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My Encounter With Search Spam On Blogger

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With 100 million billion trillion new blogs springing up every day, some of them are going to be spam. And with Google operating one of the biggest blogging services, it's not surprising that Blogger will be host to a few search spam sites. Indeed, I've seen complaints about this in the past from others. But today, Blogger spam got in my face.

Check out this blog, which is about watches, or Seiko watches or wait a minute -- about me! From the blog's description:

Search Engine Watch: Tips About Internet Search Engines & Search ... Danny Sullivan's comprehensive coverage of the search engine world. Forums, reviews, articles, ratings, and frequent newsletters. Paying members receive access ...

Nice. Sounds like someone did a Google search for watch, saw that Search Engine Watch get listed first (not my fault -- blame Google, not me) and scraped off the description that showing at that time to use on their blog.

Not nice, Jim. Jim? Jim's the blogger who created the blog. I tried to contact Jim using his profile page, but he didn't leave an address. He was probably too busy to do that, what with creating other high-quality blogs on topics such as:

  • cell phones
  • juicers
  • home repair
  • currency trading
  • t-mobile
  • telecommunications

Not able to reach Jim, I figured I'd drop Blogger itself a line. Surely it doesn't tolerate spamming its parent, Google. Off to the Blogger help page I went.

Where to go? The Blogger Terms of Service link seemed helpful. It even eventually got me to the actual terms. Anything about not using Blogger for search engine spamming purposes? Not that I could spot when skimming. Here are the most relevant areas:

The Service makes use of the Internet to send and receive certain messages; therefore, Member's conduct is subject to Internet regulations, policies and procedures. Member will not use the Service for chain letters, junk mail, spamming or any use of distribution lists to any person who has not given specific permission to be included in such a process.

--and--

You agree to not use the Service to: (a) upload, post or otherwise transmit any Content that is unlawful, harmful, threatening, abusive, harassing, tortious, defamatory, vulgar, obscene, libelous, invasive of another's privacy, hateful, or racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable; (b) harm minors in any way; (c) impersonate any person or entity, including, but not limited to, a Pyra official, forum leader, guide or host, or falsely state or otherwise misrepresent your affiliation with a person or entity; (d) upload, post or otherwise transmit any Content that you do not have a right to transmit under any law or under contractual or fiduciary relationships (such as inside information, proprietary and confidential information learned or disclosed as part of employment relationships or under nondisclosure agreements); (e) upload, post or otherwise transmit any Content that infringes any patent, trademark, trade secret, copyright or other proprietary rights of any party; (f) upload, post or otherwise transmit any material that contains software viruses or any other computer code, files or programs designed to interrupt, destroy or limit the functionality of any computer software or hardware or telecommunications equipment; (g) interfere with or disrupt the Service or servers or networks connected to the Service, or disobey any requirements, procedures, policies or regulations of networks connected to the Service; (h) intentionally or unintentionally violate any applicable local, state, national or international law, including, but not limited to, regulations promulgated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, any rules of any national or other securities exchange, including, without limitation, the New York Stock Exchange, the American Stock Exchange or the NASDAQ, and any regulations having the force of law; (i) "stalk" or otherwise harass another; (j) collect or store personal data about other users; (k) promote or provide instructional information about illegal activities, promote physical harm or injury against any group or individual, or promote any act of cruelty to animals. This may include, but is not limited to, providing instructions on how to assemble bombs, grenades and other weapons, and creating "Crush" sites;

Hmm. Can I suggest that if spamming in terms of email isn't allowed, Blogger might specifically say search engine spamming isn't allowed, either?

In case I missed something, I thought I'd report the blogs to Blogger anyway for potential violations of the terms. There's even a link at the bottom of the terms page:

VIOLATIONS Please report any violations of the TOS via the Blogger Support home page.

Sadly, while I easily found advice such as:

  • What to do if your Mom discovers your blog...
  • How Not to Get Fired Because of Your Blog
  • I found nothing on how to report to Blogger about a terms of service violation. There was, at least, this section:

    Can't find what you're looking for in Blogger Help?
    First check Blogger Status and our known issues page,
    then write Blogger Support and we'll see what we can do.

    Annoyingly, to report anything, you have to have a Blogger account. I do, but not so nice for someone else who doesn't.

    Next, the report form has these options:

    • Something is Broken
    • I Have a Question.
    • How Do I...

    Nothing about reporting terms of service violations or search spam. Well, I reported the spam I spotted as a "Something is Broken" options and pointed them over to this post, in case they wanted to know more.


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