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.


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

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