(FYI, Yes, I just made up that word.)
Whenever there’s a comment posted on this site, the system shoots out an email telling me there’s a new comment or trackback in “X” story. A few weeks after starting this site, I started getting replies to stories (from what I figured to be spam-bots) talking about online cas1n0s, p0r-no-graphny, and all manner of vile online-behavior. (I’ve masked the names so they don’t get picked up by web spiders.) the messages would have some text advertising their site and about 3 links (including a link in the name) back to their site.**
That was about the time I put the breaks on and decided “no comments containing links will get on this site without my approval.” For a long time, this worked out fine. Recently, however, I started getting trackback notices. (Trackbacks are used by blogs and other sites basically as a link exchange for certain stories.) That was cool, or so I thought. I started getting tons of them, all the time.
This got seriously annoying.
The trackback would contain the title text in the “Comments” section and — of course — a link back to their site with a specified name. (Most of these URLs were from Russia.) This wasn’t really bothersome until this weekend, when I got a TON of comment e-mails in my inbox. Either the Russians were suddenly VERY interested in my site, or some link whore wanted to boost their gambling site’s PR.
I deleted all the trackbacks and have therefore instituted a new comment policy: nothing gets posted without my prior approval. Luckily, this site’s small enough that I can do that without much hassle. Sorry if this causes any inconvenience.
** A quick Search Engine Optimization Lesson
Search engines determine how important a site is for both a given term and in general by calculating how many links there are to that site from other sites and what those links say. For example, if you were to link to Gnorb.NET from your site, and you did it with text that said A humor filled look at married life, Florida, open source technology and God, then search engines would pick up that link as a vote for me in two ways: first to determine how importat my site is overall (this is called the PageRank, but it’s really only applicable to Google), and how relevant my site is to the terms in the link. If you were to look for “Florida” in a search engine, and if there are enough links to my site with the tag “Florida”, then my site would come up near the top for relevancy of what you’re looking for. The formula also takes page content into context, but links tend to be more heavily relied upon for site relevancy and importance.
What these sites are attmpting to do is to put links to their on my site by putting comments on my site. These comments contain multiple links — with their chosen key words — to their site, making it seem as if I’m “voting” for them in the search engines. The biggest problem from that is that whenever I cast a vote for another site by linking to it, I essentially give that site some of my accumulated PageRank. In essence, these sites are trying to steal from me in order to boost their own rankings.