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3 out of 4 Google Blogger URLS Are Spam - So Says Microsoft

     
5:57 pm on Mar 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

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[news.yahoo.com...]

Anyone brave enough to type "cheap tickets" in a search engine can find a plethora of one-page Web sites designed to drive traffic to other Web sites and generate click-through advertising revenue.

Three out of every four unique Blogspot.com URLs that appeared in the top 50 results for commercial queries were spam, the study said. Blogspot is the hosting site for Google's blogging service. Blogs created for marketing purposes are sometimes referred to as "splogs."

Deja Vu - nice study - I liked it the first time I read it nine years ago in 1998 when Altavista said near the exact same thing. Pokemon forever!

6:14 pm on Mar 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Nice find Brett. We have always shyed away from advertising on blogs as a rule. I predict blog spamming will result in lower credibility given to blog sites as a whole from most major search engines' algos.
7:03 pm on Mar 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I agree about this specially with blogspot, blogger
7:04 pm on Mar 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

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They should call it SPAMSPOT instead.
7:15 pm on Mar 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

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"I predict blog spamming will result in lower credibility given to blog sites as a whole from most major search engines' algos."

I predict you are wrong, at least as far as Google is concerned. Blogger Splogs are a problem but I doubt Google will throw the baby out with the bath water. And it wouldn't even be logical to do so for a couple of reasons. For one thing, there are thousands of valid blogs hosted by blogspot that offer unique, firsthand content. Secondly, of the blogspot blogs that are splogs, very few rank for anything.

The splog problem is analogous to the MFA website problem. And I think Google will simply continue to take the same approach as always: filter out the spam and include relevant content in the serps.

"They should call it SPAMSPOT instead"

And they should call 95 percent of the sites that use adsense the "spamsense noncontent network".

""Ultimately, it is advertisers' money that is funding the search spam industry, which is increasingly cluttering the Web with low-quality content and reducing Web users' productivity,"

No doubt. And though the article used orbitz as an example, most of this can probably be laid at the feet of adsense.

7:27 pm on Mar 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I must have misunderstood something. I tried "cheap tickets" in Google.com search and found sites offering cheap theatre and airline tickets such as Easyjet and BMIBaby. I didn't see a single blogspot URL in the top 50. Ok Airfrance was in the top 50 which seemed like an error :-).

Why anyone would type "cheap tickets" without some sort of qualifier I don't know? Maybe this is why Microsoft has so much trouble getting search?

7:34 pm on Mar 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I remember some time ago when a term in google was spammed because of expedias blogs ( google put it first because of expedias good standing!) on an irrelevant term
7:53 pm on Mar 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

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ROFL, they are too incompetent to create an algo to prevent "spam" from ranking so they beg advertisers to help them!
8:03 pm on Mar 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Well, for what it's worth, most of the online purchases I've made in the last year or two have been from ads or references in blogs (including two today).
8:29 pm on Mar 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Blogger/Blogspot is a real nest of copyright infringement, in addition to spam - I especially enjoy the form letter you receive if you contact their abuse department (a major feat to find that info as well) which threatens you that "you can be sued for filing a DMCA notice" - nice touch.
9:08 pm on Mar 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Yeap when I check the google alerts that I have for blogs, This stat seems fesiable there is some utter junk, just random words with links all through.
9:27 pm on Mar 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

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And they said blogs were the solution to usenet spam. Poor old usenet.

heh!

9:35 pm on Mar 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Also, one domain-- topsearch10.com-- hosted many other redirection domains that were responsible for 22 percent to 25 percent of the spam detected during the researchers' tests, the study said.

Wow... that's a lot

9:41 pm on Mar 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Since MSN realizes this they should filter these blogspot/blogger sites and give them less power in their algo. These splogs are not just on MSN - Yahoo has always had this problem.

Maybe Google has an advantage of blocking these blogs because they know the IP's or the private data of the people holding the accounts internally since they own them.

10:07 pm on Mar 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

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They have been working on fixing their broken search results at Google so they had no time fixing bLogspot.
10:08 pm on Mar 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

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My estimate would have been 9 out of 10.
11:44 pm on Mar 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Maybe Google has an advantage of blocking these blogs because they know the IP's or the private data of the people holding the accounts internally since they own them

Or maybe Google gives them a free pass.

Do ya think?

12:38 am on Mar 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I'm reading the full report at the provided URL from a news source. (don't know if I can post the URL, I'll try)

[cs.ucdavis.edu...]

The concluding section contains an analysis of problems at the different layers of the researchers 5 layer, double funnel model.

The layer 4 analysis says,

"For Layer #4 – syndicators, we discovered that a handful of ads syndicators appeared to serve as the middlemen for connecting advertisers with the majority of the spammers. In particular, the top-3 syndicators were involved in 59-68% of the spam-ads clickthrough
redirection chains that we sampled. By serving ads on a large number of low-quality spam pages at potentially lower prices, these syndicators could become major competitors to main-stream advertising companies who serve some of the same advertisers’ ads on earch-result pages and other high-quality, non-spam pages."

