Friday, January 27, 2006

TinyURL AdSense Links

Today in Gmail's RSS/Ad bar, I noticed an ad with a link. That seems odd to me. Why wouldn't you just use your domain? Some Googling seems to point to affiliate marketing. Apparently most Pay Per Click programs don't allow affiliate codes in links. So by using a redirect URL service you can sneak your affilitate code in. This allows those that don't have a site to participate in affiliate programs.

The URL the ad points to is:

That redirects to:

Now, for the topic of the ad, "Email Over 2 Million." That text looks very spammy, but according to the site, it is a double opt-in list and has never recieved a spam complaint. I have no reason to believe otherwise and I am not saying the tinyurl ad link is webspam. I just find it really odd that obvious redirect links are allowed in AdSense. You can't get much more obvious than

I don't like redirect services like this in the first place. I admit they are useful to shorten long links that would wrap in email or Usenet posts. Sometimes that may be necessary. But when you click one you have no idea where you are going to be taken. You could end up at something like or a site that installs malware. And what happens if the service goes out of business? All those links would be no good.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Comment Spam Report

At the end of last year I posted that it looked like comment spam on Blogspot had slowed down. It was getting to be pretty reasonable (taking into account blogspot spammers are idiots).

Well, thanks to 92 comment spams by one idiot and a few other persistant spammers, I am now up to 528 comment spams. That is an additional 172 spams since December 28. Not counting the idiot, that is still 80 new comment spams in 24 days.

I guess it was just the holidays slowing them down.

Blogger Backlinks Spam

When Blogger introduced a javascript powered "Links to this post" feature I thought that was a pretty well spam proof. Backlink would only show if they appear in Google's blog search, eliminating fake trackbacks. And they only appear for users, not search engines. There is no PageRank benifit from javascript powered backlinks. So either this spammer is stupid or he is just after hits.

I discovered this Laptop Review spammer while reading a post at the Official Google Blog. The links back to the Google post are included in two of his three post tags: "gateway, nx860, laptop." The first two both link to different posts at Google's blog as do some of his other posts.

Getting a backlink on a popular Google blog post can get you a bunch of hits, but it helps when the topic is similar. I link to them often when a new antispam feature is announced, the more relevant my post title is the more hits I get. A post on Gmail's new delete button and a post on health aren't at all related to laptop reviews. I also sometimes get a few hits by Google employees though the official blog backlinks, that doesn't seem like the correct audience for spamming.

It doesn't look like a splog at first glance, but you will see that the posts are reposted from other sources without attribution or link to the original source. Compare:

"ThinkPads to support Cingular 3G technology"
the review
at ZDNet

"Sony VAIO FE-Series"
the review
Sony's press release

"Dell Introduces XPS Renegade"
the review
at PCMag

This review blog is clearly not the usual splog, it appears to have human input in the posting of articles since occasionally there is a sentance or two added before the "borrowed" copy. Whatever it is, this blogger needs check out Plagiarism Today.

The site links back to quite often including the footer and sidebar of the page. That site's content is very similar, but it links back to the original post (at least some of the time).

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Too Many Dashes

Some spammer is really going nuts with comment spamming my blog. For the last four hours I have been getting the same comment spam over and over with only the link keywords changed. At this point, of the twenty-seven different posts Martyn has been spamming, most have two spams and many have three or more. I get a new one about once every minute for a while, then a break, then they start all over again.

Does this URL look non-spammy to anyone? I don't think I have ever seen that many dashes in one domain name:

Not that their spam is hard to find in Google, but I thought I would provide a copy here:

Hi there, I was searching for information on the recent task force findings but seemed unsure of the status of HHS and DEA regulations addressing the very issues that they were reviewing, if you can shed any light on this please post at my blog. I see how I found your blog when I was searching for online discount pharmacy and online discount pharmacy related information, please remember to post at my blog if you feel you can add. Thanks for the read
Kind regards

Posted by martyn at 1/12/2006 04:34:23 PM

This is a marketing affiliate of Health Solutions Network ( Their affiliate terms have a "Zero Tolerance Spam Policy" which clearly includes all form of link spamming:

"Affiliate may NOT promote by means of Spam. For the purposes of this agreement 'Spam' is defined as one or more commercial or noncommercial unsolicited electronic messages."

