Sunday, October 02, 2005

Adding even more blogs

Once again I'm adding blogs to my roster. These fall into three categories: new blogs by people I know, new locations and blogs for people whose blogs I've previously linked to, and blogs I've come upon completely at random.

First, the new blogs. A few months ago I helped a friend start a new blog. She blogs under the name Katie, and she wanted to try to get the name "katiescorner" or "katieskorner." Unfortunately both of those names were taken, but "katieskornerblog" was not. She calls her blog Katie's Korner, and it can be found at

"Katie" convinced a friend of hers to blog, and she started a blog called Wistful Romantic. She blogs under the username Hopeless Romantic. Her blog can be found here. It's only a single entry so far, but I'm always hoping she'll post more.

Then there are the relocated blogs. Mike Deagan - dok - closed out Innisfree Online a while back and moved to a new site, Innisfree News, aka The Innisfree Blog. His subtitle is worth noting: "Musings and Recollections Across Time And Space For My Daughter."

j, a pen pal from long ago and far away, has stopped posting to and has revealed herself to the world as Issy Orlina Reyes, poet, writer, and college professor. Her new blog is simply called issy.

Finally, a blog found completely at random. A few months back I bemoaned the fact that on a random walk through Blogspot blogs using the "Next Blog" button, most of the blogs I was seeing were "fake blogs" - blogs that were simply strings of text lifted from other sources, with links to sites about online poker and herbal viagra and so on. This pissed me off quite a bit - the blogosphere is getting crowded enough without having to deal with fake blogs cluttering up the landscape.

Blogger apparently has done something about this. Back on September 11 I was taking another random walk and I saw that the majority of blogs I was coming across were real. Some were dull, some were about things that didn't interest me, but a few were worth bookmarking for later reference. One thing they almost all had in common: they were getting bombarded with spam comments, sometimes while I watched.*

One of the blogs I came across seemed really interesting but was afflicted with spam comments. As I left a comment explaining how to get rid of them and how to take steps to avoid them, several more spam commenters muscled their way past me. Oddly enough, someone else beat me to it and posted the very same advice I was posting, seconds before I got to post it!

The blog was called A Glimpse Into The Abyss and was written by someone calling herself Teigra. I read it and kept reading and couldn't believe what I was reading. The blog is frank and honest and open and written with a degree of maturity I have not seen in bloggers of any age - let alone ones who had just turned 17. Yes, Teigra is a highly intelligent and eloquent home-schooled 17-year-old college freshman from Kansas City, Missouri, who as of now holds the title of the youngest blogger to whom I am linking. (This title was held for a long time by Sammie, followed closely by Camilla, and I think it passed to Lauren for the past few months.) Teigra reminds me a bit of Camilla, and a bit of me. Read her - the blog is now called A Totally Random Affair, though I suspect that that is subject to change - and try to remember what you were doing and thinking and saying when you were 17!

*To understand the point of spam comments you need to understand how search engines determine "rank". Google and other search engines send out things called "spiders", little 'bots that search the web for links. If a spider happens upon my site, it will explore all the links that exist on my site, and send other spiders along each of the links to do the same trick wherever the links go. Your Google rank is based in a large part on how many other people are linking to you, and what their Google ranks are. For example, Chloe linked to me last November. She has a very high Google rank - most of the people who come to her site come there through Google, searching for phrases like "visine on nipples" and "pretty tits" and other things not actually central to anything she's writing about. While this link was in existence, my Google rank was decently high, because Chloe's rank was very high, and I would get several hits each day from Google searches, usually on terms like "cathy baker hee haw". For reasons unknown to me, Chloe removed her link to Another Monkey a few months ago, and my Google rank has plummeted. I still get search engine hits, but only rarely from Google.

But if you can't get links from highly-ranked sites, you can also increase your Google rank by having a
lot of low-ranked sites link to you. This, I think, is the point of both fake blogs and spam comments. If you have enough links to your site from other people's sites, even just in the comments, your rank will go up. Most people try to do this legitimately; one of the best ways of increasing readership is to leave an insightful comment on a popular blog with a link back to your own site. But spam commenters just use a shotgun approach, leaving as many linking comments as possible on as many different sites as they can get to. I think this is mostly done with 'bots, but sometimes the stilted and overly polite language used in these spam comments makes me think they were written by someone originally from India. (This theory was borne out when I visited one random site that seemed to be plagued with these comments - until I realized that many of these were from repeat commenters originally from India who were engaging in conversations with the blogger, who also was originally from India and is studying marketing in the U.S. His blog itself sometimes sounds like a spam comment! )


Teigra said...

Ahh, now I'm all preening and stuff. That was super-nifty of you.

Betz said...

Harold, I shall link to Teigras blog and check it out. I must also start thinking about adding another blog to mine. I did indeed send your IMS to Wistful Romantic......