Sunday, January 01, 2012

The Many Faces Of Spam Classification - And Varying Consequences

Many blog owners and readers are completely unaware of the many ways our Blogger, GMail, and Google accounts, our blogs, and our forum activity, are subject to spam classification - and the various consequences that we may suffer, when we trip a spam classification threshold. Questions in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken are seen daily.
Why was my forum account locked?
and
Why do my comments go straight to the Spam tab, on my friend's blog?
and
Why am I seeing ominous messages about "suspicious activity" on my account, when I sign into Blogger or GMail?
These are but 3 examples of the questions, that we deal with, almost constantly.

Spam classification, by Blogger / Google is a collaborative, fuzzy, and ubiquitous process, which affects all aspects of our use of Blogger and Google services. Each different Google service may produce input into the spam classification process - and each service may be differently affected, when we are (righteously, or spuriously) classified as a potential spammer, by another service.

Some services may use automated classification or detection - and others may use user contributed abuse reports. When user contributed reports are used, collaboration - either by multiple users, or automated or manual verification by Google staff - is involved. A single, accidental click on a "Report Abuse" link will not cause a problem.

Some automated classification processes, on the other hand, may result in false positive detection. We are repeatedly advised that Blogger cannot whitelist your blog. The volume of spam content in Blogger requires immediate locking of all suspected spam blogs, with spuriously classified blogs being unlocked after review.

There are a few common sense ways that we may reduce the chances of many blogs being classified as suspected spam hosts.

Here are 3 services, which we use in publishing and viewing, and asking for help about publishing and viewing, various Blogger blogs.

Causes of spam detection
  • Blogger account / blog
  • Forum account
  • GMail account
    • Brute force login attempts, using hijacked computers, supposedly controlled by Net based neighbours.
    • Repeated login retries, by the account owner, which can look like brute force login attempts.

Consequences of spam detection

Other Google services will have other causes and consequences, too - and the combinations of the various causes and consequences are almost infinite. The Blogger Help Forums - and the various other Google Support forums - will remain in business for a very, very long time.

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