Spam Whackers

Exposing Various Types of Spam – Offering SEO & Webmaster Tips

January 30, 2006

How do web-masters deal with e-mail Spam?

Filed under: E-Mail Spam — Connie @ 8:09 pm

I’m sure anyone with a web-site receives a lot of unsolicited e-mail (Spam). I know I do.

For me one of the most effective ways is to get rid of the catchall account. Every site has a catchall account. Anything@domain.com goes into the catchall account. This method would depend on your web-host. With my host you have the option of setting the catchall account to .fail or .discard. .fail will send a bounce message back to the sender. .discard simply deletes the e-mail. I use .discard.

With this method there is a possibility of loosing a few legitimate e-mails. Personally I will risk that.

I only receive e-mail that specifies the address such as supt@domain.com. In other words the e-mail has to be addressed to a specific e-mail account. Avoid common words such as support, info, webmaster, or whatever. A lot of spammers will send e-mail to common words @domain.com.

My e-mail address is displayed on every page of my e-commerce site. I use a ASCII coded e-mail address. I still get a few Spam e-mails but not many. At the point I start getting to many I make a slight change to the e-mail address. It’s been something like two years since I changed the address.

Here is an encoder.

By the way I use SSI to put my e-mail address on the site so I only need to change one file to change the address site wide.

At this point I don’t get rid of the old address. I wait a few months before deleting the old address. I just don’t check the old address as often. The legitimate e-mail is easy to pick out from the Spam.

Setting Spam filters in the CP can help. You have to be careful with this. I recently set one to X thinking the filters would only look for a capital X. Wrong. They deleted every e-mail that had an x anywhere including orders for that day. Fortunately I had back up e-mails for the orders, but I probably lost a few legitimate e-mails.

My host also offers SpamAssassin. I don’t use it. SpamAssassin is a filter that will mark e-mails as suspected Spam. I do know a lot of people that do and are satisfied with SpamAssassin.

I also use MailWasher. Not so much to fight Spam but I don’t want to download it on my PC. I don’t use my e-mail client to check e-mail. I use MailWasher. With a little experience you will soon learn what is Spam and a possible virus and delete it before downloading e-mail with your e-mail client.

January 28, 2006

Traffic Power Lawsuits

Filed under: General — Connie @ 9:07 pm

A few months ago Traffic Power sued SEOBook (Aron Walls) for libelous statements he had supposedly made on his blog in regard to their company.

If my memory serves me correctly a lot of webmasters got e-mails from TP threatening Lawsuits about that time. Why the threating e-mails? If I remember correctly a lot of webmasters were posting complaints on various forums about TP.

Why did they decide to sue SEOBooks (Aron Wall) I have no idea.

I don’t always agree with Aron but I commend him for standing up to TP. For his latest comments about this see his recent blog post.
Now TP is also suing TrafficPowerSucks.com.

I wonder why TP has picked these two companies to sue? I don’t have any figures but I’m sure there have been hundreds of comments about TP across several forums about this issue.

January 26, 2006

Are SEO Tools Ethical?

Filed under: SEO Tools — Connie @ 8:50 pm

A recent thread at SEW in regard to ranking software brought this topic to mind. For the record I think Critter is the only one who provided a good answer to the question in that thread.

The original question was tools that might be better than WPG. Critter pointed out that WPG was specifically named by Google as a tool not to use listed under Quality Guidelines – Basic principles:

The question of SEO Tools comes up occasionally at IHY Forums. People ask about which is the best tool to help them optimize their website. Some are looking for a tool to check for backlinks, check rankings, or to manage backlinks.

There are some basic tools we all use. A text editor, WYSIWYG, or Graphic software. WordTracker is a good for doing keyword research.

Other than basic tools what is the real value of all these other tools?

Most will violate the Guidelines of the SEs. Why do webmasters keep using them?

So IMHO most tools (other than the basics) are not ethical.

Bait Style Link Building

Filed under: General — Connie @ 6:59 pm

On Tuesday (01, 24, 2006) Matt Cutts posted an article in his blog titled “linkbait and linkbaiting”.  One thing for sure the title gets your attention.  Then that’s what a good title should do.

Matt Gives four examples of what he means by “linkbaiting”.  I think they could have been given in 3, but it’s his post.

  • Example 1 seems to be about  doing some hard work to research a subject and then writing about your results
  • Example 2 is to be creative
  • Example 3 is to be controversial
  • Example 4 is more about being creative

It seems to me that Matt was providing some ideas how a web master could use ethical methods to attract “Natural Links”.

It all boils down to providing content that others will want to link to.  Obviously the content needs to be original regardless of which method of delivery you choose.

January 23, 2006

What is Blog Spam

Filed under: General — Connie @ 7:04 am

I was asked in response to another thread why I was not fighting Blog Spam?

I hadn’t thought about it. Honestly, I don’t know anything about Blog Spam. I am aware that a lot of site owners try to Spam Blogs in order to build links back to their site. Personally I would call that SE Spam.

What is Blog Spam? What makes it different than any other Spam, where the intent is to fool the SEs and improve ranking?

January 21, 2006

15 Shades of SEO Spam

Filed under: Search Engine Spam — Connie @ 6:54 pm

Jim Hedger is a professional writer and SEO who works for Stepforth. He has written an excellent article on Search Engine Spam. Jim’s articles are published on the Stepforth blog, and also published by by several on-line news letters.

Two things I would comment about in regard to the article.

