How to kill a linkfarm

As much fun as it is to run PVRblog, recently it’s been a chore. Last week, someone sent me an email congratulating me on acheiving a pagerank of 9/10. I had no idea and I guess that’s nice and all (and surprising, given that the site is less than a year old), but it’s turned into a giant honeypot for spammers. I would venture to guess there aren’t any other 9/10 pagerank sites that allow you to submit information that results in a link to your site.

After waking up and deleting half a dozen posts every morning for the past several weeks (and banning their IPs), today I noticed even legit comment posters were tweaking their posting names to reflect a better google ranking. Instead of putting “steve” down as their name, their name would read something more like “info on pvr hardware” which would link to their site. When a feature gets abused by even those that should know better, it’s time to do something about it.

I’ve considered turning off comments, and that’s often what people do, but in this case I’m removing the URL request on comment forms and I’m no longer linking to anything from a commentor’s name on the site, including all back archives. I had HTML turned on for comments, but in the last hour that I’ve had name/urls turned off, I’ve already received a few new spam comments, using HTML in the comment fields. So that’ll be coming off soon too.

I noticed at a few weblogs, new comments don’t have email or URL entry forms, and comments get posted with just names. I always wondered why, but now I know.