Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Google Friend Connect – Conclusions

GoogFriendConnect500TGET RID OF IT or PAY ATTENTION to it!!

I posted about Friend Connect (FC) and Spammers the other day… and have now looked through a number of other blogs to see whether their FC list had as many Spammers as mine did – which was 38% definite Spammers and 7% Suspected/Probable - 45%!!  On average it is probably about 30-40% of the FC Followers that are spammer, and between 10-25% suspected.

I have bitched, whined, and complained about Google closing gay blogs a number of times, but in their defense, spam is a very serious, and growing, problem.  I still think Google’s spam bots are running amok and Google is handling this incredibly badly… but… I don’t believe there is a targeted campaign to close gay blogs.  This by no means lets Google off the hook, because their allocation of resources in EVERY one of their Services is astonishingly almost non-existent.  Believe it or not, there is ONE Google employee that monitors the Help Forum supporting Blogger!  But I digress… this post is about Spammers… and how they love to hang out in Friend Connect…

I think the fundamental problem with FC is that it is basically a vanity badgelook how popular I am and how many Followers I have!!  Your number of Followers is displayed prominently and it is quite easy to click each to see their blogs and/or who they are following.  According to Wikpedia, almost 200,000 sites display Friend Connect!  And because FC feeds our most primeval instinct of being “popular”, all of us that blog tend to seek out and increase our number of Followers, and only concern ourselves with the number that follow, and not who the followers are. 

Gay blogs are being shut down at an astonishingly increasing rate because Google is trying to hunt down and close the Spammers and we are getting caught in the fray.  Google would not have to hunt down Spammers so aggressively if there weren’t so many of them.  It really is that 10-25% of suspected/probable spam blogs that are the cause of bog closings – both gay and straight.  Most Spammers are pretty fucking stupid and are easily identified… but there are lots that are very smart and you would never know they were a splog… but they are… because they support and promote the whole spamming network…. but the real insidious aspect is how they manipulate us into supporting them…

Here’s how spamming works…

If you are trying to make money at blogging there are two ways to do it;
1. Ad revenue generated by displaying ads on your blog, and;
2. Affiliate click-through revenue.

In order to increase revenue from both, you have to increase the number of page-views or hits on your blog.  Basically it's a numbers game - the more coming through, the more likely they are to click through to a pay-site and possibly purchase something, and the more hits your site gets, the more money you command for displaying ads.

The best way to increase traffic is to increase exposure, i.e.the more your blog is displayed, the greater the chance that someone might click through to visit, and so on.  The 10-25% suspected/probably spam blogs may not be obvious in their appearance, but they support the spam network (most often their other sites) through direct links on their blogs, and/or using methods to manipulate search engines, and/or through manipulating their exposure in Friend Connect.

There is nothing wrong with making money off a blog, it is the use of deceptive tactics to manipulate and increase the visibility of a blog that make it spam.

The best way to manipulate Friend Connect, and any other link lists, is to have symbols or numbers at the start of the blog name, so they appear at the top…. like this…TypicalSpamBlogNames

And they will often give themselves cute little pictures and/or names to appeal to the readers of the kind of blog they Follow... below is 144 from my list of Followers on Friend Connect… cute little Kile (lol…SP) I’m sure has a muscle jock brother that Follows gay blogs that feature that type of guy, a red-headed brother for those blogs, a sister with big tits and likes it doggy-style for blogs catering to that, and so on, and so on…

Spammers1Spammers2Spammers3Spammers4Spammers5Spammers6

I have started displaying Friend Connect again because I have been reassured by a senior person on Google’s Help Forum that the bots are not scouring FC and closing our blogs because the Spammers are so rampant on there.  But we also need to help in the battle to get rid of the spammers because they are the root cause.

As bloggers we can make sure we block Followers like the 144 above and the thousands of others just like them.  But bloggers and followers alike can also take action to report these maggots.  The more reports the less spam blogs, the less spam blogs the less need to send out the bots, the less bots running amok the less legitimate gay blogs get closed… we all win!

ReportSpammers500

9 comments:

  1. Thanks. I'm gonna go through my Friend Connect. I have a few of these, I think.

    ReplyDelete
  2. But how do we tell a Spammer from anyone else?

    ReplyDelete
  3. I was well aware of the fact that I had quite a number of spam blogs following mine. (30-40%)
    I just wasn't able to block ll of them (perhaps there is a trick that I didn't know of, but it wouldn't work with the "block this user" feature)
    Also I keep thinking that a "spam review" should reveal if a blog is actually a spam blog or if it's just followed or friend connected by such. In case of the latter one it should be easy for them to just remove the followers but keep the blog.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This is a very important issue, to be honest, one I;d not really given much thought of before. So thank you for raising the issue.

    I remember Luke had mention on his blog many moons ago about spammers in his follower list, which when he said about deleting it, drew some angry and unkind comments from some readers.

    I guess, as bloggers, we like it when we get a new follower, boosting up those numbers is a little boost the one's ego, however, from reading this, it's clear that we need to be way more careful, and carefully monitor our connect and follower lists.

    Thanks again for this.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Micky, please see the comment in the latest Mikus Lasmanis post, a little spammer came by just to provide a perfect example. Is this a gay blog? Is that real content or scraped from another source? What possible content connection is there between this blog and it that would lead me to consider linking to it? Try out the Report Spammers form this post links to and report this blog. Also note how many Followers in your FC follow that blog and many that are just like it... why is that and what does it tell us? Perhaps they are all related somehow?

    Luke, the Google bots do NOT scan the Friend Connect widget which is why there are so many there, and as a result FC would not have had any part as to why your blog was flagged. Whether or not FC spam is looked at in the Review I am not sure, but I think it is probable that it is. I still think your blog might have been flagged because of the way you had it named... but of course, no one gets a real answer from Google, you are just left scratching your head as to why.

    Thanks Jason :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Mhmm...should be easy to reinstall it using no additional characters in front of the actual blogs name then....

    ReplyDelete
  7. Luke, you may be on to something! Maybe you should propose that in the forum... and here we have all been over-complicating all of this :)

    There have been a few blog closings that have really upset me because there was absolutely no justification for it - your blog was one of them!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I'm already tempted to open a new blog with no characters in front of the name....

    ReplyDelete
  9. I have blocked a number of spammers and check out each new follower closely to make certain they aren't just spamming! I have 57 followers listed but would otherwise have close to 80. The rest are blocked and for good reason. - V

    ReplyDelete

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