Lazy ubiquitous everywhereiness

Ok this isn’t what I do, but its something to think about, especially when you have one of those widget things that have sprung up here there and everywhere on your blog.

Only the other week, I noticed that the same guy appeared to be on my blog all of the time. I wondered why, he never posted, just came by and seem to always be there. He doesn’t do it anymore, so maybe he got bored, but it got me thinking as to the hows and the whys and lead me to believe that he probably set up some kind of auto refresh thing.

Here’s how I think he might have done it.

  1. Create a profile at a number of social network sites that run a widget photo thing.
  2. Link it through to some product you are looking to promote
  3. use a compelling image to attract clickthroughs
  4. Identify a lot of blogs that have these widgets on them
  5. Create a file and call it lazy-bastard.htm
  6. Open the view source option.
  7. Paste the code with links to your target blogs.
  8. Save it.
  9. Run it in a browser window somewhere
  10. Go down to the pub and have a beer

<meta http-equiv=”refresh” content=”120″>
<title>Lazy Busy Blog hopper</title>
<meta http-equiv=”Content-Type” content=”text/html; charset=iso-8859-1″>
</head><frameset rows=”*,*” cols=”*,*” frameborder=”NO” border=”0″ framespacing=”0″>
<frame name=”cornerFrame” xsrc=”blog1/”  >
<frame name=”topFrame” xsrc=”blog2/”  >
<frame xsrc=”somebusyblog3″ ><frame xsrc=”somebusyblog2″ ></frameset>
<noframes><body bgcolor=”#FFFFFF” text=”#000000″>


Personally I’d like to see a system that minimised the ability to do this as it could just spoil it for everyone else, not to forget that it could also be a huge bandwidth whore.

From a selfish bastard use and abuse perspective, its a good way of getting free advertising on high visibility, high trafficked sites, as to what can be done about it, hmmn, I guess thats up to to the backend coder guys on the respective widget sites. Maybe install some little time delay to prevent the images or urls being displayed more than say once in any 120 second time frame perhaps, longer even god knows. Things like this seem just too easy. I ve only used 4 urls in my example but it could theoretically contain 100’s if not 1000’s of domains.

Rob Watts
Kickstart your business today - Get an SEO Consultation or just talk to Rob about your online aspirations. With over 20 years experience in building traffic he's pretty much encountered most markets and scenarios
Posted on: 2nd March 2007, by : Rob Watts

16 thoughts on “Lazy ubiquitous everywhereiness

  1. hmm, interesting. I would actually like to see a case study out of what people actually get out of spamming mybloglog. I was very aggresive in my conact aquisition which didn’t harm me, but I don’t see much monetary value gained from spamming as it’s so untargeted.

  2. Yes, well the thing with this is that the big A-list bloggers who use these widgets charge quite a few quid to advertise on their blogs…This approach would give them a quick and easy almost constant piece of real estate. Granted, its not one of those earn you a million quid things, but if you were looking to build brand awareness across a huge spectrum then that could well be a short cut way to go.

  3. Becky, that comment almost reminds of that old chestnut of lost things being found in the last place that you looked. Makes one wonder why we never looked there first. 😀

  4. I guess its what your trying to target that makes this work, for example in the post you mention targeting a specific product, but I think this technique would be more useful at getting faces to your profile. The problem is with mybloglog and similar its not a direct track through to your site, rather their is the middle step of the persons profile. It would be interested to look at the various click through rates, from a widget, to profile to site. I haven’t done it but I’m guessing its less then 1/10 from widget to site.

  5. Hi Tim, thanks for commenting

    I agree I think the click thru ratios would be pretty small too I guess it would also depend on what your profile said too. Most people are savvy enough to see through blatant spammy sales pitches.

    Some users @ MBL used various pics of young women in various states of undress. I dont know whether that attracted more clicks for them, but if the old adage of ‘sex sells’ is in any way true then Im guessing that these profiles would have recieved that little bit more attention.

