Sona Web

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How do you solve a problem like spam? PDF Print E-mail

Over the past few months Sona Web's blog has been inundated with spam from posters from across the world, so how do you solve a problem like spam?

When the blog was set up on this website it was decided an important element was to have a comment function for people to share their views. To counter any comments from unwanted posters or spiders, which crawl websites spreading malicious links, a Captcha box was added so a human would have to physically enter a code before a post was made. Problem solved. Job done. A nice clean site with no spam. Or so we thought...

After looking at our logs, it seems Sona Web is particularly popular with people in Russia, India and China. But the people posting aren't interested in anything we've got to say in our blogs, instead they're hawking 'Gucci' handbags, 'Rolex' watches and wedding attire. Quite why the good users of Sona Web would want such things remains a mystery.

What it has meant is that every couple of days a mass deletion of around 20 posts talking rubbish and including links to sites you'd dare not click on has been happening - for anybody who has come across these links, apologies for not deleting them sooner.

So, if Captcha isn't working because somebody is manually inserting spam, what else can web do? Well aside from turning off the comment function completely, we decided the best thing to do would be to put all comments in post-moderation.

Post-moderation means a user enters a comment, presses submit and then the comment is queued for a website moderator to publish or delete. It means there will be less spam on the site and we can continue blocking rogue IP addresses.

There, I'd like to see a Gucci hangbag comment on this blog post...


World Cup 2.0(10) - the Social Media tournament PDF Print E-mail

A week in to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and we've yet to see a stand-out game; a game with thrills, spills and excitement. What we have witnessed are cagey matches, thousands of vuvuzelas being blown, and, of course, the odd goalkeeping error.

We've been able to keep up-to-date with the biggest spectacle in the world through a variety of communications, offline and online. It's virtually the first 'Social Media World Cup'.

As well as on your television, be it LED, LCD, plasma, 4x3, 16x9, you can even watch games from your computer (as long as you're in the UK) - a God send for any fan who works during a lunchtime or afternoon kick-off, but a pain in the ass for employers! 

The BBC and ITV, who hold rights to broadcast the World Cup, each have their own micro sites devoted to the spectacle. It's all about interaction, reaction, being part of it, telling everyone 'what YOU think', and all the rest of the monotonous rhetoric. So, if you want to know what Dave from Hull thought about that New Zealand performance, here's your chance.

Having tested both the BBC and ITV websites out to watch games, I've been impressed with the look and 'feel' of the ITV version (they've come a long way online), but they're also on the wrong end of my biggest gripe in that you have to go through a speed test first before you can get in to watch the action, which is also a click too many away. The player itself is clean and the chat box to the right is a nice touch as is the highlights option which is clipped throughout the live game and presented as catch-up. See what you think here.

As for the BBC's offering, it's pretty much what you'd expect give the resources they have on offer in comparison with ITV. They go 'all out' with blogs, frequent tweets from reporters, special columnists, audio, match reports, forums, video highlights and so on. The games are presented in their tried-and-tested player, which has been around a number of years now, and the picture quality is excellent, if the commentary isn't. You can view their offering here.

There's no escaping the involvement element for this year's World Cup. Just take a look at this blog from the BBC's Phil McNulty which has received 700 comments and counting less than 24 hours after England drew 0-0 with Algeria. McNulty is a 360° journalist, meaning as well as writing match reports and comment he also loves his Facebook and Twitter account - @philmcnulty - which has over 18,500 followers. 

Being 'involved' in this World Cup doesn't feel new. The 2008 Olympics had a similar recipe from the BBC, but ITV had no involvement then. Something tells me when the World Cup goes to Brazil in four years time watching live games online and tweeting will all be part-and-parcel of the game along with much more, but for now South Africa claims the first Social Media World Cup.

BBC wakes up to SEO PDF Print E-mail

The BBC has announced it is to lengthen the headlines in its website news stories so content is found more easily on search engines.

There's already plenty of debate on the BBC website about the pros and cons of allowing journalists to create longer headlines. I won't get into whether it makes editorial sense or not, but I think the development poses a few questions:

The BBC is probably one of the most indexed websites on the internet with content already all over the web, so why do they need to increase 'the practice of search engine optimization' (in their words)?

How does the BBC's competitors, including local newspapers and ITV, feel about the BBC using its massive resources to perfect SEO and reach audiences which they struggle to on a consistent basis?

What do you think?

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