The risks of link-spamming Wikipedia

October 11th, 2006 – 20 Comments

WikipediaWhether you think it’s spamming or not, adding your own site to Wikipedia is considered spamming. I found out “the hard way” in a discussion I was having with Wikipedia editors on their WikiProject Spam page, regarding my previous post. Up till now, the only risk of placing your link in Wikipedia yourself, was that it would be removed. That’s about to change…

On this rather lengthy page, a section was created called “Google and Wikipedia share a common interest in combatting link-spam“. This section talks about a list of link-spammers, to be created on Wikipedia by admins, which could be used by Google, and others, to track link-spammers. That way, your spamming of Wikipedia might evolve into something far more dangerous: being banned from Google, considered a spammer by SpamAssassin, and so forth…

I myself am rethinking the whole idea of adding my own links to Wikipedia, and perhaps you should too. If you’re not impressed yet, read the proposed template text for link-spammers:

“In addition to being banned, if you continue to add spam links to Wikipedia, your links may be published on our list of repeat offender spam links. This list is publicly accessible to search engines and is sometimes used by search engine operators to identify search engine spammers for deletion from their rankings. Wikipedia is not responsible for search engine actions; contact the search engine operator directly if you have any questions.”

20 Responses to The risks of link-spamming Wikipedia

  1. Roy
    By Roy on 11 October, 2006

    It’s the same darn thing with that fuckin nofollow crap. Now everybody getting no linklove at all.

    If the goddamn site is relevant, it’s relevant, it isn’t spamming, only letting people know it’s out there.

    Spamming is like promoting your frickkin erection pages al over wikipedia from kindergarten till css till horny granny’s (and maybe, that’s even relevant).

  2. Peter
    By Peter on 11 October, 2006

    I guess that’s also the reason why only the English version of Wikipedia doesn’t add a nofollow-tag to each external link automatically. All links in other languages are being nofollowed for quite a long time already…

  3. Stu
    By Stu on 11 October, 2006

    I can see this really being abused.

    Sounds like a nice way to get a competitors site removed from wikipedia and possibly banned by google.

  4. Joost de Valk
    By Joost de Valk on 11 October, 2006

    Stu: that is one of the potential problems with it, it’s also indicated in the thread on Wikipedia.

  5. Rasesh
    By Rasesh on 11 October, 2006

    I am of the opinion that all external links from Wiki should be nofollow, its the best way to combat spammers..

  6. Joost de Valk
    By Joost de Valk on 11 October, 2006

    Rasesh: why shouldn’t a site receive the value of it’s links on Wikipedia? just because others are using it for link-spamming?

  7. Pete Young
    By Pete Young on 11 October, 2006

    If the site is relevant and on topic, why not allow it. Spamming on Wikipedia from generic terms are a completely different scenario imo though.

    For example a link from to the 888 casino page would be OK imo, however one from the to the above is debatable.

  8. Joost de Valk
    By Joost de Valk on 11 October, 2006

    Pete: I kind of agree with you, although the 888 casino site is not really a resource of information on casino’s. The site in question here was a site about css3, linked from the css site of wikipedia. The site itself is a useful resource, the only reason i could gather from the wikipedia admins to delete it was the fact that i confessed to adding it myself…

  9. Peter Young
    By Peter Young on 11 October, 2006

    Probably the worst example I’ve used but its the general point I was trying to make. Really it comes down to relevancy at the end of the day.

    If it isnt relevant get it out. As far as it affecting rankings surely this itself opens a completely different can of worms (link to a competitors site over and over) and thus get them removed.

  10. Joost de Valk
    By Joost de Valk on 11 October, 2006

    Peter: the latter is the problem that they’ll have to tackle before this will ever work. Otherwise, getting someone blacklisted would be really easy.

  11. Aaron
    By Aaron on 11 October, 2006

    Google just needs to give up. This attitude of “let’s punish people who screw with our algo” is seriously breaking the internet.

    This dick measuring contest is purely google’s fault. Measuring rank based on incoming links is over. Links lost any meaning as soon as rel=nofollow was implemented.

  12. Joost de Valk
    By Joost de Valk on 11 October, 2006

    Aaron: i hear ya, and I feel the same sometimes…

  13. Fionn
    By Fionn on 19 October, 2006

    They have to be kidding. Is the power going to their heads. First they need to provide some validation of their own content. I had one client being slammed with incorrect information by a competitor. They were asked to remove the article since my client did not create it the competitor did. They claimed no responsibility for what is on the site but they will go all out to blacklist spammers. So I can fake a log in create a completely rubbish article about my competitor make it look legit until Its approved then add the false information and that is okay but add a relevant link to an article and I am a spammer.

    How are they going to track it. You can create a totally fake log in with a fake e-mail from a library or other untraceable IP. Three weeks later all record of the IP is gone so now all they have is a fake log in and ID and they are going to call them out as a spammer. Great that will deter the really determined ones.

    I dont know if I can leave a link or not but here goes to a website which talks about the other side of wikipedia

    Let them no follow all their links that will solve the problem.

  14. Joost de Valk
    By Joost de Valk on 19 October, 2006

    That would indeed solve the problem, but it’s throwing away the child with the bathwater…

  15. Aaron
    By Aaron on 19 October, 2006

    if you wonder why is relatively spam free it’s because of the nofollow, noindex meta tag used.

    If wikipedia would do this it would solve a LOT of problems. The fact that wikipedia ranks so well not only means that objectionable content often floats to the top of the search engine rankings, but you also get a lot more random people who surf in through google (most likely looking for information) and end up editing the article and bringing the quality down.

    It would just be better all the way around.

  16. Sucker
    By Sucker on 30 November, 2006

    Wow thanks for the info! Glad I found this.

    Although from my experience of adding legitimate links to wikipedia and having them removed immediately, I haven’t bothered anymore anyway!

  17. Joost de Valk
    By Joost de Valk on 30 November, 2006

    Sucker: be careful about it, yeah :)

  18. fornetti
    By fornetti on 31 August, 2008

    I do not believe this

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