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RSS spam

When we talk about RSS spam it is not the same sort of spam you would get in your inbox. With email spam you are getting unwanted messages. RSS spam targets directories and search engines rather than the end user.

RSS index spamming

RSS feeds are indexed by search engines and directories and can be considered as news by some of the major search engines. This has not gone unnoticed by the spammers that are now using RSS to spam the search engines.

RSS spam consists of RSS feeds filled with scraped content, stuffed full of keywords and sometimes just plain nonsense. The idea is that the spammer create thousands of these spam feeds which are then indexed, albeit for a short period as the search engines spot the spam and remove it. In the meantime the spammers feed generates traffic to their ad laden sites.

The smaller RSS directories are also targeted. I have spoken to an RSS directory owner recently who regularly has to reject RSS spam. The spam comes in the form off RSS feeds that are identical except for a specific keyword. The idea is that the feeds get added to different categories and use a brute force method to gain traffic.

Should we be worried about RSS spam

The great thing about RSS for the end user is that they are in control of which feeds you subscribe to so there is little danger of end users being badly affected. The large search engines and directories will stay on top of the problem but the smaller directory owner will probably be spending more time verifying genuine feeds.

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