I emailed after the first hour of the attack, but since it is late I doubt I will get a response till tomorrow morning. I will certainly let you know how it goes. Affiliates damaging people's sites like this make legitimate companies look bad. If you run an affiliate program, be very careful so you don't get a bad name yourself.

Update Jan 15: No response from yet, but the spamming did eventually stop. It continued until 6:12 AM the next day. That is over 10 hours of spamming the same blog with nearly identical comments. In the end there were 92 comment spams spread across 31 posts.

Update May 15: As you can see from the comment below, I finally got a response. Tony said he missed my email (or maybe it got filtered as spam). Either way, the affiliate account is gone now. He said they regularly search the web for affiliates who are breaking the rules. That's how he found my post. Now anybody directed to his order form from this spammer's account will see the message "Suspended for blog spamming."

Update July 10: Just a short following up. The spammer site still exists of course, but now is just a redirect to a spamdexing search site. The resulting site is at, which is run by Applied Semantics, and now owned by Google. It is nice to see Google expanding its spamdexing business.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Spammer Wannabe

There is a spammer who is now calling me a Warlord. Since I am involved with the war on spam that really doesn't surprise me. What surprises me is how scared of he is, all of our sites made his antispammer blacklist.

For those who read here or Ann's blog, you can probably figure out who I am talking about. He doesn't believe he is a blackhat spammer because it is all shades of grey anyway. I have decided not even to nofollow link to him anymore, he is just trying to make a name for himself among other spammers.

He says my sidebar of spammy keywords is violating Google's guidelines. You are they "grey hat" spammer, what do you care about guidelines? Since my blog discuses spammers and their keywords and how stupid you spammers are, it is not off topic for me to use those same keywords.

He also calls my blog a doorway. Clearly he is an expert spammer to identify a blog as a doorway. If this is a doorway how do I convince people to read it? You will also notice there are no ads or affiliate links anywhere on our chongqed sites. We aren't doing this for the money, there is none and it takes up a good deal of our time. We are doing this because spammers are wreaking the internet and must be stopped.

He is now likely to whine that this is another personal attack against him. Call it whatever you want. He is a spammer, what do you expect them to say?

Monday, January 09, 2006

Email Comment Spam

I got an unusual comment spam tonight. There was no link, but an email address. So clearly this spammer is aiming at people rather than search engines, right? Well, not quite.

I'm very sorry to post this in your comments section but I like your blog and think you may have a good chance of getting listed at our blog directory, "High Class Blogs."

Contact me at if you are interested.

Ethan Potter

Posted by Anonymous at 1/09/2006 06:40:28 PM

According to the site, is a "Non Profit Blog Directory." They even have "reviewers" and require approval for entries they receive. They have to be sure you link back to them. That is how their spam works, they spam you to get you to voluntary link to them.

Some of their categories sure look non-spammy:

BlackjackFantasy BasketballLoans
Airline TicketsFantasy FootballMedicine
BloggingFantasy SportsOnline Gambling
Blue BookFootballOnline Shopping
CelebrityFootball BettingSalaries
Celebrity OopsFootball PicksSales
ChristianForeclosuresSearch Engine Optimization
Christian DatingGamblingSex Sites
College BasketballGame-OnlineShopping
College Football Harley Davidson Motorcycles Small Business
Computer DesksHome BusinessTexas Hold 'em Poker
Credit ReportsHome Equity LoanWork At Home
ExtremeHome Improvement
Fantasy BaseballHome Loans

They also do email spam apparently.

Update: During the time I was writing my (Feb 7) comment below, the site owner put up a notice that they have received complaints and instructed their volunteers to stop leaving these comment spams on blogs. I am happy to see that, but we will have to wait and see if it really stops.