Monthly Archives: November 2006

Outsourced Link Spamming to

Yesterday my wife decided to turn on comments on her blog and this morning, she had her first comment. The content of the comment was kind of trivial, but it was on the subject of the blog post, it also contained a link to a post on another blog. The linked post was also relevant, but I was still suspicious. A little later, I was checking the traffic stats for her blog and noticed that the only visitor to her post in the past day was from India, which seemed odd, since the commenter was purportedly in North Carolina.

We went back and looked at his blog more closely, and then looked at some of the comments he’d left on other blogs. They were starting to seem a little spammy, so we decided to unlink the text in his comment.

I’ve since done a little more digging, I searched on “” which is the name from the reverse DNS lookup on the host that left the comment. It shows up a lot, mostly for sites that have their web traffic stats crawlable, but I found a few where it is clearly associated with script generated spam comments. I suspect that it’s either an open proxy, a compromised machine, or someone doing link spamming to make a little money who has started to offer a bit of a human touch.

Rethinking Geekfun

Geekfun has been around a long time. It was going to be the title of a recurring column I was going to write for “the Stranger”: It never made it past one installment (why I thought it was a good idea writing an article on Beet pigments when I’d orginally been approached because of my opinions on computing & hi-tech is a mystery to this day).

I registered the domain a decade ago this Thursday, and I’ve been using it for my primary personal e-mail for almost as long. In the late ’90s I imagined making Geekfun a forum for my pithy opinions on technology and culture, but I didn’t actually publish anything until August of 2001 and my early posts weren’t anything more than quick links to pages I found interesting. The truth is, Geekfun never really met me own expectations.

So, it’s time to take stock of what Geekfun is, and figure out what I should do with it. Right now my inclination is to start something new under a pseudonym and put into suspended animation.

No Digg

I have about 65 subscriptions in my RSS reader. Most of them are for individual blogs that might post a story or two a day, but a few come from much higher volume sources.

The feed from Digg, on the other hand, has dozens every day. I actually click through on most of them and skim the comments, if not the referenced articles. I’m beginning to think this is a mistake. The comments often embody major portions of entrenched dogmatic stupidity and it makes me feel mean and angry just to lay eyes on them. I realize too, most of the stories are things I could do without reading. They rarely add to my understanding of the world in ways that I feel grateful for.

Digg is off my reading list.

Social Media Advertising

This morning, Nick Carr writes about how the brand-invasion on MySpace is the flipside of the techno-utopian idea that the Internet put individuals on even footing with big corporations in the media landscape. Now it’s becoming clear that that’s a two way street. When it’s social media, big corporations and their family brands are on nearly even footing with individuals for “social” participation.

This isn’t really anything new. Corporations have this little thing called sales reps that they use to entangle themselves into the social context of their customers (pay attention to how drug reps operate next time you are in a doctors waiting room). What’s new is that social media lowers the cost of this sort of shmoozing to the point where it’s getting practical to use the approach to sell consumer soft goods.

Coincidentally, this morning Robert Young on GigaOM writes about the opportunities for social media oriented approaches to advertising. Clearly that frontier is already under heavy exploration.

I hate to think where this is going. Imagine awful cyborg sales reps leaving you comments on your myspace or facebook profiles that are personalized with details that have been mined from other content on your profile in order to push emotional buttons as they push some boy band or overpriced automobile.