There used to be a time when I had a safe haven on the net free of spammers. My perfect little Zen garden full of information shared by those I trusted most, but today that place of Zen was tainted by the spammer world. This place of enlightenment was Google Reader. Before the social overhaul Google Reader was a place where my friends and my fellow search geeks could share interesting reads, and even if it wasn’t something I cared to read it was never blatant spam.
I have been away from the web the last few days due to a back injury and feeling a bit under the weather and when I returned this morning and opened my reader I was greeted with a little yellow note that read, “1 new person sharing with you”. Intrigued I clicked on the link hoping that another of my SEO Dojo or Twitter buddies had decided to share their feeds with me, but alas I was disappointed to find nothing more than the following:
If you can’t read it, the only shared item that Mr. Randy Powelson is sharing says, “Trying to help people make money so maybe I could make money as well” Conveniently enough it doesn’t even link to anything. Tonight I did some further digging on Mr. Powelson’s Google profile. His blog of course, hosted on blogger, has 2 entries “How To Make Money Online” and “How To Get Traffic To Your Site” and it’s of course covered in AdSense ads and affiliate links. The other website listed was a spam-tastic sports news site with no content of value whatsoever.
In a world where I once felt protected from these shenanigans, I see that I will now most likely be deleting Google Reader share requests about as often as I now delete Twitter follow requests. I understand that when it comes to the internet and spam, that is just the nature of the beast. But I wish that the social sites and the social features we use on some of our favorite sites would become more spam proof. If you look at how far we’ve come in terms of stopping e-mail spam, it makes you wonder what steps the social community is going to take to stomp out bogus profiles and bots.
Don’t get me wrong I love the social aspect of pretty much every service I use, especially Google Reader, but since I limit myself to about an hour each morning to go through my feeds, I really don’t want to have to start going through bogus share requests also.
Have you experienced this new form of social spam in your Google Reader account? If so, how long has it been happening and how frequently are you seeing it?