Web Spam on University Sites

If you’ve ever seen someone make the argument that search engines treat web sites with a .edu address as a “trusted” site, or even made the argument yourself, it’s probably worth taking a look at some university pages using a Google “site” operator. For example:

The registrar of .edu domain names is Educause, and they do have some strict guidelines involved in handing out domain names that use a .edu top level domain (tld). The problem comes about when universities let discussion boards lay fallow for a few years – boards that anyone can use – and people start spamming those. Here’s a list of some of the schools that I’m seeing with Web spam on them:

  • Stanford University
    – http://geant4-hn.slac.stanford.edu:5090/HyperNews/public/get/hnannounce.html
  • Bryn Mawr
    – http://forums.brynmawr.edu/viewforum.php?f=28
  • University of Pennsylvania
    – gsc.upenn.edu/swd/images/cialis.php
  • Purdue University
    – epics.ecn.purdue.edu/resources/?Cialis-drug/ (uses redirect)
  • Cal State San Marcos
    – http://courses.csusm.edu/lbst301by/1999-2f/_disc6/00002b4d.htm
  • Temple University
    – http://courses.temple.edu/psych170disc/_disc1/00001416.htm
  • University of Dallas
    – http://dante.udallas.edu/edu5323/_feedback/00001245.htm
  • Ohio State University
    – http://www.coe.ohio-state.edu/gnewell/_disc2/00002f60.htm

Many of the university pages being spammed are forums and discussion boards that don’t require registration, and haven’t been actively used in a few years. It would be great to see these schools clean those pages up, and maybe require registration for people who want to post to them – perhaps even the use of a valid university email address.


Author: Bill Slawski

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