Social bookmarking spam
January 8, 2005 10:45 AM   Subscribe

Is it just a matter of time until spammers usurp the popular page? Or does social bookmarking by nature provide some kind of defense?

Seems to me it'd be easy for a spammer to sign up multiple accounts, and have them all bookmark a page (or many pages, even.) If it works for one spammer, the rest'll line up like cattle.

There's a (maybe NSFW) example here, though the spammer actually played nice by using relevant tags. What happens if they start en masse tagging the same kind of site as "rss" or "photography"?
posted by deshead to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
well one defense is the whole site is blocked by robots.txt so search engines shouldn't be crawling it.
posted by alkupe at 11:42 AM on January 8, 2005

No worries - it's Self Policing!

Sorry. I don't use the Popular page much, but I've worried about the general scenario. What concerns me more is that such abuse could force them to restrict the super easy API programming access.

Seems like you could check for mutliple users with identical bookmarks. But then they'll mix them up a bit, and soon you're in an arms race like the spammers and their opponents.

We're doomed; this is why the intarwebs can't have Nice Things.
posted by freebird at 11:49 AM on January 8, 2005

Arguably, if they use "proper" tags, there's nothing wrong with this. That stuff is out there on the web, and it could be of use to multiple people to have it bookmarked. Just because you find it slimy or even reprehensible doesn't mean it's not a valid use of the service.

Likely, human oversight of some kind will be required to keep a lid on "inappropriate" tag usage. Probably, this is happening already. There are a number of techniques to prevent bots from spidering the site. Some of the ones I know of are in use (I'm not going to go into details about them here).

It should be technically easy to allow people to maintain their own lists of potential spammer accounts, and to allow anyone to subscribe to those lists to automatically ignore the listed accounts.
posted by Caviar at 11:51 AM on January 8, 2005

delicious was hit by spammers ages ago, but people reported the offenders and got them booted. I don't know what Joshua is doing about it now, but it seems like it went away six months ago.
posted by mathowie at 2:46 PM on January 8, 2005

I'm more worried about Joshua killing the site than spammers.
posted by noisia at 6:22 PM on January 8, 2005

I've noticed a few people posting links with lots of promotional text, and others adding dozens and dozens of keywords for each of their posts. Both smelled fishy to me, but luckily provides an easy way to "ignore" those usernames, so my irritation is short lived.
posted by Tubes at 7:54 PM on January 9, 2005

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