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Sunday, September 08, 2013

I'm Going to Put You to Sleep

man asleep
Is this the most boring post ever? Feel free to ignore.

Only read this after grabbing yourself a hot cup of chocolate, your favourite soft toy, and snuggling in for the night, because it's so boring you're just likely to fall asleep.

It's a rant against spammers. I restricted access to my blog yesterday in an attempt to get some pesky spam referral sites off my blog's back, by tricking them into thinking the blog is inactive.

Referrer spam (also known as log spam or referrer bombing) is a kind of spamdexing (spamming aimed at search engines). It benefits the spammer because the free link gives the spammer's site improved search engine ranking, due to link-counting algorithms that search engines use.

Worse still, two of the spam referrers coming up on my stats analysis are not just harmless sites, wishing to gain credibility with search engines by using black-hat techniques. From a quick check, two spammers look as if they are making money off my blog's traffic, and distributing malware, too.

To prevent problems like this I have code (a robot.txt file) on my blog to specifically block my poetry pages and my personal posts from being crawled outside of the blog's own search function. At worst, the archive posts might pop up. As a rule, I just keep the Tarkan posts open for crawling. This limits the blog's searchability and content, and thus is not as attractive to spammers.

Simply put, I try to "hide" the content of my blog from search engines, to limit the sort of traffic it generates. I mean you don't always want to be so careful with your content if you want to be free to air your views openly. For instance, I would like to be able to talk about gay issues under the wider umbrella of human rights, without finding a gay porn site spamming my blog.

However, I can only assume the blame must lie with me, because I omitted to add my crawl code to the Gezi Park posts for a while - as again, I wrote them to be visible at the time. I have also been lazy in not coding the "things in the news" posts that have spam catchwords such as "porn", which added to the buzz of Gezi, is the most likely culprit.

Due to this spam episode, I've checked a search cache of my site (with Google), and I must have omitted the code from a few of my poetry posts, as they are showing up too. Well, no one is perfect. In the meantime, I have notified Google in the hope they will delete the cache, so that only the Tarkan posts show up, but that could take a while.

I hope you'll forgive the ramble; to cut a long story short, I may "shutdown" the blog again for a day, until I get back to Europe and sort it our proper. If anyone knows of a better way, then please feel free to save me from the idiocy of playing hide and seek with spam bots. I won't be updating on Tarkan though, so no one is missing much.

For the rest, this must be just about the most boring subject I have ever written on; it's making me yawn. If you are still awake and reading this, apologies for boring you - but you go straight to the top of my awesome list.

Read more: About blog | The Gezi Park protests | What I have to say >>

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