Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam

I was surprised a few years back when James, a friend of mine, introduced me to what looked like "Spam sushi"  - nori seaweed paper rolled around sushi-vinegared rice and a big long hunk of spam. I made the normal protests ("I'm too hip and cool for this Spam business ") and then shut the <blank> up and tried it. It....was.....AMAZING. I couldn't believe it.

The official Hawaiian dish is called Spam musubi and you can find a recipe here, but you should really follow the traditional sushi rice recipe here instead of what you see on the Hormel site. Brings out the flavor of the pork product.

I mention these culinary forays only because that's the last truly wonderful experience I've had with anything called spam.  (Everyone remember - the meat is capitalized to Spam, the annoying email is spam). Except for some of the accidentally humorous ones, it's been all Internet scams and cleaning out my inbox since then, and now of course the term has prevailed into another arena: blogging. At least Hormel is being a good sport about it.

Matt Hicks of eWeek just wrote a story about's dealings with comment spam, where you hear me and Josh Ledgard and Robert Hensing hold forth on the comment spam issue. Basically what comment spam is - besides the single-attempt hi-jinks of someone who is harassing the blogger for fun - is a calculated, automated  attempt to raise the spammer's Web site Google ratings by having point to them. Since Microsoft bloggers are an independent lot, and point only to who they want to, the spammers decide to post a comment which points back to their Web site. Or hundreds of them.

 If that hundred comments are live and Google crawls again - well, suddenly their site gets the same search ranking as though a blogger pointed to them on purpose. It's evil - steals mojo and makes highly annoying Web sites more popular.

This perhaps suggests that search engine technology should take a  giant leap forward and start "anti-referrals" to certain Web sites. Akin to virus software's quarantine systems or the matter around black holes, coment spammer sites should be lumped together within the secret workings of the internal algorithms. Any clicking on rankings created by comment spam should steer the user to their nearest competitor or some user experience so heinous the user never tries to go to that Web site again (certain William Shatner songfests come to mind). Or perhaps clicking on the spammer's link will just send large angry mutant gophers to the user's house to teach him/her a lesson by thwacking him with a large roll of Spam musubi. The gophers need the work.

Dang, but that's a waste of good Spam though.

Live it vivid!