What if search engines could apply an “author rank” similar to Page Rank? Then ranking algorithms could retrieve and/or rank based on trust of the author, which would be determined by linked networks. And linking networks could be big. Think 7 or 8 degrees of separation. So big that any real author would eventually be linked to every real searcher. And if a bad apple spammer got into someone’s network they would be quickly found out.
There are many places where people link to each other, such as LinkedIn, Netflix, Yahoo! 360, Myspace, Facebook, flickr, Yahoo! My Web, Furl, delicious, Youtube, email and IM address books…need I go on? I know it could ruin anonymity of the web, but maybe search spam has forced us to this.
And anonymity might be able to be preserved. Perhaps there’d be ways to create trusted anonymous connections, such as having a nom de plume. Or is it that important? Journalists and authors use their names (or a pen name that sticks with them) so why should the web be different? My point though isn’t to un-anonymize the web, my point is to help search engines know which pages are real and trustworthy based on who created them not just who links to them.