It used to be fun to check my Manila referrer logs on a regular basis because I always used to be able to find a link or two to sites or people that were writing about blogs or other tools in schools. Nowadays, however, it’s a nightmare. Aside from the long list of porn sites that are spamming the logs, now it looks like some potentially “reputable” businesses are showing up as well, like academyofmusic.us and slatersdvds.com and donnasrentacar.com. Of course, if you should click on one of these, you get, guess what? A porn site. Oy.
I think I get that this is all Google‘s fault since they rank their results by who has the most links on the Web. What I’m not sure I get is what possible benefit a porn spammer gets from using and address like donnasrentacar.com. The logic just escapes me but I’m sure there is some twisted reason. I’m sure that the Spam Hunter has some ideas.
This has been and continues to be the one aspect of all of this that we as educators using these tools need to get a handle on. And it is without question the biggest fear that most people bring up when we start talking about how to use them in the classroom. I think I’ve got Manila set up so that our student sites won’t get spam comments left on them by some bot. But I’m not sure how I can stop these links from showing up in their referrer logs. They haven’t yet, to my knowledge, probably because their sites aren’t on anyone’s radar. But we’ve got to find a way to make sure it never happens, because as we’ve already seen, some schools will look for reasons not to go down this path.