Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Why I stopped reporting (Googlepages, Blogspot) spams to Google

I've been a Spam Fighter for 7+ years, and Google has got me frustrated. I'm quite happy about the little spam I get on my Gmail account. But they are doing a bad job of controlling spam on their systems. Worst of all, they don't accept automated reports, but instead want users to spend time reporting spams and abuse on Google systems manually.

Every other ISP or web service accepts automated spam reports via systems like SpamCop.net. Google requires us to report spams with on-line web forms. A good example is this web form to report an adult-content blogspot.com page. I can't tell you how many spams I have got with blogspot.com links that redirect to porn sites in China somewhere. I have reported them all to Google using that stupid form. Guess what? The links are all still up, sometimes weeks after I report them. There is never any closure or follow up, despite when I include my email address.

So, I'm resorting to ranting about this poor quality of service in a blog. You can see some of the other rants about this subject in this discussion in the Google Group for Blogspot. Try some of the links (if you're not afraid of seeing porn) to see if they're still up. Google knows about these but is not taking quick action.

Google has some of the sharpest, most creative people working for them. Yet they require us to submit spam reports about Gmail abuse using archaic web forms that cannot parse emails or require us to submit Googlepages abuse emails one link at a time.

Google refuses SpamCop.net automated reports about spams that contain links to Googlepages.com or blogspot.com pages. Here's an example of what happens when you put a spam into SpamCop that contains a Googlepages.com link:

Re: http://burtsmithwx.googlepages.com/index.html (Administrator of network hosting website referenced in spam)
To: abuse@google.com (refuses to accept this type of report)
To: abuse#google.com@devnull.spamcop.net (Notes)

Re: http://yodatrinidadt.googlepages.com/index.html (Administrator of network hosting website referenced in spam)
To: abuse@google.com (refuses to accept this type of report)
To: abuse#google.com@devnull.spamcop.net (Notes)
Accepting automated SpamCop reports would be the most intelligent way for Google to fight the spam on their systems.

Finally, let's not forget that spammers use software to create the spams, the Googlepages.com and Blogspot.com pages. So why shouldn't Google use software to detect and delete them!? Perhaps it doesn't affect the Google bottom line, and so they haven't put any resources on it.

As of today, I'm no longer reporting any more spam to Google with their archaic methods. They need to modernize on this aspect and start accepting automated reports from SpamCop.net.

Finally, stop exploiting the volunteer spam reporters! We have better things to do!

Interesting links: Blog Spam: A review

1 comment:

Richard V. said...

I feel your pain!

Equally frustrating is when some spam comes in, and after some checking of the headers to confirm the origin and other similar research to make sure you're not about to be guilty of creating backscatter you decide to send the offending emails as attachments to abuse (at) toplevel domain (dot) com. In due course an automated notification comes in "yes we have received your email", followed shortly by another automatied notification to the effect "attachments discarded".

In due course a message from an understandably confused person comes in, "what on earth are you talking about?" (or words to that effect)....

Or you get an automated message telling you to report spam with the "report spam" button - trouble is the email clients I use don't have such a button! And if manually submitting spam one by one was an option we wouldn't be looking to automatically submit it.