To my astonishment over 560,000 people have put me in their Google circles. That is over half a million strangers who want to hear what I say on Google. That crowd is far greater than the number of people subscribing to Wired magazine during the years I was editing it.

Where did these half million people come from? And who are they? Because they are starting to post a lot of spam in the comments. You the reader don’t see much of this spam because Google does a fantastic job of suppressing it so it’s invisible to readers. But as host I see the hidden spam grayed out so that I have the opportunity to undo it in case an entry is legit, but that has happened only once so far. All the other times Google has expertly and accurately removed spam before it displays.

Still, there is enough comment spam that it got me to wonder: how many of my circlers are spammers? With the help of my research assistant Camille Cloutier, we randomly sampled my great circle to see who was there. I’ll tell you our conclusion and then how we got there.

Conclusion: Most of the half million people following me on Google are ciphers. They have signed up, but have not made a single public post, or posted their own image or a profile, or made a comment. They aren’t home. The only place you’ll see people are in the same small set of 100 “recommended” people they follow, of which I am one.