note to our readers: We’ll be adding more local blogs soon to our site. In the coming days we’ll be adding content that has a high quotient of fun/hobby/socializing.

In case you saw a ton of police in Salisbury today…. there was an interesting bust at 4 convenience stores that police say were running illegal video gambling rings. We’ve posted a short story on our “breaking news” section of our Website, and tomorrow’s paper will have a much more detailed account. If the tips that we’ve received thus far prove to be true, this will probably be one of the stranger crime stories we’ve had in these parts in some time. Stay tuned.

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