I'm convinced something changed, and it was a big change.
The number of Google Alerts is definitely up considerably. I have mine set to "as they happen" so I've seen the increase on a one by one level.
After following those first two links and ending up on one of those Virus Scanning malware sites, I'm gun shy about following any more of them. Now I'm just hovering over the links to see where they lead and boy oh boy, what a bunch of garbage Google is now sending me.
And yes, there are .cn, .jp, .ru and all sorts of interesting TLDs showing up. Most of it looks like scraped content. And some of it appears to be cloaked content.
I've also been getting alerts for Google searches. Yes, it is a Google URI with a query appended. Some really bizarre stuff that wasn't there with previous alerts.