Does Tumblr Have a Spam Bot Problem?

Is Tumblr a pageview party, or a can o’ spam? We almost missed this weekend discussion sparked by a post


Is Tumblr a pageview party, or a can o’ spam? We almost missed this weekend discussion sparked by a post by Croatian blogger Sven Duplić about the percentage of Tumblr users that are spam-o-bots. And we’re not talking about the lovable TumblrBot–we’re talking about that cute girl who has never posted to her blog but seems to love everything you write. “On my blog, the precentage of bot-visitors are, by my judgement, is as high as 2/3,” Mr. Duplić wrote.

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The experience of Tumblr power users appears to be all over the map:

  • “the number of spammers I see is less than 0.01% in a 90,000-follower account — spammers are just more noticeable in an empty dashboard with no reblogs and no community exchange” (vruz)
  • “One friend of mine runs a Tumblr on design, gets over 15,000 pageviews a month. He says that he gets 3 to 10 followers/likes who are spam a day. He blocks all of them to avoid linking his site to websites with plenty of ads or porn. It seems something is going on, it needs to be sorted out immediately.” (antr)
  • “My stats
    – Member since 25/6/2009
    – 7,500 posts
    – follow ~ 400 people
    – post mostly photography / design / fashion
    – bots seen – < 5”
  • “A lot of people that fit the profiles described are lurkers. Content consumers, but not creators. That’s a pretty common thing on most social networks.” (codezero)
  • “Twitter is a botfest too – post anything with the phrase SEO in it and you get a bunch of followers with no icon, no tweets and no value. This is where Facebook has a big edge, the focus on real identity and the crack down on API use has kept Facebook much cleaner than the others” (jonnyf)
  • “We have 300 followers right now, and I’m going to about 15% of our Likes are SPAM. A problem, but not completely overrunning the system. They seem to also be using Tumblr tag pages to find articles to like. Articles tagged with common product keywords like handbags, shoes, or a brand name get much more SPAM Like activity than other posts.” (nickmolnar2)

For a startup that raised money on its pageviews and insane user growth, the percentage of content that is actually real is sort of important. But when a site gets to be as big as Tumblr (at 32.5 million blogs on last count) it automatically becomes a magnet for internet spam. Here is a good rundown of why Tumblr is so attractive to black hat SEOs–even blank profile pages have backlinking value.

Does Tumblr Have a Spam Bot Problem?