Kevin Burton frets about a potential “ping crisis”:
…in the long run it seems to be a big difficult (sic):
1. Everyone wants to spam you.
2. You’re not a consumer level service so you can’t run Ads to make money.
3. The more traffic you get the more your costs go up.
4. Scaling a system is difficult once you get to that volume.
5. All your pings need to be delivered fast (see #4).
Those are some interesting points to ponder. Point #1 is particularly troublesome, so let’s think about points 2-5 first. It seems to me that we’d do well to look at some other services for ideas and inspiration. The first one that comes to my mind is DNS. No ads on DNS, and not many fees are being charged for it. Perhaps we should come up with some sort of distributed model for handling blog pings? If we have a distributed service, no single server would have to bear the entire load, and we can probably avoid the traffic cost and scaling issues. But now about point #5 — Obviously pings need to be acknowledged very quickly, but do pings need to be delivered fast? Joseph’s ping service is based on a queueing model, which seems reasonable and more practical to me. What do I care if my posts are advertised “immediately” or I have to wait 5 minutes?
So now back to point #1, blocking spam. Do we need some sort of RBL? Open-source tools to identify spam? I really don’t know the answer to this. We need some input from people on the front lines about this topic.