Google Plus Growth through Fembots

According to this article of TheNextWeb, Google plus shows healthy growth, with more than 400 million activated profiles, and 100 million monthly active users. How the active user is defined, I'm not sure, as Google keeps the definition unclear. I, for one, am usually always logged into my Google account, which would make me an active user. The 400 million and the 100 million active user stats came through the acquisition announcement of Snapseed by Google (article about this). Snapseed is one of my favorite photo apps on the iPhone!

This week we also hit an important milestone–over 400,000,000 people have upgraded to Google+. It was only a year ago that we opened public sign-up, and we couldn’t have imagined that so many people would join in just 12 months. While Google+ is all about creating a better experience across Google, it’s also a destination. And here too, I’m happy to report that we have just crossed 100,000,000 monthly active users on Google+ (plus.google.com and mobile app).

I, for one would like to hear how many of those active 100 million users are using the mobile Google+ application. The user experience is so much better than the Facebook experience, and with a need for Facebook to make money on their mobile user engagements, while Google can subsidize their Google + efforts with the search revenue, I expect the mobile Google Plus strategy to be the battle ground for the coming months.

Google Plus an Identity Layer

As noted in an article on StateofSearch, Bas van den Beld describes it perfectly (based on a video embedded in the article):

Google+ is not just a social networking site. It is a place where you can establish your identity, have connections and show your interests. It supplies a social layer for all your Google Products. All these products can be more tailored to you.

The +1 button takes your identity and helps you build your reputation by having users publicly recommend your content or share with others.

A Google+ profile is the identity you create for Google, either personal or for your business.

I highly recommend to read the full article on Sate of Search, and watch the video to fully understand the impact Google+ can have on search results and the future of your profile and reputation online.

Google Plus Fembots

Fembots first post on Google+, a couple of great pictures..With the growth in users, come the spammers. Spam always finds its way to the place where users get together online, and spend their time. If there is a quick buck to be earned by tricking users to click on a link or buy a product, you can count on the spammers to build up new profiles with a couple of Fembots.

So, this morning, I got an email somebody on Google + just started to follow me. Not sure if it is a Fembot, as the profile looks legit with G+ posts, pictures of herself and lolcats and stuff. But as I have been around for a while on the Internets, and have studied the way spammers take over popular networks, I suspect this profile of Sarah Wilson is a Fembot.

The first post was only September 8th, where a bunch of personal pictures were uploaded. It wouldn't surprise me if these pictures were lifted of a Facebook page. (since these pictures could be of somebody else, completely innocent, I decided to be responsible and black out her face).

Fembots taking over Google Plus

Your Reputation & Your Friends in Circles

So I started to wonder; if Google+ is an identity layer, with which you can protect and build out your brand and reputation, what would the impact of your friends be on that reputation if these friends have a questionable reputation themselves? Just like guilty by a association you would be seen as a spammer if you add the Fembots to one of your circles?

What do you think..?

 

Google+ Spam #Fembots #FTW

For the last 5 days, I've been getting notifications in my Gmail inbox somebody I don't know has shared something with me on Google+. I thought it might be somebody I have circled back (Is that the right way of saying I have put the person in my circles after they had added me to theirs?). Nope, I didn't even have this person in my circles! Could it be... Has the Google+ Spam begun..?

Google+ Spam messages hitting my inbox

Google+ Spam messages hitting my inbox

FemBots Spammers #FTW

You would assume a smart spammer would pull out the Fembots, a reference to the Female Robots in the Austin Powers movie who tried to kill austin powers with the machine guns hidden in their boobs, also called breast canons. If you have never been exposed to a Fembot Spammer, shall we coin the term Sp(f)embot?, this is how a Twitter account of a Fembot Spemmer might look like:

Fembot Spammer on Twitter

Fembot Spammer on Twitter

Google+ Spam

I can't wait to see Google+ overrun by the Fembots, where Google has claimed in the past Google Plus would only be for real people and function as an "identity service". When I read the following paragraph on SEOBook, which came from an interview with Amit Singhal on SearchEngineland, I actually was thinking about the Fembots trying to create real looking profiles for Google Plus spam.

"We don’t think of this as a promotional unit now. This is a place that you would find people with real identities who would be interesting for your queries."

For a longer time I've been thinking about how Google has the perfect data infrastructure in place to prevent spam from Fembots. With the recent privacy policy changes, the underlaying data structures from all the "free" tools Google provides will give the Big G the ability to weed out fake profiles real easily.

Just think about it, would a spammer:

  • Correspond with real people over email, using their Gmail account
  • Do searches while logged in for everyday average search queries
  • Buy stuff online using a Google checkout
  • Use Google maps to print out directions
  • Claim their home address for easy navigation, or printing directions
  • Use an Android mobile phone with all the data collection right there, which is linked to a cell phone provider

I strongly believe the privacy policy changes were not only driven out of the need to protect the privacy of the average Google user. These changes were more driven out of the need to start using the data Google is collecting to make Skynet smarter. Weed out the spam, build a "better" search algorithm, build better ad targeting based on your preferences, etc.  We slowly get more buried into our own little bubbles...

What I don't understand right now, is why I'm being flooded with irrelevant email notifications of some random dude who has decided I'm a core target to sell Sh*t to. Google, fix it, please..! Or at least... bring out the Fembots!

Spam Comments – Do You See Comments About Pills

A couple of days ago, my buddy Hugo wrote about the comments spam on blog and how this works from a spammer perspective. Just days after this post, my inbox is overflowing with comments full with spammy links, trying to sell pills for any kind of disease. Even if you have no-follow tags on any link dropped in the comments, and Akismet is trying to prevent spammers writing comments on your blog, there are still automated comments placed left and right. Below you see 4 comments which were placed within the time-span of just 2 hours!

And these comments are not pretty, as you can see from the screenshot below. (click on the image for a larger picture)

Still, it's pretty easy to delete all these comments through the WordPress Admin panel.
spam comments deleted

Twitter Fake Profiles

And once again, a social media scam is breaking out. I now get messages from Twitter profiles that only include a short URL with a sexy looking girl as a profile picture.

image

I’m not going to click on the link, as I suspect it will either take me to a Made for Adsense site, or to a site that will install some malware.

Steve McNair Spam

With every trending keyword in Google Search Trends comes the Spam. Just check out the following spam in the title, tags and the first paragraph on the following blog:

The title is full with the most popular keywords around Steve McNair:

Steve Mcnair Dead - Michelle Mcnair - Steve Mcnair wife Michelle - Michelle Cartwright - Steve Mcnair - Steve Mcnair Died - Steve Mcnair wife - Steve Mcnair Shot - Steve Dead - Steve Mcnair’s wife Michelle - Steve Mcnair wife Michelle Mcnair - US Mechelle Cartwright

That is something what I call Keyword Spamming!

image

And then the Tag section:

image

Who needs 24 different tags for a story. Clearly these tags are intended to increase the keyword density for Steve McNair on the page.

Will this become the new trend in Spamming? Target the trending keywords on Google Trends & Twitter, to get more traffic to some spammy website full with Ads…