External Links Being Hidden Behind Emoticons/Smilies

Lately, I’ve noticed a lot of the spam comments on my blogs contain links concealed behind smilies. This helps you place any URL on a forum or a blog, without raising any red flags, as would happen if you blatantly add links to your posts or signature. It’s not obvious that this paragraph is just here to build a backlink to another site grin

Why the hell would you want your links where humans don’t notice them? Because machines do notice them, and your purpose is to have as many sites link back to you as possible. This artificially raises the rank of a site in the search engines. Whether this method actually helps or not is questionable. It helps, especially if done on a big level, but the point of this post isn’t to discuss SEO. It’s to raise awareness of this what I’m noticing to be an increasingly common tactic.

This idea isn’t new. Adding URLs to a 1×1 pixel transparent gif for tracking purposes is old and common, but this is now being used to build backlinks.

You can make this impossible by disabling UBB/HTML in your blog comments. Other methods include adding a border around smilies which are clickable.

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