Online Form Spam

Last week when I hosted Carnival of the Capitalists, I noticed that bots were submitting Conservative Cats form with spam entries - like having "cheap viagra" in all the fields.  Then, this week, I found that at an application site for camp host jobs that I run has been getting the same type of spam.  I am not talking about email - I am talking about data base entries coming back with spam in them.

Why?  I presume someone went through the time to program the bots, but what does it accomplish to dump your cheap viagra url into a bunch of online forms for memberships and applications.? Its just some sysop who is going to see it.  I can't believe this sells anything -- for me, its more like graffiti than real advertising.

Update: OK, I am clued in.  Apparently it is comment-spam bots that think these forms look like blog comments and are filling them in to try to get the site-link SEO bounce.  So now I need to figure out how to make my form look less like a blog comment form, I guess.


  1. Doug G.:

    This is a search engine optimization ploy. Since Google ranks search results in part by the number of sites that link to them, sites will try to boost their rankings by spamming their URL on blog sites. Blogs are a good target by their nature since they allow comments. They are counting on the assumption that Google doesn't differentiate blog comments from blog entries, which means it looks to Google as if you, the blog owner, linked to their site, boosting their rankings in search results. So, when someone does actually search for Viagra on Google, their site would be listed near the top.

    Google presumably is aware that this trickery is going on, but I don't know how quickly they are responding to it, if at all.

  2. Matt:

    Most likely they're just running around the blogosphere at random following links and filling out forms. It's easier to write a script that fills out every form with spam than it is to write a script which looks for the forms which appear to be for comment submissions and only fills out those.

    If you're posting comment spam, you are by definition incapable of regard for the integrity of other people's databases. So why should you expend extra effort in order to preserve inviolate one class of database while merrily polluting another?

    Just like if you're the kind of person who would go into a museum, spray-paint grafitti on the paintings, and urinate on the statues, it's unlikely you'd single out one or two particular artists whose work should be spared.