A Faker in our Midst

by
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 health-infosheet.com.

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?