Link spammer targets higher education sites

I received the following comment on my blog a couple weeks ago:

“Yeah blogging is really a great way to help people. Great job. I salute you for doing such a great job. ;)”

link spam comment on wordpress blog

The comment felt like it was spam. The post that was commented on was almost a year old and the comment seemed like it was just a way for the commenter to get their link on a blog post on blogging and academic advising.

As most of you know, I am an avid web statistics aficionado. The same day that the spammy comment was submitted (I moderate all new comments) I noticed two inbound referral links from a couple of Google Docs spreadsheets. My concerns that the comment was from a spammer were confirmed. In fact, I had stumbled upon two link spam documents that had been left open for anyone to see. A SEO company known as “Virtual Assistant” (link is to the Better Business Bureau listing…I love the irony!) was waging a concerted link spam campaign and my site had been “selected” for one of their spam comments.

I quickly saved copies of the link spam documents.

The first document was a veritable gold mine of link spam data. Blogs and sites with .Edu and .Gov domains were specifically targeted by the link spammers. More than 50 .Edu web pages were included in the spammer’s strategy document. Higher education blogs generally benefit from the high page rank of their school’s homepage. The link spammers were trying to capitalize on the transference of link juice from a higher education entity’s homepage to a blog and then to the spammers website. If your school is listed in the Google Docs, please feel free to alert the appropriate web authority.

There are currently more than 200 links listed in the link spammer document. That’s a lot of spam!

The second document provides more details into the nefarious world of link spamming.

I think this provides a clear rationale for why I moderate comments for first-time commenters on my site.

Link Spammer web stats

The original Google Docs…still open for all to see and edit!

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