    The wider point of being able to grab that real estate with a quick and dirty marketing message still stands…I’d expect it to be plugged pretty quickly though. It only takes one A list blogger to rant on it. No network thats heavily dependant upon a widget can really afford that.

    We shall see 🙂

  6. I think the potential for this type of abuse first came to light back in January, when a user did it to TechCrunch briefly as proof of concept. In that case he was just using the auto-refresh feature in Opera.

    MBL supposedly took steps to prevent users from doing it, so maybe that’s why the guy you noticed disappeared after a while.

  7. Thanks Kevin, I missed that.

    It was *the* reason why Michael took it off. I note that its still off there today too.

    The only way to see what they’ve done would be to set up an account and test it I guess. If I were MBL I’d be reluctant to tell anyone what I’d done to prevent it specifically.

    Page views within a given time frame might be good way. Or a can’t appear on > 2 domains within a 3 second timeframe, or same cookie can’r pull the widget from more than 2 IP’s within a 5 second time frame.

    I think thats how I might begin to look at the issue. Its an interesting tech challenge.People do flick through sites and scan pages very quickly sometimes. I dont think an “if user looks at same site for longer than x minutes” algo would be too helpful.

    If I did test it and found it to be lacking, or the account used was still active, then I think I’d tell them privately. These chaps have had more than their fair share of negative anti widget publicity!

  8. Hi, To the extent we know, we’re safeguarded against that kind of attack. We don’t publish the exact nature of the safeguards but they aren’t radically different than what you suggest.

    Michael has put up and taken down the widget 3 or 4 time since this particular incident.

  9. Now here is a something which I do not mind being called naive.

    It amazes me the energy and effort expended on trying to “beat the system” instead of just getting out there and doing the things which are proven to legitimately create value which drive traffic.

  10. Well, hear that Mark, but the reality is that loopholes and work arounds can and do reap dividends. It must be pretty tough to build and devise an application from scratch that is spammer proof. Must put hours and hours on development times, not to mention create all manner of headaches.

    I’m with you on your bigger point though. The long term game is far more fruitful and productive. Not just from any ooh I made a few bucks sense, but more a self satisfaction thing too. Its a great feeling to build something of value that people like and use and praise. How can anyone look at some of the shit that is out there (splogs spam gens hack tools etc) and say with any sense of pride, cool I made that it makes the world a slightly better place to live in.

  11. Say’s everything why I left myblogblog. If I am here and if I respond to your posts is because I want to and I find it interesting.

    I found mybloglog a place full of people friend whoring.

    I left :0)

  12. @ Sarah
    We’re working make it easy to hide from that sort of promotion if you want (and see it if you like it). We’d love it if you give us a try again when you are ready.

  13. @ Scott

    Thanks for that, we are going a little off Rob’s subject here, but I just wanted to add, I can understand you can hide from that sort of promotion, when I was there my admire list was larger than my friends list.

    However, you in my view are promoting friend whoring, as they call it. The reason I say this is that your ‘hot members or blogs’ are always it seems to me,(but correct me if I am wrong) given to members that have added over a hundred members or added over a 100 blogs to there profiles.

    The day mybloglog puts a member on the hotlist due to the quality of the website they provide, is the day I come back.

    I just think your making a rod for your own back, as by doing this hotlist the way you are you are just promoting this sort of activity.

    Ok had my say – sorry Rob I realy took this off subject .. :0)

  14. No I think its related Sarah, its at least orbital 😉

    I cant comment on what Scott’s view is of course, but what i would say is that, some of us , especially some of the more number centric amongst us equate big numbers with popularity. If its popular, then the inference is it must be good, if its good then share it and flag it up….yet as you say, the reality is that this isn’t always necessarily borne out in fact, as in many ways, like you point out, some of the numbers and figures are arrived at via friend ‘whoring’.

    How to differentiate between general community interest and otherwise is an interesting challenge. Im sure there is a programmitc solution somewhere, maybe you’ve planted a seed that helps that solution germinate. 😉

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