[Talk-us] Help fight advertising

Paul Johnson baloo at ursamundi.org
Sat Mar 3 00:33:44 UTC 2018

On Fri, Mar 2, 2018 at 11:40 AM, Clifford Snow <clifford at snowandsnow.us>
> To me that leaves us with a couple of choices. One, we continue to develop
> more sophisticated tools to identify and revert the spam or two, we develop
> tools to help SEO firms add data to OSM in a manner acceptable to us.  Or
> maybe some of both. Jason Remillard post has some positive recommendation
> on how to do the first. We should listen to him. One recommendation - make
> what we do very public. If SEO firms realize that they are wasting money
> they may stop. Remember they are very good at figuring out how to
> manipulate search engines. If they can do that, they can figure out how to
> better mask their edits.

My vote is both.  Obviously the way things are now, they're not right, but
they're not exactly wrong, either.  Particularly in the US, where address
data is a real pain in the butt to acquire (and something I recently posted
extensively about
and I'm pretty certain I've covered here as well already).  The biggest
problems I see with SEO spam is that the tag values often don't conform to
any accepted convention (phone numbers, opening hours, and amenity=* or
shop=* tags seem especially problematic), and description=* or note=*
getting used for really smarmy ad copy, and using a geocoder referencing a
potentially copyrighted dataset we don't have a license to use.

> As for the second suggestion, make it easier for SEO firms to add data, we
> could create a policy and process to accept imports from SEO firms. The
> other web map sites like Google, Bing, Apple etc. all have a process for
> bulk loading data. (And none are the same.) We could do something similar.
> A policy and specialized import guidelines would need to be created.

I'm OK with this.  I think two rules definitely should be included as

   1. All SEO edits from such companies must come from clearly identified
   2. These accounts must be responsive to comments via the message system
   and changeset comments.

I think we're all in agreement the level of communication we're getting
with the flood of one-off SEO accounts is, to put it generously, terrible.

One of my beliefs from looking at SEO spam is that I believe the work is
> likely being outsourced. Two many similarities exist that to me suggest
> these are coming from a common source.  The user name, the changeset
> comments, etc. I did ask Margaret Seksinski with Brandity if she could help
> us learn who might be behind this spam. I have yet to hear from her.
> Unfortunately, it appears Brandify doesn't want to be a part of the
> community, just use us for their gains.

If they don't want to play ball, then how about redirecting their entire IP
space to a message explaining our concerns, so it can't be ignored?

As much as I hate the spam in the description tag (should rename it spam=*)
> it is helpful in attempting to determine the correct tags. After which,
> it's no longer useful and can be deleted.

Not a bad option.  Maybe document that in the wiki?

> Finally let's not lump all SEO firms together. The Laua Group is doing a
> great job for Hilton Hotels. We should encourage more firms to be good
> community members.

Hip hop hooray!  Granted, though, we can't reasonably expect them to police
the entire industry on our database.
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