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Spam Followers

  1. Any updates on the SPAM followers issue?

    Today was not too bad: I was only followed by one Religious Zealot, one person trying to teach me how to increase my follower-ship, one person from over in Asia somewhere (not sure as I couldn't read the blog but pretty good guess that they're not interested in my personal life) and one Legitimate follower (at least I think they are legitimate?!?).

    Oh and last night there was the follower called something like AmazonStore but didn't count that one in today's tally! I reported them.

    Yes, this is in jest and yes, I'm a little frustrated. Any updates??

    The blog I need help with is brownroadchronicles.com.

  2. I am having the same problem with spam followers of my blog. Any help would be appreciated.

  3. fionamcquarrie
    Member

    Today I had two new follows within two hours of each other, different user names and URLs, but both linking to the same SPAM site.

    I have been diligently reporting these SPAM follows for a week and not a single one has been removed, even the extremely obvious ones. If the content "will be reviewed shortly", when does "shortly" happen?

    I am reluctant to block follows because I don't want to cut off legitimate followers, but honestly, I am really fed up with doing this sort of policing. It bothers me that by having to click on the link to see if the follower is legitimate or not, I am giving these SPAM sites more hits - which is exactly what they are looking for.

    I would really appreciate a clear explanation from WordPress as to what is being done to address this problem. And I would really like to know why blog owners cannot screen requests to follow, just as we can screen comments before deciding to post them.

  4. I am averaging anywhere from seven to ten splogs/TOS violating (Terms of Service) blogs a day, y'all. I have not seen anything like this before now. But, to be fair, I've only been here since late 2011.

    Like many of you, I'm reporting diligently (and carefully!), but not seeing removals yet.

    This is what I'm doing about this mess:

    I'm reporting all actual SPAM blogs with appropriate documentation and links; I'm reporting all TOS-violating blogs with appropriate notations.

    The splogs that have already been reported and removed by WP before I got to them— but still have active Gravatars— I go in and report their Gravatars if I find TOS violations or splog-activity.

    The ones I suspect, but cannot document or notate, I don't report— because there is not enough evidence and I don't want to clog up the reporting process for everyone else.

    Regarding international bloggers: I do have an actual international readership, and I follow/read a number of international blogs. It's one of the things I like about WP— WP bloggers aren't cordoned off into areas where one's own language is spoken. Some blog platforms are designed to make bloggers interact only with same-language speakers. I prefer WP's way of doing things.

    That said, given the splog and splike activity, I've had to add an extra step in my splog-hunting to account for international splogs.

    All new international blogs with a splog-like feel to them, I've taken to running through Google Translate so I can look at them carefully in English. (The translation is really warped, but workable.)

    If anything throws up an obvious splog flag, I send an English-version link or two through CopyScape, then a link or two to CopyScape in the blogger's original language to help me look for content scraping. (I also do it the old school way— pull a sentence from a post, throw quotes around it, and drop it into the Google search engine to see what turns up.)

    If an international splog has really obvious TOS-violations, I just report those.

    You have to be really careful though— I have one new reader from a small country whose blog is just covered end to end in sparkly gewgaws that would read as "spammy" to me, but when I went to translate her blog/check its scraper-ratio, I discovered she was totally legit. This girl genuinely likes happy sparkly things, and thanks to Google Translate, I discovered she likes to write about happy sparkly things that are going on in her real life.

    Of course, I became her newest reader right then and there— who doesn't enjoy true life happy stories with actual snapshots of regular ol' fun stuff?

    So, as I said, I'm careful. I'm sure you all are too.

    Back to those nasty splogs—

    None of the documented splogs I've reported in the last week have been pulled yet, nor have any of the TOS-violating splogs disappeared. I have been told by official sources that there is typically about a 48-hour turnaround on all reports— but this conversation is making me question the turnaround time as of late.

    I also read on the forum... somewhere from Timethief that spam/TOS-violation reports are addressed in the order they are received. (Timethief, is this right? I hope I didn't misquote you!) As you probably have guessed, some people report blogs as splogs/TOS violations that aren't splogs/TOS violations— which I would assume slows everything down.

    I'm frustrated, tired, and a little freaked. I've had "likes" on my blog turned off for almost a week now, and still the "splikes" keep coming from the WP Reader feed (which keeps likes turned on for some reason, but those likes are only visible on a blogger's own feed and your notification center.) I have new reader notifications turned off because it was bumming me right out to see frequent notifications like "AMAZONBUYMENOWPLEASE has just started following your blog!" on my phone.

    Honestly, I could use a good word from the WP higher-ups right about now about... anything surrounding 2013's "Spring of the Mad Sploggers."

  5. I recently read that Google Reader shut down so maybe all this new influx of spam via our Reader is coming from that?

  6. Nope, afraid not. Google Reader is still running until July 1, 2013.

    More importantly, Google Reader is an RSS reader, not a blog platform.

    And WordPress is not an RSS reader— WordPress is a blog platform that happens to offer its bloggers an RSS reader.

    Put more simply, WordPress is a place where you go to write a blog, and Google Reader is a place where you go to read all the blogs you like in one place, instead of hunting them down in your bookmarks.

    However, you can follow all of the blogs you love on WP, or on an RSS reader like Google, or both, even— but to follow blogs using the WP RSS reader, you must have a WordPress blog— even if you don't do anything with it.

    These organic spam creators (meaning "people") are creating splogs on WP— a splog is a spam blog.

    WP sploggers follow WP blogs like any regular blogger might, but with one crucial difference: their intent is to direct your attention to businesses offsite and away from WordPress.

    Sploggers don't want to get caught by Akismet, either— so instead of commenting on your post, they "like" your posts in their WP RSS Reader, which is must faster anyway because sploggers don't even have to go to your blog to "splike"* your post.

    They are hoping to get your attentions and those of your followers.

    *I found out yesterday that this kind of spam is called "spliking" (spam liking), which cracked me up.

  7. One more thing— the easiest way to not allow sploggers to advertise on your blog is to turn off likes for the moment.

    I did it last week, even though it pained me. (I looooooove "likes"— they're the easiest way for my friends and readers to stop by and show appreciation for something they like without having to commit to saying anything. And I know some honest people, boy. They don't like stuff just to like it. I love that. )

    But, since I turned off the like button, I'm enjoying watching those sploggy blogs waste their energy spliking my blog posts alllll day from their WP RSS Reader. They can splike all they want; my friends and readers will never know about it.

    An unfortunate side effect of turning off all likes is that I am now aware of a small handful of real WP bloggers who have been using their WP RSS feed like button to advertise their presence on my blog by liking posts they have not actually seen nor read.

    Although fake liking a post is not against any WordPress TOS or rule, I think of it as the second-worst blogging mojo there is. (The worst being plagiarism.)

    Also, because my likes are turned off and they don't know it, these naughty real WP bloggers are liking nothing at all. It's the one-hand-clapping koan, WordPress style. Booyah!

  8. Same problem here. I reported numerous splog owners and splogs to WP and used the DCMA form to report another splogger who stole my blog content without asking, and no results in the past 5 weeks, since I first started noticing a spike in sploggers coming round to my two blogs.

    I have complained about many of the same people other legit WP bloggers have been complaining about (I've seen the names posted in other forum threads).

    IF nothing else... why won't WP at least allow it's USERS (us) to moderate our "followers"? Just like we get to choose to moderate comments?

    Now wouldn't THAT be an easy fix?

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