Craig alerts me to a days old NYT search spam piece and related research from MSFT. From the Times:
Tens of thousands of junk Web pages, created only to lure search-engine users to advertisements, are proliferating like billboards strung along freeways. Now Microsoft researchers say they have traced the companies and techniques behind them.
A technical paper published by the researchers says the links promoting such pages are generated by a small group of shadowy operators apparently with the acquiescence of some major advertisers, Web page hosts and advertising syndicators. …
….Surprisingly, the researchers noted that the vast bulk of the junk listings was created from just two Web hosting companies and that as many as 68 percent of the advertisements sampled were placed by just three advertising syndicators.
I’m not surprised, actually. It makes a lot of sense. The folks who are the best at this are the ones “winning,” so to speak. Just like the big engines….
The researchers found that for some keywords like “drugs” and “ring tone,” more than 30 percent of the results from major search engines were fake pages created by spammers.
They discovered that the average spam density — a measure of the percentage of Web pages that contain only advertisements — was 11 percent for 1,000 keywords they used in their research.
The researchers said large advertisers were to blame for a significant share of the spam problem.