Spamvertising at the fake #wikileaks -forum.com

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What is Spamvertising ?

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia

Spamvertising is the practice of sending E-mail spam, advertising a website. The word is a portmanteau of the words “spam” and “advertising”.
It also refers to vandalizing blogs, online forums or wikis with hyperlinks in order to get a higher search engine ranking for the vandal’s website. Spamvertisers insert links to their websites (typically, sites purporting to sell some commercial product) and add keywords of common or related searches. The apparent goal is that a search engine will find the vandalized page full of links and improve the popularity rating of the pages to which they link. This is typically done by automated editing programs which look for editable text fields in web forms and automatically fill them in with web links. The links typically lead to pills, porn and poker sites.
Most legitimate website providers do not tolerate this practice, and will delete any site that has been spamvertised.
This practice has led to many editable online resources employing anti-spam countermeasures, including the use of captchas to prevent automated editing.

I did not know what this term meant until end of Spring 2012 The owner of the wikileaks forum, self proclaimed official, shared the following with a few selective mods and admins (not all of them after all had been invited to join the FB staff room)

At the WikiLeaks Forum Facebook Staff Group Page

May 29 2012 at 3:54pm

Ma Rk
Oh deary me….this just reached me

Hello,

We have received complaints of a domain hosted on your account being spamvertised (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spamvertisement). Advertising via spam is a violation of our Zero Tolerance Spam Policy as found in section three of our terms of service. As such, we are requesting an explanation for the attached email and will require a resolution to this matter within the next 48 hours. Please contact us right away in order to resolve this matter.

The matter meant so little to me and most of the other mods the no one commented at the time. Soon though the issue was mentioned again

May 30 at 12:45pm

Ma Rk
Seems the matter below is far from resolved and it looks like a deliberate attempt to disrupt the forum or at the worse, get it removed.

I need to act fats and have been speaking to a new hoster in the UK that can help us at a fair price.

The forum will then be hosted on a VPS account and have it own dedicated IPs. Up to now I’ve been paying my self for the shared hosting account.

VPS and Virtual Private Servers from WebHostingBuzz
http://www.webhostingbuzz.co.uk

Then again a couple of weeks later we were informed:

June 17 at 1:33pm

Ma Rk
Important Info: I am getting ready to move the forum to its own virtual private server ( VPS ) where we have full root contol.

We are currently backing up all files and data bases to prepare for ” d-day ”

Of course I will let u all know when the final move will be made and you can expect the forum to be unreachable untill the new DNS settings take effect.

vServer Hosting mit Shellzugang
alfahosting.de
Günstige und leistungsstarke vServer für Ihre Projekte, passen Sie Programme, Erweiterungen an Ihre Bedürfnisse über Shellzugriff an, eigene Domainverwaltung möglich

June 17 at 8:46pm

Ma Rk
Mission accomplished:

7 hours later and the forum has finally been moved to Germany. Untillt he DNS has propagated, you will probably notice no change. Once your DNS has been updated you will see that the forum is much fasrter than before and yo will see this on page loads.

We have also installed APC caching accelerator in order to enhance the forum performance at times when traffic is high.

In telephone conversations Mark mentioned that the US hoster had complained about the content of the forum. He said that the forum was being once again targeted because of its supportive Wikileaks role. He was able to ease away the hosters concerns about the content but he also said that for the safety of the forum he had decided to re-locate to a Virtual Private Server in Germany. I understood so little about such matters all I could do was go forward with a donation when he placed the donation button, to help out with the hosting costs.

But since I left the forum I started questioning the truthfulness of everything I had been told, including the validity of the argument that spamvertising had nothing to do with the forum. In my research I came across this report that I put here. It states that twice wikileaks-forum.com had been reported as a spam site:

The following domains served from CNS1.ALFAHOSTING.INFO were reported to KnujOn in spam messages. Any questions can be directed to contact@knujon.com

domain name – wikileaks-forum.com
instances – 2
first time reported – 6/22/2012
last time reported – 7/17/2012
nameserver -7f93ab08db1b4ea3a9498c4a92eb20fa.protect@whoisguard.com CNS1.ALFAHOSTING.INFO
IP address – 80.246.60.109
registrar – ENOM

Mark had advised the mods of a spamvertising problem with the US hoster on the 29th of May 2012 but the above record mentions the German hoster and the dates are after the forum moved to Germany.

The Questions that need to be asked are why was the forum involved in spamvertising?
A further question remains. If the US hoster did not tolerate it and asked Mark to remove the forum, how is it that the German hoster has no problem with it?

I am following up this matter directly with knujon.com and will update this post accordingly.

Resources:

Wkipedia Article on Spamvertising http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spamvertising
Spam Report in KnujOn.com http://knujon.com/nameservers/CNS1.ALFAHOSTING.INFO.html archived here: http://archive.is/yUchZ