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January 21, 2009

Google Group Spamvertising

I've seen an upsurge in spammers using a Google Group as a spamvertising link destination. This is a way for spammers to include links in their spam that might not get content-filtered.

Once you have set up a free Google account, setting up a group requires no more than filling out three text boxes, clicking one radio button, and clicking a Submit button. The home page for the group then can hold HTML, such as a large image acting as a link to the real spamvertising web site.

That's all the spammers are doing. There are no discussion messages, no members, no nothing that Google Groups are supposed to be all about. Just free web hosting space for an image (sourced from an outside server) and link.

Spam that advertises this way isn't using the group's email to send the messages. In other words, unlike some crap that an occasional Yahoo! Group member tries to pull, your email address hasn't been added to a member's list without your permission. These Googley spams are sent through botnets. Thus, there is nothing in Google's Terms of Service that makes these "groups" out of bounds. The TOS is all about what can be posted in the group, not how you get people to the group, even if by illegal means.

Just another example of how Bad Guys abuse Good Stuff on the Internet.

Posted on January 21, 2009 at 10:41 AM