Skip to main content

Following - A Spam Free Community?

If you randomly look at Blogger blogs, you'll see all types of blogs, none of which are 100% like any other blogs. The content, the layout, and the features all distinguish each individual blog from each other blog, even among individual blogs produced by the same author.

One feature that is common on many (though not all) Blogger blogs is the Navbar. I've been writing about the Navbar, and the "Next Blog" link on it, for several years.

Being a Follower (aka Reader) requires no invitation to a blog - all publicly accessible blogs with a newsfeed can be Followed. As a Follower, you read the posts in the blogs that you Follow. You can Follow a blog by using Following, and Follow visibly or invisibly, through your browser or through your Google Reader Reading List. Or, you can manually add the blog URL to your Google Reader, and read the blog without using Following. Following is simply a fancy way of setting up a 2 way connection between people and blogs. You Follow my blog visibly, and
  • I can see you, and readers of my blog can see you.
  • We can view your profile (should you make that public).
  • We can see a list of other blogs that you Follow (again, if your profile is public).
  • We can see a list of your blogs.


Following is simply a way of connecting people and blogs, in a way which will hopefully make it less useful for spammers.
  • The code behind the Followers gadget makes it transparent to robotic processes such as the Blogger anti-spam classifier, and search engine spiders.
  • Most Followers to a blog will be real people, not spammers.
  • Since any individual Follower on any blog is subject to removal ("Block") by the blog owner, spammers won't last long even if they do get to Follow a blog for a while.
  • Most blog owners will acquire new Followers very slowly, so they will enjoy checking each new Follower out frequently, and will promptly take action and Block any spammer.
  • Blogs with lots of Followers won't show any given Follower for any amount of time, as newer Followers will replace previous ones in the display.
  • Following a blog requires intentional action by the Follower, and there's very little chance of anybody intentionally surfing to a splog.
  • The payoff from Following is not immediate - your Followers, and surfing activity to your blog, won't happen immediately when you start Following a given blog.
  • The drop in payoff from Following is not immediate - your Followers, and surfing activity to your blog, will continue long after when you start Following a given blog.


Following is simply a way to target your surfing, to connect to others like you, and possibly to help target the surfing of others who surf to your blog. No real blogger will knowingly target his surfing to blogs owned by a spammer (nobody is going to Follow a spammer but another spammer), so it will be difficult for spammers to hide their abuse amidst legitimate blogs, as sploggers have been doing in the Blogosphere and the "Next Blog" links. And since the payoff from Following is a delayed process, no spammer will be able to attack, take his payoff immediately, and ignore his splogs being destroyed after the fact, as he hauls his ill gotten gain to the bank.

So not only is Following less susceptible to abuse, there is probably very little payoff from abusive Following, and no motivation for spammers to attack us through Following.

But, and this here is a big but, this concept will work only with several practices consistently observed.
  1. All bloggers (not spammers) have to believe that a Following neighbourhood can be kept spammer free. We have to use Following for surfing, and complain loudly when a spammer is allowed to appear.
  2. All bloggers have to keep the Followers lists on their blogs spammer free. We have to check out each new Follower on our blogs promptly, and Block anybody with a profile containing links to spam, including both blogs Owned, and Followed.
  3. We have to check out each long term Follower, occasionally, to ensure that he's not a latent spammer, and Block any Follower that starts publishing or Following splogs, and any Follower that allows spammers to Follow him. Informing any clueless Follower, who is Following or being Followed by a latent spammer, would be the polite thing to do.


And as we develop the community of Followers around us, we help provide more surfing opportunity in a universe free from hacking, porn, and spamming. And maybe bring about the end to needing the "Next Blog" link in the Navbar.

>> Top

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Custom Domain Migration - Managing The Traffic

Your blog depends upon traffic for its success.

Anything that affects the traffic to your blog, such as any change in the URL, affects the success of your blog. Publishing the blog to a custom domain, like renaming the blog, will affect traffic to your blog. The effects of the change will vary from blog to blog, because of the different traffic to every different blog.Followers. People who find your blog because of recommendations by other people.Search engines. Robotic processes which methodically surf your blog, and provide dynamic indexing to people who search for information.Subscribers. People who read your content from their newsfeed reader, such as the dashboard Reading List.Viewers. People who read your content from their browser.No two blogs are the same - and no two blogs will have the same combinations of traffic sources.

Stats Components Are Significant, In Their Own Context

One popular Stats related accessory, which displays pageview information to the public, is the "Popular Posts" gadget.

Popular Posts identifies from 1 to 10 of the most popular posts in the blog, by comparing Stats pageview counts. Optional parts of the display of each post are a snippet of text, and an ever popular thumbnail photo.

Like many Stats features, blog owners have found imaginative uses for "Popular Posts" - and overlook the limitations of the gadget. Both the dynamic nature of Stats, and the timing of the various pageview count recalculations, create confusion, when Popular Posts is examined.