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Page 2: The anatomy of a spam site

A Moderate Spam Website

Our first example happens to actually deliver valuable content and information amongst all the noise. There were six news bursts on the page, all of which offered links to their sources, etc. This is what we would consider a "Moderate" spam site. You can surf with the graphics turned OFF and get the content in about half the time. Additionally it's not loaded with a lot of hidden text and code (as we'll show you later) that provides no benefit to the reader.

spam site Counting bytes on this page yields a 6.5-to-1 noise to content ratio, which says that your browser and bandwidth requires 6.5 times processing to present you with the content you came for.

This one's not as bad as many others, and would appear to be honest in their spam. When we counted actual character bytes, the ratio went down to about 3-to-1, so most of this page's spam is built into the graphics.

There are 34 graphics on this page, of which only three actually relate to the real content. All the rest are ads or superfluous self promos.

The load was worsened by the blinking or animated ads separating each news item. The page actually went on deeper, we only show about the first 8 screens. Once the news items run out, the page actually continues down at some length with nothing but ads... many of which are repeated from higher on the page. (Obviously this site is padding their click-throughs by having one or more of the same ad on a single page! There were FOUR Small Dog ads on this page... sort of like watching the same commercial four times in a row on TV. Very poor taste, Small Dog!)

Although all the ads but three related vaguely to the 'topic' of the site, only one actually related to a specific content item. Three of the ads were completely off-the-wall and probably got very few click-throughs.

We would have to assume that 99% of the viewers of this particular web page already know that Amazon.com sells books! (Is there a web surfer out there who doesn't know !) At the rate this site charges for an ad, it's no wonder Amazon has to sell search positions.

Four of the ads were animated or blinking violently, calling the server as many as 16 times for each loop. The page literally never finished loading. After the initial 12-seconds completely blank, and 44 seconds to content load-times, the page would only scroll at 5 to 7 second intervals while the animations looped. These stats were gathered over a clean line, 56K modem, 6 am, eastern time. Being 6 am eastern time should have meant very light loads on the California hub for this site.

The interesting thing to note here is that ALL of the news bursts on this page, with the exception of the site's editorial, are available as plain text from other news providers online, and most of them available via email.

Now, a "heavy duty" spam site. . .


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