Wired on Splogs

The title Spam + Blogs = Trouble is a rare understatement from Wired, but the article is a good examination of the dangers of splogs—sites that look like blogs but are constructed entirely of links to get-rich-quick sites, link forests that artificially inflate the PageRank of pages within them, and “male enhancement” or phentermine ads.

The most insidious part of the spam blogger’s arsenal comes when they try to get people to link to the sites. Since no one will do that voluntarily, spam bloggers abuse the comments features on sites like mine, using automated tools or low-paid labor. How bad is it? I’m routinely deleting upwards of fifty comments a night and my site doesn’t even get that much traffic any more. I will most likely crack my 10,000th message in my site’s Manila discussion group this week (all comments, along with my posts and any images I upload, are stored in the discussion group), and I’d guess that something like 40% of the total message count has been spam messages.

In fact, spam is the number one reason that I will likely move off this blogging platform as soon as I find a way to migrate my content. Spam is an arms race, and with my site host not upgrading to the latest version of Manila—which doesn’t see frequent updates anyway—I’m badly underarmed. The Boycott Sony blog probably gets as many spam comments if not more in spite of its not having been updated in seven months, but they go into a holding tank for approval, and if I upgraded to the latest WordPress version, the vast archive of spam already flagged would serve to educate my spam filter to keep more comments from coming in.