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The SEO Spammers Behind Online Infographics 55

Posted by samzenpus
from the spam-by-the-numbers dept.
jfruh writes "Over the past couple of years, you may have noticed a rash of often high-quality infographics by third parties appearing on your favorite websites. These images are offered to Web publishers free of charge, with the only request being a link back to the creator's own site. But when one blogger got an odd email from a the creator of infographic he put on his site two years ago, he did some digging and discovered that he had inadvertently helped some shady characters do SEO spamming."
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The SEO Spammers Behind Online Infographics

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  • Lol (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 13, 2012 @07:45PM (#42282691)

    Like Slashdot and its Slashvertisements?

  • by Dynedain (141758) <slashdot2.anthonymclin@com> on Thursday December 13, 2012 @07:53PM (#42282779) Homepage

    Ummm I read the article, and other than the author being pretty obtuse, I don't see any substantial connection with infographics.

    The author operates a blog, and was contacted by someone trying to operate a suspicious link-trading scheme. He engaged them to find out info the SEO scheme was directing traffic to a lead-generation system for online degrees.

    End of story.

    Anyone who operates a website has gotten spam about link trading schemes like this one. Nothing in here is specifically targeted to infographics.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 13, 2012 @08:06PM (#42282891)

      It sounds like the source of that infographic was the bogus info-farming online school site, and they wanted the links updated.

      It also sounds like they produce hundreds of these infographics and expects to be backlinked. I'm not sure that qualifies as a scam, but it's in a grey area for SEO.

      Yes, it's their content. Yes, it's fair to request attribution from blogs reposting your info. But using that popular content to boost the search engine rank of your unrelated infofarm? Kinda lame.

    • by inamorty (1227366) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @08:11PM (#42282929)
      I think it would have helped more if you had explained yourself with the help of a diagram.
      • by NevarMore (248971)

        I've got a great diagram made up just to show this. You have to link back to me though....

    • by Zemran (3101)

      ...but by writing this article for /. he has got far more clicks and his SEO has gone through the roof - win!!!

    • by geegel (1587009)

      Actually you got it wrong. The author was not contacted by someone "trying" to operate a link-trading scheme, but rather by someone with whom the author already engaged with (he admittedly used some infographics from that site).

      This is basically someone revolted that somebody else is making money on the internet.

  • by jibjibjib (889679) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @08:21PM (#42283015) Journal

    A site is increasing their search engine ranking by... producing meaningful content that people want to link to? I don't see what the problem is here.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      .. producing meaningful content that people want to link to? I don't see what the problem is here.

      referring to infographics as meaningful content is the problem

    • by qwidjib0 (900833)
      Agreed. If an infographic doesn't provide value, it doesn't do much. This post, on the other hand, got published to one of the biggest tech sites on the Internet, all because they regurgitated a sensationalist post about something that has been a core piece of online public relations and SEO for at least 5 years. There's no information there.
    • by J Story (30227)

      Agreed. This is a non-story. Is it time, now, to talk about the decline of Slashdot?

    • by plover (150551)

      Yeah, I didn't exactly see their site or practices as shady. It's not like they're hiding what they're doing or who they're advertising for, so they're not spam. Getting people to link to you by offering content that apparently has enough value for you to link to them is not link farming, it's linking.

      It's link farming if the links go back to a fake news aggregator site that nobody could really use. It's SEO comment spam if it includes gratuitous links in generic comments or pseudonymous profiles. (A sma

      • From Google's perspective, soliciting, exchanging, or generally acquiring links for the purposes of gaming their search algorithms is to be discouraged.

        • by plover (150551)

          Your argument is that because they created the content primarily to get links is that it somehow makes the content less "worthy", whereas I think the content should be judged on its own merits.

          Even if the content creator is an advertiser specializing in online-for-profit schools, that doesn't invalidate the content. This is actually more like ordinary advertising, except it's paid for with (somewhat) valuable content instead of directly with cash. And of course there is a link as a result, but it's a legiti

  • by Hentes (2461350) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @09:08PM (#42283353)

    I haven't seen one that had any value, they are just a way of using shiny pics to spread ignorance while appearing smart because they have numbers on 'em.

  • Unfair (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fermion (181285) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @09:55PM (#42283583) Homepage Journal
    So this is really unfair. It is not like the site is tricking anyone into filling out form, or injecting javascript, or putting other content into frames, or charging you. Back in the day you would have charged over a hundred for this service. Many people were duped into thinking this was valuable.

    In this case the site exists to connect people who are looking to go to college with colleges who want the money. This is no different than your average bank who will not only sell your name to a fraudsters, but allow them to put the bank logo on correspondence and then claim they have nothing to do with the offer.

    In fact it is not the site who are like the banks, but the schools. They are the ones soliciting for others to attract clients using whatever mean necessary. The school have a choice of who they pay for fulfillment. They could simply say if anyone complains about fraud, they will not pay for fulfillment. Yet the don't. They knowingly engage in supporting whatever fraud may exist.

    Which is not surprising. School like Phoenix exists to con young people into applying to student loans, taking that money.and giving much less than what would expect from a minimum education. National average default rate is around 14%, University of Phoenix has twice that. The cost of an associates degree is at least 25K, while most community colleges are half that.

    If there is a story here it is that some schools have engaged in fraud, promoted fraud, solicited fraud, and destroyed young peoples lives all to steal a few dollars from the US taxpayers.

  • Seriously? Who didn't know this? Stupid question, my boss is one of those people that doesn't get it, but he's old and doesn't understand the Internet. Why anyone who can find slashdot on their own wouldn't get it is beyond me.

  • Let me make sure I understand your complaint... You went to a website that helps you apply for, and get in to schools. After you filled out applications for those schools you got upset when they called you to discuss the information you sent in your application? I don't understand where the problem is, am I missing something?

  • by David Gerard (12369) <slashdot@davidg e r a r d . co.uk> on Friday December 14, 2012 @03:05AM (#42284833) Homepage

    Mostly it's PR companies [davidgerard.co.uk].

    Tom Morris outlines the problem: Infographics are porn without the happy ending [tommorris.org].

  • You say someone gave you a free product, and then you found out that YOU were the real product? Shocking!

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