A new type of blog referral spam


If you’ve been blogging for a reasonable length of time, there’s a fair to strong chance that websites you’ve linked to no longer exist. There’s a wider question about the implications of this, but that’s for a future post.

These unintentional broken link archives have attracted a new, specific type of referral spam. Akin to a spearfishing, the junk mailer attempts to persuade you they’re providing a service in return for trackback links to their site. Here’s an example:

Hi Ruben,

I noticed you’ve shared Frostwire (http://frostwire.com/) on this page https://rubenerd.com/p3768/, as you might be aware, Frostwire announced at the end of September that it would be shutting down.

We’ve put together a guide to the best alternatives. Here’s the link.

Perhaps you could update your page to include a link to our guide so that anyone still interested in Frostwire has an alternative.

I hope this helps.

I was almost tricked the first time because the phrasing seemed plausible. But I get at least one a week now, and it’s clear they’re cookie-cutter templates based on web searches sprayed out to bloggers.

The nail in the coffin was when I received a specific one about the Zune. I had been joking about how bad Microsoft’s iPod killer was back in the day, and unsurprisingly the link to the Microsoft site is now gone. Clearly having never read the article, someone attempted to convince me my great Zune articles need updated links.

Since writing this post, I got a flavour of did you get a chance to review spam, though with the same content pasted again:

I’ve not heard from you, so I’ll take the hint and leave you alone but if you do want to fix the broken link here are the details.

Author bio and support


Ruben Schade is a technical writer and infrastructure architect in Sydney, Australia who refers to himself in the third person. Hi!

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