Getting to the Sharp end of the Wedge

Over the last few weeks there has been plenty of stories backwards and forwards about the quality of Google’s results, specifically that the quality is going down.

Google counter in an official blog post to counter that specifially by saying that search quality is better than ever (though conceding a short term increase recently)

Penned by Matt Cutts, it tries to convince people that Google are always trying to improve their results, that they take web spam seriously and they are implementing new changes to combat the new threats.

Google are in a different space these days than when they were fighting spam a decade ago.

Now they are the overwhelming search leaders and are beginning the attract the kind of attention that Microsoft has had to deal with due to their size.

Any small incident or problem will be leapt upon and made larger than life.

Reports generated by people with close links to opposition search engines will appear forcing Google and it’s fans to dispute the findings.

With webspam, the easy fight has been fought and mostly won. Computer generated content is easily found and algorithms created to weed them out. Each iteration from the spammers is met by an algorithm change at the Search Engines and the fight goes on.

But now we are talking about “low quality” content, often written by people (rather than scraped off other sites) for small amounts of money, on topics far and wide to capture and convert as much traffic as possible.

But here in lies the problem:

Most online business owners are in the game of creating content and hoping it drives traffic and revenue. Same as this new form of Web Spam.

What Google are complaining about is that this content does not add to the search experience of the end user. In their eyes, the end user clicks on a link that takes them somewhere that will not solve their question or provide the appropriate information.

So, does that mean that Google are now the arbiters of what is “low” or “high” quality content? These are much murkier waters than before and we trust that Google do this job properly, not to the detriment of everyday content writers that have something valid to say but may not be the most polished of journalists.

Plenty more ammunition for the anti-Google to fire up with.

Do you think this is a fight too far? Can you algorithmically determine high from low quality?

Email Scam targetting mail users at specific domain

Well they keep rolling off the spam/scam production line.

This one pretends to be an email from mail support of a specific domain. As with all of these mass email scams, they don’t realise that the person they sent the email to manages all of the mail for that domain (Including the “support” that is mentioned in the email)

This is a phishing scam hoping to gain logins and passwords to try to gain access to mail (or if you are sharing login details) or other online services.

Here is a transcript

Subject: Your profile will be locked in response to a complaint received by the Administration
from: support-62@deepweb.co.nz

***This message was created automatically by mail-delivery software. Do not reply to this message.*** 

Hello!
Your profile will be locked in response to a complaint received by the Administration 29.01.2010 ?.
According to "paragraph 8 of the user agreement, deepweb.co.nz reserves the right to suspend or terminate the provision of services deepweb.co.nz, promptly notifying the user. 

Refute the statement may be, following this link:
<a class="moz-txt-link-freetext" href="http://schwaber.net/472e3bb6">http://schwaber.net/472e3bb6</a>


If the application is not rejected within 7 days, your e-mail an account will be blocked.
It has a number 237242679231777. 

In the near future we will contact you.
It takes up to 3 days to process your request.
Thank you!
--------------------------------
Sincerely,
mail support service
deepweb.co.nz 

As you can see they are using shortened style urls to hide things, but it is unsophisticated as they use a completely unrelated domain as the link.

Most likely this will be handled by the antispam handlers, but shows these scams are still out there and are unlikely to go away.

Other variants of this try to dupe gmail users into giving their logins to the phishers

Spam is a Great Source of Jokes!

Some of the more common recent spam comments posted on this blog and others are obvious spam, but have the added benefit of including jokes.

Some are actually ok. Here are a few recent ones…

  • Why did the dinosaur cross the road? Because there were no chickens in those times.
  • What do you get when you play a country music song backward? You get your wife back, you get your job back, you stop drinking …
  • Why do hurricanes travel so fast? If they traveled slowly, we would have to call them slow-i-canes

So OK, they are not great, but make spam less annoying 🙂