So the latest on the literature blog front is the siege by unscrupulous mini-marketers, the ones who want to sell cheap purses, knockoff sunglasses, or just get you to go to their site where you can be infected.
And what does this have to do with writing?
I ask myself that, often.
Park of being a writer is exposure, and part of exposure, these days, is maintaining a site. I still slip a few books out through here, now and again (see my wonderful link below, which will take you to reputable sales sites such as amazon). But suddenly I’m getting a couple of people who are using my open-ended comment section to post links to their sites. At first I welcomed the initial one – great, someone who is enthusiastic about my page, and who wants to mention his own website. But then I realized that I was getting a vague entry every day or so, on the same blog positing, over and over. And that’s when I realized I had a leach, someone sucking at my site to drive up hits.
This confused me since in my recent security upgrade I’d installed CAPTCHA, that little “type what you see” deal at the bottom when you leave me a message to say how nice my writing is. That’s supposed to fend off autobots (that are coded to find sites with permissive posting attributes and churn out spam on them (Gridsims, my gaming site, got burned heavily when it first went up with such rubbish)). CAPTCHA is supposed to deflect this.
Well, I’ve learned two things (which I’ll pass on to other bloggers, literary or otherwise). First, there are bots that are supposedly smart enough to figure out how to get around this (apparently for specific varsions of CAPTCHA). That’s not good, but I don’t think that’s what I’m seeing – the counts are only one or two a day.
No, what I think this is about is what I read, that marketing firms (and others) will pay people in undeveloped countries (who can match English letters to a keyboard) to manually work the CAPTCHA entries, then cut and paste a message into the now-open entry, each slightly different as if that fools anyone. So that’s just great – job creation at its most basic level.
I’ve been fighting back – I’ve shuttered the posts that they’d latched to for a week or so and that helps shake them off. But if it gets worse, I may have to tighten my security and make it so only registered users can post (I’d hate that, because I like getting casual comments from passers by who stumble onto my site). So we’ll see how that works.
We never talked about this sort of stuff in my Writer Room days…
p.s. I saw that one of the two blog postings with leaches sucking at them picked up an old friend. Okay, so we’ll step this up – I’ve changed things so that unregistered comments will not autopublish – I’ll get a chance to look at them first. That means (for real feedback and praise) that you’ll go through before midnight (I’ll check every night). For you leaches, your postings will never see the light of day. Give it up, man. Give it up.