Earlier this month, I asked “What Is With All The TrackBack Spam ?” We suddenly began getting an inordinate amount of spammy trackbacks, and I had no idea why.

It didn’t take long to figure out the source: A WordPress plug in called “Related Blog Posts.” This is a dishonest way to try to grab some Google juice by auto-linking to other unrelated sites. It is auto-generated noise – uncurated, unfiltered, unedited, and worst of all not actually related – that tries to look like human generated linkfests and/or related content.

It is not. It is nothing more than trackback spam.

Andrew Wee describes them as a “new generation of made-for-Adsense blogs.” I just call them splogs. There are now 1000s of spam blogs that have started to use this plug in, and they pollute the comment stream of other blogs. If we allowed these unrelated “Related Blog Posts,” half of the comment discussion section would be splog trackbacks.

We get anywhere from 100 to 500 legitimate comments on any given day, and about 500 nonsense trackbacks from unrelated sites on unrelated posts using the Related Blog Posts plug in. If I do not blacklist every site that uses this  plug in, it would render all discussion useless — and dominate the comments sections with meaningless trackbacks.

Hence, the following three requests:

1) Perhaps some of the wizards at Google can address this. The plug in is free riding on a key part of Google’s search algo; you guys should do something about this.

2) The developers of these plug ins put in their terms of use “No Spam.” Can you modify the plug in so its actually useful, and not unrelated links? Alternatively, can any other Word Press developers counter this with an Anti-splog plugin?

3) If you are using this auto generated trackback spam, your site, email address and IP address are blacklisted here. Don’t email asking why your miracle body fat loss site or your make millions working from home blog cannot comment here.

Category: Web/Tech

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

8 Responses to ““Related Blog Posts” PlugIn is the Latest Spammer Trick”

  1. Via: Salon:

    “…Specifically, McConnell advocates a so-called “reeingeer[ing] of the Internet” to allow the Government and private corporations far greater capability to track what is being done over the Internet and who is doing it:

    The United States is fighting a cyber-war today, and we are losing. It’s that simple. . . . If an enemy disrupted our financial and accounting transactions, our equities and bond markets or our retail commerce — or created confusion about the legitimacy of those transactions — chaos would result. Our power grids, air and ground transportation, telecommunications, and water-filtration systems are in jeopardy as well.

    Scary! And what do we need to submit to in order to avoid these calamaties? This:

    The United States must also translate our intent into capabilities. We need to develop an early-warning system to monitor cyberspace, identify intrusions and locate the source of attacks with a trail of evidence that can support diplomatic, military and legal options — and we must be able to do this in milliseconds. More specifically, we need to reengineer the Internet to make attribution, geolocation, intelligence analysis and impact assessment — who did it, from where, why and what was the result — more manageable…”

    has anyone come up with a stronger appelation than “Orwellian”? Pretty soon, ol’ George is going to look like a lightweight..

  2. VennData says:

    “…We get anywhere from 100 to 500 legitimate comments on any given day…”

    Not from me you don’t.

  3. Hans Robert says:

    Related Blog Posts is only useful if you limit it to posting links to articles on your own site. It’s broad concept is destructive and not useful for blogs to use.

  4. J Kraus says:

    Hans is quite correct. I disabled this “feature” on my WordPress blog long ago. It adds nothing of value even on a good day, as it just uses key word association. You might write a post on “fiat” currency and it will assume that it is related to a blog post regarding a 1953 “Fiat” 8V Supersonic.

  5. J Kraus,

    to your point, WP’s contextual text recognition capability blows..

    if they, WP, gave a ****, they’d dial up http://www.nuance.com/

  6. alfred e says:

    @MEH: How do you continue to find these scary beyond Orwellian texts?

    It is true though.

    And they are not going to rest until they are camped out on every email and blog in real time.

    I am reminded of a number of years back when a Mother used the word “bomb” on her cell phone while driving only to find the FBI camped out on her doorstep when she arrived home. Echelon.

    And BSO was going to fight to protect privacy and filibuster the telecom immunity act.

    Right. The elites do not want any surprises.

    And they feel the technology is at hand to guarantee that. Just ask Alcatel-Lucent about LGS (or LGI). It’s about the only US part of the company hiring anybody. Been doing it for years. White Noise.

    Now it is evolving to real-time IP address tracing and “intent” translation. They are way beyond voice and speech recognition. Now it’s intent translation.

    Feeling safe and secure? Guess again. Just want you to be a compliant wage slave consumer. Not an independent thinker.

    And now that we have all these blogs and plug-ins and add-ons, we have no clue where they are. But they are probably inside our house, inside our PC someplace, inside our IP stack, or root-user domain.

    And the anti-virus anti spam guys are in on it too.

    My advice. Get a trusted packet sniffer if that’s still possible.

    Oops. Sorry for the flame, but MEH hit a nerve again.

  7. budhak0n says:

    I knew there was a reason I liked this site.

    I knew Barry from having watched him many many times as a commentator on CNBC, and had to tip my hat to him on more than one occasion, but I wouldn’t have found this site without the recent article on Marketwatch.

    And I’ve been to many of the sites also mentioned but besides our mysterious Tolkien friend, the rest are simply news blurbs.

    BR, you do a great job here and I don’t know if there was any ranking system given but just in my short month to month experience here, I can definitely say this site is the best of the bunch.

    Thanks for taking the time to make the readers experience quick, concise, informative and always entertaining.

    Sorry I haven’t had much to say about the “market” lately but that’s because the “market” is sort of in milktoast mode. No idea where we go from here, that’s why everybody’s hedging their bets I guess.

  8. [...] = 336;google_ad_height = 280; Jojo just mailed me an interesting article about a blog that discovered that its trackbacks, the links pointing to their articles from other blogs, [...]