Sunday, March 18, 2007

Letter in response to "Spam + Blogs = Trouble" -- Wired

Here's a letter I wrote in response to the article below (which was never published):
I read with great interest the recent Wired article relating to spam
blogs (dubbed splogs). The article obviously took a critical tone
towards this new nuisance. However, when the idea of manipulating
search engine rankings through creating patterns of links arose,
people initially thought it was rather humorous. It first entered the
public consciousness during the 2004 presidential election, when
manipulation of links referencing "miserable failure" brought up pages
related to George W Bush as a top-ranked item on a search (see, for
instance, Now,
search-engine rankings are taken more seriously and, through the
mechanism of blogs, it's possible to automatically create deceiving
link patterns. It seems that on the internet, when there's an
important, interactive service, where it's possible for people to
rapidly and anonymously create content, there's going to be a problem
-- whether it's in the form of spam e-mail, spam blogs, or
manipulation of other web 2.0 services, such as wikis. Unfortunately,
this appears to be a general aspect of the web that needs to be dealt
with more robustly.
Spam + Blogs = Trouble
Splogs are the latest thing in online scams – and they could smother the Internet.
By Charles C. Mann
I am aware that spending a lot of time Googling yourself is kind of
narcissistic, OK? But there are situations, I would argue, when it is
efficiently – even forgivably – narcissistic. When I published a book last year,
I wanted to know what, if anything, people were saying about it. Ego-surfing was
the obvious way to do that. Which is how I stumbled across Some Title....