Anybody There"Is there anybody there?" said the Traveller,
Knocking on the moonlit door;


I often wonder if any humans visit these pages any more. Years ago, there were many who would drop by and read the articles. Some would comment with their feedback. These days I moderate comments, because they are more likely to be comment-bots that like to spam blogs with links to porn sites etc.


A lot of the visitors are bots. You get the friendly ones, like google and bing. You get a bunch of evil ones, that are probing for opportunities to exploit. The evil ones will try to destroy what is here and deface it with their junk. They get to score points for their hacking teams, viewed on online hacker scoreboards. Destruction has become a game for bored teenagers in countries like Turkey and Russia.


In times gone by, if you had a site with content, you could expect a stream of human visitors to your site. If you had something to say, something of interest then they would come back for more. But the internet has been exploding:




Not all of those sites are useful content. Many are copies of content scraped (that is the technical term) from other sites, mixed with ads and links and viruses. They try to trick visitors into their sites, where they are set upon with ads for Viagra, links to porn sites and other junk. Now, if you create a site with genuine content, you are like drop in an ocean. Hard to find by humans. More likely to have your content ripped off and used by the trick websites. It is all automated. They can scrape content and create hundreds of pages, all SEO optimized to gleam as much visitors as possible from the search engines.


Yes, I've been through all this. I've had my sites hacked and defaced. I've had my content copied and (ab)used for nefarious purposes. It can be extremely depressing to go through this experience, and it gets tougher as time progresses. As the exponential growth of the Internet, all the bad stuff has grown along with it. Real people are a lot less willing to submit their comments or encouragement to a blogger. They risk getting their email added to a list for spam, or worse having spam sent using their email address. It can happen that your email gets added to block lists, being recognized as a known spammer. Then you have to give up using that address.


I'm sorry if I sound negative. The Internet is not easy. It is not nice. In many ways, it is not safe. I've had to keep backups of a website, so that once it gets defaced (and it will) I can restore from a backup. I've had to make all the directories read-only, to slow down they hackers, even though it makes it hard to do legitimate updates to the site. I tried to add lists of all the IPs in China and Russia and Turkey to my block lists, because they are a big source of hackers. I have had thousands of email complaints from people who got spam and thought I sent it.


Perhaps one positive thought I can add. I think I have been passed by. A lot of blogging is done by video now, in places like YouTube. The providers of genuine content there are facing much of what I have faced over the years. As the multitudes of people have moved from text to video, I think to some degree I have been left behind.


What do you think?