Does that sound like a classic case of "dumping" to anyone? I mean that in terms of classic international trade theory. A country, or in this case, a syndicator, dumps goods at lower prices (i.e., text ads) in other countries, or in this case, many blogs, as a strategy to hurt their main stream advertising competitors.

After the main stream competitors start to lose steam (or possibly go out of business), the syndicators are in a much better position to raise their rates and capture a greater (if not monopolistic) market share.

There was also a notable remark at section 2.3
"Although some spammers have abused the AdSense program [28], the abuse is most likely the exception rather than the norm."

Do most people at WW find that to be true, there is not an unusually large amount of spam on adsense?

2:06 am on Mar 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Everytime someone says word "Layer" or "Layered" i think of blogspam, spam-spam, guestbook spam, and finaly spam.
So I went to MSn and searched for one word: blogspot, hmmmm first 50 were ... , i dont know what they were a lof of empty ones.

then i went to look at Goo.... searched for the same thing, ended up om someones BLOG whos favorite book is "Lord of the Rings" hhmmmm

Then I searched Goo... for mydomainname.tld +blogspot
and found a link to a cached log of "PArsing and processing " data thrue guest books of some spammer whos server is located in FR but the main page is in RU lang. and where they are asking to transfer 1000K from paypal. In any event there is a list of PRoXIES and Botnet Effected machines(IPs), about 80 of them, so that will keep me busy with some research...

Well Yahoo posts on their site about how MSN is talking about Googles Spam. Doesn't that sound like blogspot anyway.

2:06 am on Mar 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

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just one teeny little thing...

Exactly WHO [microsoft.com] is it that is most directly threatened by Google? I'm sure that had nothing to do with this, as we all know that they are pure as the driven snow [ncbi.nlm.nih.gov].

2:30 am on Mar 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I wonder if you would find a blogspot result in the top 50 results for 3 out of 4 commercial querie searches done using msn's search engine.
2:50 am on Mar 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

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"just one teeny little thing...

Exactly WHO is it that is most directly threatened by Google? I'm sure that had nothing to do with this, as we all know that they are pure as the driven snow."


Yeah, consider the source of the freakin' "report"

3:05 am on Mar 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I've always thought Blogger URLs were very spammy. When "Blogger Web Comments for FireFox" first came out, I was very eager to use it. But after 10 minutes I realized most of the "comments" were spam. I think the spam domains need to be REMOVED not just ranked low.
3:46 am on Mar 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

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"Yeah, consider the source of the freakin' "report" "

the report clearly states its from
Yi-Min Wang
Microsoft Research

and

Ming Ma Yuan Niu, Hao Chen
University of California, Davis

That would be a bit spooky if the three principle researchers were from the three principle syndicators who make a profit from the spam.

It's as if they would be saying to the major media outlets..."here's our research on how we make money from spam"

At issue is really the methodology. Can the results be replicated? If so, the original source of the research is not a scientifically interesting question.

6:24 am on Mar 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

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The syndicators buy traffic from a small
number of aggregators (Layer #3), who in turn buy traffic from
web spammers to insulate syndicators and advertisers from spam
pages.

The above is from the report. Not that I'm trying to imply anything(or maybe I am)but this looks similar to the structure of organized crime groups. Insulate the people at the top from the "criminals" that do the dirty work. That's why crime bosses rarely go to prison and it's why those who fund spam are rarely held responsible.

</dan>

7:04 am on Mar 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

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We should post such spammers to the [spamhaus.org...] project
10:17 am on Mar 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Um...Welcome to WebmasterWorld, outsource to india.
12:49 pm on Mar 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

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My first reaction was, this is news? I agree with ebound, 9 out of 10 would be a reasonable estimate. But they were only looking at splogs with high enough PR to actually figure in the top 50 on a certain search. There are probably far more that pass under the radar, and individually only pass a small amount of link juice.

The trouble is, there's no algorithm that can automatically factor in the price of a service. It's free to set up a blog on Blogger, so it can be abused more easily. If these spammers actually had to pay for a new domain name every time they set up a splog, they wouldn't bother.

4:17 pm on Mar 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

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"If these spammers actually had to pay for a new domain name every time they set up a splog, they wouldn't bother.

Definitely.

Most of the blog problem on blogger is really tied to adsense. If google monitored their program participants or simply removed the ability of blogger blogs to carry adsense, a lot of splogs would just die off and fewer would be created.

5:04 pm on Mar 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Well of course Microsoft found all these spam results, they just examined their own crummy SERPs! Part of the reason such an abundance of junk sites exist is that MSN leaves the door wide open with filtering techniques ages behind everyone else. I mean you can STILL get the top 10 results by just duping a strong page with multiple keyword stuffed domains pointing at it so they all dish up a 200. That is just a negligent search engine algo. People can create spam in a million different ways and using ANY system, the problem is when those pages pollute the results thereby making it a worthwhile venture. In that aspect MSN is the worst offender and purveyor of spam of all. Not to mention that hotmail STILL spews more spam email than all of Russia's TLD combined (sorry .ru'ers, no offense.)

Those in glass houses...

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