Thursday, August 24, 2006

Lovely SPAM! Yes wonderful SPAM!

Earlier today, I was forced to delete every single comment on my blog. I had a couple dozen. At first, I was shocked to see comments on some of my earliest posts. I then looked at them only to be crushed by the sight of post after post of spam.

I was so sad! I thought people were finally discovering this blog in large enough numbers to actually have someone interested enough to post. Oh how wrong I was! Cruel, cruel world!

I look at the links only to discover that my blog has been desecrated by some scumbag spammer! Judging from the strange grammar, I'd say whoever it was was from Eastern Europe or Asia. Most likely Eastern Europe. For some reason it's a hotbed of blog SPAM over there.

Being a relatively recent entrant into the world of blogs, I was initially hesitant. Considering everything I heard said a new blog was created every second, I could not even fathom that my views and words could at all be useful. Anything I had to say was already being said by thirty people.

I had nothing to worry about.

I was curious as to why there were so few science blogs. Everything I heard meant that there had to be gazillions. Where were they? Where were my fellow thinkers, undoubtedly waiting to welcome me with open arms! The world is very different from what CNN had me believe.

In the newest issue of WIRED magazine, September, they discuss the problem. I'm glad I'm not alone. There's a damn good reason a new blog is created every second, because most of them are fake.

"Some 56 percent of active English blogs are spam, according to a study released in May by Tim Finin, a researcher at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and two of his students. "The blogosphere is growing fast," Finin says. "But the splogosphere is now growing faster.""

I had heard of splogs before this and generally knew what the deal was, but I had no idea the problem was so far reaching. As far as I knew, the biggest problem facing the net today was click-fraud, namely competitors of a particular company clicking on said company's pay-per-click ads until they ran out of money.

I figured splogs were a minor problem because the major companies, such as the home of this blog, Blogger, would simply filter their new blogs and any foreign services that became known for spolgs would be eliminated from search results. Obviously, this isn't the case.

"A recent survey by Mitesh Vasa, a Virginia-based software engineer and splog researcher found that in December 2005, Blogger was hosting more than 100,000 sploggers."

This is insane! The very service I use is home to countless, well, almost countless droves of scumbag sploggers! This is of grave importance to me and I'm sure many other legitimate bloggers who will have the reputation of their service ruined and well earned ranking in Google and other search engines obliterated. The spurt of SPAM postings I got is, I'm sure, only the tip of the iceberg in an all-out assault on my comments that may come if this blog grows.

In fact, I'm getting less than 100 hits per week, right now. Most of them are probably finding that they want to be elsewhere. With less than 100 hits per week, I'm getting spammed. I worry about becoming one of the mega-blogs who have actually just shut down comments. It sucks hard because the idea of feedback from others about my ideas is something that gets my heart all a-flutter.

"Statistics compiled by Akismet, a system put together by WordPress developer [Matt] Mullenweg that tried to filter out blog spam, suggest that more than nine out of ten comments in the blogosphere are spam. Partly as a result, prominent blogs like Instapundit, The Corner, and Talking Points Memo simply refuse to turn on the commenting."

Also of importance to me, since it makes me feel that I am a somewhat unique voice on the net, is the massive number of dead blogs. Of the 12.9 million blogs on Blogger, over 10 million of them are dead, meaning inactive or were stillborn. These still have comments on them, so sploggers actually take over dead blogs and annex them into their splog empire. I will never die. I didn't hop on the bandwagon for so long because I had nothing to say. I had not made the choice. Now I have, and I will be one of the good ones.

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