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Friday, May 20, 2005


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First off, it was a pleasure meeting you this week. Congrats again.

We've been somewhat hindered by the onslaught of spam feeds; while they pose little to no threat to the individual subscriber, to the aggregation services, they represent a problem. We've had to move to a more closely monitored system for adding feeds to our index, in an attempt to identify and squash valueless feeds before they get into our index. We've been fairly successful, but need to come up with more automated ways of addressing the issue. In addition to spam, there is the issue of content that is copied, quoted or plagarized from other sites; most, if not all, services at this point just do raw date sorting, which often causes duplicate content results. It's not really spam, but it should be handled better by the engines.

There might be some collaborative ways of fighting spam; one idea is for communities like Syndic8 might be able to utilize their extensive active user base to flag feeds.

There is a lot more to talk about, but you are correct: this is a major issue and has yet to be addressed sufficiently.

Is NewsGator in any way related to GAIN/Gator ads and spyware?

Well its a big issue but its not RSS specific. Spam won't be solved soon IMO. It's an arms race... a war of attrition.

All you really can do is make it asymetric for attackers so its hard to spam.

Though... actually... I've solved the spam problem. I'll sell it to you for $19.95... just click on this link!


Jason, NewsGator is in no way associated with the Gator spyware company - if they were, I wouldn't have joined them. I plan to blog about this shortly, but in the meantime, please see this post from Greg Reinacker:


Thanks very much for the NewsGator vs. GAIN/Gator clarification. The possibility totally freaked me out.

Surprisingly this is what I received today from BlogWare (owned by Tucows)

'Recently, Blogware has been abused by a new type of application that
is installed on users' machines and takes advantage of Service
Provider's free trials, and creates hundreds of moblogging posts on
an account in order to promote another site's search engine ranking.'

SPAM has arrived :(

Technorati takes antispam seriously as a quality of service issue. As you mentioned, if someone subscribes to a feed and it is all garbage they will turn off the feed and stop using the service.

At $75 a keyword for a single click in some cases the war against spam is a difficult one, but we will keep fighting the good fight.

the only way i can see spam being stopped is through a third party provider much like email spam is dealt with from antivirus firms (pc-cillin etc) , on feed retrieval a call to their online db for a certain feed url as known spam?

The feed reader creater could pay for this extra security which in favor is passed to the user much like windows protection.

However you check and deal with the situation short term , spam writers will be able to modify their feeds to get through in the long term.

Weren't there some 'Gator' products a couple of years ago associated with some of the worst spyware?

Anything to do with NewsGator?

Nick: This post is directed specifically at folksonomic spam, but it applies pretty evenly to plain ol' syndication spam.


The future is in syndication proxies.

Nick, here is a very handy GreaseMonkey script to remove RSS ads. The user will always prevail.


http://www.corante.com/mooreslore/archives/2004/11/17/rss_spam.php -- This is a great conversation. I first wrote about it last November and was heavily ridiculed for it.

Thanks, Nick!

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