Smiths reunion!?

the smithsWhen Johnny Marr left the The Smiths in 1987 over creative issues with Morrisey, rumor has it that the pair were so angry they’d be lucky to set foot in the same room again. The Smiths were over, and fans would just have to accept that. Well, strangeways here we come. This week’s Popbitch email hinted at a possible change in plans.

Duran Duran have done it. The Pogues, Lloyd Cole and the Commotions, Doobie Brothers and Happy Mondays are all reforming too.

But the big news is that one 80s band no-one ever thought would be getting back together are in “early discussions.”

The Smiths.

One fan had even promised his entire estate if Morrisey and Marr so much as shared an awkward silence for 61 minutes, but it appears that history has resolved things without fan intervention. If the Pixies can get back together and talk about another album, anything is possible. But until anything is formally announced, I’m going to assume that now is actually not very soon to come.

Comment spam arms race

While a lot of people are quick to institute draconian rule over their weblogs and email clients, installing any widget that zaps spam before the spammer has even conceived of it, I tend to take a much more latent approach. My Bayesian email filter and MTBlacklist give me the control I need to make sure my world isn’t taken over by garbage, but at the same time I can pay attention to the tactics and technologies that these infidels are employing. It makes me feel empowered.

While cleaning up a few spam comments today, I noticed the next effort in the spamming arms race: encampment. The purpose of comment spam, as we all know, is to harvest PageRank from weblogs that have it and aren’t paying attention. The problem with this strategy is that there is more than one contending force attempting to take over this blog ghetto. The more links that appear on a given post, the less each individual link is worth in Google’s currency.

Instead of spreading links across thousands of pages, the new technique I’ve become aware of is to take a single weblog post, obviously deserted, and use comment spam on other sites to give support. Here’s the link I received today:

Hello, I just wanted to say you have a very informative site which really made me think, thanks very much! Have a nice Day!!

best online casinos

Except for the text (online casinos), this link looks pretty innocuous. And clicking through to the site appears to be no big as well, since it’s just some other weblog. But looking at the comments on this post shows the true purpose, pushing PageRank to any number of other sites. This is a serious ghetto, kind of like the Robert Taylor homes of blog posts, with hundreds of links to other sites.

It seems to me that the most effective strategy would be finding a little corner of the web where no other spammer has found, and placing a few links to your sites there, and using this strategy to elevate the given PageRank. But that’s just from my understanding of the algorithm, and maybe these spammers have something up their sleeve that I don’t know about.