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#27417 - 11/16/13 01:31 AM Spam?
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
I'm awake all night, so I see much of the spam that gets dumped on FTM, and I'm curious why it promotes only a small number of products rather than the large array I'd expect? (Pandora and Nike are major offenders, as was Uggs last winter.)

Has anybody got an insight into how the beast works?
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#27418 - 11/16/13 02:02 AM Re: Spam? [Re: artie505]
grelber Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: North of 49th ||
What's more intriguing to me is why these bozos would think that anyone using these forums would fall for their crapola.
It's not as though we would ever be responding to them much less buy anything from them.

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#27419 - 11/16/13 02:36 AM Re: Spam? [Re: grelber]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
There's a huge, and hugely profitable, late-night TV marketing industry about which I say the same thing.

Bandwidth doesn't cost much, and just one sucker may justify the effort.
_________________________
The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory Of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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#27420 - 11/16/13 02:49 AM Re: Spam? [Re: artie505]
jchuzi Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: New York State
Now that you mention it, I own a certain bridge in Brooklyn that I'm willing to sell for a reasonable price. All offers will be considered. Imagine: You could set up toll booths at both ends and make a fortune.

Hurry! This offer is only for a limited time.
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Jon

OS 10.14.5, iMac Retina 5K 27-inch, late 2014, 3.5 GHz Intel Core i5, 1 TB fusion drive, 16 GB RAM, Epson SureColor P600, Photoshop CC, Lightroom CC, MS Office 365

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#27421 - 11/16/13 03:07 AM Re: Spam? [Re: grelber]
dkmarsh Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09

Quote:
...why these bozos would think that anyone using these forums would fall for their crapola.

I doubt the bozos think anything of the sort. They're looking to spread links far and wide, on the theory that the more iterations of a given link are found by searchbots, the higher the site linked to will place in search results for the word or phrase (i.e. "ugg" or "pandora") being flogged. This technique—comment spam—is one of an impressive array of tactics known collectively as link spam.
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#27422 - 11/16/13 03:13 AM Re: Spam? [Re: jchuzi]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
You've already tried to sell that bridge at least once; perhaps you should be banned as a spammer?
_________________________
The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory Of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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#27423 - 11/16/13 05:00 AM Re: Spam? [Re: artie505]
jchuzi Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: New York State
I try to sell the bridge as many times as I can. After all, why should I deprive suckers customers of an opportunity?
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Jon

OS 10.14.5, iMac Retina 5K 27-inch, late 2014, 3.5 GHz Intel Core i5, 1 TB fusion drive, 16 GB RAM, Epson SureColor P600, Photoshop CC, Lightroom CC, MS Office 365

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#27424 - 11/16/13 07:30 AM Re: Spam? [Re: jchuzi]
freelance Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: London, UK
I've been getting a flurry of phishing emails from "my bank", asking to update my details, say I've been blocked from the site, etc. Some are not even from "my bank", but they all have attachments and they all go straight in the trash.

But one from the tax man was so well done, I forwarded it to my accountant to see if it might be legitimate.

I never heard back. I guess she opened the attachment and it swallowed her whole.

And her house.
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#27425 - 11/16/13 09:07 AM Re: Spam? [Re: freelance]
joemikeb Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Spammers never give up on an old scam. I just got an updated plea from Marvin and Princess Rommel of the Phillipine Islands who need help in freeing their funds while they are refugees of Typhoon Haiyan now residing in Ghana. Of course by chaining the names, the countries, and the scenario the message gets past the spam filters (or maybe the scam is so old they have "forgotten" the scam).

I don't know which is sadder the fact spammers are still flogging this ancient scam or that there are people foolish (or greedy) enough to fall for it.
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#27426 - 11/16/13 12:43 PM Re: Spam? [Re: artie505]
tacit Offline


Registered: 08/03/09
Loc: Portland, Oregon, USA
The comment spam we see advertises only a small array of products because it's done by a small number of highly organized, well-financed people.

It spams Chinese counterfeit products--fake Nike shoes, counterfeit Prada handbags--because these are things that people often do Google searches for. Link spam is most effective when it's pitched at a small number of very highly active search engine keywords.

The spammers are often in Eastern Europe, China, or India. They have a profitable business setting up fake Web sites that sell counterfeit, high-margin designer goods, which they promote through linkspam in the hopes that the linkspam will boost their Google search results. (Google figures out how highly to place a Web site in search results based in part on how many links point to the site. If a site offering phony Nike shoes has 100,000 links to it, it may appear in Google searches for "Nike shoes" at or near the top of the results, crowding out legitimate sites selling real products.)

The spammers have the goods manufactured in China and distributed through channels in Hong Kong, Eastern Europe or India, then pay people to broadcast linkspam to increase their sites' search engine positions.
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#27427 - 11/16/13 03:52 PM Re: Spam? [Re: dkmarsh]
dboh Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Maybe not quite the same thing, but spam links and other SEO shortcuts didn't work so well for JCPenny.


http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/13/business/13search.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

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#27428 - 11/17/13 10:55 AM Re: Spam? [Re: joemikeb]
ryck Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Okanagan Valley
Originally Posted By: joemikeb
Spammers never give up on an old scam. I just got an updated plea from Marvin and Princess Rommel of the Phillipine Islands who need help in freeing their funds while they are refugees of Typhoon Haiyan now residing in Ghana.
Uh oh.....does this mean I'm not getting my $25 million? What a pain. I was going to use some to buy that bridge Jon is selling.
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#27490 - 11/20/13 11:13 PM Re: Spam? [Re: tacit]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Sorry for being slow to respond.

