A Faker in our Midst

Annika Backstrom
in Meta, on 4 February 2004. It is tagged and #Spam. (history)

A strange comment popped up on my blog today, followed by a less-than-normal string of events. I'm tired, so I'll let the paragraphs I wrote when I was coherent speak for themselves:

[Screenshot of comment.][]

Here's the offending comment. Looks like your standard spam comment,

but the link is strange...

[Screenshot of fake blog.][]

What's this? An entire fake blog? You can see the fabricated blogroll, fabricated links, and an array of fabricated posts. But wait, there's more! It seems to bear a striking resemblance to another page... (In fact, most of the fake links and posts are identical, as are comments in the HTML.) I wonder if Joe Crawford would be surprised to hear his site has been appropriated in the name of comment spam?

[Screenshot of the fake blog.][]

All the links on the fake blog have been removed, save for this one at the bottom of the page. It points to the root apahc.org website. We've gone this far, why not follow?

[Screenshot of apahc.org][]

Aha! We've gotten to the root of their

little scheme. The fake blog was a ruse to drive links to their website

where they can peddle their.. desperate photovoltaic cell data... that

overdrew some gray scale. On second thought, we've just hit another dummy

page. Mousing around shows that there aren't any links on this

page, either, save for "Clients List," which redirects to a URL at


[Screenshot of pillsexpert.com sales website.][]

After several automatic redirects, it looks like we've finally hit the last page. (Unless we add something to our shopping cart, of course.) Just another online pharmacy. At least the trip was exciting.

I've left the offending comment online in case others want to do their own sleuthing. Would anyone wager a guess why the fakers went through all this trouble? From what I know about Google PageRank this scheme won't

make their page show up in any more searches. Thoughts?

[Screenshot of comment.]: /media/2004/02/04/comment.png

[Screenshot of fake blog.]: /media/2004/02/04/fake-blog.png

[Screenshot of the fake blog.]: /media/2004/02/04/fake-blog-link.png

[Screenshot of apahc.org]: /media/2004/02/04/fake-website.png

[Screenshot of pillsexpert.com sales website.]: /media/2004/02/04/real-website.png