Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Trackback spam

The loathsome creatures who piss in everyone else's Wheaties to make a buck are at it again, with a new wrinkle on their tactics. When someone adds a trackback link to a post here on the Third Path, it normally shows up at the bottom of the article with a brief synopsis of the blog item that links here. Of course, when you send the trackback "ping," you get to write the "synopsis" yourself, and you can use hyperlinks to guide readers to appropriate places for more information. Some people believe that lying is perfectly all right, so they put a link to whatever the fuck they're pushing (Viagra, She-males with farm animals, or ways to improve your credit report so that you can go deeper into debt to keep gambling) and say something bland like "Great post! I really love your blog. Go here for more information about Irritable Blogger Syndrome (IBS)."

[By the way, in case you hadn't guessed, all of the links in this blog entry are to something quite different from the usual spammed URLs.]

The thing I find laughable is that these spammers just fire their spam at any web page that they find. The result: in many search engines, their particular URL is now associated with the title "God commands you to kill your baby." Not exactly the sort of page that is likely to sell anyone on most nearly any kind of product at all. Of course, the spammers don't care if no one reads it, because the search engines are just counting how many web pages link to a particular target site.

A trackback and comment spammer interviewed by The Register [British website focusing on Information Technology] said, "It could be argued that a website owner is actually inviting content to their site when they allow comments." I want to explicitly disclaim any such invitation in unambiguous terms: any trackback ping, trackback ancillary information, or comment on any portion of The Third Path is an explicit violation of the terms of use of this site, unless its content is reasonably related to the relevant content on this blog. The site owner has sole discretion regarding what qualifies as "reasonably related to the relevant content," and may exercise that discretion at will, including with caprice or even actual malice, and your remedy in the event of disagreement is expressly limited to sitting on a tack. By posting comments or trackbacks on or to The Third Path, you agree to these conditions; if you do not agree, do not post.

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