Posted by: Roger King
My teaching blog.
I teach 3D animation at the University of Colorado at Boulder. I maintain a website (see wordsbybuzz.com) for my students. I create combined computer screen and voice capture videos of my lessons. I post the videos on the blog along with an overview of what each video covers. The idea is that using a 3D animation application is an extremely intricate exercise, and there is no way students can watch a demonstration in class and later remember how to reproduce a given technique when doing their projects.
By the way, if you have never used an application like Autodesk Maya, Luxology Modo, SideXF Houdini, or NewTek Lightwave, you might be blown away by the vastness and intricacies of their user interfaces. (In my opinion Modo has the most intuitive interface of the applications in this list.)
Building this website introduced me to a whole new world of spam. I get maybe two hundred pieces of email spam a day and it has caused me to use rather aggressive spam filters. The end result is that mail that I would have liked to read promptly and responded to gets dealt with only when I have time to scan my spam folders. Or in the worst case, the mail disappears forever.
WordPress, the software I used to build my class site has proven to be just as much of a spam target as my email. Before shutting off the ability to leave comments on my blog, I received hundreds, actually thousands, of fake comments posted on my blog.
Cutting off discussion.
So, I have had to turn off blog comments on my blog. It’s too bad. A small fraction of comments I have received were interesting and useful.
But why are they doing it? Why spam blogs? They know I couldn’t possibly be reading these junk comments and certainly the folks who read my blog don’t read the comments.
It’s those URLs embedded in the spam comments. Each of those comments gets embedded on my blog webpages, and these comments contain links back to the folks who sent them out. It’s not necessary for anyone to read my blog and actually click on those comments. All that is needed is to have their links appear on my pages. And by thus artificially ramping up the counts of of webpages that link to their pages, they make search engines deduce that these are very popular sites and should be prominent in search engine results.
If you are having trouble with spam on WordPress, consider two plugins:
Akismet learns what’s bad – This one works like mail spam filters. As you mark things as spam, it learns what to reject in the future.
Delete Pending Comments – This one will delete all pending comments at once.
It’s too bad we can’t have open conversations on blogs. Greedy creeps steal the opportunity from us.