Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Beware, the Internet is coming

Posted By on Wed, Feb 22, 2012 at 5:28 PM

2389301870_2db7cfb862_o.jpeg
  • Flickr / BotheredByBees

New Scientist magazine gained a little attention in 2009 when it said the Internet certainly could become self-aware, saying "it is easy to see qualitative similarities between the human brain and the Internet's complex network..."

Well, if that happening involves thousands of auto-posted spam comments, I think I found the place it's starting: local marketing company Bellandi Group's August blog post about gaining the Mining Exchange, a Wyndham Grand Hotel as a client. It's a lovely bit of writing, calling out all the great PR moves the company's going to make for the hotel, but it's not so amazing as to have drawn 4,840 comments in six months. But that's exactly what it has done.

Of course, they're not real people posting real comments — or at least some of them could be real people posting fake comments — but automated comment spammers, which are nothing new. And it's happening with most of the blogs the marketing company has, with most going over the 5,000 comment mark.

"Spammers engage in this activity in the hopes that they can improve their search engine rankings," reads an article on webspam.org. "If their ranking is boosted, then the spammer’s website wil be indexed above all of their competition."

It's also a common problem experienced by sites hosted by WordPress, specifically, which the site is. Anyway, what's totally awesome about the comments on Bellandi's blog is the way that, after reading 100 or so comments, they almost start to make sense.

The comments are so incessant that, as a whole, they almost seem to wrap back around, circuitously becoming actual dialogue about a topic that doesn't exist anymore except in the goal-oriented minds of the bots. It's a recursive route that's always going round and round until the bots spam the bots, learning all the way, and eventually become conscious and starting to make relevant comments on bot spam before blogging themselves. First, the blogs; next, the world!

Or, at least, that's what I'm afraid of happening. I admit that my junk mail still has yet to take over my life — except those goddam phonebooks — but I'm not ruling it out with this. Just look: on the hotel's blog, there are seven new comments today.

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