Friday, December 09, 2011

Our Reading Lists, Hijacked By Spammers, Who Have Conned The Owners Of Blogs That We Follow

I've been writing about spammer activities, and about various blog hijacks, for some time. There's a special, rather devious blog hijack, involving spammer activity, that we've been aware of, for some time. In Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken, we occasionally see the query
How do I get rid of spam, in my Reading List? I did not Follow this blog!
Nobody will, intentionally, Follow a blog full of spam. In some cases, though, people Follow blogs that are published by naive blog owners, who have been conned by the spammers, into working for them.

The never ending need for more Followers, readers, search engine reputation, subscribers, and traffic, is a frequently expressed concern in Blogger Help Forum: How Do I?. In discussions outside Blogger Help Forum, one might possibly find suggestions of other, more imaginative ways to get more traffic to your blog. With Blogger blogs, there's a very obscure and easily used feature, that can be used to publicise your blog, randomly, to readers that you would not, otherwise, address.

All that you need do is to redirect your blog feed into a "feed redistribution cloud", that randomly redirects the readers of any blog, to viewing the feed from another blog, similarly using the redirect. By redirecting your readers, you are exposing them to other blogs, randomly selected. Similarly, readers of other participating blogs are randomly redirected to your blog - and there is the promised publicity for your blog.

This is such a great idea, isn't it? Think again.
  1. Your Followers (and subscribers) want to read the feed from your blog - not from some random blog.
  2. Many Blogger blog owners don't use this feature.
  3. Many users of this feature are not legitimate Blogger blog owners, but publishers of spam blogs and websites.
  4. Should you redirect your readers into a "feed redistribution cloud", the chances are greater that your readers will be reading a blog published by a spammer.
  5. Since no real people knowingly subscribe to feeds from spam blogs and websites, your blog won't be getting any reciprocal crowd of eager would be readers, originating from the spam blogs and websites.
  6. And, we are here.

As a Follower (and not a blog owner), having examined your Reading List and found yourself reading a blog full of spam - that you certainly did not Follow - what do you do? It's a simple - but possibly tedious - task to identify and remove the blog owned by the naive person, who was conned by the spammers, that you are Following.

Having done that, why not go one step further, and help us to help Blogger and Google to interdict the spammer activity? If you can identify the URL of a blog, that you are Following, that is redirecting its feed in this manner, Blogger / Google can identify and terminate any Google hosted blogs and websites that are advertising this easy, random way to publicise your blog - that is simply another trick used by the spammers, into getting the naive blog owners to do their dirty work.

All that we need is the URL of any blog, that you were Following, that rudely redirects its subscribers (like you) into the "feed redistribution cloud". Blogger / Google can do the rest. You can comment, here - or start a discussion, in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken - it's your choice. Just help identify the naive blog owners.

Do your part, and help us clean up the Blogger Blogosphere.

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4 comments:

RIW - 50 States said...

Thank you very much for this post. It was very informative. I learned a great deal from it.

Ana said...

It would be a good gesture to advise the "naïve person" because soemtimes they don't realize what is the problem.

Chuck said...

Ana,

Operators are standing by, to take your call.

Vineet Singh said...

Like it, This post is Really Usefull since Spam is one of the major issue for bloggers.....