Somebody else has noted this recently — I’m sorry I can’t remember who — but spambots are getting weirdly smarter. Another blog that I have editorial privileges on gets a fair bit of trackback spam, and yesterday I got an email message telling me that there was a trackback awaiting my approval. The source claimed to be the University of Virginia library, and the excerpted text seemed at first glance to be related to the material on the blog (including the term “EText”), so I followed the link to the MT edit trackbacks page, half-expecting to approve the ping. Instead, I found that the linked domain was avoidcollections dot info, with “university of virginia library” its subdirectory. And the text on that linked page is a computer generated hash of text from UVa library pages, interspersed with Yahoo ads. Yesterday, most of the ads were for credit card companies. Today, looking at the page again, the ads are for commercial resources related to attending college in Virginia. There’s something extremely disheartening in this.
Kathleen Fitzpatrick 1 Minute
Published by Kathleen Fitzpatrick
Director of Digital Humanities and Professor of English, Michigan State University. Author of Planned Obsolescence: Publishing, Technology, and the Future of the Academy. View all posts by Kathleen Fitzpatrick