Times.co.uk caught spamming social sites

Andy Baio has caught a "search engine optimizer" working for The Times -- a venerable British newspaper -- posting thousands of spams for times.co.uk to various social sites, including Metafilter, Mahalo, Del.icio.us, StumbleUpon, Yahoo! Answers, Ma.gnolia, and Netscape's Propeller. The spammer works for Sitelynx, a contractor to The Times, as "SEO Manager."

Since 2004, The Times retained the established SEO consulting firm Sitelynx to handle their search engine marketing. Working on behalf of The Times, a Sitelynx employee posted thousands of links to community and social news websites, including Mahalo, Del.icio.us, StumbleUpon, Metafilter, Yahoo! Answers, Ma.gnolia, and Netscape's Propeller. His actions were done without any disclosure of his affiliation to Sitelynx or The Times and were, in some cases, posted under the assumed identity of his wife.

The accounts were all created by Piotr "Peter" Wyspianski, an SEO Manager at Sitelynx since June 2007. (Though his LinkedIn resume says "Executive.")

Before coming to Sitelynx, Piotr had a history of promoting his own business, an online jewelry store called Signature Gems, by using his profiles on sites like Myspace, Flickr, and Yahoo 360 to manipulate his search engine rankings. After coming to Sitelynx, he continued to use this technique to promote The Times. (A full breakdown of his accounts on each site is below.)

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