(Or: How I Learned to Stop Trying)
The internet is, sadly, populated by a small but persistent set of wankers. Nothing we can do about that - they exist in all walks of life, after all, and the internet has given them many more opportunities to infiltrate our lives.
Some of them have, sadly, decided that there is some margin in setting up false accounts and creating pages just to advertise their own shit. Basically, spamming me.
Now, I run this site as a hobby, and enjoy doing so very much. It earns just about enough to pay for its own hosting, and gives me somewhere to keep a tiny handle on web design and development, but it's nothing serious. I hoped (and still do) that people will contribute to it. And that means opening it up to some degree, only that is next to impossible
Once upon a time, not so long ago (*Bagpuss theme music plays*) the entire internet was predicated on this kind of idea: instead of publishing being consolidated in a few behemoths like newspapers and print houses, publishing could be within the reach of anybody. A democratic freeing of data that would far outstrip even the invention of the Gutenberg press.
But I call bullshit on that notion. Ever more power in the flow of information is accruing to a few players, and there's next to nothing we as individuals can do about it.
Whose fault? Google.
Obviously the direct responsibility for this shit lies with the people doing the spamming. It is they who create false accounts, log in and try to cripple the efforts of ordinary webmasters who just fancy running a website. But the reason they do is driven by Google. Google has distorted the internet. It too began on a premise of an open repository of information. The core of its algorithm - the 'link' - is basically a cipher for citations, as found in scientific papers.
But the prospect of reaching billions of users or potential customers - effectively for free - through this medium brought with it new opportunities for commerce. I don't mind that. In fact, I welcome its convenience and its transparency and the transformational effect it has on people's lives.
And so, Google's monetisation model offered the temptation of low-hanging fruit to the unscrupulous. According to its own publicity, Google has spent the last decade and a half cleaning up the internet. They even employed a 'head of spam' to make cutesy videos about how to make your websites 'good' and how not to be a spammer.
In fact, here he is.