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Alden Bates' Weblog

Feigning normality since 1973

Complaining about Google

Filed in: Spam.

Regarding my post a couple of weeks back on Microsoft's sneaky bot, today I spotted an example of Google using the same tactic! Shortly after a request from Googlebot for yesterday's fireworks post, there was a second hit from a Google-owned IP address with a Firefox user agent and the referrer "". This second hit loaded only the page and none of the associated style or graphic files, and I don't appear in a google search for "abc" so I'm reasonably sure it was a cloaked bot. Since it didn't load any stylesheets, I'm not sure what abuses it's looking for (perhaps it's merely checking for server redirects?).

However, that's not what I'm complaining about. A while ago I noticed that some of the URLs in the spam comments I was getting (which never appeared on the site because my defences are well set up) were for Google Groups. Sure enough these were groups which had been set up by spammers to promote their crap. As every post in a Google Group (assuming it's not a Usenet mirror) has a report abuse link on the bottom, I reported some of the posts. Google sent me an automated email thanking me for reporting the abuse, however weeks later the spammy Google Groups are still there.

Case in point:

Now, considering how strict Google is on sites which allow this sort of thing, I'm somewhat surprised that they haven't acted more decisively in this case.

Posted November 6, 2007 8:08 PM

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