Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Blog Spam: What's the Point?

 


There must be some advantage to spammers who litter the comments section with spurious messages. They usually have a name that links to something. For example, today there was a poster named "Viagra" who put several comments on my blog. If you click on "Viagra" it takes you to a webpage (search2.site.io/index.html) with a list of Viagra related items.

Can someone explain the point of all this? What advantage to spammers get out of polluting blogs?

I left an example of this spam in the comments of the thread Science Policy Forum: Framing Science.

8 comments:

  1. SPAM is crazy tasty.

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  2. Spam, of the email or blog varieties, serves to depress me.

    When I see it, my first thought is similar to yours: "what's the point? This is a rather stupid and poorly-targetted advertisement." Then, my second thought: "This idiotic tactic must actually work at some tiny frequency, such that it is profitable in an environment of very low costs and high profit margins." That second thought leads to my depression - there must be truly stupid people in the population at some small-but-significant fraction who actually buy V1aGrA and the like from anonymous websites.

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  3. As I understand it, blog comment spam is principally aimed at trying to distort Google's search algorithms rather than to attract actual human clicking.

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  4. harry says,

    As I understand it, blog comment spam is principally aimed at trying to distort Google's search algorithms rather than to attract actual human clicking.

    That's sort of my understanding as well but how does it work? Does each comment count as a link to your site?

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  5. A high number of linkbacks increases standing with Google and makes their websites appear earlier in search results, which legitimises it for searchers. There are actually a fair number of people who google for things like generic viagra, since it's one of those things that can be embarrassing to ask your pharmacist about.
    Spamming blogs is dirt cheap even without botnets, and all it takes is a few apathetic bloggers for it to work. And those aren't exactly in short supply.

    Recently I've noticed a lot of spam comments without any links or advertising. I'm guessing those are made specifically to test ways to get around filters.

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  6. There is a special level in purgatory just for spammers. Guess what's on the menu for a few hundred years...

    Spam a al spam

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  7. "Spamming blogs is dirt cheap even without botnets, and all it takes is a few apathetic bloggers for it to work. "

    It doesn't even require apathetic bloggers to let the spam get through. Even though I utilize two different types of spam filter at Liberal Values, a small percentage makes it through, generally in the middle of the night. They might sit on the blog for a few hours until I see them in the morning and delete them. In the meantime, it cost them little, the larger number of spam comments picked up by the filters isn't a problem for the spammers, and they have some of their spam comments around the blogosphere which are indexed by the search engines.

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  8. Does each comment count as a link to your site?

    I think so, which is why Google and similar services has adopted the "rel="nofollow"" link flag to signal "non-counting" links and avoid helping spammers.

    I guess it is good practice among blog owners to let their scripts add this on every comment link including address fields. (And of course to the posts links to crackpot sites to avoid helping them too.)

    This site seems to do this, so the spammers won't get anything out of bypassing any spam filters here.

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