Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Web Spamming by IEEE

Web Spamming by IEEE

A recent email from Carl Willis mentions a practice that’s been annoying me lately: a particular form of ‘web spamming’ by academic publishers, sometimes called ‘cloaking’. The publishing company gives search engine crawlers access to full-text articles — but when you try to read these articles, typically clicking on a link to a PDF file, you get a ‘doorway page’ demanding a subscription or payment.

I wonder why we receive all this academic spam every day from IEEE.
Everyday, the IEEE spam attacks our computers.

Sometimes you’ll even be taken to an IEEE page that has nothing to do with the paper you thought you were about to see! That’s what infuriates me the most.

I don’t expect free articles from these IEEE guys, but it would at least be nice to see basic bibliographical information.

Really the IEEE , the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers
or better the Institute of Spam and Junk Conferences sends milions or billions of Spam Emails

The last one seems to have quit — but to see why they did it, check out their powerpoint presentation on this subject, courtesy of Carl Willis.

Do you know any particularly egregious examples of this practice in the world of academic publishing? Do you know of any serious attempts to stop them?

I wrote in another blog
that the IEEE “seems to have quit” web spamming

So, if you click in those IEEE spam emails
to view the PDF file that comes up on top of this Google search, you’ll see the IEEE is still ‘cloaking’. You’ll get a page that’s not the PDF file you bargained for!

Pierre Far who has a Ph.D. in bacterial genetics, and now works as a search engine marketer
sent to the IEEE a computer auto- generated paper (from SCIgen) and was accepted without review, just because Dr. Far was a victim of IEEE academic spam.

Needless to say many other fake papers that have been accepted in IEEE bogus conferences recently.

Also, aout two years ago I started getting peculiar messages from IEEE about conferences I’d never heard of. They all follow a standard form, with a subject like “inviting you to participate in BLAH-2009.”

Some IEEE Spam Emails address me as “potential speaker,” some “Dr. Cameron A. Marlow,” and some simple “Dr. Marlow.” This isn’t all that surprising, given that lots of legitimate emails I get from academic institutions refer to me as a Dr. (it’s much more offensive not to refer to a Ph.D. as Dr. than it is to inflate the ego of a mere student).
An increase in IEEE conference spam

The surprising thing about these IEEE Spam emails is that they’ve been increasing in frequency pretty regularly.

They have moved from the space of “oversized conference list” to legitimate spam. In some cases I’ve gotten emailed multiple times about the same IEEE garbage conference, and for a subject that’s about as close to my research as I am to finishing my course in Scientology.

So who are these people? Given the regular structure of the emails, I assume that they’re being sent out from one master list. Some arrive from IEEE directly which appears to be a collection of losely-related conferences, and others from IEEE co-operating conferences.

How big is this IEEE spam network?

Did I get randomly added to some master list, or are they spidering for academic’s email addresses?

Has anyone actually gone to one of these ridiculus IEE conferences? As with most spam of IEEE, lots of questions, few answers.