Wikipedia Spam Resulting in Google & Yahoo Penalties

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Even though Wikipedia uses a NoFollow attribute on their external links, if you spam Wikipedia results, your site can end up in a penalty in both Google and Yahoo search engines. That is, according to Search Marketer and Wikipedia volunteer Jonathan Hochman.

In a recent article in Forbes which covered the Wikipedia discussion at SMX Social, Hochman told’s Andy Greenberg:

Wikipedia keeps a ‘spammer blacklist’ and shares it with several search engines… Domains that appear on the list often lose valuable search engine traffic.

I have not heard of this before, nor had John Carcutt who informed me of this quote from Mr. Hochman.

Have any other readers witnessed or heard of this penalty?

It seems that the sharing of spam information on Wikipedia should be somewhat irrelevant to search engines, especially with the use of NoFollow.

  • And how does one make the Wikipedia Blacklist?
  • What constitutes one as a spammer to Wikipedia?
  • Via automated spamming of external links, spamming of resources, or my editing of Wikipedia content?

The rest of the article is pretty amazing, especially:

Comedy Central’s director of enterprise marketing, Don Steele, Wikipedia has been a godsend. One of the network’s shows, South Park, has spawned more than 250 Wikipedia pages.’Wikipedia is one of the largest traffic drivers to’

But what about this Wikipedia, Yahoo and Google spammer blacklist?

Loren Baker
Loren Baker is the Founder of SEJ, an Advisor at Alpha Brand Media and runs Foundation Digital, a digital marketing strategy & development agency.
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  • Michael Martinez

    Wikipedia is unscrupulous in a number of ways but I’m not surprised to hear about their reporting spammers to search engines. They are by no means the first social media site to do that and they won’t be the last.

    I have often advised people NOT to try to game Wikipedia. But I also tell clients I won’t try to manage their companies’ Wikipedia entries, either. It’s better to leave it be and ignore it than to turn Wikipedia into a hostile entity.

  • Matt Cutts

    If you do a search for [wikipedia spam blacklist], the first result is helpful. It gives pointers to various strings and urls that Wikipedia has blacklisted on their site.

    I’d characterize that list as much like a spam report: the data can be useful, but at least in Google it wouldn’t automatically result in a penalty (for the reason that site A might be trying to hurt site B).

    That could be one of the things jehochman was referring to.

  • Loren Baker, Editor

    Thanks Matt, here’s the global Wikipedia Spam Blacklist for those who are interested, and maybe comparing their sites with it.

  • Cristian Mezei


    That’s one of the blacklisted websites/URLs.

    Funny thing. That just proves that this list CAN be helpful in determining penalties, but it’s not nearly what it should be.

  • Jonathan Hochman

    I was there. πŸ™‚ That Hochman guy actually said, “The blacklist is public, so search engines can read it. You don’t want to get on that list.”

    This is one reason why it’s great to attend the conferences, because you can hear what’s actually said, rather than read about it second hand.

    In fairness to the Forbes reporter, he tried to call me last night to confirm the quote, but I was putting kids to bed and didn’t get back to him in time.

    In fairness to Matt Cutts, he shouldn’t help the gamers by confirming or denying anything, but if I were in his shoes, I’d use that data as a signal, while being careful to filter out any Joe Jobs. Another one of Matt’s colleagues told me that when people are spammers, they generally do all the shady things they can, not just one. If you only end up on the Wiki blacklist, that might be ignored. If you do a bunch of other shady things, that signal starts to look consistent.

    I know some of the people who run the blacklist. Being hardcore geeks, they enjoy watching what happens to the search rankings of the sites they add. Their impression is that being added to the list isn’t a good thing for your search marketing campaign. Maybe that’s wishful thinking on their part, or maybe not.

  • Tyler

    “(for the reason that site A might be trying to hurt site B).”

    Good to hear, that was my main concern with this concept.

  • David Gerard

    The spam blacklist is often used by other MediaWiki sites.

  • Durova

    As one of Jonathan’s copanelists and a fellow administrator, I agree.

    It would hardly be possible for a Wiki to maintain this type of list without doing so publicly.

  • Mikhail Tuknov

    It doesn’t affect the ranking. I am on that list also, and so do you πŸ™‚

  • Ken Savage

    Ahhhh shit my own personal site is on there. I dont ever remember spamming wikipedia!!

  • Pozycjonowanie

    Thanks for the list maybe someone I will check if there is some of my sites

  • Durova

    If anyone here finds a joe job on that list, send me the evidence and I’ll check it out.

  • Loren Baker, Editor

    Thanks for the offer Durova, that’s mighty honorable of you.

