Egad! Should we start watching for these sell-out bloggers to appear on a spammer-scale? Will machines generate these blogs, these three-links-per fake-promo-link-farm posts, and then massively spam the comments field too?
I mean, direct mail folks (and by extension, spammers) operate under a low low LOW percentage response rate, five percent or something, but they look at that five percent (or whatever the number is) as rock solid, an entitlement that justifies a calculus of MILLIONS, gazillions perhaps, of no-friction messages sent out, just to get that rock solid single digit return on an investment of next-to-nothing.
I believe they think it is a valid method of creating value out of thin air. And by their calculations, it may be, but actually, it destroys far greater values to create that single digit value, in the same way fouling your own well does. They say dogs at least know enough not to defecate where they live, but it is a lesson many humans apparently never learned.
Suppose vast numbers of bloggers accept that blog version of an envelope-stuffing "job" below. Would that be enough of a disruption of the noise-to-signal ratio to disrupt the ecosystem of the blogsophere itself?
Comment spam and trackback spam are disruptive, but marginal (at least now they are, because of CAPCHA, but they were once out-of-control enough to radically turn an interactive space into one-way monologues). Google and Technorati already have a hard time parsing link-farms out of their records. What if it became impossible because humans were conned into becoming willing link-farm agents?
The Turing Test generally holds when it comes to distinguishing humans from machines... but what happens when humans are hired as willingly volunteers to become the machines, because machine-generated spam blogs can technically still be detected (AI not really being good enough yet to simulate uniquely human-style randomness)?
Blogsvertise is looking for bloggers to post their ads:
Blogsvertise.com is looking for bloggers who are interested in getting paid to post a variety of assigned topic entries in their already-existing blogs.
Bloggers will be asked to post short entries on a variety of topics, including three links to an advertiser's website in each entry. You decide what to write; it is not necessary to endorse the advertiser's product or service.
Each completed task will pay $10 via Paypal after the entry has been online for 30 days.
This is a great way for bloggers to earn a small income in addition to or instead of featuring pay-per-click advertisements.
Email for more information: email@example.com
I include the addresses above, hoping someone with the capability to spam this person will have at it, as karma for the blogosphere pollution this ridiculous link-whoring will generate.
The blogosphere exists because some bloggers chose to make a stand on integrity, to be REAL in a world increasingly of media marketing-created surfaces, the NON-reality-based universe.
Now those media-marketing types want to remake the blogosphere in their image, to make the world safe for NOTHING BUT mindless promotions of every sort.
I have nothing against honestly using advertising on a blog, nothing at all. I do, however, have a problem with the influx of the direct mail/spamming forces who want to apply math on an absurd scale, in order to create highly questionable returns, and in the end, to ultimately destroy the system by overwhelming the search engines necessary to creating the blogosphere's value.
I remember a time before there were search engines on the web. In 1993 and 1994. Spiders, we called them then, when they first started appearing, Web Crawler and Lycos.
BEFORE search engines. Can you wrap your mind around that concept? It's sort of like imagining the world without nearly-universal electrical service (during this massive heat wave, it brings the point home) . I overheard a news report the other referring to the very IDEA of living without electricity as "primitive."
You know, I about gagged at such utter stupidity. Had this news anchor ever read Victorian literature? Would people in the modern age call Victorians, with their drawing rooms and excruciatingly correct manners and social customs "primitive"?!
Ah, nobody reads much anymore, and they wear their ignorance out in the open without even the good sense to be embarrassed by it. I was on a Jane Austen kick again last night, so I'm filled with outrage.
There can be civilized worlds without electricity, and yes, Virginia, the Web once did exist in its present form without search engines (I'm really not counting Gopher, Archie, and Veronica, because those were tools for the Internet proper, the blinking cursor Internet, which is not to put down their rimportant ole in the development of the Net).
My caution here is that if the "Well" of the Internet becomes so fouled by these entities or agents as to render search engines inoperative, if their scale overwhelms even Google's massive server farms (server farms, good, link farms, bad), we may find ourselves in the same sort of anarchy online as the world would go into without electricity.
But the Blogosphere COULD survive.
What we'd have to do (and maybe this is obvious to old-timers from the 1990s, but I want to make it explicit to newer arrivals) is simply recreate the original purpose of the Blogroll, as a TRUE ROADMAP to what would become an utterly roadless world, a chaotic sea of information and expression.
That, btw, is what made one of the first million-of-hits web sites a success, in 1994. John December's Internet Web Text was a guide for a world without search engines. Because of the carefully-selected value of his travel-agent's guide to the Web, the space became intelligible to people as a landscape, in a way that the blinking cursor and Gopher never could create for most of us.
If glorified link-farm spam comes close to killing the blogosphere, this is something we will have to do as well, to rebuild all the roadmaps for a world without search.