Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Please Don't Feed the Spammers!

By Nicholas Stix

What's the world's biggest spammer? A sex site? No. Those fake Google blogs that fool you into visiting them, and then refuse to permit you to navigate away from them, without shutting down the window they're in? You know, the ones that insist that they are a Microsoft Windows message from within your own pc, that has found malware on your computer, but actually are about to plant malware on your pc? Nope. The world's biggest spammer is The Pretend Encylopedia/Wikipedia!

"But how can that be?," you may ask. After all, aren't wikicensors running around 24/7, deleting links to articles which they decry as "spam" or "linkspam," which is meant to increase sites' search rankings? Indeed, they are. But that's not because they really are policing spam, but rather censoring true information that they don't want readers to see. (TPE/WP deletes real spam from sex sites, but now does so automatically through "bots.")

The TPE/WP difference is that the world's biggest spammer gets other people to do its spamming for it, by getting them to link to it! Wikienforcers insist on using "no-follow tags" for all outgoing links from TPE, but they never announce to the world that they are doing this. They encourage the world to link to them, in order to increase their own search rankings, but paranoidly suspect the world to be seeking to spam TPE, because they are merely projedcting their own spamming mentality onto everyone else.

There is, however, one exception to the “nofollow tags" rule.

TPE's enforcers use normal tags when linking to sites in which TPE co-founder Jimmy “Jimbo” Wales has a commercial interest, in order to increase their page rank.

I recommend that anyone linking to TPE use only no-follow tags. To find out how you can return the favor to WP/TPE/Wales, read this informative article: “Preventing comment spam.”)