Editor’s Note: The following is a public service announcement from the Dark Side. Please be aware that Black Hats have feelings, too. Well, actually… no they don’t. But they do have great senses of humor, so let’s hope you do, too.
You know that asshat who keeps sending you trackback spam for Casino sites and Viagra offers? Yeah, well… umm… that was kinda… well it was ME.
Am I sorry about it? Yeah, sometimes I get really choked up about it–like the other day when I got some caviar caught in my throat and tripped over that suitcase full of cash on the way to get more champagne.
It was at that moment that I had an epiphany “What if those bloggers don’t care about how cheap Acai berries are? Perhaps they don’t want a trackback link to my scraper sites? Maybe… just maybe… I should tell them how to stop me?”
So to cleanse my conscience (before I hop on my Jet-ski this afternoon), I’m here today to tell YOU how to stop trackback spammers like ME.
Some of you might be wondering: “What the hell are you talking about? What is trackback spam?”
Here’s the deal: When you write a post and link to another blog, most blogging software (such as WordPress), have a way for you to ping the other blogger to let them know you wrote a post that links to their blog. Then the receiver often publishes a link back to the originator.
In general, the more links you have to your site, the higher you rank in Google. Plus, there’s always a chance that someone will see your link on that other site, click the link, and visit your site.
The more traffic you have, the more money you make.
That’s why you’ll often see a trackback notification where someone like me did nothing but copy your entire article and linked back to you. A site that just takes other people’s content and republishes it is called a scraper site. It costs us nothing to ping you and sometimes it results in a link. Spammers like me can set up sites like this with just a few clicks of the mouse–and so we do.
Google then adds insult to injury by ranking these sites above yours in their search results. So all those people that would have found your site via Google, now go to our scraper sites instead. By neglecting this problem, Google continues to make people like me rich (Thanks G!). Sometimes we spammers don’t even bother scraping your article or linking to your site: we just send a trackback ping to your site with a link to our spammy Viagra or Casino site.
That’s trackback spam.
Many of you combat this problem by deleting the links on your blog or not approving the trackback link in the moderation cue.
The thing is, we’ll just keep scraping and sending you trackbacks. Then every day you have to delete the trackback spam from (usually) the same 100 or so spammers. If you enjoy deleting 20 of these trackback notifications every day from the same people, then just keep doing what you’re doing.
If not, then here is a better way:
Check out the latest 4 trackback spam pings I received:
Here we have 4 trackback spams from 3 different scraper sites, but only two IP addresses.
Those IPs represent servers that both scrape your content AND send you a spam message. To stop every spam site on that server from scraping your content and sending you a trackback ping, all you have to do is deny the IP address.
To do this for the above two spam servers, you add the following to your .htaccess file:
<limit GET POST>
allow from all
deny from 22.214.171.124
deny from 126.96.36.199
Every time you get a trackback spam, you just get the IP address and add a “deny from” line to the .htaccess entry above. Collect all the IPs of trackback spammers and scraper sites as they come in, and after a few weeks you’ll see a 90%+ reduction in this kind of spam.
Ahhhhh . . . I feel better already. Sweet, sweet salvation; thank you for evaporating my guilt away!
Look kids: just because I run a site about Gaming Google and have a $100 per month Black Hat SEO forum about how to spam search engines doesn’t mean it’s a good idea for YOU to start spamming too. Odds are the stuff in that forum will be over your head, completely despicable, or both.
Keep your money and instead just focus on writing great copy. Spamming is bad, umm-kay?
It’s sure to come here in the comment section–let me grab my suit so you can flame away.
About the Author: Quadzilla is the proprietor of SEO Black Hat, and a surprisingly nice guy in real life.