Ecosystem Update

Some folks have noticed that there has been some weirdness on the Ecosytem lately.
First, a little over a week ago, everybody’s total link counts took a steep plunge. This was on purpose. The Ecosystem is meant to track ‘current’ links that each blog is receiving; not every link going back forever. But, for various technical reasons, I had to stop clearing out old links for a while — and everybody’s counts continued to drift upward.
Around 11/27, I fixed that, and cleared out all the old links. Unfortunately, that created a bit of an abrupt change in the rankings. But, from here on, things should stabilize.
Now, that wasn’t the big problem. For the past 10 days, I’ve been chasing what I thought was a nasty SQL database corruption issue. Yesterday, I finally figured it out. It wasn’t corruption at all — at least of the techincal kind.
For a while now, the Ecosystem has been the target of commerical spam-websites, which try to register themselves with bogus URLs that guarantee high rankings. There is validation code to prevent such abuse, but it is still a bit leaky and there are holes.
Well, I realized yesterday that it was in fact one of those attacks which was the cause of all the problems of the last week. In a nutshell, one of our fine spammy friends managed to get a blog with URL “http://” into the Ecosystem, which resulted in everybody’s links being assigned to that blog. I caught him on the first day, and marked the blog as suspended — but what I realized yesterday is that the method I used to suspend it prevented it from showing up in the listings — but didn’t prevent it from grabbing everyone’s links in the actual database.
Anyway: now that I know the issue I’m plugging up all the remaining vaildation holes, and starting today things should begin to return to normal. I expect that within a few hours, I’ll have the Ecosystem fully operational, and hopefully the Daily News as well.
Thanks for everyone’s patience…