Spammers Now Using TinyURL to Avoid Spam Filters

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Spammers are now cloaking their website domains in their spam by abusing the TinyURL service.

TinyURL is a service which allows you to enter a gawd-awful long URL, and turn it into a, well, tiny URL, which then forwards to the gawd-awful long one.

But now spammers are abusing the service, using a TinyURL link to their website in their spam, rather than their true website link, presumably so that their website domain doesn’t get blocked by anti-spam services – or even because their website domain is already being blocked by anti-spam services.

In some instances, the TinyURL service is being used as a conduit for affiliate spam – where the affiliate cloaks their affiliate link with the TinyURL – this has the added creep factor of not only cloaking the domain of the program the affiliate is spamming for, but helping that domain avoid detection as having their affiliate program work with spammers (which can carry harsh penalties under the Federal anti-spam law, CAN-SPAM).

Take, for example, this spam below. Note the TinyURL link, which we have bolded here for your reading ease – it resolves to – that 2735 at the end is almost certainly an affiliate identifier. Sorry, Affiliate #2735, no sale today!:

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I was recently reviewing Spy Gadgets sites in some of the major search engines and I came across your web site: Out of all the sites I came across yours really stood out for me and If you could please spare me just two minutes I have a business proposition for you as you are in the same market as I am.

After reviewing your site I found that we are both targeting the exact same market, though we are not in competition with each other.

I have been studying this target market for quite some time and would like to present you with the opportunity to increase your income for five minutes work. You will be provided with the marketing materials, all you need do is send out an email to your ezine list or add a graphic to your web site, and you can make money. You can do this by signing up to the affiliate program found here:

By promoting this product you can earn a commission without ever having to handle customer service or ship any products. It’s a fantastic way to make money pretty much out of
thin air!

By working together, we have the potential to create an additional revenue source for both of us — without investing any money or even any time. Because we share the same target
market, your customers are guaranteed to be interested in the product. An affiliate arrangement is a surefire way to make that interest work to our mutual benefit. To sign up to this affiliate program visit:

I offer this partnership very selectively, so please do act fast if you wish to go ahead with this. Also please feel free to email me if you have any questions.

Finally, Anne I know you’re a busy person and I’d like to thank you for reading this email whether you choose to promote and make some extra cash or not. Keep up the good work!

By the way, you’ll be paid on the 1st of each month.

Daniel Lee

P.S. I hope you don’t mind me emailing you it’s just your web site really stood out from the others I came across during my research.

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8 thoughts on “Spammers Now Using TinyURL to Avoid Spam Filters

  1. Here we are, 16 years later, and I am fed up with so much of the comment spam on my personal blog using tinyurl links.

    The ones I report to bitly and they take them down as it is against their terms of service to use them for spamming.

    Looking at the tiny.url web site, there is nothing – NOTHING – to say you cannot use tinyurl for spamming. Nor is there any way to report abuse.

    So, after a few years of manually checking and blocking these spammers, I’m making it easy on myself. Any comments to my blog containing “” will be silently deleted.

    As far as I am concerned, is now just a free spamming tool.

  2. TinyUrl has disabled the buyfacebookshares link. But it looks to me like it was good old fashioned server log spamming. I haven’t seen it in a while since it is such an ineffective advertising method, but spammers used to use scripts that would make a connection to a web site using a fake referral url that is the web site they are spamvertizing.

  3. All of a sudden my website visits completly collasped and my computer was infected to the point that I had to restore the hard drive, I believe that this is the / referral

  4. Oh I don’t know, I quite agree with Joe Papa’s approach. Not clicking on a tinyurl never did me any harm. Doesn’t feel like a “completely wrong approach” at all.

  5. Joe Papa, not everybody who uses a tinyurl link is a spammer.

    Not clicking on a tinyurl link just because it is a tinyurl link … it’s a completely wrong approach.

  6. I think what is most telling about this e-mail is that NOWHERE does he mention what the product is that he’s trying to sell?

    What kind of marketing is that? Suspicious to say the least. Ineffective to say the most.


  7. This is one reason why I almost never click on a TinyURL link. You have NO way of knowing where one of these links will take you.

  8. I am receiving Spam using Blogspot to make it look legitimate’
    All best medicines.

    Secure purchase, online.

    (I removed the middle of the Blogspot link to make it unusable)

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