Ego Spam: A Made-Up Word For A Real-World Activity

Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz recently coined a new term: wiki-hacking. I've decided that I too want to create a new term and I've settled on ego spam. The good thing about making up words is that you get to define them too. So here goes!

The term spam is generally associated with e-mail sent in bulk without permission from the recipient and most often in an automated fashion. As you would expect, ego spam shares the same attributes and involves preying on the egos of website owners, particularly search engine marketers. Some examples of ego spam include:

  1. Visiting websites with the MyBlogLog widget while you're logged in for the sole-purpose of having your image appear in the widget with the hope that the site owner will click through to your site. I'm pretty sure I detected someone doing this when MyBlogLog first became popular i.e. I would visit 10 sites and this user's mugshot would be on 8 of them.
  2. Referral spamming involves faking a browser referrer as you visit websites so that an entry with your website's URL shows up in that website's traffic logs. I'm guilty of experimenting with referral spam. What can I say? Sometimes the pull of the dark side is too strong :-) As you might expect, it upset some people including the likes of John Andrews and IncrediBILL.
  3. Voting on social networks submissions based on who submitted the article rather than its contents. Submitters often like to see who gave them a thumbs up and may follow your vote back to your site.

Is ego spamming effective? I suppose you can move up from a complete no-name to not quite a complete no-name, but I doubt anyone has become famous just by spamming egos.

One other good thing about making up new terms is that it's easy to obtain #1 rankings for them. Sixteen hours after this post went live, I've got the #1 ranking for ego spam. Woohoo!

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