Just yesterday, Google Blogsearch re-launched with additonal memetracker features, but spammers have already found a way to get their wares featured on the service. Right now, under the technology section, spam posts about Zenni Optical, an online eyewear store, and the ’50 State Phone Book’ are featured as the 7th and 10th most popular technology related blog posts on the web. Both posts look like they were pushed onto the front page thanks to PayPerPost bloggers. Today, Google blogger Matt Cutts pointed out that Blogsearch is more inclusive than other memetrackers like Techmeme, but judging from this, Google’s Blogsearch might just be a bit too inclusive for its own good.
PayPerPost pays its bloggers to write posts about their advertisers and link to them. Basically, it is an elaborate search engine optimization scheme. Bloggers are supposed to disclose their affiliation with PayPerPost, but the ethics of this scheme are debatable and some bloggers fail to disclose their affiliation.
Every memetracker (and every popular site for that matter) will, of course, attract spammers. It’s surprising, however, to see that Google, a company that is generally known for its good spam filtering, let these two sites slip through. While the memetracker in Blogsearch is relatively new, the Google blog search index has been around for a long time and tends to be very clean.
However, because Google Blogsearch ranks posts according to the number of links they received, it is prone to list spammy posts from networks like PayPerPost.
A lot of memetrackers had to deal with these problems before, and we are confident that this will be an isolated incident, but Google clearly needs to improve its algorithms to shut this kind of spam out of its system or institute filters that shut out PayPerPost blogs by default.