Interview with a Search Spammer

    March 9, 2006

Chris Pirillo gets the goods on search engine spam with an interview of an anonymous “search spammer” at the New York Search Engine Strategies conference. The voice is decidedly European, possibly German – yes, it’s German.

“At SES Chris interviewed one search spammer who asked to remain nameless while providing some interesting details about the inner workings of the search spamming world. On one hand the interview reveals some of the motivations for spamming the search engines. More interesting are the search spamming tactics these black hat marketers won’t employ because even they are annoyed by the end result.”

Chris asks what kind of search spam? The search spammer responds by describing massive generated content, as in auto-generated content. How? The spammer explains: Take a dictionary and put in a database and run some application on that to output content according to a certain topic. The words are random with a certain percentage of the target keyword along with quotations, commas and periods thrown in, which fools Google into thinking they are sentences. He runs Google AdSense ads on these content sites and that’s how me makes money.

Chris makes a good point, “So Google enables search spammers by allowing AdSense ads on these types of sites?” Chris then says the same thing with eBay. Big companies tolerate a certain amount of spam because it makes them money.

Chris asks if users are negatively affected by all this search spam. Mr Search Spammer responds that because there is such a high clickthrough rate on the ads being run on the auto generated content sites, that users must be finding what they’re looking for (in the ads).

Search spamming is all about the money. Yet there’s a funny moral justifaction in the interview that is worth hearing. Very amusing and concerning at the same time.

Chris also has a good interview with Danny Sullivan and another with Google’s Matt Cutts during SES NYC worth checking out.


Lee Odden is President and Founder of
TopRank Online Marketing, specializing in organic SEO, blog
marketing and online public relations. He’s been cited as a search
marketing expert by publications including U.S. News & World Report and
The Economist and has implemented successful search marketing programs
with top BtoB companies of all sizes. Odden shares his marketing
expertise at Online Marketing Blog offering
daily news, interviews and best practices.