How About RSS Ego-Spam?

What happens after trackback and comment spam?  Granted, neither problem is entirely solved, but let’s just say for the sake of argument that they are both beaten down to manageable levels. What’s next for spammers?

How about ego spam in RSS? Like many people, including, apparently, the ubiquitous Scoble, a couple of my favorite feeds are actually searches at Technorati and Feedster. I look for a few keywords of interest, including (and most predictably) my own name. Post blah-blah “kedrosky” somewhere in the blogosphere and there is a darn good chance I’ll see it when it comes to me in one of my ego feeds.

So here is how ego spam would work: Do automated collection of the names of as many blog sites and, if possible, site owners, as you can. Then create a set of zombie blogs that look & act like normal blogs, including being searched by Google/Feedster/Technorati, except that they spend most of their time mentioning other people’s sites, wangling to get picked up in an ego search. When they do get picked up the corresponding feed items will contain spam.

This approach would get around the unsubscribe “solution”, wherein any single offending overly spammy feed is easily dealt with by simply unsubcribing from the feed. Granted, not everyone does an ego feed, so the reach of this sort of spam would not be as broad, but then again it could be much more carefully targetted, And, judging by my own behavior, such ego searches are one of the most useful parts of being in the mix, so to the extent more people ruly on such searches then ego-spam becomes more viable.


  1. Yes, this is a real potential problem – however, these sites all end up having a particular URL on the web – so it is much easier to filter them out, as opposed to spam in other mediums, where the messages are inserted into the message stream in an unauthenticated manner.
    There are other solutions as well, including using author’s/readers social networks and other properties too…

  2. Good points, Dave. As you say, there are solutions, but I’m often surprised at where my name/site pops up out there — people far outside my own social network. It is hard not to resist clicking through to find out what they are saying.