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Spammers taking advantage of Google News

     
2:41 pm on Jun 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Recently I noticed spammy news in a lot of google results. In fact, a google news article now takes the #1 position for a VERY popular search term..when you click it, the page redirects to an affiliates landing page.

I thought this was just a quirk until I noticed spammy news in more search results and then I read a blog where they are also complaining about the recent surplus in spammy google news results.

Boy this is just getting bad. Whatever kind of update this is seems to be doing more harm than good. For all the work that google has done to prevent spam in their index, this is a real shame. I really hope google knows what its doing as I am just about fed up because I clicked on one of those google news results and it redirected me to somewhere and I now have a virus on my computer that hijacks all my search results. It forwards all my search results to affiliate programs. Thanks google.

4:58 pm on June 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Given what it takes to get accepted into Google News - and the traffic that can represent - a site would be foolish to risk this kind of activity. Two ideas come to mind:

1. The listed site might be hacked.
2. Your computer might have been infected before the search.

Have you verified this problem with another computer?

10:16 pm on June 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I frequent Google News multiple times daily, and I've seen deliberate spam slip by them into top spots a number of times.
2:51 pm on June 16, 2009 (gmt 0)

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If that's true, maybe report it to Google? [google.com...]
3:07 pm on June 16, 2009 (gmt 0)

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yeah iv noticed loads of spam news stories popping up in the results.
3:09 pm on June 16, 2009 (gmt 0)

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well the good news is...one of the news sites took down the spam stories...it wasnt there fault..it lets their users post their own news i guess..
9:13 am on June 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Given what it takes to get accepted into Google News

It doesn't seem to take much. I once had feeds on some sites of mine based on Google News searches and I quickly switched to Yahoo! News as Google News seem to include every joe sixpack's blogs filled with ads in their results, while I was really looking for credible and respectable journalistic sources like newspapers, press agencies, mainstream media, etc.

10:38 am on June 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I second Marcia and others, yes it could be spammy I use it every morning for a topic well defined and that should not be a magnet for spammers, but ......
Could anyone develop
"Given what it takes to get accepted into Google News"
11:41 am on June 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Bing News?
1:32 pm on June 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Like everything else, some people learn how to game the system over time and render it less useful for others.

Yesterday morning I received my morning news alert from Google via email and saw a fascinating headline. When I went to the page, it was a press release from 2005.

I think it's like many areas of Google. They have to rely on computers to do the work because of the volume and they just haven't provided the computers with sufficient instructions in many circumstances.

FarmBoy

2:40 pm on June 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I can't think of the last time that I clicked on a really bad result in Google News. Mind you, I seldom drill down to one of the "1,217 other stories," and--even more important--I pay attention to the name alongside the story link, which is the most important feature of Google News after the links themselves.
3:04 pm on June 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I agree with Signor_John. The source of the story is a good indication of quality and safety, that is until they spoof the source too!
11:10 pm on June 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

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And don't forget the google finance news! lots of "we predicted X stock higher with our system" for all stock related news! that's not news, that's Spamvertising!

It is a shame for google, because it is impossible not to see that for all companies.

1:33 am on June 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I've switched to Bing for news... and those sites I've already vetted and bookmarked. Given the speed at which things go viral (reporting wise) these days it's not surprising the bad actors are watching and waiting for the "next big thing" to market their malware etc...
2:11 pm on June 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Are we talking about straight, unpaid spam results here, or paid "news" results that are deceptive?

An example of the first would be some random blog or other that happens to get in the Google News index and is just shilling for a company or using another spamdexing technique. One would hope they could eventually filter these.

An example of the second would be a site or company paying to post a "press release" on a wire service with national distribution. Those releases typically aren't "news" either. They're just interesting headlines with SEO-optimized content and anchor text that basically guarantee the content will show up near the top of the news results for a few hundred dollars. It's simply an SEO technique used to drive traffic to a page, raise visibility, and get backlinks (however ephemeral).

Both are annoying, but the latter is almost impossible for Google to stop.

 

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