[Talk-us] SEO Damage to OSM

Greg Morgan dr.kludge.gm at gmail.com
Wed Jul 5 15:27:45 UTC 2017

On Fri, Jun 30, 2017 at 10:23 AM, Frederik Ramm <frederik at remote.org> wrote:

> Hi,
> On 06/30/2017 06:21 PM, Clifford Snow wrote:
> > Edits, from what appears to be a search engine optimization company
> > (SEO), have damaged a number of ways in the US.
> Was it not possible to determine the user accounts responsible and then
> have DWG revert all their contributions? Or did these accounts also
> contribute good data?

Back in April I did send an email to DWG. I also included the response with
the DWG name redacted[1].  Here's part of the problem.  I have identified
an account that is a spam account.  There is a pattern to these spam
edits.  If I do tell you that only bad things come from a single account
and I am not engaging in an edit war and if I tell you the way that was
altered was malicious, then to leave these spam accounts around, let's them
still win.  They have their account with the same data as in the tags.

Am 01.07.2017 um 08:33 schrieb Simon Poole:

...given that we have a known US based SEO company that has created
(literally) 1000s of such accounts (but with slightly less spammy edits),
and "we" haven't taken any action, why should we in this case?

How do you know this is all coming from a US based Simon?  How does
targeting US locations make it an US based company?  If it the same
occurred in Europe, then I am sure you would have more care and concern
than you are showing here.  Dude I often cringe when I reas what you write
in email.

The ChanlerAir is the more pernicious version of the problem. This pattern
changes a real OSM feature such as a road. OSM Change Set Analyser may be
useful here because they changed the street name.

In the second version of the problem[2], the change is subtle but uses some
of the same principles. LOL, I included the email that I sent to the Tax
firm.  You can email the OSM account and any of the firms involved but you
will not get a response.

Bayesian spam filters have been used for years to work on spam issues.
These spam changes do not need that complexity to detect.
 1.) The OSM account name has something to do with the change: Copper
Canyon Law LLC Tax Attorney
 2.) I cannot confirm this but I am guessing that the account name is the
same or similar to the email address used to setup the OSM account.
 3.) There is only one edit.
 4.) There may be a gravitar on the OSM account.  Think about it.  How many
newbies have a gravitar and make one edit?
 5.) Most of the time, The OSM account profile page, the change set text
and description tag all have the same business oriented marketing text.
The changeset text and the description tag look the same in the cases that
I have observed.
 6.) If there is a name tag, then it may be the same as the OSM user
account.  This is where the pernicious version of these changes can be
detected because the street name is changed.
 7.) The addr:.* tags are abbreviated.
 8.) The addr:state may not be the in the same location as where the edit
was made i.e. the location is AZ but addr:state is MD, WA, CA.  The rub
here is that most of the change set tools treat all of the US as one area
verses the need for multiple areas.  If I see a newbie make a change via
Pascal's tool,  I cannot tell if a new change in MD is correct or not
because I live thousand of miles away.
 9.) The actual change will have a full email address.  I have not seen
many newbies master that many tags on their first change.
10.) There will be a phone number.
11.) As stated already, there will be a description tag.  In my case, I use
description tags on relations but not in all cases.  The description tag
may be one of the key markers for this kind-of spam edit.
12.) There will be an email address.
13.) There may be a fax number.
14.) There will be a website.
15.) In the pattern of nodes that I present, I show that open areas and
strange locations are involved.  LOL we do a lot with our washes in Arizona
because we can put a golf course where the water runs infrequently.  We
will not put an Asian eatery nor a tax law firm by a flood control feature.

> Was it not possible to determine the user accounts responsible and then
> have DWG revert all their contributions? Or did these accounts also
> contribute good data?

This is where I think that the DWG needs an oversight board. I've seen
where the DWG will rollback good edits like the recent wikidata rollback
without community input.  I've had to cleanup these crappy reversions. I've
seen the DWG go after real newbies because they are exited and want to make
a difference but make a few mistakes. However, when there is a clear
pattern, the attitude is that the DWG all will not lift a hand.  That's the
perception that I have of the DWG.

By the way, Fred, I am not asking you to delete these nodes.  I have been
saving the examples for other mappers and perhaps a tool like OSM CA can
make a go of detecting these malicious edits.



There was a Asian cafe that was in the area that someone has already

I have fixed spam from this user.  ChandlerAir is a spam account as they
changed a whole street name and other tags relating to their business.  If
possible the ChandlerAir user should be deleted.  I do not see the hope of
converting the user to a real mapper.



Hi Greg,

Thanks for getting in touch. It may not be a spam account as much as
someone trying to improve the online business of this company and got it
wrong. The en-GB locale tag hints at probably someone non-local.

I've left a comment on their changeset to see if anyone will respond as
just adding tags to a road for the first edit isn't necessarily nefarious.
Perhaps if it is some SEO agency we can at least get in touch with them
through this way.

I'll keep an eye on the account for future edits, too

Dear Kyle,

Your firm represents two areas that need careful work and pay close
attention to detail. Either you paid someone or a person in your firm made
this edit below in OpenStreetMap, OSM.  The problem is that when I search
for your firm in OSM, I find your Main Street address out by Usery Mountain
Regional Park.  I certainly wouldn't want to drive there.  I noticed that
all your other social media placements have the right location.  However,
for OSM the perception of your detailed work does not look like you care
about "small fry".  The perception is that you would not pay attention to
my small account for estate planning, tax returns, and what not.  Would you
please go back to your website host or whomever made this change and have
them correct it?  The current effort is damaging your firm's perception.

OSM Copper Canyon Law Firm location per your edit.
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