Massive WordPress.com Spam

UPDATE
I received an email from Donncha on the WordPress.com team. They responded extremely quickly to the problem (turns out there was more than just that one blog).

The email read:

“We took care of the problem and we do have anti-spam measures in place.
Currently, the best place to report spam sites is through the feedback
form in your wp-admin backend. About 6 other people did so and since
feedback mails are always monitored it was quickly dealt with.

Thanks for being proactive, please report other spam blogs as you find them!”

Mad props to WordPress.com.

Original Post

Well this is certainly interesting. Upon logging into my WordPress.com account, I was greeted by quite a mess. The Dashboard on WordPress.com shows us the most popular and most recent posts from around the wordpress-dot-com-oh-sphere. The most recent section was (and still is) filled with posts by one iWilliam102.

You can see a screenshot here.

All of the links on all of the posts point to tires.321-info.com (but don’t go there, as Donncha on the wordpress.com team points out, why help his page rank?).

WordPress.com really needs to work to make sure it does not become the BlogSpot (or as some say, SplogSpot) of the new web. It’s an amazing service and hopefully will stay that way when they figure out this problem.

Hopefully the WordPress.com team can sort this out and figure out a way to prevent it from happening in the future, considering this post:

WordPress.com FAQ – Adsense and other Ads
“We currently don’t allow Adsense or other JS ad code on the site, though we probably will in the future. However right now it is keeping sploggers (spam bloggers) from exploiting WP.com and only a few legit users have asked for it.

We’ll announce when you’ll be able to add Adsense or Yahoo or Chitika to your templates.

We have a very low tolerance for blogs created purely for search engine optimization or commercial purposes, machine-generated blogs, and will continue to nuke them, so if that’s what you’re interested in WP.com is not for you.”

One of the comments made to that post is as follows: “How about some flagging or reporting system for wordpress.com blogs which are found to be created for just seo or false clicking??”

I would suggest that it be taken a step further and made so any blog that is subject to a large number of reports by other wordpress.com members is automatically disabled temporarily while the owner is notified. It’s a shoot first, ask questions later attitude, but in the world of online marketing and spam, it’s just about all we have got.

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35 comments so far

  1. Donncha on

    It’s all gone, and you missed a few other blogs the same person created.
    Making sure WordPress.com doesn’t become a haven for spammers is very important to us, and I’d appreciate if you’d unlink the tires.321… url above, why give the spammer a real link that helps his pagerank? :)

  2. […] やっぱりって言うか、wordpress.com に spam blog の魔の手が押し寄せてて、今のところは後追いで対処できてるけど、予防的な手を早めに打たないと大変なことになるんじゃないか、って Fantastico が問題提起してる […]

  3. fantastico on

    Donncha, will do. It’s great you guys are able to be so quick in response. I am also hopeful that you guys will be able to implement a system to help curb spam on a larger scale, as wordpress.com will certainly be quite large soon. It’s an amazing service, I don’t want to make it seem like I don’t appreciate everything you have done.

  4. Steve, Head Sheep on

    “I would suggest that it be taken a step further and made so any blog that is subject to a large number of reports by other wordpress.com members is automatically disabled temporarily while the owner is notified.”

    Bad idea, but I understand where your coming from (I think). You want this to be a community effort because how can technology and a few admins keep up with the marketing blogs? We’re checking the dashboard often and have a good idea about what’s out there, right?

    But you posted an article called “Free Web Icon Resources!” Let’s say I see that in the dashboard and don’t click through to see if it’s legit or not, I just click the feedback button and say you are a spammer/online marketeer. What if 0.5% of the folks on wordpress.com did the same thing? At 40,000+ users (I think that’s what it says on the sign up page), that’s a couple hundred complaints. I’d shut a person down at that level, so even the smallest fraction could shutdown your blog day after day after day for any reason at all, especially if you are controversial. How many people would complain about Scobeleizer just because he’s a MS weenie? I think free speech is more important than a clean dashboard 100% of the time.

  5. fantastico on

    I think you are right, Steve, on the auto-disabling aspect. But, having a “Flag as spam” button up there on our blue account bar that notifies the team would be a very handy way of dealing with it. That way you are forced to be on the page where the spam is (so you actually have to have looked at the content), and that provides the team with a very easy way to check it out, refernce lonks and all. Much less work for them, and more accurate complaints.

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