Ming the Mechanic:
Blog, Ping and Spam

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Blog, Ping and Spam2005-02-02 18:37
53 comments
by Flemming Funch

I'm doing various little programming contract jobs at the moment. And it is remarkable to notice how much effort apparently is being spent on trying to abuse various shared internet resources. I.e. getting around the way something was intended to be used, for the sake of self-promotion. Like, somebody just asked me to do a program doing what Blogburner is doing. I said no, and gave the guy a piece of my mind, but I'm sure he'll find somebody else to do it. "Blog and Ping" they call it. It is essentially that you automatically set up a number of fake blogs at a site like Blogger and you automatically post a large number of regular web pages to them, pinging the blog update sites as you do it, pretending that you just posted something new on your blog. Of course exploiting the somewhat favored status that blogs have in search engines, and attracting traffic. Under false pretenses.

And that's just one of many similar project proposals I see passing by. There are obviously many people getting various kinds of spamming programs made. You know, stuff like spidering the web for forums and then auto-posting ads to them. Or automatic programs that sign up for masses of free accounts in various places. Or Search Engine Optimization programs that create masses of fake webpages to try to show better in the search engines. I don't take any of that kind of jobs, but it is a bit disturbing to see how many of them there are.

It is maybe even surprising how well the net holds up and how the many freely shared resources that are available can be viable. Another example. You know, there's the whois system that one uses to check the registration information for a domain, who owns it, when it expires, etc. Now, there's a business in trying to grab attractive domain names that for one reason or another expire. So there are people who set up servers that do hundreds of thousands of whois lookups every hour, in order to catch domains right when they expire, in order to re-register them for somebody else. Or any of a number of variations on that scheme. To do that you'll want to do maybe 100 whois lookups every second. And most whois servers will try to stop you from doing that, but having some kind of quota of how many you can do, which is much less. So, you spread the queries over many IP numbers and many proxy servers, in order to fool them. And the result is inevitably that a large amount of free resources are being spent, in order for somebody to have a little business niche.

At the same time I can see that part of what makes the net work in good ways is indeed that one can build on somebody else's work with few barriers. That one can quote other people's articles, borrow their pictures, play their music, link to their sites, use their web services, etc. And add a little value as one does so. And I suppose the benefit of generative sharing will outweigh the problems with self-serving abuse of what is shared. But it seems it also involves an continuous struggle to try to hinder abusive use of freely accessible resources.

Like, in my blog here. An increasing number of visits are phoney, having bogus referrer information, just to make a site show up in my referrer logs. No very good solution to that, other than if I spend server resources on spidering all the sites to see if they really have a link to here.


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53 comments

4 Feb 2005 @ 00:40 by dewf @24.242.3.157 : seems like a lot of work...
looking at all the work people have to do to make sure their spamming is successful-- and constantly updating their tools for the arms-race that ensues-- doesn't seem like much fun. in fact, it seems pretty much like a normal job. i wouldn't doubt if the reason most people do this sort of "work" is purely because of inertia-- they've been doing it so long, and have gotten themselves so deep in it, that they wouldn't make as much money by trying something new (which might be a lot more legitimate in other people's eyes)

while one might exploit a niche exclusively for a short while, it just seems like it will soon become infested with other like-minded opportunists. which i guess is the curse in trying to make a quick buck through shady means-- when you're not fighting the public at large, or law enforcement, you're competing with other folks doing the very same thing. whereas above-board companies can get extraordinarily rich by using governments in their favor, to enforce copyright and patents.  



24 Mar 2005 @ 09:33 by James @12.220.144.50 : a lot of work, but the rewards?
Legitimate or not, there's a LOT of money to be made - and the problem is the PPC model itself (target the funds and the rest will follow). A "Lot" of money to the tunes of $10's of thousands per month relatively easily, if the system is setup correctly. Not that I necessarily condone the practice, but seeing work I used to make a descent living at here in the U.S. being outsourced to India and Russia for $5.00/hr, I certainly understand the temptation.  


13 Jun 2005 @ 17:03 by Fahed Bizzari @83.216.156.138 : Blog and Ping
What exactly is the benefit of "Blog and Ping"?  


13 Jun 2005 @ 20:39 by ming : Blog and Ping
Well, basically it is some normal inherent functions in blogs. But that term is usually used about a somewhat fraudulent use of those mechanisms.

A blog is a website that facilitates personal publishing. It consists of articles that are presented in chronological order, with the most recent being most prominent.

There are various "ping" services which are used by the blog to tell various blog indexing sites that there's something new on this blog. That will usually make them come and pick up and index the most recent content. Which means that other people can find it shortly after it has been published.

Some scam artists have noticed how well blogs get indexed and how well they show in search engines. Basically because they usually contain original content that is frequently updated and because they have many incoming and outgoing links. But the scam artists think that if they just put any which content in a blog-like format, and they then ping the various blog indexing services, they'll get the same result. And to a certain degree they will. But only by misusing some shared easily accessible features for posting repetitive junk. It is a type of spam.

So, do the honest thing, it works much better. Post real stuff that people actually would want to read. And, yes, use all the available services that you can ping to, and sign up for any blog directory you can find.

A real blogger has something to say. If you're only thinking about how to promote your product to as many people as possible, whether they really are interested or not, then you've picked the wrong playing field.  



9 Oct 2005 @ 03:26 by Trina L.C. Schiller @63.173.128.1 : Blog Spam
I am an ezine publisher that converted my email publication to an RSS feed, back in 2003. I have never regretted changing mediums, because with RSS I have greater reach. The search engine rankings are a nice bonus for publishing consistent real content, but the interaction with my readers is my favorite perk.

Blog spammers are going to destroy themselves and everyone else using this medium. Just as spammers crippled the effectiveness of email marketing and communications, they will do the same to blogging and feed publishing. In all their efforts to gain rankings, they will put the search engines in the position of ignoring real blog contnet in a drive to keep the search results relevant. What's to stop Google or Yahoo from saying ENOUGH! and ban all blogs from their results? They don't have to spider them, and they won't if there becomes a glut in bogus blog sites. All they have to do is change their search criteria and send the bots down a different path.

Spamming software creators will be laughing all the way to the bank, with John Q.'s money, and poor John won't be able to get through the door at Google.

That's just my two cents...  



28 Nov 2005 @ 06:49 by Michael @69.197.83.149 : Blog And Ping
Business is Business and it doesn't matter what industry you look at, you will always see people cutting corners and doing things they shouldn't be doing just so they can save a buck here and make a buck there.

The Internet is no different and you shouldn't be suprised about that. The Internet provides a more level playing field where rich and poor alike can get involved and make their buck. Unfortunately, it also offers those people who prefer to cut corners and scam there way into that buck, the same level playing field, so you are going to see a higher level of it.

Blog and Pinging IS important though. It enables anyone to get their site looked at by the search engines quickly, but it is still up to you to put good, quality content on your site, and if you don't, it doesn't matter how much you do, you aren't going to make it anywhere.

In the meantime, people who are going about their online business the right way, should continue using services like www.PingTheEmpire.com to ping their blog entries. If you have provided Quality Content on your site, then you can only win!  



26 Oct 2006 @ 18:03 by Document Scanning Company @64.190.52.242 : Blog and Ping
I'm constantly amazed at much effort people will put into these techniques versus spending the time to build an actual business.  


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