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The Big Steal in MyBlogLog!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Insight report on how a person can easily steal traffic from MyBlogLog without doing any Hacks!

This post is a series of MyBlogLog and Quest of building community. In my last story when I was working to collect what is ethical or not, I wanted to do a bit more study over here, and things are lot worse than I thought. Leave unethical, or not so ethical community building ethics, most guys are stealing good amount of traffic from much deserved by faking their popularity.

Today, I decided to take a stroll today across the other communities that are a part of this fame. What I encountered not put me into thought. A few but a notable amount of communities were joined by men in black or lets say men in disguise who do not wish you to see their face.

People joining and not putting their avatar is fine, but when half of the community members look the same I checked their profile page. I was amazed to find that these members just joined one community the day they joined and never logged in again. The point is they even do not author a blog. That might be a co-incidence you would say. I thought the same at first.

On some further research I found this trend was evenly spread over time. Having 5 to 10 such community members is still digestible but will somebody tell why everybody without blogs and pictures of themselves joining the same community and never returning back to check their account? Again a few can be taken for granted but when everybody appears to be the same what will you say? Is it not spam, when people create fake IDs and join their own community?

Just imagine if I with my friends with different e mail id create different profiles and join our own website. Vroom! if I put my brains appropriately, I can expect near about 200 community members within 15 days. With the present why should I exaggerate things, with a descent blog I have, even if I call my friends and email my friends, tell all of them to join my community with different accounts. If I want to play it really silent I can easily put any email address, as email confirmation is not required, can create any number of profiles I want and this will get my Blog into top 50 blogs quite easily.

Now that Yahoo gets into the scene and the popularity MyBlogLog is receiving spamming will take a big form. People who believe in ethics and deserve the traffic may not get a chance at all. No method is fool proof for spammers but a check can be kept and should be kept. Verifying email addresses while sign ups, would certainly help.

Digg and Netscape are so well equipped to tackle the above mentioned fake identities, for which MyBlogLog is still not equipped. A stern step is still to be taken and it is yet to be made a secure place. Any suggessstions to the moderators of MyBlogLog to make it a better place?

I would be concentrating on more of social media and best ways to get benefited from it. Keep coming, it is going to be great.

Happy Ethical Blogging,
Divya Uttam

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posted by Divya Uttam, 12:43 PM

24 Comments:

Excellent analysis, Devya - spamming is bad for all of us. It is far better for us to remain ethical. My hope is that mybloglog can take steps to correct. It seems a valuable place to connect with legitimate and ethical blog communities.

commented by Blogger BobG, 3:38 PM  

E-mail confirmation should definitely be required. I think MyBlogLog should focus on the quality of it's members over the quantity of it's members.

Spam accounts should not be tolerated.

commented by Blogger Marcus Sonsteby, 5:31 PM  

And Vroom! Divya unmasked this spammer too! :P
All joking aside, where are the "report spam" bottons in communities and profiles? Could they be useful to face spam?

commented by Anonymous Franciov, 5:56 PM  

When it comes to internet numbers, people will constantly attempt to game the system. It is kind of a gimme.

I equate MyBlogLog to MySpace in the sense that people will try to join a lot of communities as well as befriend a lot of people to make them seem more popular than they really are.

If even 1/3 of the users on MyBlogLog look at it the same way I do, then I do not think there is much to worry about.

commented by Anonymous Koby, 5:57 PM  

I call them ghosties. And yeah, MyBlogLog needs to leave them off listing if they don't have a blog and/or don't log in again. It'd be easy to alter the underlying code of a site to restrict ghosties. They just won't care until people make a fuss about it.

commented by Anonymous Devon, 11:28 PM  

It's really true not only in top blogs but many others are using this tecnique to grow their communities. And not only ghosties but facked idendities can be easily made in MyBlogLog. This can really spoil the community value of MyBlogLog.
Now there are some genuine people who join few communities and dont have their blog, use mybloglog for better interactions with bloggers.But when in any community more than 30-40% of members are just member of their particular community, and never come back, would surely raise heads.

So the best way to catch them is to monitor trends in communities. If done properly most of those would be caught. Guys I have identified more than 10 of them.

commented by Blogger Saurabh, 2:44 AM  

Email verification would help a little but perhaps a certain level of involvement should be required from a user account within a certain time frame or it should be deleted.

Just like the did (do? I don't know) with hotmail. If you didn't login and use your account within the first 30 days after creation it was deleted.

commented by Anonymous Paul OFlaherty, 3:35 AM  

Fantastic analysis!!!
I guess you are the only one registered member on MYBLOGLOG that really inspires others to follow ethical ways of blogging and also keep a good track of what members are doing to enhance the community.
Regarding the Fakes accounts created by the uses to gain instant popularity, Well I think that anything that lacks quality will perish sooner or later.It's like inviting troubles when you don't need them the most.Certainly that's very disgusting and I don't understand why people want to follow the wrong way when there are 1000's of good and ethical ways to promote yourself and your site as well.
Let's hope for the best from Yahoo! regarding the same.Till then Keep blogging!!!

commented by Anonymous Dave White, 4:56 AM  

yes Divya. I think you are right.. and also with the work of few minutes i figured out that community too.. Good work..

commented by Anonymous Arpit, 5:01 AM  

I have always thought about the silhouettes on the newbies but thought they just had not chosen an avatar. I would never invite one to join me nor would I ever join one. But I see your point and as always, you find something that we all benefit from. Now that Yahoo has bought MyBlogLog, I would have to think they will remedy the situation. They can do it through requiring avatar within 10 days, if you are not active in posting atleast every 10 days, then you can be placed on probation, second time deletion, and if these 2 are found to be occurring together, then you get the boot. My thoughts for the day. Have a great day Divya

commented by Blogger Lex Luthor, 8:01 AM  

What I want to mention here is all these ghosties are not spammers. Jeremy's Community constists of over 15 black men but none of them is a part of spam, not because of it is Jeremy's but because they are humans who have not added their avatars. there is no trend that is being followed. They do not join MyBlogLog just to join one community and leave.

