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March 14, 2005

A Different Kind of Blog Spam

Bloggers who allow comments to their postings have recently had to fight off abusers who try to post the equivalent of spam messages to weblog pages in the form of comments below blog entries. It had become a way to get search engines that crawl popular blog pages to follow links to spamvertised Web sites to boost listings in search engine results. Bloggers have had to counter with a variety of defenses, including inserting a link tag attribute within all comments that instructs search engine crawlers not to follow links. That still doesn't keep blog spammers from abusing comments (and is the main reason I don't open this blog to automated comments).

I encountered a different kind of "blog spam," where the blogger is the culprit. It's not spam in the unsolicited mail sense, but more in the Monty Python spam-spam-spam sense. The posting announces the release of an update to a JavaScript-related product for Web developers. The product description occupies a couple of paragraphs.

Then comes this huge list of JavaScript-related terms in plain view—776 of them if I counted correctly. The terms are words and word combinations that scripters probably use in Google, Yahoo, and other search engines to find the kind of solution that the product offers. View the blog posting, if you like.

One of the terms in the giant list is my name. I've been associated with the technology since its inception, and currently have three books on the subject in print. But since I have no connection with the product and do not mention it or describe it in any of my writings, it would be grossly unfair and misleading for the product blog page to show up in a search that included my name.

I posted a comment asking to have my name removed from the list. I didn't know it when I wrote the post, but that blog doesn't use the "nofollow" link technique, so I may benefit a smidge by having this page link to my dannyg.com Web site. That wasn't my goal. I'd much rather the Web be populated with links to this Spam Wars site to build its traffic, but that would have been very off-topic to the posting.

(An entire industry has evolved to 'game' the search engine system. I'm probably in the minority because I refuse to play those games.)

The type of keyword abuse perpetrated by the blogger described here is the stuff that bloggers blog about. Bloggers blogging about bloggers and blogs seems to be rather popular in the blogosphere.

Posted on March 14, 2005 at 09:40 AM