• http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/ Matt Cutts

    I think it’s interesting that as a result of the cycle, you have a group of would-be spammers that are pretty savvy, and the folks developing the new technologies aren’t always as prepared for spam. So any new search engine would have spammers jumping on it much faster than in the old days. I call this the “spammers getting in on the ground floor” problem. See for example some of the new TLDs, for example. It’s clear that the spammers were ready for the sunrise periods, but the new registries weren’t always aware of what loopholes people would try to exploit.

    These days, any new system (social, algorithmic, or a combination) needs to consider how spammers will try to exploit it.

    Last point: for #6, I would say that a technology can be degraded by spam without being rendered useless.

  • eric_ward

    Good point Matt!

    Web 1.0

    – Email introduced better counterspam measures
    – Discussion groups did likewise
    – USEnet didn’t and paid the price. Just about dead…

    Web 2.0

    – Wikipedia introduced nofollow
    – Digg provides bury plus counterspam measures

    There’s still plenty of work to be done to keep the wolves at bay, but I hereby modify Ward’s Law #6 with “Cutt’s Caveat”

    #6 The tool/technology implements anti-spam measures so as to remain useful/vaible.

  • Winooski

    Eric, the way I think of it, the succinct answer to your post’s titular proposition, “The Link Saboteurs, And Why They Will Ultimately Fail”, is this:

    “Relax: No search engine that values results relevancy will let third parties sabotage your rankings for very long”.

    Sure, the spammers and saboteurs will find new techniques, but the SEs worth their salt will adjust their algorithms to mitigate the effect.

    This is why you don’t see keyword stuffing in the Meta Keywords tag working as a ranking factor any more…let alone the Meta Keywords tag working, period. The worthy search engines learned and adjusted.

  • Tom Foremski

    Back in April 2006 I was calling this practice pagerank assassination(!)

  • http://www.searchforvideo.com/ Chris G

    Though Winooski’s comments may largely be correct, I think the internet marketing community takes for granted that technologists are always well-versed in what spammers get up to, when it’s often, in my experience, not the case.

    Matt C. is correct to say that “the folks developing the new technologies aren’t always as prepared for spam”. I’ve been surprised in the past by how unaware some very bright technologists I’ve worked with are about what search engine spammers get up to. Obviously, such naivety no longer cuts it in the world of search.

    On a completely separate note, Eric – I’ve been having difficulty contacting you in order to follow up on some previous communication. Could you contact me at the email address associated with this TypeKey account? (Note: Sorry if it was inappropriate to post this message to Eric here.)