I'm approaching a milestone of sorts -- I thought I'd hit the 100th banned IP address tonight, but fell short by just three. For the last few days, I've had a trickle of comment spam, just about all from the same company, pushing the same product, the enlargement of something specific to the male anatomy. Six or seven on Friday, four or five on Saturday and Sunday, and a flurry of a dozen today, just about all from different IP addresses.
What I can't understand is what possible reason these people (or, more probably, this person) could have for doing this. On a six month old post on some typically obscure ideofact topic like, say, Alawites or Nabateans, our mysterious commenter will leave a remark on the order of, "Man is the missing link between apes and humans," or "In Washington, second guessing is second nature," or even the simple, "Like your site, I'll have to get one." In the field at which the commenter can leave a URL, he (or she) puts in the link to the site offering the product referenced obliquely above (hint: vocabulary isn't the correct answer), and for the email address, there's usually some bogus listing (in any case, the few I've tried always bounce back as undeliverable). So to what possible end could such comments be posted? Let's say a reader googled Alawites, or Japanese Pirates (oddly, one of the more popular search terms that draws googlers to ideofact) or some such and somehow landed here. Let's say that the reader manages to slog through whatever entry I've written and actually glances on the comments -- would a line like any of those I've quoted persuade someone to click on the highlighted name to see their Web site? Assuming our gentle, hypothetical reader had managed to make it through my nonsense, would the comment nonsense appear so intriguing that a reader would think, "Let me know more about how this person thinks!" And, if this ideal reader clicked through, would he (for the sake of argument, let's continue to pretend that our reader is a he) think, "Not only do they offer insightful platitudes that have nothing to do with the subject I was interested in, they offer to enlarge a part of me which is a source of joy to me second only to that generated by my enormous, throbbing vocabulary"? Not very likely.
So what is the business model? Why would anyone invest the time (or, if such comment spam can be automated, the resources) on such a limp advertising strategy? It occurred to me that this might have some other purpose than driving traffic to a Web site, something to do with google rankings, perhaps, but if one's business is dependent upon one's nearness to the top of google, leaving a half dozen or so comments on my particular blog, only to see them deleted within hours, along with a half dozen or so other comments on other blogs which most likely will also be deleted within a matter of hours, is hardly the best strategy. Blogspot, as far as I know, still offers free blogs, and one can set up multiple blogs from a single account. The same commenter at my blog could be posting hundreds of links at hundreds of blogs of his own, without fear of deletion or censure. It seems like the effort could hardly be more demanding than that of leaving comment spam, but I suppose there are probably reasons why that would be no more effective. In the meantime, I'll keep weeding through the comments.Posted by Ideofact at May 3, 2004 10:37 PM