It’s inevitable, I suppose, that anything good will ultimately be destroyed. We as humans have a very low tolerance for beauty and a nasty habit for violence and the dismantling of grand structures. Yeats says that “All things fall and are built again,” and it’s the continual rebuilding, the necessity of rebuilding, of what we once had that drives me to tears.

All in all, this internet thing is pretty cool. I feel connected, I can read the latest news from my desk at work (but only during my lunch break—honest!), I can post silly bits of drivel and feel as if I have expressed myself in some important way. It may be delusional, but it is easy, effective, and universally available. All good things. The problem is that people want to destroy it. They want to exploit and co-opt the easiness and effectiveness of this medium to make money (a reasonable goal in itself, I suppose), but without regard to the cost of their actions. These people, we call them spammers, and they’re evil. They consume bandwidth with alarming voracity—bandwidth that you and I pay for, they clog the search engines with irrelevant and undesired pseudo-content, and they’re always trying to do it in more subtle ways.

It’s vanity, I know, but I scan through my referrer logs from time to time to see how visitors to my site are finding me, what they’re looking for, and where they’re coming from. I don’t get many visitors, should the truth be told, but they do come from all over the world. It’s fun sometimes to see the crazy phrases that, when typed into the great Google beast, will receive this site in return. In the past few days, I have noticed several referrals from what on first examination looked to be personal weblogs. The problem was that they failed to reveal anything personal about the individual behind them. No “about” page, no self-indulgent or self-absorbed discussion, no silly photos of friends and family. Just headlines and excerpts from strange news articles. A quick ctrl-U to View -> Page Source showed unrevealing, almost standard blog mark-up, except for one very odd feature at the bottom the page, in every one of these links I followed. Always at the very bottom there was a hidden link to an /adult-webcam/ location. Not surprisingly, this link leads to a sign-up page for an “adult” website.

The fake blogs all seem to have been registered with Stargateinc on November 8th or 9th. Each is registered to a different person, but they all resolve to the same IP address. Evidently, some pr0n company is registering these domains, plopping up stolen designs with presumably stolen content, and visiting a zillion websites to spam their referrer logs. Because numerous sites publish their most recent referrers, this strategy leads to numerous links to the bogus sites that may then be catalogued by search engines like Google. With all these self-created links, the page rank in the search engine goes up, and they are more likely to be returned on searches. What this means for you and I, of course, is that the next time you go to find information on your favorite band or the latest news or a synopsis of last night’s episode of The Bachelor, you will have to sift through a ton of porn sites to find what you want. It also means that sites specifically targeting weblogs (e.g., Technorati) will be much less informative when this method of spamming takes hold.

All this is really just a long-winded way of pleading, “Why, oh why won’t you develop some self-respect, and some respect for humanity and what is good and human in you, and stop trying to wreck the great things we have?” Is it really too much to hope that people will one day wake up and wish to be decent to each other? Even Bill and Ted caught on…why can’t we?

On the other hand, Yeats also said that the fallen are built again, and that “those that build them again are gay.” These people helped me to solve my dilemma, to figure out why these sites were showing up, and how to deny them from accessing my site. I hope that they are filled with the joy of rebuilding, comforted in the knowledge that what little dignity we retain collectively as humans is promoted and passed on with each act of defiance and construction. My thanks to: net warriors, Nuisance Value, Adam at idly.org, Milo, AndrewU, and Vigilant.tv.

NP: Alsace Lorraine, If This Were the Past