from the seems-sorta-pointless dept

Search engine spammers keep trying out new tricks, often focusing on things that are popular in order to jump on some trends. That’s why blog spam has been so popular lately with spammer creating fake blogs trying to lure traffic for the sake of advertising. However, with genealogy being so popular, it’s time to look out for family tree spam as well. These are completely fake family tree, generated by a program and put online with ads. The idea, at least according to the article, is that people who are searching for like-named ancestors will be tricked into finding these fake family trees and clicking on the ads. If so, you have to wonder, honestly, how worthwhile this endeavor is. You’re talking about a fake family tree making program that costs $75, and you’re only going to attract a pretty small group of people, most of whom probably won’t be clicking on any of the ads. However, some genealogists are still worried that people will somehow take the fake family trees, and merge them with their own, upload them to legitimate sites and screw everyone up. This, again, seems somewhat unlikely (the chances of the fake people matching up with real people seems slim), but the creator of the fake family tree making software doesn’t inspire much confidence either. He’s quoted as saying that even if someone did this, it’s obviously their fault for believing the fake tree was real, and then blaming Google for not verifying content before putting it in its index. He follows this up by saying he may sue anyone who calls his fake family tree making program a scam, and even threatened the reporter of the original article linked above “to be careful” in deciding what to say about him.

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Stoned4Life (user link) says:


I guess when surfing the internet, it’s all about looks. If it looks like a real family tree, then, woah, don’t be suprised if someone is fooled into thinking it’s a real family tree. He can’t sue everyone who happens to call it a scam, because frankly, that’s what it is. It’s designed to *TRICK* users into thinking it’s a *REAL* family tree (which it’s not).

How can you not say this is a scam?

Greg says:

Fake family trees

Any family history researcher who even KNOWS how to properly upload family history info via GENCOM or similar wouldn’t do so unless they had good sources for validating their family info in the first place. So the likelihood of having “official” family history sites who suck up a bunch of fake spam family tree info is pretty small. That said, Google will undoubtedly mish-mash the whole mess together and thus become even less useful to legit family tree researchers.

Steve says:

Re: Fake family trees

I don’t think the big issue is that they will add his crap to their trees. It is just having one more false lead to waste your time. The chances of a match are very low if you know everything about your ancestor like spouse, birth and death dates and places, but people do broad searches all the time, just on first and last name, and even though “google doesn’t verify the truth of the entire internet” like the idiot is using as an excuse, you can still get some very good results and great leads.
I think the moron also made an “article bot” to generate fake articles for the same purpose. Again, wasting your time when you have to verify it is more spam blog crap. The man’s arguments are disingenuous at best. “No one will ever even stumble on these fake trees I have designed to cause people to stumble on them and generate advertising revenue.” “you think I am bad, Google Steals your content! And they don’t even verify the truth of it before including it in their indexes!”
Here are some great quotes from Idiot Boy
“I’m not an affiliate program expert but here’s what I AM an expert on: I know how to create unique, non-duplicate content that millions of people search for, AND that neither humans nor search engines can tell is “real” or not.”
“My analogy is this: Imagine you are standing outside a warehouse. Someone hands you a key and says this key may be a key to start a brand new Mercedes inside. You walk in and try your key. It doesn’t work. So, you leave. What you don’t know is that 100 other folks thought they had the right key, too. In reality, the car didn’t even have the ignition switch connected and therefore NO ONE could drive out in it.
You gotta decide what you do and how you do it, for sure. But, this stuff is ALL FAKE. There is plenty of FAKE stuff on the web that gets spidered. How you use Fake Family is up to you. “

The “ethics” question was answered a long time ago when the search engines decided it was okay to steal, distribute porn to children, profit from fraudulent pay-per-click, blacklist folks they don’t like, set up collusive price-fixing deals with each other, and outright lie about their business models. The day the search engines pay for their content and treat the folks from whom they get that content fairly is the day we can discuss “ethics” with a straight face. “

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