I wanted to call the post “Website Scraper, Trackback Spammer and Cloaking Bundle” at first, but then thought that the current one is a bit funnier, which is a bit more appropriate considering the irony, which will become apparent in a little bit.
Back in March when I did some research for my post about some rogue affiliate examples at ReveNews.com I did stumble across a company who is selling a service that I would summarize as a search engine spamming toolset. The name of the company is Simplifiedsec.
I revisited the issue recently for a follow up post and discovered a video on the company’s website that demonstrates what they are doing and how their tools work from a user perspective.
Here is a screenshot with link to the video, which Loren might replace with the embedded version of the video a bit later.
Here is the link to the video at Google Video, which I created from the original Shockwave video on their website. The original SWF file can be downloaded here (link is using nofollow).
Some of the “highlights” are IP delivery (cloaking) to serve search engine robots different content than to the user who visits the site, flexible redirection of a visitor of a spam website to the target website, which could be an ecommerce site or a site that offers other products and services (this practice is called “bait and switch”).
The software generates sites based on scraped content based on targeted terms and phrases and related phrases, which the tool automatically determines to be able to simulate to the search engines the appropriate theme of the site and to avoid to trigger spam filters that usually detect normal scraped and then keyword stuffed content. It uses things like a CJ keyword scraper (Commission Junction), Google suggest and LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) to build pages based on scraped results from Google, Yahoo!, MSN, Wikipedia or any RSS feed (supports unlimited feeds), such as the digg.com RSS feed, which they used in the demonstration.
It has bad words filters that work similar to the negative words used in paid search campaigns to make sure that the content generated is as targeted as possible without attracting poor quality and unrelated traffic.
In addition to generate content sites based on scraped material, related keyword phrases and sentences generated by using LSI algorithms, supports the tool “nice” things like .EDU spamming, Blog Pings and Trackback spamming.
The tool has the option to forbid non-referral traffic and supports IP Blocking (to block other scrapers, can you believe it?!).
They are in business for well over one year and provide their software as either an ASP solution for a monthly subscription fee or sell the whole thing as software page that you can install it on your own server. It is designed to manage hundreds or even thousands of sites and if you look at their website and the video you get the impression that there are selling some kind of next generation content management system and not spam producing and deceiving software that not only violates any search engines webmaster guidelines, but also copyright laws, not to mention that what it does is unethical.
That they are in business for such a long time shows that they seem to have success with their product. I think that this kind of stuff is a much greater threat to search engines than the hypocritical statements regarding paid links and the punishment of guilty and innocent webmasters. The latter use at least common business sense and moral to run their website and at least try to produce some noteworthy content that is meant to be read by humans and not just to feed words as fodder to search engines without the intend to have a human ever look at it.
Internet marketer, entrepreneur and owner of the internet marketing resources portal at cumbrowski.com, for example: Keyword Research 101.