So Jonny seems to have disappeared again, but I'm still pondering what to do about him. Reader Jason (who actually leaves his name as "Jason!", love that) suggested we do things the proper way, by filling out the legal forms, which he helpfully provided. The problem is, these seem to apply only to email, not comment spam, and I don't know if they'd matter to a huge company like Layered Technologies. We could write a filthy parody song about Jonny (as these folks did), but that seems like too much work and we suspect Jonny wouldn't appreciate the humor.
I did find out three more crucial pieces of information about Jonny, though. One: He has an interest in books and education, as is evidenced by his appearance here and on the American Library Association website, but he's a well-rounded fellow who also likes car racing. (Indeed, his interests are legion.) Two: why he's doing this:
The answer, oddly enough, is that the spammers weren't trying to win the attention of the bloggers or their readerships. They were trying to win the attention of Google, like the high school bully beating up the class nerd to impress the homecoming queen. The nerd feels violated, but the truth is that it isn't really about him at all.
The spammers were exploiting the fact that open comment forums on the Web let bloggers post HTML for free. And not just any Web pages: These are heavily valued by Google's PageRank algorithm, thanks to the chronic interlinking of the blogosphere. If you could convince one of those bloggers to link to your new site, you'd have instant credibility. And if you could persuade dozens of bloggers to place links, you'd be an overnight PageRank sensation. Because so much of the Web's traffic now funnels through Google's search engine, that higher ranking translates directly into more "customers" for the spammer.
Three: I can not believe this, but I have found a name, location, email address, and cell phone number associated with the domain name who is a REAL PERSON NAMED JON.
But if you want to hear about that you'll have to check in tomorrow for the next installment in our continuing saga.