  • Chris Work

    There isn’t a need to spam. You can usually find a valid entry into wikipedia for a client or website. Really digging into your clients products and services will expose an opportunity to expand on a subject –

  • mark

    Thanks Matt Cutts! You’ve answered my concern as well.

  • Aurelius Tjin

    Glad to know about that.

    Wiki can at least optimize the fight against spam! πŸ™‚

  • Sergio

    Wikipedia is becomming better than never.

  • SEO Web Design

    If that is the case, any competitor could easily list his foes in the blacklist by spamming his foes’ sites across wikipedia. How can such blacklist works fairly in search marketing.

  • Matt Earle

    Like most things on wikipedia, if you are wrongly placed on the Blacklist, it can be appealed and will be dealt with in the same democratic process as the rest of the site’s decision making. I appealed a site today through this page and expect to have my whitelisting accepted as I was genuinely not spamming (of course) . White list -

  • pozycjonowanie stron

    Hi. You know what guys? I think this is very good idea, but I am affraid but not for me 😐

  • Chung

    Wikipedia has long way to go before even dreaming of providing unbiased spam lists.

    The way sites get blacklisted on Wikipedia is often done by WP admins to revenge on sites or users they came into personal disputes with.

    Example: site at which for example provides free, open source, CMS script has ended on this list after script fans argued that WP lacks an article about this script. There is a long distance from blacklisting such a script then just refusing to write an article about it. All attempts to stop this pathetic blacklisting ended by WebAPP users being banned and even having their own talk pages edited (!) by some psychopathic WP admin.

    It is tragic, but as long as WP allows psychos to serve as admins there, they would not be able to provide any reliable spam lists or any other reliable information.

    My advice to WP, get real and get rid of your power abusing or psycho admins before going any further, you are damaging others and your self too.


  • AC_UC

    I agree with Chung, there is a need for major cleaning in wikipedia, they seem to let small kids play power games there.

    This spam tech. wikipedia is using will also not work in cases where a competing site would want to blacklist its competitors, all they need is a couple of proxies and 1 hour work and bingo their competitors would get blacklisted.

    whitelisting will not work in this case. Ask wikipedia admins they would tell you: “we don’t care who placed the links, it is spam…”.

    Wikipedia has just opened new doors for abuse.

  • Not Chung was thoroughly investigated including a edit-by-edit analysis of all 400+ edits made involving spam. This included traceroutes on anonymous IPs and checks on domain registrations, etc. There may or may not have been a little “joe jobbing” involved, but even of you exclude all the different user accounts involved except for the two the domain owner acknowledged were his, there was more than enough spam (plus page defacing and personla attacks) to meet the threshold for blacklisting.

  • Not A._B. (a power abusing wikipedia admin)

    I would laugh if this was not so tragic.

    To above poster, better known as Wikipedia admin, A._B. why don’t you joing the rest of the wikipedia well known wikipedia admin tools abusers in and see how no one cares about your lies.

    If you are so sure that you are right, you are hereby challenged to undelete the abuse complaint against it and stop blocking those who complaint against your abuse, according to the noticeboard, is only one of many who complained against your abuse.

    Until then, you are nothing but a funny guy telling funny stories in a place where you can NO longer abuse your admin tools.

  • On

    Here is evidence provided by A._B. himself for his very own abuse of admin tools, no need to say anymore:

    (in case this is deleted from his talk page, please check history there).

    [edit] Admin power abuse

    WP:ANI#Admin power abuse, illegal activity and sockpuppet- Request for arbitration/action…. seicer | talk | contribs 19:42, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

    I must admit that admin abuse is something I occasionally fantasize about; there have been some trying characters that I have wished I could have abused.

    I expect this will continue for a while. –A. B. (talk • contribs) 20:24, 21 September 2008 (UTC) ,

    Needless to mention that the admin informing A._B. about his case has 3 personal pages from his userpage, did anyone mention spam?

    Just one more example of why Wikipedia should consider major changes aqnd get rid of this biased system that is nothing but giving freedom to small kids abusing admin tools to take revenge, I guess it something like a “space wars” for them.

  • On

    Please disregard my comments above, my mistake and misunderstanding. A._B. is doing a good job and WP needs him.




  • Matt (Yes Me)

    Wikipedia has crossed the line in two many way I’m affraid. The abuse of power by admins and editors has triggered an alert amongst all search engine leaders and is being disscused in secretive meetings at round tables at Google headquarters. The more experienced Admin’s seem to be babysitting the abusive editors more than preventing spam, which means their system is not only counterproductive but failing as a whole. If Wikipedia dosen’t go back and re-address all the Blacklist complaints and mistakes, they will be destroying their own concept by 2012 – Bet on it!