Analysis of a PayPerPost Spam Campaign – Why PayPerPost Just Exploded

PayPerPost is understandably having a bad weekend now that their day of reakoning is upon them.

A lot of bloggers covered this story including Google Blogoscoped, TechCrunch, Matthew Ingram, Tailrank, and of course Scobleizer.

Now they attempt to fix the problem by inventing a technology that just won’t work:

I we believe we have a solution and that solution is RealRank. RealRank data is gathered from the IZEA Toolkit “ITK” (formerly PPP Tools). It is a piece of javascript that many of you already have and those outside of PPP will be able to get from a separate site without joining PPP or SocialSpark. ITK gathers REAL traffic information, much like your analytics platform and ranks users based on their standing within the network. The formula is relatively simple.

70% weighted towards visitors per day
20% weighted towards amount of ACTIVE inbound links per day
10% weighted towards pageviews per day

This isn’t exactly a new idea. Advertisers have been using tracking systems to run their ads for a long time now.

For example, FM Publishing uses a tracking pixel to track the number of uniques and pageviews on Tailrank and all the other sites in their network.

The Gawker and Weblogs Inc. sites even take the concept a step further and have public Sitemeters on their sites with the all their traffic data.

From this we can tell that Gizmodo has about 1.8M pageviews per day.

This isn’t a replacement for PageRank. The reason PPP advertisers are running campaigns on PPP blogs is because they’re spammers and want to inject pages into Google.

They don’t care about running the ads on the source blog! Their PageRank is what they’re interested in because they’re trying to spam Google.

Let’s take a recent PPP spam campaign about Washington Mutual which we found with Spinn3r’s web crawler.

WaMu paid about 50 bloggers to blog about the fact that you can get a free checking account.

WaMu doesn’t care about the number of visitors per day. They don’t care about the “ACTIVE inbound links per day”. They ONLY care about Google.

Want hard proof?

Take a look at these few blogs (a random sampling of 10 from 50 post we’ve discovered). (I won’t link to them so that Google doesn’t think I’m a spammer).

http://www.lifes-like-that.com/2007/11/16/his-first-checking-account/
http://tweak-everything.blogspot.com/2007/11/checking-account-from-wamu.html
http://www.ohmyweird.com/2007/11/17/checking-account/
http://www.reviewsandmore.net/2007/11/16/banking-with-washington-mutual/
http://mahtwocents.blogharbor.com/blog/_archives/2007/11/16/3357889.html
http://kristynmarie.com/WordPress/?p=611
http://www.digitalkaren.com/2007/11/16/doing-errands/
http://mountainrailway.typepad.com/my_weblog/2007/11/i-am-addicted-t.html
http://blog.peculiarplace.com/2007/11/16/wamu-checking-account-finder/
http://www.solistentothis.com/2007/11/16/checking-account/

They’re all linking to this WaMu PPP campaign.

In EVERY one of these cases the link text is “checking account” or “checking accounts”.

Why would they do that?

Because Google uses the anchor text to boost the results for pages that discuss that topic.

WaMu wants to spam Google into driving people that search for “checking account” to their site.

The amount of traffic on Google for the term “checking account” will drive far more traffic than they’re going to see on these individual sites (probably a few orders of magnitude more).

So let’s try it. Go to Google and search for ‘checking account’:

200711180237

Look at #10. That’s the same link that WaMu is linking to in their PPP campaign.

This is where the rug is pulled out from under PPP.

Their spamming will no longer work which means their revenue model is going to vanish.

Using the bloggers to actually drive organic traffic won’t work either because it just isn’t there. Federated Media has already tied up most of the A-list bloggers and everyone else is using Adsense.

However, I wouldn’t despair if I were PayPerPost. We’ve found other unscrupulous advertisers using the PPP system.

Take a look at these jerks:

http://www.mylongkang.com/2007/10/27/let-masterpaperscom-help-you-to-improve-yourself/
http://cyncity.typepad.com/cyn_city/2007/10/web-development.html

Let me introduce you to MasterPapers.com. It delivers competent, quality academic written assignments. You will have better grades. You have the assurance the piece will not be lacking in references, plagiarized or outdated.

The link text in this campaign is “Web development MySQL Service” (not sure why).

Seriously. PayPerPost is working with term paper mills and selling pre-written papers to college students.

Talk about a complete lack of ethics.


  1. dbinkowski

    Kevin,
    Excellent post. I will be adding you to my blogroll!

    Dave






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