Tag Archives: search engines

Spammers Willing to Negotiate?

I’ve just received an irrelevant comment on one of my old blog entries, which was both suspicious and intriguing at the same time. It says [verbatim]:

hello , my name is Richard and I know you get a lot of spammy comments ,
I can help you with this problem . I know a lot of spammers and I will ask them not to post on your site. It will reduce the volume of spam by 30-50% .In return Id like to ask you to put a link to my site on the index page of your site. The link will be small and your visitors will hardly notice it , its just done for higher rankings in search engines. Contact me icq 454528835 or write me tedirectory(at)yahoo.com , i will give you my site url and you will give me yours if you are interested. thank you

I marked it as spam and deleted it anyway. Sending email to these kinds of people would probably get me more spam, IMO. If ever they get a hold of my email address with the message they told me to send them, I would have just invited them to spam me more.

I just wonder if this offer is for real. I usually abide by the unwritten rule that says, If it is too good to be true, it must be spam.[1] But, I also think they have an eye for my Google PageRank. Even if I’d like less spam, I really don’t want to trust they’d fulfill their side of the agreement.[2] That makes it too good to be true, as well. So, I decided …

… I still won’t give them anything. Would you?

Footnote:

  1. ^ Ok, so I guess it is now written. Heh.
  2. ^ Besides, I have my trusty Akismet and Bad Behavior.

Energy Conversion Starts Making Sense

I just came to realize that my most hated subject at the moment, EE204: Energy Conversion,[1] in which I have flunked my exams 2 out of 2, would be useful to me as an aspiring Electronics Engineer. At first, as an ECE student, I thought I’m not going to need this course since I’m not planning to specialize in electric power generation that EEs should be doing.

While browsing through blogs and tech news sites like I usually do, I’ve read about emerging technologies that deals with the use of hand cranks and similar manually-operated power generators, instead of the conventional way of plugging devices onto a power outlet. I’ve also read about environmental issues concerning electric power consumption and conservation with computer and even search engine usage.

We still haven’t gone to discuss DC generators as we are just halfway through the course. But, seeing how the OLPC plans to make human-powered laptop computers by means of a crank, a pedal or a pull-cord in the form of XO-1 to be distributed to children on developing countries who have little access to electricity, I got the insight. Furthermore, I just saw a portable media player utilizing the same idea, thanks to Bernie of Talkin’ Tech.

I know I shouldn’t have been posting this now as our preliminary exam week is just a day away, and the exam on EE204 is first on the list. I am just happy to see current applications of what I am studying theoretically as it gives me more understanding of the subject matter.

So, let me just ask, what would you say about manually-powered electronic devices that use less power than conventional ones? Would you be seen using it in the future or you would just stick to conventional devices until none of them exists anymore? Hand cranks and pedal generators on the nearest Wi-Fi–enabled coffee shop, anyone?

Footnote:

  1. ^ a course dealing with the conversion of mechanical energy to electrical energy (as with generators) and vice versa (as with motors)

Now Showing: Naked <body>

As you may notice, this site has been stripped off of its stylesheets. Don’t worry, nothing is broken—and it will last only until the end of the 5th of April 2007 in the whole world.[1] I’m just participating in this year’s CSS Naked Day like what I did last year. Cheers to Dustin Diaz—More than 1200 sites are currently signed up! I never actually thought it’d pass the 763 sites signed up last year as it was only 500+ or so when I last checked the list before my site got naked.

Now, onto the topic …

I’m somehow surprised to have been getting a lot more visitors this April compared to any other month since this site has started tracking hits. The first and obvious reason is that my CSS Naked Day WordPress plugin has been featured on the Official event page—that I’m not surprised about. The second, more surprising reason? Keywords. Dustin sure has a knack for naming something—in his case, the event he founded—as he’s also famous for the Topless Cameron Diaz photo. :P

SERPs referring to this site indicate more searches with the keywords naked and some about stripping getting to my site lately. No wonder Shari‘s been getting thousands of unique visitors a month![2] All she talks about is sex, and even more of it—oh, and sex toys [she dubs them acsexsories], as well—even if the blog awards[3] was the topic.

Another thing more surprising is that, according to Pinoy Money Talk, Filipinos are more interested in sex than money.[4] Now I really think poverty and overpopulation are not because of lack of good governance—but that would be better for another entry.

Oh—just so you guys know—I will never, and I mean never, be turning this blog to be about sex just as Shari did to hers. :lol:

Footnotes:

  1. ^ 6 April 2007, 00:00 GMT-12 or 20:00 PhT
  2. ^ As disclosed in her recent article.
  3. ^ Or anything else unrelated.
  4. ^ As reported by Google Trends.

On Nofollow, Spam and Plugins

When the search engine giant Google announced that it would implement the rel="nofollow" directive on its crawlers, most people had hopes it would be the end of comment spam, most especially when search competitors Yahoo! and MSN expressed support for the microformat as well.

