Poker Sites under Blogger Attack

48 comments

Welcome Slashdotters, please don't hurt our website :) here's the rss feed

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In the last two weeks there has been a campaign amongst bloggers to googlebomb for the Online Poker Wiki page. As we have known for a long time if you have thousands of bloggers linking to a site, it will gain a top ranking. This stunt is turning into a problem for blogs, wikis and Google.

Follow the title link for the full post.

I don't understand why bloggers are doing this? Their stated goal is to stop comment spam. This stunt only addresses one keyword and not spam in general. There are much easier ways to combat blog spam (http://www.linkcondom.com/). This stunt actually will increase blog spam volume for online poker in order for the spammers to compete with the wiki, also it has expanded the number of people trying to spam wiki pages and it will reinvigorate general blog spam for publicizing the fact that blog spamming still works.

Google must not be happy about this. Making a Wiki #1 will not serve a user searching for online poker. If a Google user searches for online poker they probably want to play online poker. They do not want to read the history or legality of online poker. Spammers may not be liked but at least they understand this point. You want to give the searcher what they want so they will convert and generate money. In addition it will also publicize the fact that Google can be so easily manipulated (which is not good for stock prices). I wonder if Google will take any action or make any statement on this.

Good job bloggers, now you just need to get 9 more wiki pages to rank for online poker and then repeat this for another 1,000 keywords. Bloggers take my advice - sell cheap text ads. Make it easy for people to give you money in order for them to be profitable.

Comments

IT IS NOT A GOOD RESULT... THE WIKI PROVIDES NO USE FOR

commercial searches...

"As a poker player I'd rather have my search land on a Wiki poker page than any poker room website. Wiki is has good relevant content."

Sure for the search "poker" But if you are searching for online poker are you really looking for the definition of online poker or to play poker? The wiki should be banned by search engines as it provides NO value added content...... Looking for sex toys will bring up a wiki page defining what a sex toy is... NO ONE CARES .. THEY JUST WANT TO BUY THEM.

Wiki poker page is a good search result

As a poker player I'd rather have my search land on a Wiki poker page than any poker room website. Wiki is has good relevant content.

With respect

>Something came to my mind today

This is a chess game, not draughts [checkers?], things need to have "come" to your mind far earlier than just today.

As a good friend of my used to say "thanks for playing".

Chosing Wikipedia

Goodroi, as I explain in my comment, I picked Wikipedia because it's independant and non profit organization, because it's (in my opinion at least) relevant information for a google query on online poker, and because it has already been used for googlebombing ("Jew" in particular). And because I like the site.

I didn't think about the fact that idiots could be editing the wiki page itself, probably because I have never understood how a wiki editable by anyone could survive spammers. I mean, Wikipedia must be wikispammed every minute of the day, this is too easy a target for spammers. So I guess they must already be more than equipped to combat spam, and something involving a few bloggers in another googlebombing shouldnt bring Wikipedia on its knees.

Anyway, as far as I get it, the unwanted editing is a momentary side effect of today's slashdotting and the sudden exposure of the page to people who have nothing to do with the spammed blogosphere. I believe it won't last any longer than any other silly editing they must have on every page.

And while we talk, the Wikipedia page goes up from #3 to #2. Something came to my mind today : if the Wikipedia staff really decides this is something unbearable, now they are more or less allied with Google, it'll be easy for them to break the curse and simply ignore the googlebombing :)

Welcome Ozh

>Vain, futile, but delicious revenge

That works for me too, maybe you bloggers are alright after all?

On the subject, that online poker guy is extra annoying if truth be told. Maybe your next campaign should be focused on the amatuer blog spammers they are the real nuisance, the pro guys you are just going to have to learn to live with and *maybe* work with.

I think you misunderstand me...

I just meant how fragile the algorithms were, in regards to manipulation :)

And FYI, there are already folks trying to address the obvious issues you raise...

Welcome Ozh

Is there any reason you choose wiki? I would guess that the editors at wiki are not very happy trying to deal with the spam that is being cause by their higher rankings.

Simple searches were useless years ago

Nick W wrote:

"One important thing i think this whole issue brings up again (very much again), is just how fragile Search is..."

I'm going to have to respectfully disagree with you on that one, Nick.

All this really shows is just how useless the kind of simple one or two keyword search that the average person uses to get to where they want to go. If you enter in just the words "online" and "poker", you pretty much open yourself up to any return that remotely matches those words. So without knowing what particular type of page that has anything to do with the subject of online poker that you want, Google can only go on what other people think is important enough to link to.

There's no way for Google, or any other search engine for that matter, to know whether you specifically wanted to know about actual gambling sites or websites that discuss the phenomenon of online poker or anything else, really. So as long as you continue to use overly simple search terms, your results are always going to be biased based on what other people do with links and such.

It's not all that different from saying to yourself that you want to learn about flowers for a school report and simply typing in "flowers" at the Google prompt, then being annoyed when your search results retrieve just as many commercial florist sites as they do websites about gardening or wildflower biology or whatever.

Basically, with all the websites out there, the average person needs to learn how to better search, using keywords and phrases that better suit whatever it is they want to find. When most of us went through school, we had to learn how to properly develop what it was we wanted to search for before doing a research paper and create a basic plan on how to go about it because of just how time-consuming looking through catalogs to find books to look through to find the information you wanted required it.

Hopefully schools will retool their lessons so that they can give students a better background on how to use search engines effectively, such as using more than just simple search keywords, adding in search logic terms (AND, OR, - and +, etc) and so forth.

Derek: no, nothing against me

Derek: no, nothing against me personnally yet :) My humble blog (1500 visits a day or so) keeps receiving about 3000 comment spam each month and as many fake refer spam (all this hopefully silently killed by anti spam plugins) and this doesn't seem to be changing, at least now. To be honest I really believe that spammers don't give a f**k about this, would they have a clue about the fact it's going on. Wikipedia will maybe reach #1 spot one day, but it won't last forever.

Nick: thanks for welcoming =)

Ozh

Welcome to Threadwatch Ozh, and thanks for stopping by to explain - im not convinced of this stunt even being particularly fun, but im glad you took time to outline your case, thanks.

Do introduce yourself at Threadwatch...

One important thing i think this whole issue brings up again (very much again), is just how fragile Search is...

Trust me, it's only a matter of time... tick tock, tick tock...

**** 'em if they can't take a joke ...

Heh, it's definitely a futile idea, but as a fellow blogger, I can certainly understand the frustration and desire to illicit even the tiniest satisfaction at the sake of these bastards.

I have to ask, though, have you seen any direct adverse action towards yourself because of this? Increases of automated comment spam just because you did something the spammers might not like, even though it really doesn't affect them in any meaningful way? Any fun, angy, anonymous emails in response? Or do you think they probably have no clue who started this particular avalanche?

Still, I salute you good sir for fighting the good fight, even if it's just the equivalent of a snowball fight in Hell.

Let me clarify a few things.

Hi there, I'm the one who came up with this futile idea. Let me just clarify one thing : the goal has never been, as most people seem to think, to "combat comment spam", or even to make it cease. As I stated it when I launched the idea on my blog, it was intented to be a "Vain, futile, but delicious revenge."

So when the author writes here "Their stated goal is to stop comment spam", he's just wrong. No one believes it's going to make spam stop. As one commenter cleverly notices, "it's all about making a large show of revenge".

Grab #1 spot, laugh at spammers for one minute, and go back to your blog watching things and spam going on since spammer probably don't care much about this.

The choice of linking to Wikipedia was because its page is interesting for someone googling for "online poker", is a non commercial public service, and has already been chosen for other famous googlebombings (see "Jew").

So basically this is intented to be another harmless and fun online experiment as you've seen and will see millions. Won't change anything in the world, worse or better. Futile, vain. And fun. At least it seems to me :)

Bloggers Flexing their power

As reported in several sites...its seems like numerous bloggers are googlebombing the Online Poker Wikipedia page. Ok say "wikipedia googlebombing bloggers" 3 times fast. An interesting, but maybe misguided, form of protest against the amount of comment spam received by...

Online Poker Googlebomb

I just loved to heard this: Apparently, a new Googlebomb is currently being planted by Bloggers around the world: they are linking to Wikipedia

You know what, you people deserve to be spammed

Stuff like this really gives bloggers a bad name: In the last two weeks there has been a campaign amongst bloggers to googlebomb for the Online Poker Wiki page. As we have known for a long time if you have...

Deserve to be spammed?

blindmindseye.com wrote:

"You know what, you people deserve to be spammed"

"Basically what is happening is that a bunch of bloggers have decided that two wrongs do in fact make a right. They are spamming Google by Google bombing Wikipedia up in the page rank hierarchy and all for what? Seriously, what exactly do these people think they are going to accomplish except make bloggers look like a bunch of hypocrites?"

For those who are saying that this is a futile effort that won't accomplish anything, I agree. However the comment on the blindmindeye blog is something of a misunderstanding itself.

There is a definite difference between the two actions from a moral standpoint. Most of the blogs that are participating are doing so by having an entry talking about online poker spam and putting a link to the wiki entry for the term "online poker".

Since the link is relevant to their page entry, it's no more wrong than millions of US bloggers talking about John Kerry during the runup to the US Presidential election and linking to his website, thereby driving up the page-rank for the site.

Another example comes from the world of religion, in which bloggers were the ones responsible for getting the anti-scientology website Operation Clambake a 2nd-place page-rank whenever the term "scientology" is entered into Google by posting an article about the subject and including a link.

In both cases the sites linked to are perfectly acceptable answers to the search terms entered into Google. The wikipedia entry is just as valid a return for the simple term "online poker" as any other site, and so to is the response for "scientology". It might not be the response you personally like, but it's a perfectly good one, done using only a single relevant article and link blogger's own website, therefore there's nothing "wrong" about doing so.

The spammers, on the other hand, use automated bots to submit random text full of vague words completely unrelated to the blog entry they're commenting on with a link that's often not clearly marked for what the site itself is about. All of this is done without the blog owner's permission in a manner that contributes nothing but extra work for the blogger.

So yes, complain about how the bloggers could be doing more productive things and I'll agree with you, but to suggest that they're just as morally wrong as the spammers is just, well, silly.

great!

it made instant effect!

and yes discussions are good. and i think i just started one.

two-way journalism...

that, imho, is the future of one of my other 'parts' or interests - ie journalism.

some of the newspaper sites are finally starting to 'get it' but not many...

if content is king, is community queen?

hakuchi isn't the discussions

hakuchi isn't the discussions that take place everyday on the internet, the core component of it? The exchange of words and commerce on the internet make the world go round!

hakuchi: i'm part poet...

i'll admit it. i spend way too much time 'thinking' and 'daydreaming'...

the internet lets me bounce (some of) those thoughts off of other people, creating more avenues to explore, etc.

i don't think you're looking for a conversation, though? ;)

\,,/

just wondering how much time people spend thinking about whatever nonsense while they could do something else...

here's the blogdex page I mentioned, dated Dec 2003

http://blogdex.net/news/03/12/22on_blogdex_exploitability.asp

Blogs have always been vulnerable by design, there just weren't enough of them out there to make that vulnerability significant (except to those early spammers).

it seems

all those 'types' of sites aren't really doing anything new anymore. i mean, there's not a lot else you can do with the idea, but with the four or five of them out there, you'd think they'd be clamboring to come up with new ideas and be #1.

personally, i've been using technorati a lot lately to track links for stories/articles/etc.

they're all slightly different, i guess. maybe that would make a good story? hmmm. ;)

>hitting daypop I saw the

>hitting daypop

I saw the first run-up within a few months after it started. Similarly, blogdex used to have a sort of disclaimer on the front page which explained their vulnerability.

derek:

yes, they lash out and latch onto any 'long tail meme' that floats thru daypop, etc.

speaking of daypop, have they (the spammers) been hitting daypop long? i noticed it the other day...

Mikkel wrote: "Thanks for a

Mikkel wrote:

"Thanks for a Blogger's inside, Derek, but I still don't get it :)"

The one rule to remember when it comes to the blogosphere is to never underestimate the ability of seemingly rational people to act irrationally in large numbers.

One only has to look at the large numbers of people in the US who are spending $5 on a cheaply made magnetic, plastic yellow "I support the troops" ribbon made in a factory in China who really and truly believe their simple purchase really does support the troops.

It's a meaningless move, to be sure, of which little will really come from it, save perhaps some more discussion of the issue, but that's usually what happens when you have a large number of people who are frustrated and feeling powerless to stop something so aggravating. They lash out in whatever fashion they can, no matter how useless it may really be.

thanks, Nick...

must be leftover feelings of anxiety from 'other sites'...

i did link to one of my articles on a third party site (k5) on the sci-fi thread over the weekend. i kept waiting to get whacked for it.

i like it here.

something weird i noticed tonight

when writing this up for another site. there are quite a few texas hold'em type things on .gov sites. more than i would imagine. it goes with what the (dirty?) oilman was saying in that Pirillo interview, though, about dead blogs being the 'best' to spam.

could the government use the fact they're spamming .gov sites to really go after the spammers? kinda like the loophole that they got with Al Capone...

Bombing by spanish webloggers

In this google.es search you could find 8 weblogs in top10 results for online poker.
I think I was the only spanish weblogger that posted against this bombing.

Links

kpaul, we're very relaxed here - we like to link out.

Mrs Nick W has been know to get a bit miffed when she thinks people are self promoting though, or only post when they want to link to their own sites...

If it's a good link, it's a good link (unless it upsets Mrs W)

delete this if it's not allowed...

but here's a link to a /. comment verifying it was there for a little bit. i thought i might be going very, very, very crazy for a moment. i almost hate the trolls (goatze.cx, etc) more than the spammers...

so, now we have Trolls Battling the Bloggers Battling the Spammers...

(on a side note, it was weird listening to that self-described 'ex' blackhat spammer... he still does it nights and on the weekends?!?)

Maybe..

I dont see any pics other than the logo?

yuck!

why's there a nasty pic showing up on the wikipedia page for 'Online_poker'? am i the only one seeing that??

Well ::cough::

I'm a blogger too, so watch it! LOL

I turned on comment moderation ages ago, and hopefully will have some time soon to implement some of the anti-spam solutions so that I can turn off the moderation.

Still don't get it

Thanks for a Blogger's inside, Derek, but I still don't get it :)

All you can ever hope of documenting with this action is the fact that blogspam still works - weather it's done by bloggers or blogspammers. So what does that lead to? Do you think less people will do blogspam after they find out (again) how easy it is? Do you think Google will love you for abusing their index? And, is that the best way for you to deal with them and other engines?

As far as I can see this action can only make this worse for you Bloggers. More people, many of them less technically skilled than the current "pro" blogspammers, will try this out, build bad robots and increase the problems for you. I just don't get it ...

what a productive strategic alliance

And if this were really a strategic alliance of the 6 or so top online poker sites that are happily ensconsed on that wikipedia page?

What a successful idea. Fund a blog that gets bloggers to work for free to keep your set of collective links at the top of Google. In alphabetical order, to be fair. On wikipedia, which means infrequent changes, no unscrutinized edits, etc.

