Wednesday, March 13, 2013
No, this is not a blog post about the whiskey rebellion. For one, the soldiers in the drawing are wearing uniforms that are five years out-of-date. (Though I have to admit it might be fun... especially if I could get Lora Innes in on it ...hmm)
This post is about link farming: possibly the only thing abhored ("hey!") by readers and moderators alike.
Link farming is the practice of having several other websites point to yours for no good reason. In the early days of the web this meant creating several "dummy" websites. Currently, the most popular form of link farming is posting spam comments, making the comment-enabled site their unwilling dummies in every sense of the world.
Link farming comments were usually easily identifiable because they contained out-of-context nonsense (apparently extracted from someone else's Word documents by a virus) and gibberish usernames. The link might sometimes be in the text, or be hidden in the username.
However, ever since this webcomic was posted, link farming comments have taken on a different approach. The spam bots now post apparently constructive. Stock phrases like "very intersting", "terrific post", or "no one could have said it better" are unfortunately what they now cycle through. Fortunately, they're still detectable.
As you may have noticed, during my hiatus, such bots took over my site, posting as many as 6 such comments in a single minute. Google spam detection caught 243 of them, but no less than 125 still made it into the public eye. Today, however, I can happily tell you they are all gone, and the actually meaningful comments remain.
Unfortunately, this means I am now requiring CAPTCHAs to post comments. My sincerest apologies go out to everybody.
Posted by Frank Hightower at 12:00 AM