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Researchers Track Down Plague of Fake Web Sites RRS feed

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  • An in-depth report by Microsoft researchers shows that the majority of junk Web sites, which attempt to redirect users to advertisements, can be traced to a small number of sources, most likely taking orders from large advertisers. The research revealed that those creating false doorway pages collaborate with Web-based computer operators who make money by redirecting traffic from search engines in one direction and sending advertisements from syndicators in the opposite direction. "A small number of rogue actors who know what they are doing can create an enormous amount of disruption," says Technorati CEO David L. Sifry. Researchers found that just two Web hosting companies generated most of the search-engine spam, while just three advertising syndicators placed 68 percent of the advertisements. The average spam density, the percentage of Web pages that contain nothing but advertisements, was found to be 11 percent, although for search terms such as "drugs" and "ring tone," the density was as high as 30 percent. "Ultimately, it is advertisers' money that is funding the search-spam industry, which is increasingly cluttering the Web with low-quality content and reducing Web users' productivity," according to the report. "The good guys are part of the problem," says Microsoft researcher Yi-Min Wang, referring to the group's findings that blog-hosting services allow the creation of a great deal of false doorway pages. Microsoft is in the midst of an effort to detect and eliminate such pages, but opinions vary on whether or not search engine spam can be combated effectively.
    Tuesday, March 20, 2007 6:17 AM