For some time now the “free hosting” Korean company Co.cc has been a target of malware, phishing, and large volumes of spam content.
Over at Google I can picture a hand full of their best ‘whack-a-mole’ admins looming over activity from .co.cc sites.
It’s anyone’s guess what kind of resources this one company has tied up over at Google (and other search engines) but I’m going with “too much” as my guess. When you consider that most of the results are spam, and the rest are mainly malware and phishing attacks, it shouldn’t be a shock that Google has done us all a favour and just blocked the whole *.co.cc stream from showing in the search results.
Sadly, spammers will be spammers and already I can see http://jzp.cc/ is acting as a portal to .co.cc sites and Google is currently showing these sites in their search results.
Wait, I see the problem! Going to need a bigger hammer!
The very unpleasant problem with this tactic is that the spam tends to just squish around, like a full diaper. The .cc TLD belongs to the Cocos Islands in Australia and while there are legit sites on that domain, the figures from the Anti-Phishing Working Group in 2010 are quite amazing. In the latter half of 2010 .cc domains accounted for almost five thousand phishing attacks in that time period!
While the percentage of good sites in the .cc realm might be questionable Google is effectively removing over 11 million registered domains run by almost 6 million users! My personal guess is that the block will stay up for some time, and once the spam has shifted elsewhere, we’ll silently see .co.cc domains back in the search results.
Google has stated they aren’t above blocking an entire bulk sub-domain in the past, they have clearly proven they will follow through, and I expect them to continue to do this as companies lose control of the content from their users.
The best way to fight spam is at the user level. Do you purchase anything that was ‘spammed’ at you? Are you rewarding people who put things on-line for your review, or are you spending money on things that are forcefully presented to you without solicitation? If the only way to make a sale is to respect the customer, retailers wouldn’t spam us because they would shoot themselves in the foot. As the consumers in this ecosystem of commerce, the matter is entirely in our hands if we so choose.