My last post was on the humorous side of Spam techniques. Just in the past hour, I got to see the more "dangerous" side of them. There is a technique that might go by many names, but I call it "referer spam". Let's see what Mr. Wikipedia says: looks like I'm right... Referer Spam. Anyhow, it works like this, I send a bot to a website to look at their page on cooking, or such. Except, rather than say where I really came from, I obfuscate the information and make it look like I came from http://cookingiscool.fakeurl/ or such. The reason I do this because I hope one or more of three things occurs: 1) they automatically link to who links to them, meaning I get a link hit in Google, 2) some bot or similar on my server goes and looks at their link, with a possibly variety of results, 3) some human gets note of it and follows their links. Now, referer spam is usually kind of obvious because most of it is bot based and you know that you did not get linked to by a website like fakecashpayout.com or anything.
Yesterday though, I got hit by referer spam that claimed to be from a Google image search for "17 year old nude". By the nature of referer spam, it is not always easy to see the full URL that it came from, so when I clicked on the link to see what the search terms were, I got to see tons of pictures of nude people and nothing from my own site. I doubt, seriously, that any of them were 17 year old nudes (would Google not flag that sort of content) so I can only think of a couple of reasons why this would be done. 1) One of the websites was hoping I was the sort that would click on one of the images and follow through with the search once enticed, 2) something like a prank. Another possible use is creating a lot of pingbacks to that search term, hiding someone who is wanting to search it. It goes like this: I want to search for "termites" but I don't want others to know I searched for termites. What I do is send out a ton of these fake things to all sorts of servers, inducing a good percentage to auto-search for termites (essentially), hiding my own search. As far as "prank" goes, possibly a malicious one, which was trying to get my server to list it's own content as containing "17 year old nude" (think of a website that lists which pages list its content, which would then mean the images (if such was set up on my website) would then have said phrase attached to them on the page). I cannot think of any reason to do this outside of being a turd, but then again welcome to the Internet.
Anyhow, I blocked the IP, and sent in a report to their ISP. I don't know what they are up to, but it's no good.
Si Vales, Valeo
Written by Doug Bolden
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The longer, fuller version of this text can be found on my FAQ: "Can I Use Something I Found on the Site?".
"The hidden is greater than the seen."