Archive for the ‘Search Engine Spam’ Category

A Hearty Welcome to All the New Search Engine Spammers!

The family of SEO Black Hats just got a whole lot bigger. Tons of people who thought they were playing by the rules, including sites in every category of the Internet, just got categorized as search engine spammers by Google in Matt Cutt’s recent post

How to report paid links

Google may provide a special form for paid link reports at some point, but in the mean time, here’s a couple of ways that anyone can use to report paid links:
– Sign in to Google’s webmaster console and use the authenticated spam report form, then include the word “paidlink” (all one word) in the text area of the spam report. If you use the authenticated form, you’ll need to sign in with a Google Account, but your report will carry more weight.
– Use the unauthenticated spam report form and make sure to include the word “paidlink” (all one word) in the text area of the spam report.

Anyone who buys or sells links is now a search engine spammer – and I say “Welcome to the Club!”

Now that you’ve popped your cherry, you might as well get yourself acquainted with how things work in the black hat world. You are no longer “on Google’s Side” (if you ever were in the first place).

It’s a war. Google has cast you as the enemy. Make sure you are prepared.

“Every battle is won or lost before it is ever fought.” — Sun-tzu

“SEOs are Criminals” – Matt Cutts

Here’s a great thread over at threadwatch discussing the criminality of SEO and certain black hat SEO techniques:

And well you could argue if you’re signing a ton of guestbooks really fast, or you’re doing a ton of trackback or referer spam, you know that almost does get towards the denial of service attack, but this is the first time where you could actually go to a court of law and you can say, “look, here’s my account, I got hacked, here’s all the stuff.”

And on some level, it is almost kind of a silver lining, in that for the first time you could go, and you know, you could actually get an SEO convicted of doing something like this. – Matt Cutts of Google

The audio on webmaster radio is here.

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

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.

The Most Cutting Edge SEO Exploits No One is Publishing

You know that the best SEO Black Hats are doing something more than scraping, using a site generator, comment spamming, and pinging to be raking in more than $100k per month.

But what is it?

Right now, there is way too much good stuff that I simply can’t publish on the SEO Black Hat blog. If I posted these tactics and exploits they would immediately get all the wrong kind of attention. The detailed conversations about how exactly to abuse search engine algorithms, generate massive traffic, and what other Black Hats are doing must remain underground to retain their effectiveness.

But what if I told you that you could discuss these exploits with me without paying my $500 an hour consulting fee? What if I told you there was a way to join in on the private, cutting edge discussions with some of the best Black Hats and web entrepreneurs in the world?

Would you be interested?

Because now you can . . .

Today is the official launch of the resource you’ve looked everywhere for but never found:

The Private SEO Black Hat Forum

Normally what you get on forums are people who don’t know anything talking with people who don’t want to say anything. You can occasionally find amazing tips on some forums: but you have to dig through 400 crappy posts just to find one post that is useful. That becomes a huge time sink.

How are the SEO Black Hat forums different?

Quality: We’re not going to have any contests to see who can make the most posts. That just creates tons of crap that no one wants to read. Our focus is on quality over quantity. Our primary concern is with succinctly answering one question: “What works?”

Sophisticated: Many of the topics we discuss are very advanced and require a high level of technical or business acumen to appreciate.

Expert Discussions: The SEO Black Hat forums are not for everyone and they may not be right for you. If you are relatively new to SEO or building websites, then do not join the SEO Black Hat Forums: you will be in way over your head. There are plenty of newbie forums out there for you – this is not one of them. Our forums are for successful web entrepreneurs to develop strategies that drive more traffic and generate more revenues.

Forum Membership Benefits

Access to Expert Advice and Discussions
We have both White Hat and Black Hat Experts that are already benefiting from new tool development, techniques, scripts and the sharing of ideas.
Some members you may already be familiar with include:

* CountZero from blackhat-seo.com (Black Hat)

* RSnake from ha.ckers.org (Web Security Expert)

* Dan Kramer from Kloakit (Cloaking Expert)

* Jaimie Sirovich from seoegghead.com (Token White Hat / SEO Geek)

There are several other members that you are certainly familiar with who are using handles for anonymity. We have others who are more focused on security, vulnerabilities, and coding. There are still more that you are likely unfamiliar with but are nevertheless web millionaires.

Databases – Large Datasets
If you want your sites to have massive amounts of unique content you need large data sets. The trading, discussion and posting of large data sets is going on right now on our forums.

Expired / Deleted Domain Tools
Want to use to use the same domain Tool that I used to get a Page Rank 6 site in the Gambling Space for just $8? This domain tool is available for members to use for free.

