Zombie blog harvesters

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Here's another good reason to clean out your blogroll from time to time:

Last year sometime I blogrolled a blogspot blog called The New York Minute, which was at thenyminute.blogspot.com. After a few months the blog went away completely -- 404 -- but I neglected to remove it from the blogroll. I noticed there was a "recently updated" star next to its name, and went there to find it had been restarted by someone called "Mask Man". The entries are random paragraphs out of an encyclopedia. Mask Man's blogger profile shows he has eight Blogger blogs, and each one has the same sort of content. The most recent entry on each has a comment with links to a Halloween costumes website.

What's the strategy? Find abandoned blogs that are still linked by other blogs, claim them, add enough content to avoid easy detection as a spam blog, then put the spam links in the comments, so the search engine bots will find them.

How to fight this?

If you have a blogroll or a list of links on your site, clean out the dead wood from time to time.

Regular maintenance is especially important for those who manage alliance blogrolls, where one person controls a blogroll that is displayed by each member blog. For example, there are the three on my sidebar -- Wictory Wednesdays, League of Reformed Bloggers, and Blogs for Terri. The blog I mentioned above is on the Blogs for Terri blogroll, which means it's linked from hundreds of blogs. According to Technorati, it has 334 links from 209 sites.

If you're deleting your Blogger blog for some reason, I suggest you then recreate it, with zero entries, so that no one else can claim the name for nefarious purposes. (If you are deleting your Blogger blog, you should back it up as it appears on the web, and export the entries, too. I think you can also export comments, and I believe that paying Haloscan customers can export their comment data as well.)

(UPDATED with a bit more info on 10/5/2005.)

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Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: Zombie blog harvesters.

TrackBack URL for this entry: http://www.batesline.com/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.cgi/1985

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David Wayne said:

Michael - thanks for this. Twice in the last week and a half I have been notified of a blog on one of my blogrolls that has been taken over by a porn spammer.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on October 5, 2005 12:30 AM.

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