Sunday, March 16, 2008

Click Spam

I've safely landed in New York for SES. One of the first things I do after I arrive at the Hilton New York is check Gmail.

One of my honey pots picked up a spam email. I'm seeing this sort of thing more and more. The spammer can be pretty confident that if thet target clicks through to Google (don't click on URLs in spam emails!) that they'll click on the intended URL.

The goal here isn't just to drive traffic. Well; I suppose that depends on how smart the spammers are! What they're trying to do is show Google's algorithm that there is a traffic demand/search frequency for their n-grams, that people click on their URL and that they must therefore by the authority.

I imagine emails like this will really annoy Google. Less carefully staged emails might result in people clicking on paid ads and that'll upset people. This is also a type of spam that will be hard to report. Some users may struggle to tell the difference from a spam designed for search and other spam - or, perhaps, between spam and an unexpected email sent because the user legally gave someone permission to contact them.