EDIT

Updated below with a detailed evolution demonstrating how the content spammers operate.

  • First they posted simple links to router-switch.com, until we blacklisted the domain
  • Then they built other domains to sell the same products (Dec 2013)
  • Next they started hyperlinking to content spam on various online blogs, VMWare support forums, etc... <--- current state of affairs as of January 2014

NOTE: The spammers used to post exactly the same spam to all SE sites simultaneously. Now they post unique spam on each site. Please watch hyperlinks carefully.

First version of this meta post (historical info)

I'm getting a little annoyed with a particular Cisco reseller (router-switch.com), which seems to have hired a team of people to post content spam across stack exchange sites.

The first spam happened on 8 Nov 2013. We subsequently found more content spam from the same company a few days later, which was also destroyed.

I am posting this on meta, because router-switch.com is becoming more crafty in how they post spam; originally they posted questions about how to distinguish between various Cisco products. Now they simply embed their product sale links in innocent-looking answers.

The best way I've found to identify their posts is to look for url:*router-switch.com in the search box of whatever Stack Exchange site you're interested in.

Sample queries:

When you find spam in these posts, flag it as spam. SE has special filters to process spam flags now, but we need your help. Downvotes are great, but are not sufficient to get moderator attention. Furthermore, when flags are validated as real spam, SE takes further action to ensure that spammer doesn't come back.


Examples of router-switch.com content spam

Example (Nov 11, 2013):

Spam post on SE (larger image)
Actual content spam target (larger image)


Example (Nov 19, 2013):

Spam post on SE (larger image)
Actual content spam target (larger image)


Example (Nov 26, 2013):

Spam post on SE (larger image)
Actual content spam target (larger image)


Example (Nov 30, 2013):

Spam post on SE (larger image)
Actual content spam target (larger image)


Example (Dec 4, 2013):

Spam post on SE (larger image)
Actual content spam target (larger image)


Example (3ANetwork was a related site up by the same spammers) (Dec 8, 2013):

Spam post on SE (larger image)
Actual content spam target (larger image)


Example (Jan 20, 2014):

Spam post on SE (larger image)
Actual content spam target (larger image)


Example on communities.vmware.com (Jan 20, 2014):

Spam post on SE (larger image)
Actual content spam target (larger image)


  • 13
    Do you wan to me buy such a router or why did you include these screenshots? – juergen d Nov 26 '13 at 11:54
  • 8
    @juergen d, no, it's so people know what their content spam links look like – Mike Pennington Nov 26 '13 at 11:54
  • 3
    I think people know when they are on a product site and when not. No need to add those. – juergen d Nov 26 '13 at 11:55
  • 6
    Is there any valuable content containing this URL? If not, just ask the SE team to blacklist it – Mad Scientist Nov 26 '13 at 11:56
  • 4
    @juergend, No need to post examples... Really? Then why this question been sitting on Server Fault since Nov 18th? – Mike Pennington Nov 26 '13 at 11:56
  • I just wonder why are they doing it? Do Stack users really tends to buy from retailers who do that? Or is rel="nofollow" ineffective and these links still provide some SEO benefits? – Mołot Nov 26 '13 at 12:01
  • 1
    @MikePennington: In that question is no link to the product site. What has that to do with the screenshots? – juergen d Nov 26 '13 at 12:01
  • as I see it, my spamfighter userscript has to open each and every question in a new tab, find out what has changed and check that for possible spam. I sense a big redesign on the horizon. I just hope Hadoop won't hate me. – John Dvorak Nov 26 '13 at 12:01
  • 4
    The only post I can find with that URL is... this one. – Oded Nov 26 '13 at 12:25
  • 2
    FYI - I went through the OPs of the posts I did find and destroyed the accounts I found, on any linked site. – Oded Nov 26 '13 at 12:28
  • 15
    @ŁukaszL we can't fix the world, we can just protect our small piece of heaven. :) – Shadow Wizard Nov 26 '13 at 12:44
  • 11
    @ŁukaszL. I requested a moderator tool that allows me to knock sites entirely off the internet years ago. :) – Bill the Lizard Nov 26 '13 at 13:40
  • 4
    @BilltheLizard, I know where you can find such a tool, but it isn't cheap – Mike Pennington Nov 26 '13 at 14:00
  • 2
    @Mołot: "I just wonder why are they doing it?" Spam is spam. If you throw spam at 1 million people and only 0.1% stick, that's still 1 thousand new customers. – Time Traveling Bobby Nov 26 '13 at 15:39
  • 3
    @MichaelHampton, you're missing the point. JuergenD trolled about screenshots being unnecessary. The point of my comment is that the content spam is insidious and easily-missed. While we could rely on Community mod to clean up downvoted questions, it's better to flag spam now, because valid spam flags ban the user. – Mike Pennington Nov 26 '13 at 18:48

The community mod team blacklisted r0uter-switch.com (<---- replace the '0' with 'o') URLs across the SE network tonight after they posted more spam.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .