Letter from a Blog Spammer

22 comments
Source Title:
Admits to blog spamming
Story Text:

Threadwatch member JasonD writes an open letter to a self proclaimed "spam hunter" about why he spams blog comments and what he's prepared to do about the problems his actions cause for bloggers. (introduction by Nick W)

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It seems that I have won a new fan going by the name of the Spam Huntress.

She received a visitor on her blog that found her via the search term "blog spamming software" and thought, "Hmmm, let's take a look at those results" and went off to her favourite search engine and tried the search too.

She saw a link coming to our very own Threadwatch and paid us a visit and made her thoughts known on her blog. I thought I'd reply :)

My message to Ann is simple and C&P'd below

Hi Ann,

Thanks for the link, even with a rel=nofollow

In all seriousness though I am one of those few spammers that admit to being so but I’ll be brutally honest here. I don’t actually want to do it.

I spam because that’s what the market demands and the market demands it because everyone else is doing it in certain industries.

Although the blogging and other communities that offer interaction with their website visitors may not like my creed I do believe that working with those people (people like me) that undertake the nefarious link spam is the way forward in finding out a real, dependable and final answer.

I was (and still am by the way) happy to work with the engines in showing them a solution that will kill the problem once and for all. Unfortunately I wasn’t invited to the summit organised by Technorati. That was a decision for them to take and I respect it entirely. It was their show and for them to decide whether they wanted me or “my kind” there or not.

They chose not

Unfortunately what you and other blogging spam fighters do in trying to ascertain who the spammers are (however admirable) will not kill the problem, it will simply displace it to others who aren’t as knowledgable as yourselves. It will also only be the smaller style link hunters that you’ll end up putting off and not the harder core, more experienced ,knowledgeable and financially motivated spammers. In essence it is fire fighting when what is needed is a solution that will simply not combust!

I have been told on more than one occasion that I am a WANKER and I agree

I Work According to Need, Knowledge, Experience and ROI

While I and others take the commercial view and while it is legal to link spam (and unlikely to ever change) the problem isn’t going to disapear.

The Register at http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/01/31/link_spamer_interview/ had a superb article where they interviewed a link spammer and I think it is a worthwhile read. You may not like what is said but it is a fair example of why this takes place.

On a fun note I just wanted to make a small comment about your final paragraph. The reality is that if you can find the relationships between the sites I spam for and me then those sites deserve to be dropped from the SERPs as I haven’t hidden them well enough!

Also there is more than one search engine and Yahoo, MSN, Ask and others deliver tremendous financial value to me so don’t forget to try and get me banned there too.

Finally I want to offer myself as willing, happy and able to work with you in finding a long term answer. Drop me a line and we can have a chat and put a plan of action together.

It will put you out of work as the spam huntress, but I am sure that is a price you’re happy to pay !

Comments

 

*LOL!* WANKER

Quote:
I Work According to Need, Knowledge, Experience and ROI

I thought that deserved a 'frame' around it.

I guess I'm a WANKER too.

Here's another hard core spam fighter.

http://www.rojisan.com/spam/

Too bad you can't comment. This guy is pretty good.

referer spam

do you do referer spam too? this is really starting to tick me off. my referers aren't available publicly anywhere, but these bozos hit my site 20-30+ times per second with their crappy dashed domains.

WHY???!??! what purpose?

i have two theories going:

1) if the DoS the site (which, effectively, they can do) the search engines might repeatedly find the site down and the 'target' loses ranking

2) this is more devious - i confronted someone about this tonight and they said something to the effect of 'well, it's someone else trying to make me look bad...' i guess this could be possible - a competitor referer spams a site (like one of the spam hunters) and dirties the reputation of anyone they want.

so, JasonD, do you referer spam too? if so, WHY??!!

sigh.

yes, i could buy a super server to make sure i stay up, but i don't have the cash at the moment. i shouldn't have to worry about these spammers in the first place...

maybe i should post this as its own thread?

this is really starting to tick me off. my referers aren't available publicly anywhere, but these bozos hit my site 20-30+ times per second with their crappy dashed domains.

I'd guess you're just collateral damage, because you're not publically displaying referrers. The intended parties are [I would assume] certain referral tracking systems, that are open to the public (without passwords, robots.txt or other deny rules).

If the dash domains are 'obvious' (in that their URL displays what they're selling: eg. viagra-widgets-herbal.com) then you could ban them at the server level with deny rules regex in the httpd conf, or htaccess (if you're running apache) rather than serve up any pages, I guess. Aside from that, I think you have to take such things for granted these days, if your site is in any way potentially useful to spammers.

Someone correct me if I'm way off target here.

yeah

i'm blocking them in httpd.conf. it's still putting a load on, though.

what gets me is that they're not displayed anywhere publicly. although maybe they're doing it for one of the two reasons i laid out above?

 

Hi KPaul,

I sure do undertake referer spam but if you aren't publishing your referers then I can promise you it aint me hitting you!

There are answers and it will stop referer spam too.

answers

what are the answers?

also, if it's not you, can you track down who it is for me? ;)

 

As they are hitting your servers with referal spam and you aren't showing any public logs it does sound as if they aren't that intelligent so it is probable they could be tracked down.

But I am afraid it is highly unlikely I'll do it for you, based on purely commercial reasons.

Please remember though that don't take the site that the referer is (supposedly) coming from as neccesarily the perp. It could simply be a competitor trying to stir a hornet's nest up for them

that's what i was thinking...

see my above post.

any tips on tracking true culprits down?

 

Quote:
any tips on tracking true culprits down?

Not really but if you speak to Ann, the Spam Huntress linked in the original post she may be able to help as that's her expertise.

My experience

Jason, I've seldom seen competitor spamming. I'm sure it's been done historically, but most of what I see is pretty easy to figure out. Occasionally I'll see test spamming, but that's another issue.

As for tracking the culprits down, that's only occasionally possible.

 

Quote:
I've seldom seen competitor spamming

I know of it going on.

Examples

Hi all, let's keep the thread free from specifics please - thanks!

Welcome to TW SH, your a brave lass to come walking into the lions den, though you're most welcome of course :)

Didn't mean to do it right here

I've got a site and an e-mail address, so no need to dissect the spammers here.

 

Just so no other spammers give Ann a hard time, I for one want to vouch for her as a diamond girl.

We spoke for quite a while on the phone and I have a lot of respect for her.

Well

I'm a spam hunter, but like I told Jason, I can see that there can be good in people who do bad things. I don't advocate the usual painful death for spammers that I see bandied about here and there.

I'll aggravate my pet spammers as much as possible by taking their toys away if I can, though.

That's my idea of fun.

Geez, I'm all geeked out..

no I don't

No, I don't referrer spam. I just find it funny that some people spend so much time and energy reporting this stuff.

If I had a penny for every email spam I reported, I'd be wealthy and sitting in front of outlook all day.

What next?

Cats and dogs sleeping together? ;-)

 

Quote:
Please remember though that don't take the site that the referer is (supposedly) coming from as neccesarily the perp. It could simply be a competitor trying to stir a hornet's nest up for them

I seem to be receiving a lot of referrer spam from a certain whitehat SEO/SEM forum - but I certainly aren't going to claim that the staff there have any responsibility in this.

As with the spoofing of e-mail addresses to make them seem like a lot are coming from legitimate domains, I figure referrer spammers must also add a little mainstream to the mix every now and then to make their actions less overt.

Words such as "set up" and "fall guy" I figure would probably be very old terms in the English language.

Could also be vanity.

I have a "custom" UA String lying in wait. I'm vain - I know.

 

I sure hope no TW members are doing this, but whoever it, it sure is shitty beyond belief. And that's coming from someone whose moral standards are pretty f***ing low to start with!

Spamming in the name of a spam hunter is nasty. If it's you do me a favour please and stop as it aint gonna do our cause any good at all.

http://spamhuntress.com/2005/03/24/prankster-having-fun/

I'm sure this "person"...

...will start to brag soon - somewhere in some blog.

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