Peter M Howard ::

wintermute.com.au

Some observations on ‘Spam 2.0’

17October2005 [myth]
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As much as I dislike the term Web2.0 (but can’t be bothered pulling it apart as plenty of people have already done so), it has a use:

Introducing Spam 2.0

S20 is another of those phenomena I predicted years before it happened — the main thing for the moment is spammers setting up fake blogs and hitting the ping servers, overwhelming aggregation and search services with spam. All the geeks in the blog world (I refuse to use that ridiculous term with a -sphere on the end; ‘blog’ is bad enough!) are abuzz about spam blogs on blogspot.com, Google’s blogging service, which is apparently too easy to sign up for — meaning spammers can write scripts that automatically sign up and create hundreds of useless posts, overwhelming the pinging servers.

What does that all mean? That, as I always suspected, the sites dedicated to tracking blog conversations (del.icio.us, technorati, &c) are easily overwhelmed once spammers figure them out. Some of those sites are _much_ better at filtering than others (I’m only naming those two ‘cause they’re the big names) but the problem’s getting rapidly worse and no-one knows how to fix it (nor am I offering any solutions).

So, clock this one up as another easy prediction from the MuteProphet (my as yet unborn but germinating website). Some geeks seem to look at the relative success of Open Source software and Open Knowledge systems like Wikipedia and assume the same practices will work _everywhere_ (hence ‘open’ as the primary web2.0 buzzword!), but implement the practices too simply. The working Open systems are padded by Peer systems (Open Source is effectively ‘peer-review’ development), but blogs and their kindred technologies have no such padding (yet), so are wide open to abuse.

And finally: blogs are hardly even mainstream and we’re _already_ having these problems! There is no way they’ll go mainstream until the basic spam problems are solved — email is a whole different world: there the spam didn’t come until _after_ it hit mainstream (and was thus too late to change). This time round (ugh, that’s why the version2.0 is appropriate) we have to block spam _before_ it reaches the masses.

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