Web Design Blog

a web design & development blog by Think Bigger Media, Erie, PA.

23. July 2009 23:58
by Chris Arkwright

A Cheap Trick Used By Backlink Spammers Targeting DoFollow Blogs

23. July 2009 23:58 by Chris Arkwright | 0 Comments

We recently switched over our blog from Google's Blogger to the BlogEngine.net platform.

One issue we immediately ran in to is the instant attraction of spammers looking to build their backlinks by making ridiculous one-liner comments that are not only generic responses (ie. nice post, thank you), but are often written in terribly poor English (aka Engrish).

Now, while I do understand that "everyone's got to pay the bills," I am fairly sure I'm not the only one who finds it annoying that "Search Engine Marketing" from "XY & Z Company," based out of Iowa, has an IP address from India. Not to mention the ficticious email address. It is for this reason that I have enabled comment moderation in addition to the utilization of the ReCaptcha API.

A Cheap Trick:

With that said, I'd like to expound upon a trick that I have noticed spammers using in order to find "DoFollow" blogs, but also more specifically, blogs using BlogEngine.net.

Yesterday, I was examining some data provided by Google Analytics, and I noticed that I was getting visitors by a few strangely intriguing queries. I also noticed that the visitors were geographically located in places like India and Vietnam.

It didn't take me more than 10 seconds to understand what they were doing, and while this may be vastly evident to some people, I never really gave any thought to it.

I'm not going to post what they were searching for in this article, because by simply having it in this post, they would much more likely find this blog using their search strategy. But, I will explain what they were searching for.

The spammers were using a query string similar to the following: 'seo +"some text here"' or 'web design +"some text here"' ... and what exactly goes in to the "some text here," you may be asking yourself?

Well, first... a quick explanation as to why will help to explain a lot. Blog platforms tend to have a set of predefined phrases that can be found on nearly every page, whether it be found near the search box, or even around the comments section (hint). These phrases are key indicators of the blog platform the blog is actually using, and because BlogEngine.net inherently permits "DoFollow" links in comments, it is easy to see why spammers are pursuing these blogs.

As for the what, if you scroll down to the search box, and also the "notify on comment" check box, the wording is slightly modified from the original text. Those are just two examples of what to look out for.

I am certain that this trick will work for other blog platforms, but I just wanted to get the word out that if you use BlogEngine.net, make sure to change or remove the predefined phrases that will instantly give away your site's address to backlink spammers... and, make sure you enable comment moderation.

Luckily, BlogEngine.net is very customizable, and it shouldn't take too long to make the necessary changes.

If you have any specific questions regarding this post, feel free to send me an email using the form located on the blog contact page.