May 252008

Anything That Can Be Spammed, Will

rotten-appleWe used to "do-follow" links on comments from this blog.

No longer.

If you're not familiar with this issue, most blogging platforms automatically insert REL="no follow" tags into links in comments posted by users to dissuade blog spammers.

On some blogging platforms, you can disable this feature. By providing inbound links to your commenters, you help them with their SEO rank, thus encouraging and rewarding comments. That is "do-follow".

Why did we stop following?

We're still fans of the do-follow movement, but the quantity and deviousness of the spam just got to be too annoying.

Yes, we run Akismet and other anti-spam plugins. The bad guys are too clever and persistent.

While the tingle of my first corollary is still fresh (Alan’s Corollary to Clarke’s Third Law), I'll postulate another.secondlaw

Anything that can be spammed, will.
--Alan's Marketing Corollary to the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics

(That couldn't be original, but I didn't find the phrase on Google...)

Just as universe runs downhill towards increasing entropy and disorder, so do spammers destroy all free mass communication channels.

Email is the prime example, of course. CNet reports 95% of all email in 2007 was spam. Insane.

But also spam is also harming natural search. Blog comments. And increasingly, spammers are spreading their muck across the social web.

The only channels immune from devolving into the entropic gray goo of spam are those which require payment (for example, paid seach) and those which are "pull" media (for example, RSS).

Anyway, we're no longer "following" on this blog. Sorry a few bad apples ruined it for everyone else.



3 Responses to "Anything That Can Be Spammed, Will"
John K says:
I wrote a post about blog spam containing the essence of your law back in 2005, but I said (rather generically and not as quotable): "Any channel that can be corrupted, will be corrupted". But I also tied it into the cyclical nature of marketing effectiveness.
Router Bench says:
Here is where I decided to be a little different, I use a few different plugins starting with Aksimet to allow me to moderate first posts. If the first post is quality I allow them to comment freely however I check my comments daily and will blacklist any spamming swine. Next I use Lucias link love which allows me to sent up a control of 5 posts before they become nofollow. I don't allow links in comments. I am still testing but something that worked for me on my non Wordpress blogs was disabling the ability to comment on any blogs older than 20 days. It reduced my spam by 99% immediately. It is my intention to offer follow links but only to those that know how the hell to behave themselves.


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