MyBlogLog goes after spammers


MyBlogLog co-founder Eric Marcoullier has a long post here, in which he describes how the service discovered the “co-author” spam — and how it took a little longer because of the three-day weekend in the U.S., and one MBL staffer being away at a wedding (ah, the joys of working with a small team). But he says it is fixed, and lists the changes that the service has made to prevent similar kinds of spam. Nice job from Eric and the team, and a classy response.

Original post:

There seem to be mixed feelings about MyBlogLog, the social networking service that Yahoo bought in January, and the one whose widget you can see in my sidebar, as well as the sidebars on lots of other blogs (it’s the one with a row of pictures of different readers who have visited my blog recently). Some people think it’s a waste of time and have gotten rid of it, but I think it’s actually quite useful — I can see with a glance who has been reading, and I often check out their blogs or their MyBlogLog community as a result.

mybloglog.JPGLike so many other social networking services, however, there is a growing problem with people trying to “game” the system to achieve a variety of spammy ends. As John Chow and search guru Danny Sullivan have reported, they have been approached to become “co-authors” of other sites — and in some cases were actually made co-authors without agreeing to become so. Robyn Tippins of SleepyBlogger says her husband, a pastor, was added as the co-author of a porn site, which was probably somewhat awkward.

As far as I can tell from the comments on blogs such as WebMetricsGuru and John Chow, the co-author additions were made by Bradford Knowlton of SEO Adwords — who says in his comment and on his blog that he did it to point out the loopholes in MyBlogLog. In a comment over at Darren Rowse’s Problogger, Eric Marcoullier of MyBlogLog says that the service is working on closing the loophole.

I haven’t become co-author of any site I don’t know about (although I should check to make sure, I suppose), but I have experienced another MyBlogLog “feature” in the past — which Solo SEO wrote about awhile back — which is people setting up accounts and uploading photos of themselves that are simply logos for their company or website, since they appear in the strip of headshots and are thus free advertising. Unfortunately, the more popular a site or service like MyBlogLog becomes, the more attractive it becomes as a target for spammers.

Comments (9)

  1. Ryan Coleman wrote::

    I’ve noticed the spammers and got a co-author invite over the weekend. Kudos to MBL the “community” was gone by the time I received the email and went to the site wondering WTF?

    As for spammers – I’ve just X’ed them off the list anytime I notice them, a pain but I peek at the MBL ticker periodically so not a big amount of work to simply click an “X”, ideally MBL will figure out a way to suspend accounts if they register and quickly gather a large number of X’s.

    Monday, February 19, 2007 at 3:50 pm #
  2. Mathew wrote::

    Yeah, I agree Ryan — not a huge deal to click the little X to get rid of those icons, but still a pain in the ass. And the co-author thing is also a potential hazard — hopefully the MyBlogLog team will get that one taken care of soon.

    Monday, February 19, 2007 at 4:10 pm #
  3. Steven Hodson wrote::

    I got one of those co-author “requests” as well over the weekend. The delete button works really well since I figure if anyone was serious about the offer (job or otherwise) they would take the time to send a real email :)

    Monday, February 19, 2007 at 4:19 pm #
  4. Robyn Tippins wrote::

    Yeah, it was somewhat awkward LOL I’m a big fan of MBL, so I’m sure they’ll work it all out.

    Monday, February 19, 2007 at 5:14 pm #
  5. engtech wrote::

    I really enjoy the service and I think it’s a great idea to have a centralized avatar system like that.

    If they thought about it they could easily compete with OpenID.

    But I wish they were a little more security minded. They need to hire some good testers who break stuff like this before lunch.

    Monday, February 19, 2007 at 5:44 pm #
  6. Mathew wrote::

    I bet it was, Robyn :-)

    And Engtech, I would agree — from the sounds of it they are working hard on it.

    Monday, February 19, 2007 at 6:13 pm #
  7. Robyn Tippins wrote::

    It’s fixed now. I’m amazed at the success they’ve had in pretty much ousting Gravatar as the standard.

    Monday, February 19, 2007 at 6:23 pm #
  8. Hello,

    I’m glad this weekend is over. I added the top 10 SEO’s, and just as I expected, the two things I wanted to happen did. A) they blogged about it, B) it got fixed, much faster then if I just sent in a bug @ MBL e-mail. What I also proved, which I think most people know about MyBlogLog that is doesn’t generate traffic. The two sites I promoted, and both received very little traffic boast from all hype.

    Anyway, thanks for using the shot of the bloglog from Wig-Dig, looks cool.

    Bradford Knowlton

    Tuesday, February 20, 2007 at 2:28 am #
  9. Mathew wrote::

    Thanks for the comment, Bradford. Your move certainly got a lot of attention. Just out of curiosity, did you get any negative feedback from the people you chose to use as an example?

    Tuesday, February 20, 2007 at 8:14 am #