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Beware spambots trying to pose as legit users posting news articles

Last posted Nov 06, 2013 at 10:39PM EST. Added Nov 03, 2013 at 01:37AM EST
15 posts from 8 users

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Nov 03, 2013 at 01:37AM EST
  • Follows the “source” link.
    An error occurred on the page. Data sent to the developers. Sorry for the inconvenience.

But yes, it’s spam.

Last edited Nov 03, 2013 at 02:16AM EST
Nov 03, 2013 at 02:15AM EST
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Huh, the last one had a New York times link and was fairly believable.

Nov 03, 2013 at 02:23AM EST

It’s actually interesting what they’ve tried to do here. The “Source Link” actually links to a site called UserEcho, which links back to a site called APSense (not related to the associated press) which links back at least another two pages until you get to The New York Times; version of the article. Each of the links contains the original article above, but I do not know why it was reposted everywhere. My only theory is that The New York Times is trying to boost the popularity of it’s articles in search engines by creating replicas of it’s articles across the web on popular websites. Each of these links that lead to the previous page makes it look like the NYT is being referenced a lot and must be a popular source.

Edit: I’ve reported the article on the NYT to Google since it seems to be in violation of their PageRank system. This post can be deleted if you want, but I referenced this forum post in my report as well.

Last edited Nov 03, 2013 at 05:33AM EST
Nov 03, 2013 at 05:12AM EST
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Thanks for the heads up Stare

I’ve gone ahead and banned both users posting this article. Both of them has us pretty much fooled up until the point where the second one appeared. (Because the chance of two humans doing this exact same thing is 0%)

We’re used to spambots trying to advertise something so seeing one NOT advertise and just try to report something is a bit of a new one.

Of course such practices are not unheard of. It’s a very common black hat SEO practice to use spambots this way in order to increase the search rankings of your site pages. In this case the spambots aren’t so much advertising as they are just spreading links so Google will rank them higher. We just don’t get this kind of spam often, and furthermore spambots that do this are able to blend in better since all they gotta do is link something, not sell

I’m going to leave this thread open just as an alert notice for now.

And shame on the NY Times for using this to fake their publicity

Last edited Nov 03, 2013 at 06:02AM EST
Nov 03, 2013 at 06:01AM EST
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Not to be an idiot or anything, but was his post deleted, or was his original post really was “this post has been deleted”?

Nov 03, 2013 at 07:22AM EST
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Lil B wrote:

Not to be an idiot or anything, but was his post deleted, or was his original post really was “this post has been deleted”?

*facepalm*
It’s deleted.

Nov 03, 2013 at 07:47AM EST
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Lil B wrote:

Not to be an idiot or anything, but was his post deleted, or was his original post really was “this post has been deleted”?

I think that’s a fair question.

As the not so nice answer above says, the post was actually deleted. Normally, when a post is deleted, it’s deleted without a trace. It’s just gone. The reason you see the “This post has been deleted” here is because it was an original (sorta) post. If the post were just deleted, then the thread might not make as much sense, because no one jumping into the thread wouldn’t know what OP said.

I agree with leaving the thread open for a bit and just letting it die on its own in order to remind visitors and users of another thing to look out for.

Nov 03, 2013 at 09:52AM EST

Do we still have the link the article posted? If google comes to check whether this was a PageRank scheme they’re going to need to check the links. In my report I was able to post a link to this page and a link to the original NYT article, but I didn’t give the link to the “source link.” It’s probably safe enough to just leave the address up (with a warning next to it) since it wasn’t actually hyperlinked. I’ll defer that judgement to you mods though.

Last edited Nov 03, 2013 at 08:40PM EST
Nov 03, 2013 at 08:40PM EST
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The Cute Master :3 wrote:

Do we still have the link the article posted? If google comes to check whether this was a PageRank scheme they’re going to need to check the links. In my report I was able to post a link to this page and a link to the original NYT article, but I didn’t give the link to the “source link.” It’s probably safe enough to just leave the address up (with a warning next to it) since it wasn’t actually hyperlinked. I’ll defer that judgement to you mods though.

To my knowledge, once we delete a post, it’s gone never to be retrieved again. I don’t think I’ll be able to get to it. If it’s possible, then that’s either something BSOD/James could figure out or perhaps the moderator who deleted the post could see somehow (perhaps through a cached version of the page.)

I haven’t heard from Google ever with regards to the happenings on KYM though. I’m not sure what you mean there. In either case, I couldn’t retrieve the link.

Nov 03, 2013 at 08:57PM EST

@ring pop

Not to be an idiot or anything, but was his post deleted, or was his original post really was “this post has been deleted”?

Why would you assume the latter?


@Stare

Gone post is gone. The OP’s post is nothing but a placeholder so people know who the real OP is.

I removed the post and the link to completely void the spambotters intention of using KYM to fuel the page ranking of another website. There is no way for me to recover what I had just deleted

I did not know that Google comes back to check on this sort of thing. Had I known that, I probably would have preserved the post somewhere. But if the same spambot returns (which tends to happen) we can catch it.

Nov 03, 2013 at 11:16PM EST
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Meh. It’s cool. It actually just occurred to me that I have all the links in my browser history. If that fine with whoever then I could post them as plain text non-hyperlinked format with the “.” substituted for “dot”.

Nov 04, 2013 at 02:01PM EST
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@BSOD

I thought it might have either was a fail troll attempt or OP didn’t have anything else to say.

Nov 04, 2013 at 03:07PM EST
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Could anyone explain why is specialist Baba so interested to this site? Why not some kind of other website?

Nov 06, 2013 at 10:39PM EST
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Skeletor-sm

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