Splash Marketing Technology

Forensic Blog

AKA What Cheeses Me Off About Unethical Internet Marketing

Some of them are bad, some are outrageous, but here is a list (hopefully not too technical) of the most annoying SEO Behaviour on the Web today ... 4/7/2017 update post.
 

In the early days web designers were required to be technically savvy, and many of us ran our earlier internet servers on our own home or office computers. We could change our PC IP Address to our hearts content, which was often necessary, because Internet DNS kept hanging

A
s the internet progressed and Black Hat SEO and Hackers evolved, it became necessary to identify computers using a Mac (machine) Address, but nowadays we are wanting to hide our credentials from cyber stalkers and their malicious purposes, thus the creation of VPNs ... 
 
Our savvy offenders can still fake (spoof) their credentials in lightning strikes, using the same privileges we had when we first began.  
Welcome to the World Wide Web Circus!  

"Moriarty" (my name for him/them) is my hacker/SEO opponent (a real person) who's been on my tail for 25+ years and this group has expanded to a covert team of liquid tekkies, situated in Australia, Hong Kong and the UK, plus a few other minor localities. 

He's been menacing our site web forms since we began, starting with thousands of bogus sign ups and evolving into man in the middle attacks. He loves using their Russian Spam and p-rn sites to spam Splash ...  they're pretty cocky about it, leaving their smart arse messages in website code, just so I know I am being purposely targeted  .

Cyber Stalking does attract the disturbed covert types!   Gives a whole new meaning to Psycho!!

Black Hat Trolls

Round Robinsons  

18th July 16 Post I first posted about the Round Robinsons ... a more recent Black Hat nuisance of rotating/switching/sharing a number of websites across a variety of IP Addresses and Domain Addresses ... with the objective of using vast internal linking to push their own websites up, and competitors websites down and out of search engine keyword indexes.  

This practice was outlawed decades ago

The legitimate purpose for IP spreading was once, when we were all on Dial Up and the average super rack server only had 500 mbytes disk / 50 mbytes of RAM,   a heavily visited website was permitted to spread itself across a number of racks and ip addresses to cope with the visitation ...  nowadays we deal in gigs and terras of bandwidth and the only sites that should really need this technique might be emergency news sites and local disaster announcement sites (cyclones, hurricanes, earthquakes, war etc)  where the hardware speed and RAM might not cope with sudden loads ... 

So what's wrong with the practice of Round Robinsons?   

The most important way of handling a Bot or Spammer is to block their IP, this is what Server Brut Force software is intended for ...  but this fails if the offending website is flying across a range of IP addresses and/or Domain names every few weeks, days or even seconds, or the offenders are spoofing (faking) their IP addresses.

Website Control Panels record all visitors, including the fake ones,  and you will know you are dealing with prize creeps when they name their visit "The Worlds Best Hack Team" and dumb ass stuff like that. 

IP Spoofers Scourge

Brut Force and IP Blocking Tools were brilliant for blocking denial of service spammers, who still bomb your site with hundreds of thousands of error creating visits per second,   but alas!  IP spoofing has evolved further, to turn the Blocking Tools against the victims server.

IP Spoofing is now using IP addresses of key broadband and wireless services, and if not cleaned out regularly, will block the world from your server.

The Hard Line IP Spoofers generate false DNS records for their rogue websites that will show up as registered on your server, they may even go to the trouble of buying up discontinued domains to do this.

This technique gives the rogue site clearance for their skullduggery (email spam, remote servers, link attacks), or perhaps they are intending to have your server black listed as a result of their monkey business.

There is currently a huge changing hands of most of our previously Australian owned Domain Hosting Services to international ownership, where I know there is internal tampering occurring. 

We should be very nervous about this.

Fake Pages & Listings via XML Sitemap spam

The most recent method of website strike is using XML Sitemaps which grab bits and pieces out of a websites' code, e.g. Favicons, Images, Tags, Action and JS Code to hang off  (like a skier pulling a boat).  