But, as the years passed even with WordPress immediately supporting the rel="nofollow" attribute since its inception, comment spam attacks on AjaLapus.com increased so suddenly. The most probable cause of the increase is when my homepage’s PageRank increased to 6 last 29th of January rendering it more visible on SERPs. From 50 spams a day to up to 200, the weight of these spammers causes my server precious bandwidth and processing, and me of my time when checking for false positives. These spammers could just be turning a blind eye on rel="nofollow" as spamming costs almost—if not absolutely—nothing to spread.

From the words of Ben Hammersley:

If the playing field is levelled by rel="nofollow", then everyone involved will be forced to try all the harder to get their links out there. The blogosphere will be hit all the harder because of the need to maximise the gains.

Besides, them spammers are not only aiming to be displayed on SERPs, they are trying to be clicked on by human visitors as well. And, even when 99% of the blogs out there use rel="nofollow", the remaining 689,000[1] blogs that doesn’t could be easily found by mere crawling of these spambots on any link they could find. Why bother to scan for the use of rel="nofollow" when you could just post away spam as easily? These spammers affiliate with porn, pill and casino advertisers that earn thousands of dollars of revenue from clicks and visits from real people, consequently receiving commission from them—providing the motivation for more spamming.

But, has this initiative from Google done its job? Many people do not think so. Aside from Ben, other people thought of it as utter failure.

As Dylan Tweney may put it:

Worse, nofollow has another, more pernicious effect, which is that it reduces the value of legitimate comments.

It would also reduce the motivation to comment on blogs thinking that there’s no way we could benefit from reacting on someone else’s blog entry since our links would be regarded as nonexistent. So much for Web 2.0 and Web interaction. I know I have experienced this a lot of times before, though it has somehow dissipated with these realizations.

Jeremy Zawodny has a better angle about this matter:

I’ve seen that first hand. The “psychology of linking” did change in a fairly obvious way after nofollow started.

….

Look. Linking is part of what makes the web work. If you’re actually concerned about every link you make being counted in some global database of site endorsements, you’re probably over-thinking just a bit.

Straight to the point. So what do I do now since WordPress has no way of deactivating the addition of rel="nofollow" on comment URIs except for hacking into the source code? I’ve looked through Andy Beard‘s Ultimate List of DoFollow Plugins and found two different plugins that suits my taste:

I currently use Kimmo’s DoFollow as it was the first one that got me interested. But, I think I need input from you guys: Which of the two do you think would be better to motivate commenters on my blog? The one in which they know their links would eventually be followable [DoFollow], or the other in which they’d have to accomplish a somehow obtrusive number of comments[2] on the whole site before their links would be followable [Link Love]?

If you’re thinking that I may be then vulnerable to spam comments gaining ranking from my site: I wouldn’t worry, since Akismet has done a good[3] job of screening spam for me. I think Dougal Campbell made me realize this.

And, I am planning to add another plugin that automatically closes comments on older entries that most spammers tend to target. I know there exists such plugins, I just can’t find them right know. Do you know any? How long should I make entries commentable? I have been receiving legitimate comments on older entries occasionally—a reason why I still haven’t decided about this kind of plugin yet. Maybe you could help me.

Oh, by the way, there also exists 11 reasons against nofollow from a German site dedicated against the use of rel="nofollow". And, more reasons from Loren Baker, which could be what you really need to understand that nofollow is not the answer.

Notes:

  1. ^ as Technorati currently tracks 68.9 million blogs
  2. ^ 10 comments as default—a somehow large number for a non-frequently updated Web log like this
  3. ^ not great, though—as there has been about 0.1% of false positives that occured

Ituloy Angsulong Spam

I’m sorry, I just have to rant about this.

Don’t get me wrong—I have nothing against Marc Macalua‘s Philippine SEO Contest dubbed Ituloy Angsulong, even though I really do not know the purpose of having a certain key-phrase pointing to your Web site where that phrase isn’t even about what you passionately blog. But the prize money is so good, I have even thought of joining the first contest (Isulong SEOPH), though I was ineligible for they do not accept the participation of those using old domain names.

From my understanding, the goal of the contest is to produce the top ranking page on the SERPs of Google, Yahoo! and MSN search engines with the term Ituloy Angsulong. Sounds easy, right? I thought about ways to win it for no reason at all [since I am not participating]. Then it came to me that with WordPress, one of the most used blogging platforms to date, automatically including rel="nofollow" on comment links, and the fact that I don’t participate in public forums makes it really hard [at least] for me to win it. Another thing is my hatred for spam that I most probably won’t comment with the key-phrase unless it is on topic.

Now, why would someone comment on one of my non-SEO related entries with the term Ituloy Angsulong linking to their contest entry URI? I guess it’s someone who’s so desperate to win. It seems to me that no one else hates spam more than I do. I’m thankful Akismet really knows spam—even if it is made by real people. Aren’t there rules about the contest not to spam anyone? Just a thought. I hope Marc Macalua could answer me with this. Please note that I check my Akismet spam list at least five times a day. Oh, I’m so glad it caught yours! Yes, I’m talking to you, Marhgil Macuha.

If you still can’t figure how Akismet knew what to block then you’re really a dumb ass. It’s spam—not the one I love to eat.