I just noticed that the Askimet spam filter plugin for WordPress provides PHP code to display its spam-comments-blocked counter on your blog. I wonder: could one use the number of spam comments received as a measure of a blog’s popularity? Presumably spam bots target sites that are more heavily linked by other sites, making them rough approximations of Google’s PageRank.
Just imagine it: Spam is the new hits. “My blog gets more spam than your blog.” “I need to add more porn links to my site to attract more spam.” “We need to focus on our spam-engine-optimization strategy.” “This blog brought to you by Cia|is.”
For the record, Askimet has caught 1,958 spam comments in the few months since I installed it, or about 30 times the number of legitimate comments I have received since I started writing the blog.