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Help Stop Trackback Comment Spam Via Google

is working overtime on this blog to fight off comment spam in all forms. Combined with the community effort of all bloggers, comment spam is caught and rarely released on our blogs.

However, I’ve lately spotted some very annoying and frustrating comment spam. It appears to be caught by Akismet, but it shows up on my Dashboard > Blog Stats > Incoming Links list which shows sites which have links to my blog posts.

The URL of these trackbacks in the Incoming Links list are from Blogspot blogs, which are usually arranged similar to WordPress.com blog URLs:

http://somename.blogspot.com/2006/12/....

The titles of the incoming trackback posts looked suspicious as they didn’t match the linking post content. So I checked out five of these incoming links, all linking to the same post from five different blogs on Blogspot.

The titles included:

  • How People Use Search Engines
  • People Search Engines Beginning with Z
  • Look Dot Com Search Engine Directory Want Fast People Search
  • Search the Web Find People
  • Seo Optimization The Search Engine Placement People

All trackback links redirected themselves to something called people-search.com.

Every single one.

Whoever these creeps are, they are setting up Blogspot blogs with a redirect to their site. This is ugly.

Luckily, Akismet is catching their comment spam trackbacks, but they are still getting listed as incoming links with WordPress.com blogs. Which makes this more sinister than it first appears.

Incoming Links for WordPress blogs come from Google Blog Search, so Google is obviously tracking these incoming links. To me, that means that this creepy people-search site is getting page rank because of their comment spamming trackback link. Google has them listed!

WordPress.com is not at fault. The list of incoming links is generated in a feed directly from Google Blog Search. WordPress.com can’t control what comes in through that feed. They can’t filter or censor it, and they don’t know which are good incoming links and which are bad.

Google has already made that decision.

What WordPress.com has done, through the use of Akismet, is to not allow these trackback comment spams to appear on my blog, which prevents their visibility and return link credit from my blog, but their effort still pays off with a listing on Google. Google is probably giving them trackback linking credit to my block.

There must be some way Google can use their creative and powerful search engine database powers to help stop and punish comment spammers.

Until Google takes action, here is how you can help.

With over 500,000 bloggers, WordPress.com has a growing and loud voice that might help influence Google to stop and punish comment spammers.

If you are finding similar incoming links on your Blog Stats page, let your voice be heard. Write about it on your blog and let others know. Explain, without giving link credit to the spammers, what is going on and how to detect these Google Blog Search generated trackback comment spams. Encourage everyone to report such spam links via form.

In my report to Google, I put in a note that the “Exact Query” is “incoming links to my blog from Google Blog Search”. I then put in the people-search.com site as the misbehaving site, and marked it as “Misleading or repeated words” and “Other”. In Additional Details”, I put in the real URLs with an explanation that people-search.com (or whoever is doing this from other spamming sites) is using Google Blog Search’s feed of incoming links to spam my WordPress.com blog. As the incoming links redirect themselves to people-search.com, the links are misleading and misrepresenting themselves. Hopefully, Google will take action on these.

You can word your spam report however you want, but make it clear that these incoming links are using false URLs with redirects to another site, and that all of these sites need to be stopped or dropped.

I hope Google hears us and will respond to these trackback comment spammers quickly. It’s bad enough we get so much trackback comment spam, but using blogs to redirect to their sites is really disgusting and should be punished.

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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen, member of the 9Rules Network

Member of the 9Rules Blogging Network

12 Comments

  1. Posted January 3, 2007 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    I’d always thought the incoming links are tracked using Technorati? At least, that is the case for the WordPress.org blogs (maybe WordPress.com is different, I haven’t checked it)

    Anyway, I got some of those too! I wish we could organise a “anti blog spam day” and get all the major blog platforms could just put a message like that on their blog so everybody is aware of the measures to take when they encounter such junk on their blogs.

  2. Posted January 3, 2007 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    In the beginning, WordPress used Technorati’s incoming links feed but had a lot of problems with it. The technology was still new then. So they switched to Google Blog Search where it’s remained.

  3. Posted January 3, 2007 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    Good articles on trackback spam: http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/000751.html

  4. Posted January 3, 2007 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    I have been getting about 20 spam comments a day. Almost all are caught. The only problem I have had, is it blocking comments from my home computer, which they fixed right away, and when a link is included, even from me, it blocks the comment. I don’t have much trackback problem yet, even with 200 to 300 hits a day.

    Thanks again for the great info here.

  5. Posted January 3, 2007 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    I get between 200 and 500 comment spams per day. I’m really sick and tired of it!!!! I wish there was more we could do…

  6. Posted January 4, 2007 at 6:11 am | Permalink

    Rubel wrote about the problem too:
    http://www.micropersuasion.com/2007/01/googles_blogger.html

  7. Posted January 7, 2007 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    I’m getting about 100 comment spams per day and no longer have the energy to delete them. I strongly believe that it is almost impossible to prevent vigra pushers from making a mess of my blogs.

  8. Posted January 7, 2007 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    It is not impossible. I get thousands of comment spams a day and very few ever get through Akismet, the comment spam fighting tool WordPress.com blogs use. It is not only possible, I do it every day. Akismet gets the majority of the comment spams, so I check what I can to make sure no good comments get through, and then let it do its job. I concentrate on the good comments.

  9. Posted January 7, 2007 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    Wait, that doesn’t make sense to me. Yes, comment spam is bad. But if Akismet catches it and it never appears on your weblog, how do you feel it could benefit the spammer? Google’s PageRank is determined by sites that link to your site, not which sites you link to. Spammers (and everyone else) may link to whatever sites they want; just linking to a prominent site won’t increase one’s PageRank.

  10. Posted January 7, 2007 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    Not true. Who links to you as well as who you link to impacts your page rank. Spammers and splogs get page rank credit in the complicated method Google uses to determine page rank by linking to criteria as well as being linked to.

  11. Posted October 29, 2007 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    I delete all of them, are these trackback links affecting my site ranking?

  12. Posted October 29, 2007 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    Kiran: YES. That’s why it is important to report and stop feed scrapers and splogs, even if they are using your content “legally” within accepted norms. Google doesn’t want them. Bloggers don’t want them. Google is punishing those who do them, as best they can, but we need to help report them so Google can deal with them. They are hurting everyone, not just your page ranking.


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