Michelle Delio at Wired contacted me regarding the new phenomena of referral spam back in 2002, writing up "When the spam hits the blogs"
Some bloggers publish a list that automatically updates links to sites that have linked to them. So visitors to spammed blogs who explore the link lists also find those sites full of porn and sales pitches.
In most cases the link spam appears to have been added to logs by one of several companies that are selling a service they describe as "referral marketing."
Unsurprisingly, bloggers are not thrilled, even though they ruefully admit that the log spamming may falsely boost their ranking on some search engines.
Some search engines decide site ranking by factoring in the number of pages that link to a site. A site that's linked to heavily may appear among the first URLs returned in response to users searches.
But search rank improvement or not, bloggers want referral marketers to leave their logs alone.
"It's not just that they somehow sneak into my weblog, it's that they are hitting my site so hard. One day there were more than a thousand hits from one single porn site," complained Åsk Wäppling, known to bloggers as "Dabitch."
Wäppling runs Adland, a blog on advertising.
"I did not put that site up to serve as some tag-board for cybermarketeers," Wäppling said. "It really irks me."