Blog Spammers should be at the Spam Summit


Earlier today we reported on the Blog Spam Summit being held at Yahoo and organized by Niall Kennedy of Technorati.

Spammers willing to help

We have had many discussions here at Threadwatch on how to solve comment spam, with the spammmers themselves offering solutions. In fact, we've tried on numerous occasions to extend a hand to the blogosphere but as yet, to no avail.

JasonD, DaveN and myself would all be willing to come and lend a perspective that this summit is lacking - one from those that hold answers, not rhetoric.

Niall, Jeremy and others, get in touch...


Spam summit spurns spammers

Jason Duke at Threadwatch reports on how a "spam summit", apparently being organised from within the blogosphere, has spurned the help and assistance of people who openly declare they spam blogs for a living. Sounds like a poor move. I...

Received a "You're not wanted email!"

Niall has emailed me. I received it 5 minutes ago, on Thursday the 24th Feb, the day of the summit.

Hi Jason,
Thank you for your interest in the Web Spam Squashing Summit. The
summit is limited to organizations involved in producing or indexing
content. I am excited at the list we have put together to represent
both industries, and I have chosen to exclude search engine marketing
companies from this event. Hopefully some of the strategies from the
summit will be discussed at SES New York for the SEM community.

Niall Kennedy
Community Manager

A couple of immediately come to mind.

Why leave it until the day of the summit to say, "We don't want you here" ?
Why not work from 3 sides of the equation. Search operator, content management system writers and those that know most about spam, the spammers themselves?

Finally I want to formally invite Niall and everyone else to the Stansted Meeting where there will be a huge contingent from all areas previously mentioned.

Compare M$ with blog makers

If there's an exploit in Windows everybody says it's M$ fault, if there's an exploit in the blog software, bloggers say it's the Spammers fault.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it more likely that the exploit is more a bug they can't solve and try to blame others???

Personally, I just turned tra

Personally, I just turned trackbacks off. *shrug*

I keep thinking of switching to drupal, but I hate rebuilding sites.

Moderated commenting by defau

Moderated commenting by default was an issue SixApart finally applied in January - now it would be nice to have some form of Trackback moderation.

The issue has already been raised in the SixApart forums - but until SixApart addresses such user concerns, then MT blogs are going to continue to be prone to trackback spamming where trackbacks are active.

Apportioning blame is irrelevant - being able to empower responsible webmasters better with the tools to control their own content better is probably the helpful focal point.

But alas, even tight protections aren't enough

I have MT Blacklist set up along with other stuff, but I still get nasty trackbacks. Sure, I could turn off trackbacks for all older entries, but then that hampers the ability of legitimate sites from trackbacking me on a lot of my content.

No foolproof solutions except for making blog spamming economically not viable for the spammers while not crippling blog comment and trackback functionality, and I'm not quite sure how or if that can actually be done.

About the only way I can think

that bloggers are "responsible" for being spammed is that they have tools available to prevent it but are too lazy to educate themselves about their use. I don't have any idea what goes on with anything but the blog software I use personally - but I have installed an arsenal of protection that's freely available and has received very good reports from the software authors themselves. I would be stupid NOT to avail myself of that sort of protection, would I not? And the point at which I left myself open due to laziness or stupidity is the point at which it becomes "my fault" that I get blog spam - or forum spam, or email spam, or "spim".... ad infintum ad nauseam.

Spammers can be helpful...

...I've gotten some great advice on how to avoid getting blog spammed specifically by listening to blog spammers talk about how they do their thing. Spam doesn't cost HOURS of time for me each week, because I do not allow my site to be a good target (and I installed MTblacklist and probably spend an hour or two a month fine tuning my blacklist regexes).

Yeah, let's totally blame the victim

"Hey, she was so stupid to be in the wrong part of town at night... she DESERVED to be assaulted."

"You know, they didn't put gates around their property, so it's THEIR FAULT that they got tp'd."

Sorry, I still don't buy it. Blaming bloggers for blog spam is like blaming bicyclists who got their bikes stolen when using kryptonite locks. Ultimately, it's the thieves who perpetrated the act of theft. The fact that they could do so easily doesn't mean the act is any less worthy of disdain or blame, nor does negligence on the part of the Kryptonite lock company mitigate the actions of the thieves.

Again, from a logical / amoral standpoint, it's understandable to say "Bloggers suck, so I don't care what happens to them, therefore I have no qualms blog-spamming." But arguing or even implying that "they asked for it" or "it's okay because they didn't take adequate precautions" just doesn't wash, IMHO.

I'm not (necessarily :D) trying to vilify blog spammers. I'm just saying, hey, let's call a spade a spade.

Blog spammers can help

If i was a blog spammer on top of my game i would help too.

I would help the blogs fight the less sophisticated blog spammers using older techniques, cutting down spam and the competition in one easy step :)

Who's no one?

Gaming Google to get goofy search results for obscure terms hurts no one.

I'm sure someone (a president perhaps) who's homepage shows #1 for "complete f*(&ing idiot" wouldn't agree when it ends up on CNN and for a few days becomes more popular a term than Paris Hilton. ;-)

To the three musketeers offering the helping hand, I'm not really sure what your motivation is and it's not really a concern of mine except that I'd rather the engines devote time to solving this crap themselves so that they have less time to go after other shite that I may or may not participate in. :-)

blog spammers didnt create the problem

blog spammers just exploited the fact that se's put too much weight in a blog link, as Chris mentioned.

If bloggers hadnt flaunted the fact that could make things rank, they wouldn't have gotten spammed so heavily.

If the algo wasn't flawed, it wouldn't have been possible in the first place, bloggers wouldn't have exploited the engines and blog spammers wouldn't have exploited the engines through the blogs.

