Technorati’s Spam Problem

Blogspotting has an interesting post today about Technorati and its spam problem.

nospamOne of my 5 Things That Would Make the Blogosphere a Better Place the other day was if Technorati would work the way it’s supposed to. I mentioned the fact that I come across links to Newsome.Org all the time that never show up in Technorati. Stephen Baker of Blogspotting was talking with Dave Sifry about this issue. It turns out, unsurprisingly, that it’s spam-related.

Everyone who’s been on the net for more that a day knows that spam is a gigantic problem. I continue to be a little amazed at the ridiculous spam I get, both via email, Comments and trackbacks. I am even more amazed, however, at the fact that some idiots somewhere must be responding to spam or else it wouldn’t still be happening. It’s like the rest of us are subsidizing the idiot tax for those who think random strangers are doing them great favors by sending them get rich quick schemes and online degree offers.

I don’t feel a bit sorry for people who lose money by responding to spam. But I do feel sorry for the rest of us who have to weed spam out of our email and blogs.

These problems present a great challenge to Technorati, as they try to filter out the massive amounts of spam blogs that litter the blogosphere. Occasionally, legitimate blog posts get flagged as spam and quarantined- i.e., not indexed. Dave says that Technorati has people who manually try to resolve these issues, but that they are “a little backlogged.” I can’t imagine how much effort it would take to separate the spam blogs from the real ones, so it’s understandable that they are backed up.

Here’s the thing- more of this filtering should be done on the front end, by the blog platform provider and ISP provider. Granted, some spam blogs probably have blogging platforms installed on private servers, but the majority of the spam blogs I have come across seem to be half-assed attempts by some idiot to make some easy change by tossing up a blog on blogspot or some other online services. If these spam blogs were filtered more effectively at the platform level, Technorati’s job would be a lot more manageable.

Even the blogs that don’t reside on the major platform providers seem to be hosted on other, likely spam friendly, services. These domains should be blocked at the domain level and their ISP providers notified and blocked if action is not taken.

AdSense and other ad servers should also be more proactive in identifying this sort of thing and closing those accounts sooner rather than later. A nudge from their customers wouldn’t hurt either.

Like cockroaches, you’ll never kill all the spam blogs, but you can kill enough to make the infestation manageable.

The war on email spam has been raging for years, and we can learn from the successes and failure there. Unlike email spam, however, blog spam can’t be filtered on the end user level, like Outlook now does fairly effectively. Blog-related spam has to be addressed more adequately on the front end (domain and platform) level, before it multiplies and spreads.

It’s a big problem, and I don’t think Technorati can win the war by itself.