Silly words

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

During the weekend, much froth was expended on the concept of so-called spamming weblogs, or splogs. Tim Bray writesLadies and gentleman, I think we have an emergency on our hands. Chris Pirillo writes that …99% of the domains *I* see are from spammers.

Yet, what we’re finding is that these ’splogs’, a silly word if there is one, are not as much of an impact as one would think. I know I haven’t been troubled by them, and neither have others. As Roger Benningfield wrote:

I have “ego search” feeds set up with all the popular services, and while they return a lot of useless stuff in terms of duplicates and what-not, I only see splogs appear once a week or so. And even though I use Google dozens of times a day, I’ve never once clicked through to a splog.

So my guess is that splogs are really only a problem for big-flow bloggers… people whose names or pet projects are well-known, and thus ideal targets for splogging. While I sympathize with such folks (I mean, who likes spam?), it might be a bit much to expect Google or any other company to shut down their services to make life easier for what is ultimately a handful of inconvenienced A- and B-listers.

However, many of the techs are reacting, including filtering Blogspot domains out of their search lists, or even their tools (in the case of IceRocket). Doc Searls writes on monocultures and in the same breath, talks about how the tech needs to change:

I believe links are devalued because Google has become a monoculture, both as a search engine and as an advertising system. Blog spammers, or sploggers, are taking advantage of that monoculture in the same way boll weevils take advantage of a cotton field.

But is any of it enough? I don’t think so. The bigger question is, Can anything be enough to thwart a blight in a monocultural environment?

The real answer to the link devaluation problem has to come from outside Google. We need polyculture: for search, for advertising, for everything. In its absence, we get some fine but isolating services. And blights that take advantage of that isolation.

Technology does not become a monoculture, but technology can reflect a monoculture. As such, those who benefit from, and help nurture, the monoculture are ultimately the ones who are adversely impacted when others learn to exploit it. As such, when it comes to this new ‘blight’ on the face of weblogging, the ones most impacted are the ones most responsible.

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