I feel bad for the guys at MyBlogLog. Ever since being acquired by Yahoo, they’ve not exactly had a comfy ride. Things escalated this weekend, with reports that spammers had found an exploit that allowed them to add themselves as “co-authors” on as many communities as they wished.
Saturday evening, a member discovered an exploit where you could send someone a request to join their community as a co-author and then automatically approve the request. In other words, someone (dare I call them a jackass) could force you to be a co-author of their community. I have no idea why they would do this, other than a negligible bump in marketing, but who ever said jackasses made sense?
To their credit, they’ve reacted well and today announced new steps to improve the community and hopefully reduce the amount of spam. Future features include:
- We’re going to post an official Terms of Service (ToS) and hold people accountable.
- By default, you now see only message from your own contacts.
- We will include the text of the comment and associated controls (delete,reply, etc) in the alert email.
- We will limit users to only five requests for co-authors a day.
- We will limit users to join 15 communities and add 15 contacts during any day.
- After the first five are complete, we will set up a comment approval system
All of the above will be welcomed by those who are active MBL users, but I think MBL faces a bigger issue than spam. I for one have taken off the widget that loads images of the most recent visitors to the site. While I’m still tracking visitors and using avatars on comments, the widget was just too slow to load. It’s a real shame, because I believe it was the widget that made MBL grow so fast, but it’s also their achilles heel.
I’m hoping they’ll figure out a way to speed up the load times and provide better customization of the widget – maybe iFrames are the answer here. In any event, the MBL guys need to tap into Yahoo’s (in)finite resources to get these updates done quickly. MBL did well, because it was unique, but I’m already hearing about new services that might challenge them, so they’d do well to keep ahead of the curve.