I saw this article on Easterwood.org and it reminded me of a conversation I had had with Danny Chan from Daypop when he was making Daypop. From the article:
I did a Google search for "aconti virus", and as I started to page through the results, which were top heavy with German sites (the Aconti Dialer is the product of some German company), I started to notice sites with URL's like trojan-scanner.755.us spyware-nuke.755.us By around page 6 of the search results (eg. results 51-60), these 755.us subdomain results are practically all that's listed. In fact, out of the 127 filtered results shown for my query (filtered meaning that Google takes out the results that are "very similar"), 74 of them were for the 755.us domain! Not surprisingly, they all redirect to the same site, which is an ad for a "spyware removal" software product.
A few years ago I had suggested to Danny that given how it seemed to me that pagerank worked, if I wanted to get to the top of the search results I just needed to make a bunch of websites and link them to each other therefore giving them all more importance since incoming links = important in pagerank. Then I could use them to get whatever I wanted to the top of pagerank and or the top of the Daypop top 40.
Given RSS it would be even easier. I could setup 200 or 300 blogs, blogroll them all to each other which would make them important, make them all display the RSS feed from one main blog and anything I enter into that blog would instantly appear at the top of daypop or blogdex or popdex and possibly pagerank and therefore the top of google searches.
That also reminded me of another idea which is how long until we start getting trackback spam?
It would be VERY easy (as in 1 or 2 hours of work) to make a script that got all the blogs off weblogs.com or some other blog list, check which ones have trackback and posts spam ads to everyone's sites.
I'm not sure how this would be fixed either. You don't want to discourage cross commenting, that's the whole point of trackback, to be able to get other points of view. But, once the spam starts (and it will) it will all escalate just like the e−mail wars. We'll add trackback ping blocking and the spammers will figure out our algorithms and work around them, first making up bogus ids, then stealing other people's ids, until Trackback is no longer useful.
Combine the two and you can see why spammers would want to use this idea. They could post links to their sites in their spam. Google then goes and looks at all the blogs with their trackback excerpts and poof, the spammer's site is #1 on google.