1: Jim was not clear IMHO in regard to Redirects. Although redirects can be used for SE Spam, all redirects are not Spam. I think he cleared this up in his comment in response to a reader. If you don’t read the comments you could be confused.
2: In regard to IP Delivery I do not think that all IP Delivery is necessarily Spam. For instance if a Flash site uses IP Delivery (Detection) to send spiders and visitors to a HTML version of the site I do not think that is Spam.

Personally I fell that a distinction needs to be made between legitimate IP Delivery (Detection) and IP Delivery that is meant to fool the SEs. The reason the distinction needs to be made is because all Black Hat SEOs who use Cloaking or IP Delivery claim that what they are doing is not Spam even though Cloaking is clearly against the Guidelines. Specifically Google says Don’t employ cloaking or sneaky redirects”. I believe the word sneaky is important in this discussion.

15 Shades of SEO Spam.
  1. Cloaking
  2. IP Delivery
  3. Leader Pages
  4. Mini-Site networks
  5. Link Farms
  6. Blog and/or Forum Spam
  7. Keyword Stuffing
  8. Hidden Text
  9. Useless Meta Tags
  10. Misuse of Directories
  11. Hidden Tags
  12. Organic Site Submissions
  13. Email Spam
  14. Redirect Spam
  15. Misuse of Web 2.0 Formats (ie: Wiki, social networking and social tagging)

This article is a great and comprehensive summary regarding Search Engine Spam. I believe it is a must read.

January 20, 2006

Are All White Hats Really White?

Filed under: Search Engine Spam — Connie @ 4:15 am

In my quest over the last two years to learn a little bit about SEO I have learned there are basically two camps of SEOs. Black Hat SEOs and White Hat SEOs. There is another camp. They call themselves Gray Hat SEOs. In reality the so called Gray Hats are nothing more than Black Hats.

Back to the subject. “Are All White Hats Really White Hats”?

I guess that depends on your definition of Black and White. One thing I have learned in the last two years is that a lot of so called “White Hats” are no better than their “Black Hat Friends”.

When a so called “White Hat SEO” says I would not personally do that, but if a client insist, I will recommend some one who will do what they want, then I do not see any difference between the person doing the recommendation, and the person who violates the SE guidelines.

If someone would recommend a “Black Hat” Spammer what makes them any different than the Spammer?

There are forums that are supposedly “White Hat” yet they cater to Spammers (Black Hats).

There are many SEO conferences each year. The Conferences are promoted by individuals who most would call “White Hat SEOs”.

Unfortunately those conferences put Black Hat SEOs on the platform and give them credibility.

I wonder how many innocent webmasters get hurt because they hire one of those conference speakers? I mean a “Black Hat” speaker who was hired because he/she was a speaker.

A friend of mine has written about some of these issues. She has expressed it better than I can. I would encourage you to read her article

January 19, 2006

White Hat vs Black Hat SEO

Filed under: Search Engine Spam — Connie @ 4:28 pm

Have you ever heard the terms “White Hat” or “Black Hat” SEO?

In the Search Engine Optimization industry these are very important terms.  What do the terms mean?

A White Hat SEO is someone who follows the guidelines of the SEs.  Their ranking results may be slower than a “Black Hat”, but they normally remain stable.  You never have to worry about your site being banned by a SE if the site is developed using “White Hat” techniques.

When a site is banned the site is removed for the SEs index.  That means it will no longer be found when doing a search.

Black Hat SEOs use techniques  to rank websites that are outside the SE guidelines.  Some times those techniques might even help a website rank more quickly.

A site that uses “Black Hat” tactics is always in danger of being banned.  It may not happen immediately, but eventually it will.

Search Engines are getting better all the time in detecting “Black Hat” techniques which is Search Engine Spam.

E-Mail Spam

Filed under: E-Mail Spam — Connie @ 1:47 pm

Fortunately most ISPs are trying to deal with the issue of e-mail spam.

In addition to trying to filter Spam so that it does not reach
your Inbox some ISPs are now taking Spammers to court.

In the US the Federal Government is also working on the
problem of e-mail Spam.

Feds say Spammer wouldn’t stop

In 2003 Microsoft filed lawsuits in New York against a group
of Spammers. Read the article.

In a follow up article in August this year ZDNet
stated that Microsoft was awarded 7 million dollars.

In December 2003 the Attorney General of Virginia filed a lawsuit
against Jeremy Jaynes for sending unsolicited e-mail
in violation of that states new Anti Spam laws.

Follow up articles on the lawsuit:

Post $1 million bail

Sentenced to 9 years

SPAMHAUS is an
an organization dedicated to fighting Spam, and provides a
lot of tips about how you can combat Spam.

Microsoft provides some very good
tips for dealing with e-mail spam.

What Is Search Engine Spam

Filed under: Search Engine Spam — Connie @ 11:59 am

Of course every one knows what e-mail spam is. What is Search Engine Spam? Basically Search Engine spam is what ever the Search Engines Say it is.

In short Google says this:

“Trying to deceive (spam) our web crawler by means of
hidden text, deceptive cloaking or doorway pages compromises the
quality of our results and degrades the search experience for
everyone. We think that’s a bad thing.”

If you come across a site that you think is in violation of
the Search Engine guide lines you can use these hand links to report them.

Google Spam Report

Yahoo Spam Report

If your reluctant to report Search Engine Spam or not sure if the site is Spamming the SEs, then you can report what you think to be same at Engine-Spam.com is a web site that will investigate your spam complaint and file a report for
you if they agree. They will file reports with the appropriate Search Engine (Google, Altavista, Yahoo, MSN, Teoma, Ask).

Engine-Spam.com

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