Internet Epidemiology

20 March 2007

Jacob Malthouse


In 1854 London Dr. John Snow, by mapping incidence of cholera, was able to make the connection to that city’s water system.

The recent New York Times Article “Research Tracks Down a Plague of Fake Web Pages” considers research by Microsoft and the University of California, Davis tracking down some of the roots of spam on the World Wide Web and Internet. Conclusions included:

The two top non-commercial TLD spam sources are .edu and .gov

Additional TLD spam sources are as follows:

Registry Percentage of spam
.com 4%
.org 11%
.net 12%
.biz 53%
.info 68%

Additional results of the paper included:

That for doorway domains, that the free blog-hosting site blogspot.com had an-order-of-magnitude higher spam appearances in top search results than other hosting domains in both benchmarks, and was responsible for about one in every four spam appearances (22% and 29% in the two benchmarks respectively, to be exact).

That over 60% of unique .info URLs in our search results were spam, which was an-order-of-magnitude higher than the spam percentage number for .com URLs.

That the domain topsearch10.com was behind over 1,000 spam appearances in both benchmarks, and the ~ IP block where it resided hosted multiple major redirection domains that collectively were responsible for 22-25% of all spam appearances.

That for aggregators two IP blocks and appeared to be responsible for funneling an overwhelmingly large percentage of spam-ads clickthrough traffic.

That for advertisers even well-known website ads had significance presence on spam pages.

Jacob Malthouse