Lemmings was my favorite computer game (now Pingus on Suse). Is this not a real-world Lemmings game?

I agree timyang, what was wik

I agree timyang, what was wiki's reason for this? Just for fun?

Not very useful bombing

I don't understand the usefulness of this action. Even when the wikipedia entry is #1, if the searcher wants to play online poker, wouldn't he just skip #1 and go straight to clicking #2 or #3 etc? What is the purpose of being #1 if the searcher won't click it.

Actually...

>>Nick W said..

No, actually i didn't, goodroi did :)

Im all talked out on blog spam, we've talked about it quite a lot in the past - here's a couple of good threads on solving the problem:

The site search will bring up a whole bunch more if you're interested in the topic Derek.

Why? Because it's a war ...

Nick W wrote:

"I don't understand why bloggers are doing this? Their stated goal is to stop comment spam. This stunt only addresses one keyword and not spam in general. There are much easier ways to combat blog spam"

I have to admit, I love the adoption of the rel="nofollow" tag by most blogging software developers, and I'm very grateful for the people behind Spam Karma for WordPress.

HOWEVER, these are only reactionary tools. Even though I have software in place that filters out spam comments added to my blog, there's still a price I have to pay. Most automated spambots have no throttling built into their comment submission abilities, so they will attempt to add a comment to every entry they can get access to and they will attempt to do it as quickly as possible.

A single spambot can easily peg the CPU of my webserver to 100% as it attempts to push it's comment spam into every hole it can find on my blog. It will then attempt to access every page, every image, every link so that it can submit faked referral links in order to spam even my log files with links to whatever site it's trying to push.

It's not hard to imagine how webservers with multiple blogs can really start to lose their efficiency under those conditions, and the more popular the blog, the more likely a target it is.

So why would the bloggers pull a stunt like this? To combat spam comments? Sure, that's probably the common public reason, but let's be honest here, it's all about making a large show of revenge. Bloggers are frustrated and feel like they can do little more than react to what's effectively a daily attack on their servers. So they add a link on their blog and try and knock one of the most prolific spammers down a peg as small compensation for being so powerless, legally and technologically speaking.

Even though they might not admit it, I don't think anyone really believes they're going to stop comment spam, mainly because it won't stop no matter what we do. The rel="nofollow" tag will do a good deal towards cutting down the effects comment spam will have on your average search in Google, but not every blog out there is going to enable the tag, either through direct choice or because the blog software never gets updated.

So, as long as there's even a few blogs out there able to be spammed, the spammers will continue to run their attacks against every blog because automated spambots can attack thousands of websites every hour and each attack costs almost nothing to run.

Much like email spam, comment spammers are going to continue to escalate their war on us until and unless we finally give in and legislate the death penalty for doing so.

Silly Bloggers

SO bloggers are now trying lightweight SEO? Should really make things messy.

Poor Wikipedia

I'd hate to have to be the one editing the hourly link drops out of wikipedia's poker pages for the next couple years.

...speaking of which.... :p

Re Bloggers are stupid

Mikkel, I don't take it personal this time. ;)

The problem is that one single person can start sth and 90% of people will just follow as they read it on the internet, and they think the internet is always right. But hey, that's right, my viagra is the best on the net. ;)

Result = Blogspamming works!

The scores so far:

Bloggers: 0
Blogspammers: 1

Great strategy :)

Why I think avg. users won't find this page useful

Wikis are good to help educate and for schoolkids to research topics. If you are searching for online poker you obviously know what you want. You either want to play poker online or you want to compare features and payouts. Wikis are not helpful to gamblers.

Bloggers are stupid

Do I really need to say more? :)

I do disagree with the way th

I do disagree with the way the bloggers manipulating results and are pushing this page to the top of the rankings, but my question is why you think the average users wouldn't find this page useful if found in the search resutls?

More

A TW reader sent me this page a little while back on the same subject...