The real time danger: Google opens up for spam and scam

Fri 11 December 2009 09:00, Bas van den Beld

The real time danger: Google opens up for spam and scam

Real time search is there. And it looks great. And it works great. It's really great and I love it. This really is the new step in search. But are we ready for it? Is Google ready for it? Looking at what a couple of SEOs at SES Chicago found not. But spammers might be ready. Real time search could be a great spamming tool.

At SES Chicago Outspoken Media blogger Rae Hoffman, aka Sugarrae noted the new real time search feature and immediately started testing. She was surprised in what she saw and pulled Dave Naylor, Michael Gray and Frank Watson into a room and the four hard core search experts found some troubling results.

It turns out that with just a couple of well placed tweets you can convert almost everything in real time search. "Sugarrae" found for example that its really easy to get onto the first page of Google on the word "viagra", in combination with a good title.

It gets ugly when Hofman points out that kids could be a very vulnerable target of spammers using real time search. It was easy to get the attention of those wanting to buy tickets for a Miley Cyrus concert by tweeting a phone number and the text "giving away free Miley Cyrus tickets". And the Sesame results are absolutely horrifying.

Sugarrae_Cyrus

The post points out some more issues, but the big picture stays, as Hoffman puts it:

"SUDDENLY ANYONE CAN TALK TO MY CHILD VIA GOOGLE AND I CAN’T STOP IT."

And she is right, so right. The danger of real time search is right away exposed. How can we solve this? How can Google solve this? When I layed down this problem at LeWeb for the real time search panel they didn't really come with a solution. "It's in the algorithm" was the solution. However that is pretty impossible. You can filter out tweets based on keywords but then you simply change the keywords so that won't be a permanent solution.

The only way were Google will have to go with this is authority. Only 'authoritative' tweets and accounts will probably be shown. Or even more 'personal': tweets from your network. It's a matter of time before social search, real time search and personalized search are combined to one. One probably can't live without the other.


  • Comments (2)
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  • Tell-a-cowboy

Comments (2)

 

  • Scary that in the race to get the jump on realtime search that common sense basics as mentioned above are forgotten.

    We talk about noise in the social networks, think the search engines have brought the noise to search. The "new car smell" will wear off soon.

    Perhaps we will have realtime search blindness... similar to banner blindness?

    Vr 11 dec 2009, 09:44


  • Tweets being included in the real time results is a fantastic idea but this has opened the door to a new generation of spammers. In turn the new generation of spammers will cause harm for those looking for genuine results and information.

    Twitter, facebook, myspace are here to stay and Google made a good move accepting this and building this into Google 2.0, but it is a little early for a full launch.

    Vr 11 dec 2009, 16:10

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