If you're a blogger (or a blog reader), you're painfully familiar with people who try to raise their own websites' search engine rankings by submitting linked blog comments like "Visit my discount pharmaceuticals site." This is called comment spam, we don't like it either, and we've been testing a new tag that blocks it.
Can I have a little told-ya-so moment? I called for Google to own up to the problem they created for bloggers in november of 2003, exactly 14 months ago. It's about time.
Google is the central motivating force here. Comment spammers are adding their links to thousands of weblogs not because the audiences of those weblogs are particularly valuable, but because the links raise their PageRank with Google.
Now, this is far from the first time some group has tried to game Google's system. Google has evolved over the years to combat it, making it more difficult, perfecting their recipe. The plague of comment spam is just another attempt to game Google's system, and it's up to Google to stop it.
Google's bots could be made smart enough to ignore links that come from comments. Ben and Mena of Movable Type could help facilitate this. How hard would it be? I don't know - I'm not a programmer. But I do know it would fix the problem.
If comment spam stopped raising the spammer's PageRank in Google, how long would they keep doing it? Take away the incentive and we could easily avoid the nightmare scenario Mark is so convinced will happen, not to mention make all the work Jay is doing a nice defense against a nonexistent problem.
I'm not saying it ain't a big deal. I'm not saying it's not complicated. I'm just saying, let's lay the blame at the feet of Google, where it belongs.
This section is called Just a Thought. It's a blog where I post little pieces of what I'm thinking about at the moment. This page shows thoughts about Comment Spam, including:
It's About Time
19 January 2005
Google Creates Comment Spam
19 November 2003
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Working the web since 1995, Derek Powazek is the creator of many award-winning websites, a couple of which still exist. Derek is the cofounder of JPG Magazine and the CCO of 8020 Publishing. Derek lives in San Francisco with his wife, two nutty Chihuahuas, a grumpy cat, and a house full of plants named Fred. More »
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