Do malware links to your site hurt you?

Well, if you run any kind of blog, than you should at this point be well aware of the wall of spam that comes in every now and then and hits either the spam filter, or in the case of Google’s blogspot, they never seem to make it past the captcha. The point is that 99% of the time this spam will fail, and while I am sure that the 1% or less results in some money along the way, the real issued of the point is why do you do it? I’m starting to think that there has either got to be some weird SEO trick that I’m not aware of, because the most popular link to my blog is through what is clearly a spam site, something about buying pills or whatever else. And the weird thing is that I’m getting a few hits from it a day, so either someone is persistent or there’s a whole different line of thought. Back when I ran [which apparently is now owned by someone in Japan, I should thank them one of these days for stealing my internet handle], I used to get a lot of hits from all these sites that it really didn’t make sense.

They were clearly spam sites, yet they didn’t have any bots posting and so I have to wonder if perhaps the scam here is in knowing that site owners will often times check their logs to figure out where incoming links are coming from. This is purely for the sake of knowing what is going on and trying to figure out who in the world it is that you are writing for. In that sense, I have to admit that I am starting to wonder if the authors to these sites aren’t counting on the site owners being a large enough population to warrant sending hits over to the blog to register with the blog’s traffic stat log.

Now there are spam post, and every day I get something new in the filter letting me know about a new miracle drug with half a billion little links letting me wonder off into the credit card eating abyss. But these post never make it through on their own, and the one that did make it through I don’t think is anything more than a pathetic little pet project with some bot author being paid just enough to have the little bugger go from blog to blog. But the important thing to note is that it doesn’t make sense compared to the amount of traffic that I am getting from all of these spam sites. So I decided to go do a little research on the blackhat side of SEO to see why it is that this method is popular, or maybe why all my sites have a lot of incoming traffic from sources that are clearly just ads to buy some new wonder pill. If you go around the net you will find that this is a pretty common problem.

The thing to note here is that the focus seems to be on you allowing comments or links to get posted on YOUR site, that is to say, publishing those spam comments, but when it comes to them linking to you, I can’t find any evidence from various SEO experts and the like which shows that google considers this to be harmful to how you are ranked and the likes. Akismet the guys who have handled WordPress’ anti spam functionality for quite a while now are quick to point out how much damage that you can do to yourself by allowing these comments to be posted. But It would seem that for the most part the major search engines like google are well aware of the situation and have adapted the way in which they would rank your site. It should also be noted that most folks are not only aware of the situation but this is a war we have been fighting since back in ’05. As you can see, in the 5 years of continual development, there isn’t really much that we can do except to never publish your referrer log. The thing here is that it works because people are willing to publish that, if you want to win the war on spam, you really have to start fighting against what they see as acceptable marketing. It’s kind of like getting all the worst kind of people from the business and marketing departments together in a room and asking them “what will a tiny percentage of people fall for today? Deploy it on a massive level!”.

Honestly, the best we can do is make post like these warning others not to allow these methods to become useful. It sucks, but really that’s about all anyone can do

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3 Responses to Do malware links to your site hurt you?

  1. I’d also suggest people report them to Google, it’s a pain but hopefully it will help:

    Google’s Spam reporting page

    Google’s Malware reporting page

  2. Ed Alexander says:

    Yeah I agree you can report the sites that leave a pingback, but for the majority of the obviously malicious comments that are intended to hurt your ranking and website’s image the trail usually leads to a proxy so it is a dead end. I’m sure Google gets 1000’s of complaints a day so it would take quite a while to eventually get to your particular complaint. For now I completely rely on Akismet and just dump the spam comments on a daily basis. Takes 5 minutes of my day to skim through the 100’s of spam comments I get a day to make sure a good one is not accidentally trashed. So my personal feeling is that if you have spam filters in place like Akismet that catch all the garbage, then 5 minutes a day of brushing away the Internet Gnats is just a minor insignificant nuisance to me.

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