Jan 19 2005

Fight the spammers!

Published by at 4:52 pm under Software,Technology

This is an old article and the information contained within it may be out of date, not reflect my current views and/or contain broken links. If you feel this article is still valid and requires updating, you can use the contact form to let me know. However, I make no guarantee that it will get updated.

I’m getting really narked off with comment spammers on my website. I’m rapibly (for me!) trying to work on a new theme for WordPress 1.5 so that I can ditch WordPress 1.2 and all the nasty hacks that I’ve had to implement in it.

With the new version of WordPress on of the first things I shall be doing with it is installing the Spam karma plugin. My friend Shane has been using it for a while now and he seems to be fairly please with its performance.

At the moment I am receiving between 50 and 100 spam comments per day.

But what do these guys gain from spam comments? Well, the benefits are two-fold. Firstly, they get lots of links in lots of different places… more chance of some foolish person clicking on the link and being directed to their website. The second benefit is the Google Page-Rank.

In its simplest form the Google works by seeing who links to your website. If I’m a normal guy with a website (example.com) about Viagra and nobody is linking to me then I’m going to have a very low Page-Rank. If I can get 10 sites to link to example.com then my Page-Rank is going to be increased. If thats increased again to 100 people linking to example.com then… well you get the picture.

Then along came the blog. Blogs work by allowing different blogs to be link via comments and pings and trackbacks and the links contained therein. So you have a world where lots of people are linking to lots of other people talking about similar subjects and they’re all increasing each others Page-Ranking.

Until someone automated the process of submitting comments to blogs. The automated commenting allows me to create 1000s of comments on 1000s of blogs all containing a link back to my example.com and all I have to do is click one button. Next time Google does its sweep of the internet my example.com Page-Ranking hits the roof.

Now the people at Google have come up with a cunning plan! All the blog owners have to do is add the rel=”nofollow” attribute to a link and Google wont add the link to its page ranking, therefore rendering comment spamming useless.

Most of the major players in the blog software market are already looking into implementing this feature automatically, including WordPress.

There is however a downside to this new Google feature. If software providers such as WordPress add the rel=”nofollow to all comments and all links contained therein, then even legitimate commenters will not be getting the Page-Ranking that they deserve.

I personally think this is a bad thing as most of my Page-Ranking is down to comments that I have left on other peoples sites. It is a step in the right direction but needs to be worked on. In the meantime, I’d advise blog owners to get an intellegent spam identification system like Spam karma.

[Listening to: She's So High (Live) - Blur - (5:24)]

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