The Spam Diaries

News and musings about the fight against spam.
 by Edward Falk

Monday, February 06, 2006

Fake forum sites as a cloaking function for spam

While tracking a piece of blog spam to its source, I was led to the site Since the site looked like a real discussion forum, my first thought was to contact the admins of worldcinemadvd and let them know that their web site was being abused by one of their advertising affiliates. But a second look roused my suspicions. The discussion forums seemed disjointed, and somehow "wrong". A quick google search showed that the contents of the web site had been simply copied from Further browsing at worldcinemadvd shows a number of threads with titles like "Why are you stealing threads from the dvd forums?".

It's possible that is also part of the link farm, but as far as I can tell it looks legitimate.

Mary Hodder of Napsterization who alerted me to this particular spam site tells me of a conference two weeks ago at which someone who operates such link farms bragged of making a hundred million dollars a year doing it. This is a huge business. There are actually two competing conferences which are held every other month just for this industry. The way it works is that entrepeneurs grab up domain names in huge quantities. They grab everything in the dictionary, every misspelling, and every expired domain they can. The web pages contain no original or useful content other than advertising. You've probably seen these in the course of your daily surfing.

Update: Google informs me that was removed from their servers in January.


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