Splogs, like spam, will be with us for a while

January 24th, 2006

Two years ago Bill Gates predicted that the spam problem would be solved by now, as this article in The Register reports.

Hey Bill, why am I still getting spam?
Junk mail outlives MS mortality prediction
By John Leyden, 24 January 2006

Two years ago today Bill Gates predicted that spam email would be eradicated as a problem within 24 months. The Microsoft chairman predicted the death of spam in a speech at the World Economic Forum on 24 February 2004.

Gates outlined a three-stage plan to eradicate spam within two years. Microsoft’s scheme calls for better filters to weed out spam messages and sender authentication via a form of challenge-response system. Secondly, Microsoft wants to see to a form of tar-pitting so that emails coming from unknown senders are slowed down to a point where bulk mail runs become impractical.

Lastly, and most promisingly as far as Gates is concerned, is a digital equivalent of stamps for email, to be paid out only if the recipient considers an email to be spam. Blocking spam email would appear to be a simple problem but in practice is far trickier than Gates, or indeed the industry, first thought.

It’s tempting to think that we are close to being able to solve the splog identification problem, which enable blog search engines to weed the slogs out of their indices. But, I’ll bet that splogs will be with us for a long time, as is the case with spam. Of course, we do have to work hard to keep them under control, just as we do with spam. If we don’t, the blogosphere will be quickly overrun and its promise squandered.