The SPAMMING of the Internet


I have lately had this blog inundated by a set of battery sales sites. The SPAMMER is filing up the comment section, hoping to sell laptop batteries to my readers. Every day or two, I delete more of his comments. If I post on cancer, he places a battery SPAM ad in the comments section. If I post on .NET, he places a battery SPAM ad to the comments. In fact, the appropriateness of his posts are zero. I would provide a link to his site so you can tell him how you feel, but I don’t want to take a chance that he might actually profit from the SPAMMING. In addition, the company may not even be directly responsible.

I hope this type of SPAM is completely ineffective and it will stop eventually. As the run of the mill SPAMMER does not track his SPAM posts with some sort of ?loc=gbeamer.spaces.live.com, they probably don’t even realize how ineffective this type of “marketing” is. And, if this is a company “marketing” for the battery company, I am not sure the SPAMMER even cares if it is completely ineffective, as he is making money ripping off his client.

Open up a new form of media and somebody wants to get eyeballs for free.

A few years ago, email was the preferred method for SPAM. All it costs is an Internet account, a free email provider, and a program that fires off millions of emails before the free account is cancelled due to complaints. But there were no Facebooks, Twitters, LinkedIns or blogs at that time.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is becoming the choice for “professional” SPAM. A marketing person joins LinkedIn and then joins various groups. Once joined, they advertise their product, generally some form of seminar, to the group users. Recently, I saw the following in the Nashville .NET group:

$149 Value Webinar for FREE Limited Space: Leverage the Power of Social Media for Your Business: Top Tools, Best Practices, Real Success Stories. <link removed>

This is SPAM as the seminar in question is not really about developers or .NET. Looking at the authors profile, I see that she is a member of a plethora of unrelated groups. I imagine the poster is also SPAMMING up these groups with the same ad.

The reason the poster is doing this is it is free. Unfortunately, the seminar most likely teaches other people to inappropriately use social media as well. Of course the true “secrets” are only glossed over in the free seminar and you have to pay to truly learn how to SPAM.

Twitter

One of the most interesting means of SPAMMING in Twitter is following other users. At least this is opt in SPAM, as you have to end up following the user to get most of the messages. The follower SPAM method has been written up in many sites, including this one. Lately, Twitter has been actively shutting down these spammers for “unusual activity”.

Facebook

One form of Facebook SPAM is “be my friend”. This works very similar to the Twitter spam. Once a person is your friend, they have access to your wall, which gives them access to your friends. The fact it is on YOUR wall gives additional legitimacy.

Another form is the application spam routine. A company develops and application and then request that you give them access to your wall. I am currently playing Mafia Wars and it routinely asks me to allow it to automatically add my achievements to the wall. Unfortunately, giving this access means the application can add anything it wants, like “Greg has not played Mafia Wars in awhile, get in the game and whack him” or something equally SPAMMY. I am not suggesting that Zynga is doing this with its games, but there are others who are.

Some less ethical developers have even imitated Facebook ads in the past to get ad revenue. If you give them access to your wall, you can help others make a lot of click through money without even realizing it is going on. Given the ability to place your picture on their ad gives it legitimacy to your friends. Get a few hundred thousand users playing your game and access to their wall to SPAM it up with clicks and watch the money roll in.

This can go one step worse. If you give too much access they can get your personal information and start using your email for SPAM, or worse. Be careful what apps you give access to your profile.

Fortunately, Facebook has tightened things up some since the early days and hopefully new sites learn the lessons from Facebook. I am not sure Facebook has conquered all avenues, however, as this November 1, 2009 article shows.

The SPAM Problem is NOT Going to Go Away

No matter what site comes up, and what they do to stop SPAM, the fact that most sites offer you eyeballs for free lures new SPAMMERS in. Worse than that, it lures people trying to make money to set up programs on “how to make money on {site name}” programs, like our friend with FREE limited space to a webinar (like the space is really that limited). Often times telling people how to SPAM is more profitable than SPAMMING, as the techniques employed are ineffective by the time the book is “printed”, but unsuspecting dupes, looking for a quick score, don’t know this.

As a side note, one of the LinkedIn messages I recently saw went to this site: http://www.santasreindeertour.com/

I share it as I doubt many people are going to respond to this message from my site and the idea of someone renting reigndeers is pretty cool. LOL

Peace and Grace,
Greg

Twitter: @gbworld

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