Tags: spambots

11 May 2008, Comments Off on Fence, son of Wall: Exploring the Sploggiverse

Fence, son of Wall: Exploring the Sploggiverse

Author: Helen

On a slow day, the moderation queue can provide a laugh or two. “Not bad at all, but this topic is rather little of interest. Please do not disappoint your readership,” writes “Vonido”, huffily. Vonido, I apologise, and I’ll do my best to serve the needs of my spambots better in future! “Amyisku” says “cool site for my mind its very goodPlease, send your abuse here!!!” Only too happy to oblige, Amyisku, but I really couldn’t be bothered, as both of you are programs with no consciousness (as yet – unless the Singularity has arrived while I wasn’t looking.)

Then there’s the splogs – those roboblogs which are set up with a normal blogger template, blogroll and dated posts which consist of bits chopped out of other peoples’ blogs. Usually when a splog links to you, you’ll find an incomplete piece of your own work chopped out and used as a “post” in the splog.

Extremely annoying, useless (who on earth would go to read these things and click on their links?) and ethically on a level with email and telephone spam. If I had a huge number of hits, they’d be a moderation problem, but at the moment they’re just like annoying blowflies which I slap and move on.

“Fence” was a splog which linked to one of my older posts. If you take a look – http://visde.com/generic/lib/fence/index.html (No link for you!) they haven’t even bothered to steal any text to make posts, which is a plus I suppose, and there’s a certain dadaist quality to it.

There’s a darker side, though. So you think, “OK, this is automating a bunch of links to a specific product. Boring, but so what?” But if you click on one of the “fence” links on the blogroll, you’ll get redirected to something like “Game cheats”. Obviously a massive risk for spyware, adware and worse.

So I decided to go and check out the main site, and discovered a software company that’s trying to do all the right things in product design – if you believe their introductory blurb.

Creating innovative product experience. We think creatively and work together to solve problems in a human centered way, building a captivating experience for the brand and the client’s audience.
Our holistic design approach recognizes the importance of the whole and the interdependence of its parts. We research and consider all of the elements effecting the user’s perception and expectation of the brand and its product. Through the process of collaboration between the client, the teams, and the user, we ideate, design, evaluate, and continually refine the product to deliver an innovative solution for a 360 degree captivating experience.

And from the “who we are” page:

Our diverse, multi-disciplinary culture helps us innovate across product and organization types. We are a consulting firm specializing in user-centered product design. As a team, Visde has extensive experience in interface design, information architecture, user research, package and industrial design, mobile applications, and a variety of other areas.

The people working there look genuinely nice, too. So why would a software company that’s big on usability design and product design destroy their reputation by standing behind a slurry of splogs which annoy and alienate the very Web 2.0 users who might be their future customers?

Well, guess what else I found on their main page.

The company has created a Postsecret-like feedback application, where you get to make suggestions to them, titled “What the World Needs in 2008”. (You can guess what my first response was. Splogs. LIKE A HOLE IN THE HEAD!) The entry box is somewhat limited, so you need to be pithy. The URL is http://visde.com.

I’m up to my fourth comment. Bloggers, suffering under the deluge of splogs, have at it!

9 May 2004, Comments (0)

The Pink Goo Disaster

Author: Helen

Imagine that Vernor Vinge’s “singularity”actually happens. In other words, in approximately 2020, artificial intelligence overtakes human intelligence.

Now, one of the essential characteristics of the Singularity is that we can’t predict what will happen then. But what if, as the comments on this Electrolite post suggest, the AI that overtakes us is evolved from Spambots… and “make money” or “sell stuff” is their only aim? Oh, dear. Hope they’re wrong.

Good spine-chilling fun.