SOURCE: Impermium Corporation

August 31, 2011 14:00 ET

First Edition of Impermium Social Spam Index Finds up to 40% of Online IDs Are Fake

Malevolent Trends Having Financial Consequences for Sites and Services, According to New Quarterly Index Published by Social Spam Fighter Impermium

PALO ALTO, CA--(Marketwire - Aug 31, 2011) - A new quarterly index based on data collected by social spam fighter Impermium finds social web spam and abuse is now posing significant reputation risk and cost to Internet businesses that depend on public user profiles.

The data comes from the inaugural Impermium Social Spam Index, the industry's first authoritative resource for regularly published data on social web spam and abuse trends. The following summary is based on a 100-consecutive-day sample of the social web between June and August, conducted by researchers at Impermium Corporation.

Impermium analyzed 104 million pieces of user-generated content (UGC) on social networks, blogs and social bookmarking sites from a base of 90 million users spread across 72 countries. The resulting Impermium Social Spam Index Summer 2011 Report calls out several disturbing trends, which have been boiled down to an infographic available on the Impermium blog. Among them:

  • Online ID registration fraud: Overstating how many users a site or service really has. Fraudulent accounts ranged from a low of 5 percent to an astonishing 40 percent on audited sites. The percentage depended on the site, perceived account value to spammers, and ease of account registration.

  • "Sleeper cells" of social web abuse are growing fast. One prominent web company in particular experienced an attack of 30,000 fraudulent new accounts within a single hour. Those accounts then posted 475,000 malicious posts (messages) to legitimate community members.

  • Social media exploitation techniques are evolving fast. If there is a strong consumer brand or significant news event, it's being exploited on the social web. For example, social spammers are increasingly using emotionally-charged news to win clicks. The deaths of Osama Bin Laden and Amy Winehouse, among other major stories, deceived users into clicking on malicious links.

  • Uggs was the #1 most exploited brand in social media channels by a factor of 2x over Gucci and 5x over Prada.

  • Porn got stripped. The top consumer categories for social web spam were fashion and electronics, which outperformed malicious porn posts by 3x.

  • Mom & Pop are spammers. Small businesses are getting into social web spam. Impermium's research found an emerging problem of pitches for small businesses such as local restaurants and airport transportation, which are reacting to the difficult economy by expanding into spam.

Quotes for Attribution

"Most companies will be shocked to see how rampant user registration fraud is on their site," says Mark Risher, CEO of Impermium. "Bulk accounts for most popular social networks can now be purchased on the black market for pennies. This type of fraud has many significant ramifications, including a company's ability to accurately value its user base and determine the actual cost of new customer acquisition."

"Rather than play into the aggressive real-names-only policy on Google+, sites need a flexible approach that maintains privacy without exposing them to this rampant proliferation of fake, bulk accounts," adds Risher.

About the Impermium Index

The Impermium Index is published quarterly by Impermium Corporation. More data on social spam, fraud, and abuse can be found by visiting http://blog.impermium.com.

About Impermium Corporation

Impermium Corporation's patent-pending technology is helping leading Internet sites and services lower the risk and cost of social web spam and abuse. Visit Impermium on the web at http://www.impermium.com.

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