FBI Raids on Search Engine Spammers

While reading a post on SEO egghead today, I saw this comment that amused me:

We are currently working on a law in Tennessee to be submitted to the state congress after the elections. this law will make scraping, spamming and spyware felonies. Creators of the software that does this will receive jail time and fines. companies using the software including companies being advertised will get mandatory minimum fines of 10% of yearly gross income and can have their company assets seized. You might want to inact a law like this one in your states.

For fun, let’s fast forward 2 years to after these types of laws are passed nationwide and check one of the news stories on the front page CNN.com:

The Search Engine Spammer Crackdown Continues

FBI Raid
Thursday October 26, 2008; Posted: 5:44 pm EDT

ATLANTA, Georgia — The FBI continued it’s crackdown on Search Engine Spammers today with a raid on an Internet tough guy’s trailer park home Headquarters in suburban Atlanta. Policed seized more than 3 Terabytes of data scraped from search engines that was allegedly used to make thousands of “spam” websites. Whitnesses say the 43 year-old’s live in mother was hysterical with tears.

The raid marks the 200th arrest based on the “Cleaning Up the Internet Scum Act” singed into law into law by President Schwarzenegger in February of this year. National Security Director and former Google Employee Matt Cutts has since spear-headed a Global crackdown on spam that included the extradition and arrests of 38 High profile U.K. search engine spammers in accordance with the 2006 Cybercrimes Treaty.

In related news, the sentencing phase of the controversial Mark Cuban Icerocket Scraper trail begins tomorrow. Cuban, the CEO of Icerocket, became the 2nd person convicted of Search Engine Spamming for “Scraping and willfully using other’s content to harvest Search Engine traffic for profit” under the “Cleaning Up the Internet Scum Act” on Tuesday. Topix CEO, Rich Skrenta was sentenced to 2 years and $421 million dollars in fines earlier this month for similar violations.

Outcries from anti-spam political group charge that this is not how the law was intended to be applied. This morning, Martha West of Company 2.0 said on the court steps of Cuban’s trial “When we lobbied for this law, we just wanted to go after the bad guys . . . you know . . . the Internet Scumbags. It was not supposed to be used against upstanding individuals like Mark Cuban or Rich Skrenta – Just against the bad guys; the (whispered) black hats

Others have challenged the equality of the “Cleaning Up the Internet Scum Act” because of the so-called “Google Exception.” Article 5 section 2 states that a company may scrape, data mine, and create “beta” websites with impunity if its Search market share is greater than 70%. An amendment sponsored by Microsoft in is tied up in Congressional committee that seeks to lower that threshold to 2.5%.

Shares of GOOG were up 19 points today to close at 4,236.

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12 Responses to “FBI Raids on Search Engine Spammers”

  1. […] Take a little time to dig around and you will find post at wolf-howl, seoblackhat, SEOMoz, among other blogs that have jumped on board to take a stab at getting a chance to get a couple more links and enter the frenzy of talk about Kimberly Williams of the Boston School Of Electrolysis, Gman, and SEOMoz ongoing flame throwing contest. […]

  2. seohno says:

    Anything with the feds makes me uncomfortable these days.

    A friend faces 693 years over the definition of the word “normal” – fuckin’ “Wild West” sounds about right…

  3. genama says:

    Fake news to get links ? Is it working ?

  4. hadEnuff says:

    I hope the feds get involved, maybe you guys can help me out in the meantime.

    I have around 50 websites and everytime I turn around I find that other “websites” have taken my content and placed it on their site with a bunch of their ads showing. There are three “websites” in particular that are constantly scraping my unique content and slapping their ads around it when a visitor comes to their site searching for products and or services. I’m pretty sure my website is not the only one their scraping, it looks like they are making millions if not billions off this scraped content. What can I do? Is there away to take legal action against these three sorry ass scraper sites? I have never giving them permission to bust in and take what belongs to me.

    Your help would be greatly appreciated .. oh, incase it helps.. here are the three websites in question.. Google.com, Yahoo.com, and MSN.com..

    Yes, I know you can send them an email and they will remove the content… SAME AS ANY OTHER SCRAPER site .. So what makes them different? NOT A DAM THING PEOPLE ..

  5. demib says:

    The most scary part is it could come true! Only in America 🙂

  6. […] Kunne det blive fremtiden? OK, jeg indrømmer, nyheden er det pure opspind, og faktisk en tyvstjÃ¥let omskrivning af et rigtigt morsomt indlæg pÃ¥ SEO Blackhat i dag. Men nu kender vi jo Amerikanere og deres lidt underlige forhold til jura og forbud. SÃ¥ mÃ¥ske er det slet ikke utænkeligt … […]

  7. Roman says:

    I lol’d when I read that article, but it’s actually quite scary as stuff like that will start happening.

  8. haha, this is funny. to stir things a litle, i’ll add something to this story.

    And so the controversy continues.

    Website owners from the US and Canada are now forced to outsource their marketing campaign to foreign developers. From countries such as Indonesia or India, where price is cheaper and law such as this hasn’t been established.


  9. Ben Wilks says:

    I’m with Mikkel on this one – ONLY IN AMERICA


  10. russ says:

    A law like this would never come into place. Even in America.

    As for folks of you out there interested in preventing your content from being stolen, just regularly visit copyscape.com and get a free copy of spam vampire.

    send them to the poorhouse.

  11. […] Clearly, Matt is making moves so he will be ready to be National Security Director in 2008 and crack down on spam. […]