As all Ghosties are not spammies all avatars are not real. Putting a picture as an avatar do not qualify them, as non-spammers. I noticed a trend in some communities who put different pics for different IDs but have a similar trends of joining that community and never returning. Rest goes unsaid.

commented by Blogger Divya Uttam, 11:13 AM  

Great view - but no big conspiracy theories. The discovery of "fake" communities does not take away from the value of the service. It's obvious who is correctly building their communities and those who are participating in others - just look at their profiles. I believe if you are looking to connect with others (bloggers and non-bloggers) then MyBlogLog makes it easy AND efficient to do so. The rest is just fluff... not abuse.

Good on ya to at least turn this into a discussion!

commented by Anonymous pacificIT, 11:52 AM  

Don't spammers realize generating traffic this way will not be 'healthy' over the long run? People will eventually get bored of seeing their 'ads' everywhere and quit visiting. I don't know about you but I certainly do.

By the way I don't think it should difficult be to create fake members with random avatars on random days of the week..etc Can anyone with knowledge of scrip-bots confirm this?

commented by Blogger ilker, 12:33 PM  

Hi Divya,
The phenomenon you describe exists but at a much lower level than you suggest. A significant number of the accounts you point to are simply real people that tried out the system once and didn't find it as compelling as the rest of us do. It's a reality of social web sites that some people sign up, try it out, and don't return for months if ever. Some sites delete abandoned accounts after 12 or 18 months, but we're not old enough to have looked at that yet.

In terms of an email loop to verify community joins, shouldn't that be left up to the blog owner? So many of the confirmation emails will be stuck in email spam filters that some people would rather have a few spammy member profiles than force a verification step.

commented by Blogger rafer, 8:49 AM  

Well Rafer, I agree that there are some people who sign up for an account and never return back, and everything else you said but why is it that these people are generally found in only a few communities. If what you are saying is true this trend should be found all over MyBlogLog.

I do have stated in my comment about Jeremy's community, some of those are genuine accounts, because there is no trend found in his community members which you'll find in the communities I am talking about.

With Yahoo getting in scene, spamming will increase ten fold. If such things are not nipped in the bud, spam starts to foil the effectiveness as well as hamper the interest of genuine people in the system. I think if a system has some loopholes then it should be tackeled right away rather than considering it as non-significant, or it will act as an open invitation to spammers. This post was written to increase awareness and to get views from my readers. To consider it or not totally depends on MyBlogLog.

commented by Blogger Divya Uttam, 9:37 AM  

Divya, I think you are exaggerating when you say "spamming will increase ten fold." Where there is a need, there is a solution. Security in MBL will also increase at the same level to clear spam.

Honestly, I am a member for about two months now and I remember getting spam messages maybe 2-3 times. I found that there are a few accounts that keep spamming everyone.. other than that I think spamming in MBL is overly hyped.

It is not like you get 999 spam messages everyday, isn't it? Reporting and deleting a few messages should not bother anyone who takes granted the advantages of a free MBL community. (Note: there aren't any ads around MBL either!)

commented by Blogger ilker, 11:08 AM  

We can start ignoring the faceless people, but they will start using pics of anyone or logos like I do.

I am sure something will help here. Yahoo has to protect that $10 mill investment!

commented by Blogger FridayTrafficReport, 1:22 AM  

This is great analysis..you are a smart cookie. Keep up the great work !!

Ash

commented by Blogger Mr. Biggs, 11:36 PM  

Very interesting point. As a very new user of Mybloglog and also very new to Spicypage, I had to wonder if they were truly good ways to increase traffic or not. It looks like there are flaws that people are exploiting, which is too bad for the more honest bloggers who just want more readers.

commented by Anonymous Aimee, 3:32 PM  

Nice analysis, Divya! But I've to agree with what pacificit & ilker said.

One thing that I've noticed: A few blogs that are under top 50 MBL communities, have used a special kind of blackhat trick to become popular. I've found that a few people are using #2 & #3 accounts with different avatars and blog URLs to promote their #1 blog.

Now the trick is: Their #2 & #3 blog URLs are parked on their #1 URL.

I can explain more than 10 powerful blackhat techniques that are being used on MBL to become popular. Unfortunately, I don't have the time to post such a long comment!

commented by Blogger Avinash, 5:01 AM  

Adding Email confirmation won't make any difference, its dead easy to automate confirmation.

The only way they can really do it is by using capatchas.

commented by Blogger stu, 3:47 AM  

i shall keep an eye out for such people joining my community. tis not right!!

commented by Anonymous Jenny, 12:45 AM  

I found a community like that 90% men in black and the owner of the community was yahoo!

commented by Anonymous Lord Matt, 3:20 AM  

Who would have the time to sit and create fake blogs just to answer their selves. Who would even care. If I made lots of fake accounts to answer myself on my blog, It means nothing. I like meeting real people.

commented by Blogger Connie, 8:25 AM  

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