Natural Search Blog

Google’s I’m Feeling Lucky Button Enabling Spam

Google’s “I’m Feeling Lucky” functionality is apparently enabling a lot of email spam to bypass filters.

I'm Feeling Lucky

When you use the button by entering a keyword phrase and hitting the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button, Google sends you straight to the very first webpage in their results that matches that phrase.

Spammers have apparently found that they can embed links like this one for Natural Search Blog to the Google I’m Feeling Lucky functionality, and their emails will bypass filters that would automatically catch lots of blacklisted and spammy-looking URLs. Email filters allow links to search engine results through because many people may genuinely send such links to one another.

It was just the day before yesterday that I wrote about how a guy was using the I’m Feeling Lucky button to enable some cool linkbait involving Chuck Norris. That was a benign use of the application, whereas using it to obscure links to evil spammy sites would definitely be unethical/black-hat.

So, how will this get fixed? I’d expect that Google may have to lock down their “I’m feeling lucky” functionality so that it only works for users referred directly from the Google homepage, and from the Google Toolbar (if the user has enabled the I’m Feeling Lucky button on the toolbar).

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Recent Google Improvements Fail To Halt Massive Malware Attack

Various news sites are reporting that a malware attack was deployed in the last couple of days, apparently based entirely upon black hat SEO tactics.

Software security company Sunbelt blogged about how the attack was generated: a network of spambots apparently added links into blog comments and forums pointing to the bad sites over a period of months in some cases, enabling those sites to achieve fair rankings in search engine result pages for a great many potential keyword search combinations. The pages either contained iframes which attempted to load malware onto visitors machines or perhaps they began redirecting to the sites containing malware at some point after achieving rankings. Sunbelt provided interesting screenshots of the SERPs in Google:

Malware in SERPs
(click to enlarge)

And also showed some screenshots of some of the keyword-stuffed pages which apparently got indexed:

Malware site page
(click to enlarge)

I think it’s not at all a coincidence (more…)

Tsk Tsk … Spammers

Note to self: Never send a blanket email campaign to SES attendees lest we get blogstormed by Zawodny. Check out what he did to Atlas OnePoint’s rankings.

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