50% off on Kloakit – The Professional Cloaking Software

Scripts – Several useful scripts have already been posted – interesting thing you may not have thought of before are being discussed and developed.

Exploits and Case Studies: The really good stuff I can’t talk about on the SEO Blackhat Blog is being discussed on the SEO Black Hat Forums. Right now, some of the conversations include beating captchas, domain kiting, data mining, hoax marketing, XSS vulnerabilities as they relate to SEO, and much more.

Pricing: $100 per month.

The price will soon be rising significantly as more databases, hosted tools, scripts and exploits are added. However, once you lock in a membership rate it will never go up and you will continue to have access to everything.

So, if you think you’re ready for the most intense Black Hat SEO discussions anywhere, then here’s what you need to do:

1. Register at the SEO Black Hat Forums.

2. Go to the User CP and select Paid Subscription.

I’ll see you on the inside!

Every Search Engine Spammer Needs to Know…

Last Thursday, the boys at the ‘plex announced that they would be releasing 10 gazillion keywords for statistical analysis and other research. That perked my ears up right away. We love large data sets because they are the cornerstone of building massive spam sites targeted niche aggregators.

The fine print is that you have to jump through some hoops to get the data – details are to be released, but you will likely have to be a member of the L.B.C.


“So tell me wuts up wit dis LBC thang?”

Wait . . . make that the LDC, the Linguistic Data Consortium. Their annual membership is $20k and they sometimes make you pay more for certain data sets.

The almost invisible print is pointed out by greywolf and confirmed by Matt Cutts in this threadwatch discussion.

When people sell a mailing list it’s extremly common for sellers to seed the list with some names that only exist for the purpose of catching people who are misusing it. I would have to assume the boys and girls at the plex would do the same. – Greywolf

graywolf, you have a devious, devious mind. How many other people would consider seeding the terms with some nonsense phrases? I ask you–how many other people would come up with an idea like that?

Well, I guess I can think of a couple people.. – Matt Cutts

graywolf, yes you should take it as a compliment. Not to worry, I’m familiar with the practice. My favorite is Lye Close, the fake street in London: http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/index.php/Copyright_Easter_Eggs

billhartzer, sshhh. I was just watching boogybonbon find out about “google monitor query or googletestad” today. Don’t ruin the fun. – Matt Cutts

referring to boogybonbon’s post on keyword research.

Trap admiral akabar from star wars

That’s right, it’s a trap.

We know about poisoning seasoning keyword lists – in fact sometimes we’ll do it ourselves. However, this exchange confirms what a few of us have been thinking all along – that the search engines are on to this tactic and use it as well.

Are you using wordcatcher, overture, the google keyword suggestor or any data directly from the search engines? It seems there’s a good chance that it could be a trap. If you’re using poisoned data, that could certainly explain why your sites are only lasting 6-9 weeks in the SERPs.

Understanding this kinda puts a damper on the 400+ meg file (update:mirror with data)that contains all the AOL searches of 500k users for the last 3 months.

“Jacta alea est!” – Julius Caesar

It’s a war. Develop your own supply lines so you don’t have to get food from the enemy.

IP Delivery to Stop RSS “Content Thieves”

Tired of getting your content stolen from your RSS Feed and reposted on splogs? Here is a simple solution for you. I was inspired by RSnake to add some code to my .htaccess file to stop some of the people from scraping my feeds and will show you how to do the same.

Basically, all you need is the IP address of whoever is stealing your feed and you can deliver whatever content you want to them. One way you can get it is to “ping” the site – go to a DOS prompt and type “ping spammersite.com”. It’ll spit out the IP for you. Traceroute (tracert) will also work.

In my case, I just redirected any instance from their IP address back on their own feed. I’m not sure yet, but this may cause a loop in there server to post things over and over again.

If you want to delivery any kind of custom content to a specific IP address, you just need to add these 3 lines of code to your .htaccess files.

RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{REMOTE_ADDR} ^69.16.226.12
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://newfeedurl.com/feed

Where 69.16.226.12= the IP address you want to send to and http://newfeedurl.com/feed is the custom content you want to send them.

You can always test what content will be delivered by changing the IP address to that of the machine you are working on. You can check your IP Address here.

You can be as creative as you wish with what you feed them. You can even use them to blog and ping for you if you like. The possibilities are endless.

So why is a site about Search Engine Spamming teaching people how to stop thier content from being splogged? Because I am a dirty link whore and this is the kind of thing that people like to link to.

It might even be the type of story that people like to Digg.

Few lines of code: thousands lines of content

The simplest way to create pure orignal spam content, that can bring you millions of visitors if you are using this properly.
The code is really, really simple. You need:
1) webserver, supporting php / or in advanced mode – php+mysql
2) text file with words (you can just copy and paste 100 articles in this file)
3) little technical hand to adjust the code to your specific needs.

