The Root Of All Evil
Lorelle had another of her posts about comment spam.
As always, I suggest anyone interested in blogs or blogging read it as well as the rest of her WordPress site. It was when I got to the following part of the post that I started to have some real conspiracy theories start up in my head:
I’ve put out a call repeatedly to bloggers to use the power of their blogging voices to put an end to the rewards of being a comment spammer. We need to put comment spammers out of business. Anyone listening?
As a united voice, I believe that the same creativity and sense of community spirit that built MyBlogLogs, MySpace, FaceBook, and Digg can put their energy into stopping the virus that infects all of us. Comment spam crosses country borders and language borders. Every blogger is assaulted by comment spam. Let’s find a way to work together with some great ideas to stop comment spamming at its root.
Source: Lorelle on WordPress
A few months ago, I got so tired of comment spam I stopped all comments here.
It still was coming in. The spam filters caught it, but I was finding some sites that were not spam in it. Rather that leave those sites named as spam I decided to turn off comments for a while altogether to see if I could get this blog off the target list.
Oddly, the porn spam stopped. At least for the most part. That was a nice relief. The medical pill spam still went through to the spam filters. At least is was not graphic.
When I turned the comments back on, I continued to get hit very hard by comment spam.
It peaked for a few hours with what seemed like 200 spam comments an hour. For a few days, I getting somewhere between 1500 and 2000 spam comments a day. After a full year, Akismet has caught over 34,000 spam comment here. About 14,000 were just this year.
Suddenly the comment spam has dropped to a realistic level.
I have been getting 20-50 spam comments a day over the past couple weeks. Again, at least most of it is not of the porn variety.
Yesterday, I noticed a pattern.
Nearly all the comment spam was automotive related. It is normal to see comment spam along the same subject. I have wondered about this from time to time.
Typical comment spam is an attempt to get a backlink with a certain keyword phrase in the anchor text.
The idea is to get lots of backlinks for a particular phrase to a website. Usually, a "long tail" keyword phrase of several words that may only really get a few searches. This will boost the site in Google’s rating for that phrase and together, the phrases give the site the ability to get more traffic from Google.
I recognized a business name in one of the keyword phrases.
It is a car dealer that, while well known in a certain part of my state, no one would be searching for it anywhere outside the city the dealership is located in. For a second, though about calling the dealership and asking them why they are supporting the spam to my site. Then I realized, they had nothing to do with it. It was not an attempt to get traffic to the dealerships site.
It was a MFA or made-for-Adsense site that was doing the spamming. This type of site usually has no legible content on it. Just keyword rich nonsense and Adsense ads. All they want you to do is click on the ads. Yes, this is what nearly all that comment spam is promoting. Adsense.
Who profits the most from comment spam?
Google. You will find Adsense ads on nearly every page a comment spam points to. Now, Google will claim they are trying to get rid of it. I have had several commenters say that their Adsense account was canceled, like some small blog was a major source of fraud. Yet, nearly anyone with a Website or blog can find some sort of MFA or other non-content site ranking well for a keyword they are targeting.
Now for my conspiracy theory (I really do not believe conspiracies but…)
I told you comment spam had reached new heights a while back. I told you it nearly stopped overnight. Why?
Well, you see, Google needed cash to buy DoubleClick.
You could say it was just coincidence. You could say that I am just making this up (I am). You could say that Google would never do that. Of course, now that Google’s deal for DoubleClick is done the glut of comment spam is over. Google can safely clean up the Internet again and ban those nasty spam sites. The owners of the sites will just create new corporations and start new sites with new ISP’s. All ready for the next acquisition Google wants.
I really want to like Google.
They have done a fantastic job creating an awesome search engine. I do not think it is the same Google of, say, seven years ago. It just seems to becoming more and more fascist in its methods. My next current pet peeve with Google? Paid links are evil?