Spambot University Library

Somebody else has noted this recently — I’m sorry I can’t remember who — but spambots are getting weirdly smarter. Another blog that I have editorial privileges on gets a fair bit of trackback spam, and yesterday I got an email message telling me that there was a trackback awaiting my approval. The source claimed to be the University of Virginia library, and the excerpted text seemed at first glance to be related to the material on the blog (including the term “EText”), so I followed the link to the MT edit trackbacks page, half-expecting to approve the ping. Instead, I found that the linked domain was avoidcollections dot info, with “university of virginia library” its subdirectory. And the text on that linked page is a computer generated hash of text from UVa library pages, interspersed with Yahoo ads. Yesterday, most of the ads were for credit card companies. Today, looking at the page again, the ads are for commercial resources related to attending college in Virginia. There’s something extremely disheartening in this.

1 Comment

  1. We occassionally get automatically solicited for link exchange by ad-farms using the keyword “art” – also, a lot of positivity spam along the lines of “Nice site! Great information. Respect to admin! Well done, etc.” What I think is interesting about these (and most trackbacks) is that we can define them as spam regardless of whether they were typed by vacuous visitors or evil spambots. The interesting corollary is that there might be an automated comment generator that left useful or insightful comments – would we screen it just because it was a robot?

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