The script generates 2 strings:
– title (or the main random keywords, for title, meta keywords, description etc)
– the content (random words)

For 5 minutes this can be integrated into your database – just create a table, name it whatever you want,
add 3 fields (ID, title, content) and you are ready to gamble on the SEs 😉
The coolest thing is that actually the SEs will see the same text when they reffer to specific ID, so the only thing you have to do is some basic on-page seo.

Here is the code
< ?php #define the text file #we will get the words from $content_file = "content.txt"; #split the string, using each space as a pointer $words = split(" ", join("", file($content_file))); srand((double) microtime()*1000000); #define how many words can #be in the title (actually, #thats the string we are going to optimize for) $bh_title = rand(4,13); $bh_real_title = " "; (more…)

4 Billion Pages indexed in under 3 Weeks

Via Digg, (so i’m not outing anyone here), merged has shown how some Romainian search engine spammers got more than 3 billion pages indexed in Google in under 3 week.

Check out this site: search of eiqz2q.org — depending which datacentre you hit, you will see between 3.8 and 5.5 BILLION RESULTS. Even worse… the domain is EIGHTEEN DAYS OLD. That’s right, in under 3 weeks, one person has managed to get one domain 5 billion pages indexed in Google. And they are ranking, too. That particular domain has an Alexa ranking of under 7,000. Another domain owned by the same person, t1ps2see.com, has between 1.7 and 2.4 billion indexed pages and an Alexa ranking of under 2,000… after 4 weeks.

It’s been said before, but clearly there is no money in black hat SEO and search engine spamming.

Doorway Pages Are Back in Style – Yes, Really.

My mother always says, “Never throw out clothes just because they go out of style, styles change and everything comes back into style.” Sure, she’s kind of a pack rat who saves everything but I watched her be right through 70s and 80s clothes and all kinds of styles being revived.

Would you believe it? The latest Google update has made Doorway pages cool again. But as with everything, there is a right way and a wrong way to do it.

Basically, the new algorithm assigns much more weight to the overall trust value of the domain than to a given page. For example, let’s say that you have a new domain where you publish a killer piece of link bait that gets 100 inbound links to it. PBS.org does an article about your link bait and links to it. The PBS article gets 4 links. Under Google’s new system, the PBS article will rank above yours for all the relevant keywords and, if they quoted enough of your original article, your article won’t even show up in the SERPs.

Sucks to be the new guy, right? Well yes and no.

This is why Doorway pages are back. Clearly, you can no longer put doorway pages on a new domain but you can create them on other peoples trusted domains. Trusted domains will include:

1. Subdomains and directories on free or cheap hosting accounts (basically hostingcompany.com/543252/your-doorwaypage)

2. MSN spaces and the likes

3. Digg, nowpublic and similar sites

I’ve even seen User Profiles on trusted domains ranking in the top 20 for VERY competitive terms. It’s crazy. The page has no backlinks but ranks in the top 20 for a competitive term with a freaking user profile. There are tons more places to spam with doorway pages, but you should get the general idea by now.

So make your doorway pages now while it still works. Link them up and watch your spam once again flood the top of the Google SERPs. All the cool kids are doing it.

What if MSN Heavily Penalized for PPC Ads?

We all know the deal. Google is making a killing off of Adsense on spam sites that are listed in Yahoo and MSN and laughs all the way to the bank as these sites are buried in Google’s results. But what if MSN started penalizing heavily for the presence of ANY PPC ad program?

I don’t know what their weighting factors are, but would it dramatically improve relevancy for MSN to move down any web page with any PPC program an average of 10 spots in their SERPs? I think it would.

Most of the bigger and more reputable sites steer away from contextual ads because they can fetch a premium for selling the ad space themselves. MSN could even do hand exceptions if it turned out sites like the NYTs were running Adsense. Even if they had to do thousands of hand exceptions, it might be worth it.

While it’s true they would be pushing down some of the best content, they would concurrently move about 85% of spam sites out of the top spots in their SERPs. So while they may sometimes lack the truly best results at the top, people would rarely see a spam site there.

This is a move that Google could not easily counter. If it became apparent that Adsense caused a noticeable drop in Google SERPs, you would see an exodus from Google’s only real source of income. It would also be a hard pill for Yahoo to swallow, as they are making some inroads with YPN.

Now, I’m not recommending that MSN do this as I get a fair amount of traffic from MSN on large sites that run PPC ad campaigns nor do I think that Microsoft Engineers give a rats ass about my opinion.

I’m really just asking “What if?”