Wednesday, August 17, 2005

There's always one who spoils it for everyone else

In the last few days I have noticed that the traffic and specifically the number of comments on posts at Ports Thoughts has risen by about 25%. Obviously I attributed that to the Interweb community coming to recognize my erudite thinking and entertaining writing. Depressingly I have had to concede though that is nothing to do with the high quality of my modest thoughts, but rather the scourge that is web log spamming. This is very similar to the low life spammers who send unwanted email offering V*I*A*G*R*A or Meds or the scammers who offer to give you 25% of $70 million in exchange for using your bank account.

The difference is that ordinary mail spammers rely on sending millions of messages so if just tiny percent of people respond it is still a sufficiently large amount to make it worth their while (even though it has cause untold hassle for millions of people). Likewise the scammers only need a handful of ignorant greedy redneck George Bush voters to respond to their preposterous scams to make it worth their while. However, in web log comment spamming, the spammer doesn't care if anyone responds to their comment because their objective is not to lure in the people responding, but rather to get more links to their web site which will push their site higher up the search results list in Google with the ultimate aim being to be the number one search result. Why? Well in some cases just ego, but in more sinister cases it is because people tend to trust the higher rated Google results because they assume credibility for a site so high up the list, not realizing this isn't due to loads of reputable sites linking to it, but because of loads of links on web log comments. You can buy software that will automate creating these comments just like the mail spammers tools.

So - the questions is what to do about it. Well the most important thing is to delete the posts so that it won't count as another link for Googles popularity algorithms. The spammers deliberately leave positive comments ("Love your site", "I've bookmarked your site", " You're an excellent writer") to make suckers leave them since they appear flattering. Don't be fooled! The comments are always automated and they don't really read you site.

The real dilemma I face is whether to disable anonymous post facility on Ports Thoughts. If I keep on deleting spam people may think that I am censoring comments which I would never do for legitimate comments. On the other hand I hate the idea of forcing people to register with in order to comment. Is there any other way of stopping this annoyance?


Anonymous said...

My blog automatically filters spam comments...don't know just works :O)

Thanks to Steve Castledine and his Dominoblog template!

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