- measures by weblog providers, such as Blogger (“Incorporated Subversion”)
- cyber vigilantism (“Simple Thoughts”)
- reputation-based filtering (Ross Mayfield, he links to an interview with a spammer btw!)
- search engine countermeasures (“Micro Persuasion”)
It’s probably search engines that hold the key here. Spamblogs are annoying, not because of their mere existence, but because you notice them: they show up in search results. Technorati is very much aware of it and tries to do its best (David Sifry’s March report):
“Part of the growth of new weblogs (30,000 – 40,000 each day) created each day is due to an increase in spam blogs – fake blogs that are…”
“…we feel that we’ve been able to capture and identify most of the spam out there, but one should note that there is definitely blog spam that we don’t catch…”
Why not lend Technorati (et al) a hand…
… and tag the spamblogs that slipped through the net. If you get annoyed by a Spamblog showing up in your Technorati Watchlist (or Google Alert, or any other search feed), report it, tag it: “spamblog” * ! You could use del.icio.us or furl, the services that are being aggregated by Technorati.
Yes, I know, there are obvious objections. If your furl/del.icio.us rss feeds are being republished, you increase the Spamblog’s exposure, and without rel=’nofollow’, even its pagerank, exactly what the spammer is aiming for. You might keep the “bad” links in another account, or another bookmarking service than you normal link collection.
Still, hunting spamblogs by tagging them as spam is a tool users have available at this very moment. And it is simple and easy to use**. For the spambusters, using the spamblog tag rss feeds in (semi) automatic blacklisting is piece of cake. And yes again, there’s the danger of having controversial, opinionated blogs ostracised by adversaries – but Technorati et al can easily outweigh spamtags against “affirmative” tags and incoming links. So let’s start!
* as suggested in my introductory post, I would limit the tag “spamblog” to machine-generated blogs – and distinguish them from “fake” or “character” blogs…
** unlike e.g. the Votelinks concept, that hasn’t taken off so far
Update 20.00h, June 1
Continuing on “outweighing spamtags against ‘affirmative’ tags and incoming links”: Pubsub, a service similar to Technorati already has a system called “Linkranks” they use to filter search feeds: see the discussion at: hyku.com. Technorati probably has something similar.
Without any doubt, blog search services like Pubsub and Technorati definitely should include in their own interfaces as well an easy way for their users to report spamblogs (like you can report spam in Yahoo of Gmail), but centralised, independent “blogspam reservoirs” such as http://del.icio.us/tag/spamblog or http://www.furl.net/furled.jsp?topic=spamblog could help all of them and would definitely be a step forward from sending an email to feedback@, which is the procedure now.
Update June 25
Adsense has an easyway now to report spamblogs that are running Adsense Ads. From Jensense:
“If you see a site violating the AdSense terms, you can now file an anonymous spam report that will get to the quality team for checking. To file a report, you simply go to the page that is showing AdSense ads and click on the “Ads by Google” (or “Ads by Goooooogle”) link. In the form on the next page, include the term “spamreport” and put in a short reason about why you feel the site is violating the AdSense terms or policies. You can also enter your own email address, if you wish, then click submit.”
Update July 13
Apparently, the idea of building a public blacklist of spamblogs on del.icio.us or other bookmarking services hasn’t taken off.
If I had given it more thought then, I should have seen why: there is no incentive for denouncing a blog as spamblog as long as blog search engines don’t use it (a chicken and egg problem: they won’t do this before some substantial amount of data has been collected ).
And even then, there’s no immediate reward for doing so. What the user wants (as I suggested at other complaints on spam blogs and technorati spam), is a simple simple “report as spam” button or link in the (web/email/rss) interface itself (comparable with the email spam buttons in Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Hotmail etc…) so that annoying blogs or feeds are filtered from the resultset immediately. Definitely something to look forward in a next Technorati release, see the David Sifry’s comments on this blog search wish list.
So far for the idea of having a public blacklist, because I’m afraid none of the services (Technorati, Feedster, Pubsub, Yahoo Myweb2.0,…) will be motivated to share its results though (the ability to effectively filter out spam being a major competitive advantage!)…