This technique is almost untraceable because xml pages are not treated as searchable pages, and trusted by the search engines as being supplied by a legitimate source.  They are now being used to create Phantom Web Pages and Fake Listings Data, and taking control of an entire keyword index. Legitimate pages can show up as late as the 20th page. 

You have to keep a vigil on your listings and visitors and what they are linking to,  block every XML sitemap provider you can find (except yours!) so they can't scrape your site in the first place ... but if your attacks are coming from Russia and/or Ukraine, your site is under attack from Westerners who use these countries weak technology to their advantage.  Russian hackers are not interested in SEO scams, this is small change for them. .

Gang Spammers

Pirates still exist in the modern world ...  only they now wear suits and drive a mouse ... and deliberately steal your website traffic!  

I am up against a few Gang Spam Groups that operate from a franchise, product or media group (not excluding their SEO Specialists) that have millions of dollars at their disposal, to do what ever it takes to keep ahead on the web.  Pretty challenging for average Joe to get a fair go, even if he does know what is happening.

Success of a web page boils down to the incoming links ... e.g. if my web page is about eggs and chips but the stronger links are coming in as sausage and mash guess what gets the listing?  You got it ... sausage and mash.

Some Gang Linkers operate long term global classified ad and news sites that have been developed over the last 10-20 years to assist them in their quest of control. (These people have been so successful, they likely own the search engines now ...)

Others (the world web cowboys), are constantly creating new ip addresses, new websites and classified sites to gang crosslink to push up their legitimate sites in the search engine index.  These are the guys that use the Russian and China Hosts - because they are cheap.

Cross linking in a small way is White Hat SEO,  and not evil if only taking a fair share of the web with genuine material, but it is when gang linking is deliberately used to push out other websites from the index, that the pirating occurs.  This is Black Hat SEO and if reported to the Search Engines they will act swiftly to Black List the offenders, because this hurts them too.

The newer Asian and Indian SEO Cowboys have rediscovered Black Hat gang cross linking and are shooting out indexes globally, to boost up often empty or irrelevant content.  If the first page of your search engine  key word index only offers one or two website listing (likely to related products), and the rest of the page is full of Classified Ad Sites, (including Pay For Click) all pointing to the same product or service, there is a Black Hat Operator that must be reported to the search engine in question. 

Some of these jokers think it's fine to take all the Pay For Click Ads and the top 5-7 listings on the first page of an index.  They of course have to be reported and blacklisted.  Repeat Black Hat offending will result in the ban of the Server and all upon it ...

Gang Spamming has totally destroyed Google, Yahoo and Bing as marketing tools, and it is a tragic shame ...  I hope they are getting on top of it.

Classified Ad Spammers 

I had reported these regularly in recent years, but was unable to stop them, and did a bit of blame act against the media organisations to fix it  ... until I realised that the classified ad sites like Ebay, Gumtree, Wikipedia, Yellow Pages, White Pages etc were likely being pushed up in the same manner spoken of in previous sections

I still think (nah I know!) there are some insiders in these large media groups driving some of these spam fests ... particularly the newspaper groups ... probably an old boy system to help a local client or investor ...

The most annoying Classified Ads are the ones that are dynamically created (by pulling up the same listings again from the Search Engines) and are promoting their products in Static or Pay For Click Ads, which gives their activity immunity, and they get paid for the clicks too!

Again there are clearly benefactors of this behaviour,  which is pretty obvious by who is leading. 

The only way to deal with them is to track them ... look for the patterns and report to the search engines.

.edu and .gov Spammers

These domains are reserved for education and government, and to spoof or fake sites using them will gain a web host blacklisting.  I guess I should be flattered to come to the attention of the University Internet Gurus and students in training, but this includes you too!

The Enquiry Spammers

They group together to send hundreds of bogus emails and social media enquiries, this just creates a nuisance and denial of service attack against a server ...  or it can be very targetted making the enquiries appear real with genuine company names and telephone calls (SEO firms usually have privileges to create a special email for the company they represent)  and sure they are complicated and time consuming. 

