When it rains, it pours

(67spamblogs, originally uploaded by mathowie)

I have an ego feed I check every few days for my last name (fairly rare) from technorati. On a normal day there might be one or two mentions of my last name and it’s not always about me, but it’s useful for finding blogs that mentioned me or are talking about a post I made.

This morning, I had 67 matches for the term which is really unusual. Looking at the results painted quite a picture. It looks like one monster spam blogger has unleashed a boatload of new blogspot blogs, always in the form of keyword-(random number).blogspot.com (like lottery-123123.blogspot.com). They suck in RSS feeds from blogs like mine and boingboing and others, then insert random phrases into the copy, with a link to their own sites using phrases they want to game google with (screenshot of one).

This has been going on for a while, commonly known as “blog and ping” tools that automate google gaming by sucking down any RSS feed and reposting to a spammer’s blog. But I’ve never seen someone unleash possibly hundreds (at least 67, probably many more) of blogs in such a short time. I suppose there are scripts that work a level above tools that merely suck down a RSS feed and repost it to a spam blog, unleasing hundreds of rss feeds on hundreds of spam blogs. I don’t envy the work Google and Blogspot have to do to curb this kind of behavior but at the same time it’s lame to see weblogs become another tool in the search engine spam toolbelt.

update: oh bonus — looking at a few of them reveals that every spam blog seems to have been created by a different blogger user account. So not only is the sucking down of RSS feeds and reposting to a blog filled with spam links automated, not only is doing this reposting to hundreds of sites automated, but it appears publishing all these hundreds of posts to hundreds of blogs with different blogger login credentials is also automated, making it more difficult for Google/Blogger to weed out the single person behind it all. Search spammer/spam bloggers sure are resourceful little bastards.

7 Comments

  • Chris Pirillo got spammed too. So have I. It’s pissing me off. Flagging ain’t gonna stop this; what do we do?

  • Yep. And I just screencast the problem. Looks like I got hit worse than you, Matt.

  • Earlier today I was messing around with blo.gs and seeing how many weblogs they catalogued by plugging higher and higher numbers into the ‘id=’ parameter on info.php. The answer was over 12 million. However, I noticed that as I got higher and higher up, more and more weblogs were these spammy SEO whores. It made me sad.

  • I had a different experience – one of my blogs on business networking, which is on Blogger.com got “replicated” on another portal. I wrote to support to find out how that had happened – no replies till date – 3 weeks now. The whole blog has been replicated, with links/comments/everything. Has that happened to anyone’s blog?

  • I’m surprised you’re just seeing this. As someone with about 10 PubSub subscriptions, this has been like a thorn in my paw for a long, long time.
    It occured to me the other day to try something and I didn’t do it until now: use the “SOURCE” qualifier in your PubSub search.
    For example, instead of:
    “Matt Haughey” OR wholelottanothing.org
    Do:
    (“Matt Haughey” OR wholelottanothing.org) NOT SOURCE:blogspot.com
    Theoretically, that should eliminate all hits from the Blogspot.com domain from your search results. I’ll let you know tomorrow whether it actually works or not. Subdomains may screw it up…

  • I wish I could remember where I saw this idea… You know how Blogger implements a captcha when creating a new blog, or when commenting on a blog? What about adding a captcha to Blogger for just posting to a blog? Would that help at all?

  • Not sure if this is a right place… We have growing electronic newsletter mailing list, and I’m desperate to find decent, reasonably priced software or shareware for list management and distribution. We’ve been using Outlook and ACT and they’re not working well. I was found bulk email software for sending newsletter. Are there other good options to help save my sanity? Does anyone know of any good hosting company that can handle bulk email? We need to send newsletters to about 900 customers without the hassle of restrictions. Thanks!

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