Hugh Winkler holding forth on computing and the Web

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Web Service of the Future: Comment Spam

Guess what web technology, right now, most successfully uses microforms a.k.a. forms-driven web services: Comment spam. Spambots crawl the web, looking for form fields they recognize, completing them, and submitting them. There's no one universal blog comment document format. Each site tells the bot, by using typical names in form fields, how to complete the form.

Imagine you had some service you actually want agents to be able to understand: a fare search site. Farebots would query your site for fares from Austin to Bangalore leaving Thursday. They'd know how to fill out the form field because you'd annotate each one with some agreed class attribute. Doesn't this sound a lot more realistic than getting everyone to agree on a common fare search document?

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