Spam Whackers

Exposing Various Types of Spam – Offering SEO & Webmaster Tips

July 28, 2008

Blitz The Web

Filed under: Scams,Search Engine Spam — Connie @ 3:30 pm

Thanks to Irony for this post in regard to Blitz the Web at IHY forums.

What Blitz the Web offers is a low cost way for webmasters to build bogus sites for backlinks. At least that is my take on their site. (more…)

December 22, 2007

Is Digital Point Forum a Spammers Haven?

Filed under: General,Search Engine Spam — Connie @ 7:04 pm

Personally I think Digital Point is exactly that. Here is a recent blog post I came across that list 100 Reasons why Digital Point Sucks. Actually I have to thank SEFL (aka Adam) a moderator at IHY forms for discovering this incredible article.

(more…)

August 17, 2007

Doug Heil is Blogging

Filed under: Search Engine Spam,SEO General — Connie @ 5:00 pm

Several months ago Doug Heil (aka ihelpyou) launched a new website for his business. The new site which I think is still in beta, added a couple of features beyond site design. There was an article section, and a blog added. (more…)

June 20, 2007

Is Mahalo.com Spamming?

Filed under: Search Engine Spam — Connie @ 5:32 pm

I started this article about Mahalo Spamming several days ago. Then I got side tracked. I think it is time to finish it. (more…)

March 15, 2007

Invisible Text. Or Visible?

Filed under: Search Engine Spam — Irony @ 2:29 am

Yesterday, I saw an interesting example of a site heavily spammed with text that was supposed to be invisible.

The SEO spammer has used very dark gray text on a black background. At first I didn’t suspect anything (it was all black to me), but habitually clicked Ctrl+A and immediately saw all the spam. Then, when I already knew where to look, I could see that there was “something” there, but reading it was still out of the question.

I use the Samsung SyncMaster 755 DFX monitor (an electron-beam kind), because I hate LCD monitors. But my colleague uses an LCD, and when he opened the same site on his PC, we noticed the difference. LCD monitors support fewer colors than electron-beam monitors do, so it couldn’t display the dark gray color picked by the spammer for the spammy text. It replaced that color automatically with a lighter shade of gray – light enough to be seen and read. Heh heh… since it was meaningless keyword stuffing, it was still spam, and so the site in question was already banned by Google at the time I was reviewing it.

Hey you, spammers… if you insist upon using this silly technique that was outdated 10 years ago, at least take the trouble to look at your spam through different monitors. 

February 7, 2007

Weird People’s Beliefs

Filed under: Search Engine Spam — Irony @ 8:38 am

Today, an old friend of mine contacted me on ICQ. He does from time to time. We’ve known each other online for about three years, and always discussed SEO.

Today, he asked me: “How is Google? Is it kind to you?” I replied “I don’t expect any special treatment from Google, but every time something good happens, I think of it as of a gift. So yes, I’d say Google has been good to me.”

Then he asked: “How does Google go about doorways?” This question surprised me a bit, as we had discussed this about one million and one times in the past. Of course, I said “Google bans for doorways. Why are you asking? Did you expect another answer from me?”

His reply nearly killed me. He asked: “Have you ever tried doing doorways?”

I would accept such a question from a complete stranger, but not from a person who knows me well. Coming from someone who has known me for three years and knows damn well that I would never touch anything that even smells of SE spam – it upset me a lot! He absolutely believes that everyone (no matter what they say) has tried doorways at least once because “whitehat SEO doesn’t bring you money”.

That’s like saying that everyone should rob banks because doing an honest job doesn’t bring you money.

What is so hard to understand about the fact that some people do have conscience and don’t do dishonest things just because.. well… they don’t? What is this world coming to?

Rant over.

January 9, 2007

CSS & Hidden Text

Filed under: Search Engine Spam — Connie @ 1:38 pm

Do Search Engines read CSS files? This is a question I have seen asked in various forums several times over the last couple of years. I believe the consensus of opinions that I have read would be no, or people did not know because they had not seen any evidence in their log files that a spider had requested their CSS file.

Michael Martinez posted today at the Spider Food Forums about a site that had recently been delisted in Google due to hidden text. The site in question was The Disney Blog. Matt Cutts told the blog owner why The Disney Blog had been dropped from Google. According to Matt the blog was dropped because of hidden text.  A couple of days after the hidden text was removed the site was reincluded in Google.

I had read about the incident in at least two other blogs. I believe Michael is the only one that pointed out the text was hidden using CSS. So, it appears that Google at least is reading your CSS files. If Google is reading them I think it is a safe to say that the other SEs are reading them too, or will not be far behind.

January 3, 2007

Keeping Your White Hat Clean: How Often to Check Your Outbound Links

Filed under: Articles by Irony,Links,Search Engine Spam — Irony @ 4:08 am
The date of the first publication: March 15, 2006

Nowadays, having a website is becoming a tremendous responsibility. If you own a website, you need to do at least the following things, and do them on a regular basis:

  • Make sure your domain name doesn’t expire;
  • Comply with the latest quality standards in terms of graphic design, copywriting, usability;
  • Keep your coding at least moderately tidy;
  • Add fresh content from time to time, and apply necessary changes to your existing content as it gets obsolete;
  • Constantly watch legal issues ensuring your website doesn’t break any laws;
  • Study your web statistics carefully and improve your users’ experiences to make sure it converts better and better;
  • Track your ROI;
  • Check if anybody is stealing your web copy or other copyrighted materials and take legal action against those who do.

That sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it? But now I’ve got some bad news for you: you’ve got yet another duty in regard to your website, which is to keep it clean in terms of SEO (unless you are a black hat SEO and don’t care about such things).

Let’s assume you are a whitehat and would like to live in peace with the engines. You never think about spamming them, always check other sites for being as whitehat as yours before linking to them, and rest assured that you are doing everything you can to keep your white SEO’s hat spotless. That’s where you are wrong!

We are living in the year 2006!

Yes, we are living with today’s Internet and we have to take its realities into account. Today, you do need to go through all of your outbound links regularly (I’d suggest at least every three months, though it may vary depending on your niche) and check all those websites again and again. Believe me; you will be amazed, astounded and sometimes shocked to see how many of them will have been banned since the last check-up and how many of those not banned yet will just allow themselves to get obviously dirty. A few will disappear completely and return 404s; others will change the owner and the theme, or turn into one of the “created-for-AdSense-only” pseudo-sites, which are swiftly becoming yet another dominating type of Internet garbage. The total number of websites you will have to de-link will probably reach 50% of your outbound links if you are in a spammy niche. (And if you used to exchange links with anyone who sent you an automated link exchange request, be prepared to remove 99.9%.)

That’s a lot of work. In one of my previous articles I described in much detail the common procedure of checking sites for the most obvious of spammy techniques. It is a complicated procedure that requires time and effort. If you list something like 300 websites on your resource pages, the clean-up might take a week or more. But it has to be done.

Reciprocal links revised once more

The astonishing amounts of spam filling today’s Internet give us yet another good reason not to use reciprocal linking as our main link building strategy. I still believe that there is nothing wrong with two-way links as such; it’s mostly the side-effects that cause the problems.

The more links you exchange with other site owners, the more potentially bad neighbourhoods you expose yourself to. Link exchange spammers have become very good at making their automated emails apparently personalised; sooner or later you will fall for it and mistake their spam for the real thing; then you will simply forget about it. Next time you revisit your links, be sure to find a bad neighbourhood there, with everything that goes with it, like a mild and barely noticeable but still real ranking penalty, especially if you made this same mistake several times.

The engines are now capable of keeping your whole linking history in their databases, and according to some experts, that’s exactly what they do. I don’t believe that they do it for the pleasure of having a larger database; their only purpose can be to analyse that data and use it when calculating the overall authority of each and every website they know about. I also believe that every spammy neighbourhood the site ever linked to is counted against the site’s overall authority, and the longer it stays on the site the more damage it is likely to cause. Even if the engines haven’t yet become smart enough to really implement these new factors into their algorithms, they will soon.

And of course, if the number of bad neighbourhoods you link to is exceeding reasonable limits, the penalty will be very real and very noticeable.

Directories

If you own a general or a niche-specific directory, then the overall number of your outbound links is much higher than it would be if you owned an ordinary website. But directories, just like all other sites, are watched for bad neighbourhoods. It is probably one of the factors that explains why so many directories got banned from Google during recent months (though, of course, not the only one).

If you list a few thousand sites, the task of revisiting each and every one of them every few months is a tough one, even if you’ve got a team of dedicated editors willing to help you. If you are just considering launching a directory, you do need to take this into account; ask yourself twice if you really want to accept such a burden.

The conclusion

Whether we like it or not, the Net has become very full of spammy sites. In spite of all the attempts at cleaning it up, they won’t disappear in the near future. We do need to stay away from such sites, and not just for fear of being penalised for linking to them, but also because it’s no good to give them any sort of credibility. That’s another reason to check all your outbound links on a regular basis, unless you know the people behind those sites really very well and trust them as much as you do yourself.

Keeping your White Hat clean amid all the filth is a tough task, but it is well worth the effort.

December 8, 2006

If Search Engines Didn’t Exist

Filed under: Search Engine Spam — Connie @ 4:18 pm

This has been on my mind for sometime. If SEs did not exist how would you promote your site?

I think link building would be one way. Paid links might be another. Today using a social site might be another.

Frankly as a “extreme white hat”, this is an issue I’m struggling with right now. I have been critical of SEOs who use social networking.

Motive may be important, but I’m not sure SEs can always determine motive. So If SEs did not exist what would you do that you are not doing ?

Here is a recent post at IHY that motivated me to post my feelings (doubts) or whatever.

Forum Spam (rant)

Filed under: Search Engine Spam — Irony @ 2:42 am

Forum owners and moderators know what I’m talking about. The number of unwanted self-promotion posts in forums seems to be going up, just as the amounts of the email spam. Do people really believe that spamming forums is the only way for them to earn their living? And how long will it take before frustrated forum owners close all their forums just because they will no longer be able to handle all the spam?

As some of our readers know, both Connie and I are Super Moderators at the IHY SEO forums. So, Connie can confirm: spammers are keeping all the SuperMods quite busy there. And another thing: before, they would just come, make something like 3 to 15 spammy posts and depart. Now, they stay and keep posting 20, 30, you name it, posts, until banned.

I also run a small board intended to tell the English speaking world about my home town (as most available resources about Saratov are in Russian). Small as it is, it has attracted a lot of spammers, most of them, I suspect, use bots, come from different IP addresses every day, and some of them (what really drives me mad) even attach pictures of such a kind that I have to moderate their postings with my eyes closed (not an easy task to do). So far, I have been able to keep it clean (3 or 4 spam posts per day to remove is not hard), but when their number grows to 100 posts per day, I’m afraid I will have to take the board down.

Blame the spammers. :(

Rant over for today.

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