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Vittorio

spam Redirecting Links

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I'm often receiving e-mails with links which redirect to other links.

Obviously, the SpamCop system only recognizes the first link in the message, and reports the issue to the ISP.

The problem is: they're doing this on purpose since, that way, if the reports are taken into consideration, only the redirecting website will be closed but the real deal will not be touched.

This irks me a little, since I'd like them to close the abusive websites themselves, more than the sites which redirect to them. The first ones likely create revenue (e.g.: abusive porn websites), the second ones I don't think so.

So yeah. How could we deal with this? Can't SpamCop make a little check to see if a specific link redirects to another one, and report the second one as well?

Afterall, the spam e-mail might not contain the second link directly, but it's as if it does, because of the redirect and all.

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Discussed several times in the past, also several topics from the proprietors of shortening services (latest, http://forum.spamcop.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=13103, which you may have seen, there have been others) - who may face the unsympathetic wrath of their website hosts when they are repeatedly reported. If reports are obtained by the proprietors that may help them to eliminate the actual spam/exploit sites using their services. Nothing to stop them registering for reports but as I understand it, the format of those available to them are not as helpful in tracking down the payload sites as those (detailed ones) which go to their hosts - who will be reluctant to share them with the middleman shortening service (alleged spammer) but which are the ones that can actually do something about it, if they are, in fact, "anti-spam". One or more of those other posts from proprietors goes into more detail on that aspect (IIRC) should you wish to search for it. Or some kind soul might do that research for us and provide the link "here", FWIW.

But, a bit of a dilemma then and yes, analysis in (more) depth by the parser would be an answer. The pace of parser development might be described by many as "glacial" ("Vaster than empires, and more slow," would be a little over the top, I think, even more so "mountain-building") and anyway the discovery of links in spam is very much a lesser priority for SC as there are all sorts of other issues with it. Nonetheless, there has been at least one request for such development in the New Feature Request section - that is http://forum.spamcop.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=10541. You might like to add your voice there but I'm not holding my breath for anything to happen as a result.

Sorry to sound so "negative" but, looking at it from the sidelines, it seems to a fact of life. The "New Features" should be a veritable recipe book for anyone wanting to build a better SpamCop but, alas, not even SC seems able to do so and no serious competitor in this particular niche of rapid reaction to spam runs in progress has arisen in all these years. But there are probably (and generally) better services to handle spam links, perhaps KnujOn and/or Complainterator, although how those might handle shortened links I do not know.

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<snip>

So yeah. How could we deal with this? Can't SpamCop make a little check to see if a specific link redirects to another one, and report the second one as well?

Afterall, the spam e-mail might not contain the second link directly, but it's as if it does, because of the redirect and all.</snip>

I wish SpamCop could have made this check, but what if the first URL contains a unique number? SpamCop's check would effectively looks like it clicked the link and tell the spammer that they sent the email to valid addresses. Maybe SpamCop could add a database of URL shortners so it knows which ones to check?

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I wish SpamCop could have made this check, but what if the first URL contains a unique number? SpamCop's check would effectively looks like it clicked the link and tell the spammer that they sent the email to valid addresses. Maybe SpamCop could add a database of URL shortners so it knows which ones to check?

Yeah, true, many problems like that one and more could arise.

I guess it's safe to say this isn't coming anytime soon.

Thanks for the answers.

P.s.: Does anyone know why the development of SpamCop is so slow?

Edited by Vittorio

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