The real purpose however is to send images with code that reports back to them, that can be used for dozens of evil purposes:  e.g. to clone your ip address ... and use to it to evade detection when they visit;  or they can set up email attacks that are so vicious they create a denial of service to visitors and users.   In the worst possible scenario they are developing a man in the middle attack on your modem source ... and they're going to create a little back door to pop into your device when they choose ... next thing they will be interfering with your email and approaching your clients and suppliers to steal your business.

.edu and .gov Spammers

These domains are reserved for education and government, and to spoof or fake sites using them will gain a web host blacklisting.  I guess I should be flattered to come to the attention of the University Internet Gurus and students in training, but this includes you too!

Ignorance is No Excuse

I have two trading locations, Sydney and Hervey Bay ... Hervey Bay is a mecca for people over the age of 60 who never really got involved in technology, even my mother frets to use her new smart phone .... These areas are at the mercy of technically savvy criminals.

Many of the 60+ residents have been assisted by support phone calls from (they said) American support personnel (heavennnn forbidddd) when they Googled for help where first in the search engine. 

Within minutes they had been telephoned by someone with an accent and their PC connected to remotely.   The caller now had privy to all of their not very well secured personal and financial information. It's easy pickings to infiltrate people like her who know NOTHING of technology.

If you run a web service locally, you would be doing your district a great service to make your locality aware of these issues, it will be an excellent marketing exercise for your business too.

The Enquiry Spammers

Enquiry Spammers create hundreds of bogus emails and social media comments, usually just to create a nuisance against a server of Social Media Page. ...   Enquiries can be very targeted using genuine company names and telephone calls (SEO firms usually have privileges to create a special email for the company they represent) and sure they will be for something you probably don't supply .. 

The real purpose however is to send code that reports back to them, that can be used for dozens of evil purposes:  e.g. to clone your ip address ... and use to it to evade detection when they visit your server;  or they can set up email attacks that create a denial of service to you, your visitors and other users.   

In the worst possible scenario they are developing a man in the middle attack on your modem source ... and they're going to create a little back door to pop into your device when they choose ... and do anything!


Pay For Click Gang Spammers

I calculated that up to 2013, I once spent $40K a year on Pay For Click advertising for just one website, because it was very effective, but I won't touch it now, due to the issue of Pay For Click Gang Spamming.

If you have 20 companies selling the same product and you are related by church, family or franchise ... isn't it ok to put them all in the index, and a bunch of Pay For Click Ads?  No .. it's not, particularly if you are deliberately cross linking to push up the prices of the links to push others out of the game and snatching the full index portion of Pay For Click.  This is mafia behaviour dudes ...

In our case our Ads began at 50 cents a click and in just a few months they soared to $12 a click ...  I reported, and reported but gave up, because we realised the Pay For Click Programs were outsourced to "endorsed"  partners who were failing in their duties to the Search Engines Pay For Click Honesty policy.

As mentioned earlier, Pay For Click Ads are being used to advertise Dynamic classified websites that just call up the same results again from Google, Yahoo and Bing, but featuring their favored Pay For Click listings (which they get paid for too).  This system is also used to drive broad spectrum XML Sitemap Gang Link Spam.

Why isn't it stopped? Well it is if you "Dob The Bastards In".   

Maybe it's because the Pay For Click systems are outsourced, and likely to the same Trillion Dollar marketing organisation that gang spams through classified ads and news media.  These floated organisations have investors ... and is there any privilege in this?  You can bet your sweet bippy baby ...

The Solution? ...  There isn't really a solution until The Search Engines find one - I am sure it's not easy for them, but when consumers cannot use search engines to get a good cross section of products and services, they stop using them ... that kills off everybody ...

So the most effective advertising at the moment is in Social Media and Good Old Fashioned Direct Marketing.  Get on the phone and send gorgeous glossy snail mail, go visit your clients and take them out to lunch ... at least it gets you off the computer, into the world and helps the economy to boot.

Well ... Think about it!

MadamSplash

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