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January 14, 2009

SEM Synergy Extras 01/14/2009

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Alternate title: A Spammer in SEO’s Clothing

A few times a week, my fellow writer Paula gets a call on her cell phone from a mystery number. The voice on the other end is that of a woman who regrets to inform her that the warranty on her vehicle has expired. Paula, unconcerned yet irritated, hangs up. The calls are just another incarnation of spam.

Efforts to stop the madness have so far been unfruitful. She can’t block the number. The message comes from a different number each time. She can’t ignore it. What if it’s important? She can’t tell them to stop calling. It’s a recording. I’ve suggested that she register for the National Do Not Call Registry, but I still receive solicitation calls despite being on the list. Somehow Paula’s number fell into the wrong hands and those spammers aren’t going to let go until they’ve wringed some personal information out of her cold dead hands — a death, I might add, hastened by the incessant spammy phone calls that hound her multiple times each week!

So I’ve engaged in a bit of hyperbole, but you know what I mean. No one is safe. Gamers are a new favorite target. MP3 spam has been spotted. Forget about a safe haven for social networks. And of course, no matter how many addresses I add to my blocked sender list, the junk emails keep coming. [I’ve maxed out my allowed blocked senders. Why on earth would there be a maximum? –Susan]

Today’s episode of SEM Synergy is all about spam. Since having Matt Cutts as a guest on the show last month, the SEM Synergy team was reminded of how pervasive spam is and how fast it seems to mutate to fit the various media channels present on the Web.

On the show, guest Scott Polk breaks down why social media is such a hot target for spam. Susan, Maryann and I warn of the tactics to steer clear of in order to avoid having your site designated as spam by the search engines. And Bruce explains the increasingly malicious nature of spam, which is more often intentional than accidental these days.

The funny thing about spam is how often it is linked to the search engine optimization community. Social media spam has become a hot topic in the last few years, and those blogging about it seem to have no reservations in labeling spammers as SEOs. By increasing visibility and awareness we might be able to help clean up the image of the SEO community. It’s about time, don’t you think?

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