It's nice of the engines to invite people to help them make more money at cost to those they invite, how quaint.

imagine you’re a white/grey

imagine you’re a white/grey/checkerboard SEO webmaster, your site was #1 on Yahoo and now it is #20 behind the blog spammers.
You need to pay the bills what do you do?
You have the know how and money (now), so you blog spam.
While it works, it pays the bills
When blog spamming doesn't work your site goes back to number one.

In this case the question is simple - which world would you like to support?

I'd choose to help the search engines - but that's just me.

Shaking my head

I'm not sure what I find more troubling.

The fact that the engines are getting together to fight "spam" as a united front, or that "spammers" are offering to help them.

Ok I was putting it on a little heavy

But just a little. Fact is anything you do to stop blog spam is either going to hurt blogs in the SEs or harm usability. People are going to abuse blogs as long as they have power. The more layers you add on - the less power they will have - and so on. If they are devalued by the engines - they will devalue other blogs and remove some of the incentive for some bloggers to participate. This will cascade down.

Guestbooks were great for a while - then google clamped down, then expired domains, then google went after them, then visitor logs. Now it is bloggers. Just as the linking systems helps blogs it helps spammers. The bloggers did spam first (well not really), but did you think that if you could get people ranked for "weapons of mass destruction" that others wouldn't try the same thing with "viagra"?

It is easy to get rid of guestbooks, log spam, and expired domains - in most cases no content is lost - or very little in the "quality area". Blogs are much harder - any thing you do will hurt blogs one way or another.

When there is this much money involved - people are going to spam. When youu allow anyone to comment on something - that is crap content. Sure some might be good, but joe blow's opinion on the war or Iraq is just as useful as my link to make me money.

Bloggers get to take advantage of free content they get from their posters. Well there is no such thing as a free lunch.

sorry for the flammables

Chris_R, seeing hows we are going there, all content publishers are spammers. The ones who call themselves spammers are just being honest with themselves.

and the other thing...

I get trackback spammed too :-)

Ooops! and welcome to THreadwatch Chris_R! do introduce yourself...


blog spammers cost lots people hours each week of cleanup, and often bring down entire servers from the constant pinging of cgi scripts and such.

That's really the thing Adam, I dont think most blog spammers really want to inflict those burdens on other web users but, as long as the $$$'s to be earnt from spamming are so enormous, and ALL of their competitors are spamming, it's either spam, or promote crochet patterns.

If blog spamming was stopped - or at least the deluge reduced to a trickle, those categories would still be just as fiercely competitive, but they would be fought over in different ways. Spammers are resourceful people, and the loss of blog spamming will not stop them from fighting dirty in dirty areas, as everyone will be affected the same.

There was plenty of web spam around before blogs spamming ya know :-) They'll find other ways to get to the top in agressive areas and we can all stop watching the blog vendors and evangelists running round in circles wailing about the injustice of it all, as the solutions are really, very, very simple..

Oh, and Chris... I'm sorry, but that's bullshit

Gaming Google to get goofy search results for obscure terms hurts no one. In contrast, blog spammers cost lots people hours each week of cleanup, and often bring down entire servers from the constant pinging of cgi scripts and such. Not to mention the intense unpleasantry of seeing [bad stuff removed] trackbacks or comments in one's blog.

Face it; there's no moral equivalency here. You can argue that blog spamming should remain legal, or that bloggers are pompous asses or whatever, and that's fine. But you're simply being disingenuous by arguing "Well, the bloggers spammed first!" Hogwash.

I'm with Jeremy on this one (confused)

I'm baffled as to the whole concept of inviting spammers to a conference like this.

If the spammers have decided that their spamming behavior is inappropriate and worthy of stopping, then they're EX-spammers, right? I could see inviting those folks.

If the spammers have no intention of stopping their annoying trade, then what incentive would they have to offer any genuine help to the anti-spamming folks? Worse yet, wouldn't they learn about the anti-spammers' ideas and then use those to improve their spamming techniques?

I'm not TRYING to be a clueless twit here... I'm honestly flummoxed. Could someone please clue me in on this situation?

Bloggers are Spammers

Yeah it was all nice and cute when bloggers could manipulate the search engines and get "WMD"s and "Bush is a Panty Wad" #1, but the don't like others abusing the engines on their behalf.

Google's ranking system MADE bloggers. Bloggers would be nothing without them.

Seems to me a little bit like the Mafia trying to ban guns.

Be careful what you wish for.

local spammers?

As a checkerboard hatter I'd love to be there, I am just a hop away.

how can you help?

If I was [were?] a search engine and found that a certain demographic was not holding their end up, i.e. not taking responsilbility for the content published on their web site, I would look at ways of devaluing the information I culled from such sites.

Just saying.

"If I was [were?] a search en

"If I was [were?] a search engine and found that a certain demographic was not holding their end up, i.e. not taking responsilbility for the content published on their web site, I would look at ways of devaluing the information I culled from such sites."

I'm not sure I nofollow you.

Wrong way to look at it Jeremy

As long as it's possible, and such HUGE amounts of $$$'s are involved, how can you possibly expect people to just stop?

I assume you are joking right?

So, how about it? We offer help, and real solutions from the side that knows most about this...

The offer has been extended, it's up to you guys now...

I was joking...

That's why I included a simley.

Spammers willing to stop?

If not, how can you help? :-)

Call me

My mobile phone number is available from Nick as I rarely work at the weekends, and try to stay away from a PC, but am happy to drop that philosophy and endure hours of non smoking hell in a cramped seat en route to Sunnyvale so I can deliver a proposal that will eliminate the problem once and for all!