Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Sploggers And The Shell Game

In every city of any decent size, you'll find con artists who are interested in one thing - your money.

One of the most common short con games, that you'll find on the streets of most cities, is The Shell Game, or an alternative version Three Card Monte.

In both The Shell Game and Three Card Monte, you attempt to track the location of an object, while it's being moved around in front of you. With The Shell Game, a small object - maybe a pea - will be placed under a shell or a bottlecap, and the shell (and 2 other shells without peas) will be shuffled around the playing surface. With Three Card Monte, a playing card of significant identity (for example the Queen of Spades) is shuffled around with 2 other cards.

The object of these games is for you to be able to immediately identify the hidden object, and its position in the group of three, when the shuffling stops.

It's a simple game, and if you have nerves of steel and can resist the distractions which the game operator (or one of his co workers) will throw at you constantly, you can win.

If the game isn't rigged. If you don't lose your wallet, or camera, to the thief who comes up behind you while you are watching the game with full concentration.

So maybe you will play a simple 3 object game.

How about a game where there might be thousands of objects (playing cards, shells, or maybe blogs), and dozens of similar objects added to the playing field (table, or Blogosphere) every second? How about a game where the pea could be moved from shell to shell, without a chance of you seeing what is happening?

Would you have a ghost of a chance of winning such a game?

Heck no.

And that's why the BlogSpot splog farms exist, and can't be removed. Not both immediately, permanently, and totally.

Here's a splog, which I found during yesterday's play of Porn\\\\Next Blog surfing. http://ueyznesodeyz.blogspot.com/. Note that link isn't clickable - try it and see.

I just reported that splog, using the Blogger Help Report a spam blog screen.

That's great - I just reported a spam blog. One spam blog.

Maybe Blogger Support will read my reporting - and delete the spam blog sometime today.

By the day ends, though, dozens of more blogs, in the same splog farm, will be created. By the end of the day, with or without my work in reporting one, there will be more splogs. The splog farm will be bigger. New splogs are published, every day.

Unfortunately, Blogger Support won't remove the splog farm. Here's what Blogger Support is doing, to fight the tide of splogs.
  1. Automated spam classifying algorithms keep spam blogs out of NextBlog and out of our "Recently Published" list on the dashboard.
  2. The same classifiers are used to require an extra word verification field on the posting form for potential spam blogs. This makes it harder for spammers to set up automated systems to do their posting, since a human needs to complete this step.
  3. The Flag as Objectionable button in the Navbar lets you notify us of problem blogs that you find, so we can review them and take appropriate action.

Here's why they are wasting their time (and ours).
  1. Automated processes are always going to be fuzzy - 100% accuracy is impossible. They will always generate false positives (actual bloggers blogs detected as spam), or false negatives (actual spam blogs not detected as spam). With false positives, the Blogger team of spam fighters has to constantly verify and correct the false positives. With false negatives, well, you get the picture. The spammers know what they can get away with (that's their job, after all), false negatives become a constant problem, and there are the spam blogs that don't get removed.
  2. The extra word verification field, which you and I hate when we have to deal with them too often, is a waste of time, and stops the experienced sploggers not at all. Sploggers know that, and so do you if you read enough about the problem.
  3. The Objectionable flag, too, generates too many false positives. The threshold for flagging a blog has to be unbelievably high. You'll do better to report a splog using the Blogger Help Report a spam blog screen.


Even as Blogger Support, during a given work day, deletes / quarantines a few suspected spam blogs (and creates many false positives, maybe your blog), the sploggers will create dozens more. But the deception doesn't end there.

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2 comments:

Greg said...

You write really well. I appreciate learning about blogger on a deeper level from your advice.

Lol that sounds like a spam comment. Completely sincere though.

Yogesh Bailwal said...

Thanks for a lot of good information, I was looking for it as one of my blogs has been locked more then a week ago and nothing happened in spite of the request.