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.

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About mathewi

I'm the chief digital writer at the Columbia Journalism Review in New York, and a former writer for Fortune magazine and the Globe and Mail newspaper.

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