Thanks for explaining precisely what's going on and for differentiating link spam from self-serving spam and e-mail spam.

Link spam is interesting because of it's double-purpose, i.e. if it gets you to a Web site and you buy, that's great, but even if it doesn't, the links still work to the spammers' benefit.

What's never registered on me, though, is that such links count towards Google's rankings. (I suppose that, to a spider, a link is a link, no matter how it's presented?)

I guess, then, that taking the posts down post-haste, i.e. before the spiders find them, is most desirable?
_________________________
The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory Of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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#27497 - 11/21/13 04:34 PM Re: Spam? [Re: artie505]
tacit Offline


Registered: 08/03/09
Loc: Portland, Oregon, USA
Yep, getting them down quickly helps.

Google also has a special HTML command, rel="nofollow", that you can put in a link tag, so that it looks like this:

Code:
<a href="somewebsite.com" rel="nofollow"> ... </a>


It instructs Google, "do not count this link when you are adding up the links a page gets." Facebook and other social media sites add this automatically. Some Web forums do too (if I recall correctly, we have FTM set to do this). So spam links here don't add to a Google page's rank.

However, the spammers keep at it, because not all forums and message boards add rel="nofollow" to links.
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#27499 - 11/21/13 09:39 PM Re: Spam? [Re: tacit]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Both interesting and heartening!

So FTM automatically injects that command into the actual link included in the post? (I wonder if I can see it if I hit "Quote" as respects a spam post? I guess I'll find out. Edit: Since it's html code, I imagine it will not be visible.)

Thanks.

Edit 1: How does the FTM software know when to inject the command?

Edit 2: I wonder if Google penalizes Web sites for not using the command, i.e. for "encouraging" spam? Seems like it ought to be a strictly enforced rule.


Edited by artie505 (11/21/13 11:00 PM)
_________________________
The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory Of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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#27530 - 11/23/13 03:33 PM Re: Spam? [Re: artie505]
tacit Offline


Registered: 08/03/09
Loc: Portland, Oregon, USA
FTM injects "rel="nofollow" into every link, if I recall correctly.

Google does try to penalize people who do black hat SEO by scattering their links far and wide, but it's a difficult problem (how do you write software that can tell the difference between a 'real' link and a spam link?).
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#27533 - 11/24/13 10:16 PM Re: Spam? [Re: tacit]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
> (how do you write software that can tell the difference between a 'real' link and a spam link?)

I was more thinking along the lines of Google's perhaps defining a class of Web sites as "spam magnets" and mandating that they use "no follow", with non-compliance resulting in no more spider visits.

There are, after all, any number of Web sites, FTM included, that are not dedicated to product recommendation and whose purposes do not include product recommendation other than on a casual basis, and it seems like ignoring links posted on those sites would not skew Google's rankings but might put a significant dent into link spam.

Identifying the sites that belong in that class wouldn't be easy, but the folks at Google are a pretty creative bunch.

By the way, is "no follow" strictly a Google thing, or do other engines' spiders pick up on it?
_________________________
The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory Of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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#27535 - 11/25/13 11:40 AM Re: Spam? [Re: artie505]
tacit Offline


Registered: 08/03/09
Loc: Portland, Oregon, USA
Google doesn't require that anyone use rel="nofollow". They do have algorithms for detecting "bad neighborhoods," but as far as I know they don't talk about how they do it--probably to keep the spammers from trying to find ways to work around it.

I know Bing and Yahoo also respect rel="nofollow" tags. I don't know about other search engines.
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Photo gallery, all about me, and more: www.xeromag.com/franklin.html

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#27543 - 11/25/13 02:21 PM Re: Spam? [Re: tacit]
joemikeb Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Originally Posted By: tacit
Yep, getting them down quickly helps.

Google also has a special HTML command, rel="nofollow", that you can put in a link tag, so that it looks like this:

Code:
<a href="somewebsite.com" rel="nofollow"> ... </a>


It instructs Google, "do not count this link when you are adding up the links a page gets." Facebook and other social media sites add this automatically. Some Web forums do too (if I recall correctly, we have FTM set to do this). So spam links here don't add to a Google page's rank.

However, the spammers keep at it, because not all forums and message boards add rel="nofollow" to links.

I just read that Google was fined $17million for a workaround effecting Safari that neatly got around Google's own DNF rule.
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#27750 - 12/24/13 10:27 PM Re: Spam? [Re: tacit]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
As I was reporting spam on X-mas Eve it occurred to me that it might be helpful for FTM to post a prominent "DON'T WASTE YOUR TIME; WE USE rel="nofollow...!"" warning on its registration page.
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The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory Of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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