Don’t share that infographic spam –

Salon’s Andrew Leonard wrote in March about what might actually be behind the mystery infographics. Nice reporting, Andrew!

Won’t you share my infographic, please?

Doesn’t seem too much to ask, does it? Until you investigate further and discover that by incorporating these infographics into your website, you are not only probably violating at least the spirit of Google’s guidelines on Web spam, but you are also quite likely steering unsuspecting visitors to websites bankrolled by the for-profit education industry.

via Don’t share that infographic spam –

Sarah Wenger infographic

Remember when I discovered all the dubious infographics that are being posted to various websites? I got another one in this morning from a “Sarah Wenger.” The text of the invitation is similar to the earlier ones:

Hey Mark,

I recently developed another infographic that could be a good fit for your site. I just wanted to reach out and share it with you. It highlights and illustrates the use of corn in American and how it can affect a persons health.

You can check it out here:

Title: Big Bad Corn

Let me know what you think, I would love for you to publish it if you find it suitable for your site.

Thank you,

Sarah |

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Red Hat’s OpenSource.Com gets infographic-ed

Looks like Red Hat’s has been infographic-ed. An infographic from “Education News” was posted today with the following comment:

We often talk about the higher education bubble and it being on the verge of bursting but what does that really look like? How does a “bubble” form and what causes it to burst? The following two part infographic does a great job explaining just that by showing where higher education has been, where we are, and without change where we will be. To me, it further highlights why open source technology and open source principles have such an important role in education reform from lowering costs to demonstrating a better way for educating our youth in the 21st century and beyond.

I’m betting the ubiquitous Tony Shin emailed and personally asked them to post it.

Yet another infographic

An Internet acquaintance forwarded to me this email he received from our infographic-making friend Tony Shin:

From: Tony Shin
Date: Sat, Mar 17, 2012 at 1:17 AM
Subject: A graphic on the ethics of the wealthy
To: blah blah blah at

Dear Editor,

While I was searching for blogs and posts that have talked about social psychology, I came across your site and wanted to reach out to see if I could get your readership’s feedback on a graphic my team and I designed, which focuses on the studies found on how those socially and financially well-off behave unethically compared to the lower ladder.

If you’re interested, let’s connect.

Thanks! =)

Tony Shin

The infographic in question can be viewed here.

Google search turns up many infographic mentions

This Google search on “infographic my team built” seems to find many of these spam emails posted on various websites.

Look closely and you’ll find a few sent by our friend Tony Shin, too. Here’s another, and another, and another.

Here’s a whole blog post of Tony Shin’s infographics. Here’s another.

Here’s another from Peter Kim. It was taken from the website, which is (surprise!) also registered through Moniker:
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Mystery infographic email part of stealth SEO/marketing scheme?

Looks like I’m not the only one who’s gotten the mystery infographic emails. I found this post on blogger Andrew Gelman’s blog:

A personal bit of spam, just for me!
Posted by Andrew on 13 March 2012, 6:50 pm

Hi Andrew,

I came across your site while searching for blogs and posts around American obesity and wanted to reach out to get your readership’s feedback on an infographic my team built which focuses on the obesity of America and where we could end up at the going rate.

If you’re interested, let’s connect. Have a great weekend!


I have to say, that’s pretty pitiful, to wish someone a “great weekend” on a Tuesday! This guy’s gotta ratchet up his sophistication a few notches if he ever wants to get a job as a spammer for a major software company, for example.

Similar formula. It’s pretty slick, actually.

Mystery of the Infographics

Who is Peter Kim?

I’m really not sure what’s going on here but it’s gotta be something. And hold on to you hats, I’m going to be doing some serious geeking out with this post. You have been warned. 🙂

Out of the blue a few weeks ago I got an email from a complete stranger who had this to say:

From: Peter Kim
To: “Mark” blah blah blah at
Subject: Re:SOPA and PIPA
Date: Tue, 28 Feb 2012 03:16:40 -0800

Hi Mark,

I was wondering if this is the correct contact in regards to the content on the I came across the site while searching for resources around PIPA and SOPA. I just created a graphic on the topic and was wondering if you’d be interested in taking a look, I’d love to get your thoughts.

Thanks in advance for your time.


Well, I don’t normally have Copious Free Time to be dicking around with critiquing infographics. But what the heck, I decided to humor the guy and answer:
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Raleigh tops list of shallow single men?
Raleigh ranked tops in one category it might have wished to have avoided. My single female friends were nodding in agreement last week when dating service Zoosk proclaimed Raleigh to be the least open-minded dating city in America. Even Birmingham, Alabama, is more open-minded, folks.

Zoosk claims it analyzed one million conversations between the singles who use its service and ranked cities based on how willing someone was to date someone different than themselves. Raleigh ranks last in single men’s attitudes about age and college degrees.

Now, I’m leery of any infographic-driven website. Anyone who’s used Facebook lately knows that numbered lists are sure-fire clickbait: people love to read numbered lists. Mention a few major cities in that list and you’ve got a sure-fire recipe for free PR. Also, with only an infographic to go by and no real data, we’re left wondering how these conclusions were drawn.

It all sounds like a publicity stunt. At the very least, since Zoosk draws its information from its user base, it is really nothing more than a reflection of its users. Perhaps Raleigh’s single men who use Zoosk are simply … well, losers.

Now, back when I was single in Raleigh (you know, before the Internet), my complaint was that there were not enough women around. Too many male engineering geeks crowded the Hillsborough Street bars. Fortunately, Raleigh gained some higher-quality clubs and diversified its job market a bit (I would have preferred that more women would have chosen engineering careers since I find female geeks quite attractive, but I digress) and going out became somewhat less of a swordfight.

There are obviously plenty of men who go the young bimbo route (or, at least, there are men like this who also use Zoosk), but looks alone were never my thing. I think that’s the same for many men, Raleigh ladies, so don’t despair. Keep those standards high, keep your heads up, and stay the hell away from Zoosk if you want to find the right guy!

Dear William: fat chance.

Got this in today, with regard to the mystery infographics. I was thinking of responding politely that I wasn’t interested but then I realized this was yet another bulk email distributed through Nor is it personalized in any way: my name does not appear anywhere in it.

So, tough luck, “William.” I’m not interested in covering your tracks!

Received: from (localhost [])
by (Postfix) with ESMTP id 38C0B47E2
for My_Email_Address; Tue, 7 May 2013 12:32:24 +0000 (UTC)
DKIM-Signature: v=1; a=rsa-sha1; c=simple;; h=message-id
:content-transfer-encoding; s=postfix; bh=blah blah blah=
Mime-Version: 1.0
From: William Pritchard
To: My_Email_Address
Subject: Link Removal Request
Date: Tue, 7 May 2013 07:31:16 -0700
X-Bounce-Tracking-Info: blah blah blah
Content-type: text/plain; charset=iso-8859-1; format=flowed
Content-transfer-encoding: quoted-printable
X-SMTPCOM-Tracking-Number: blah blah blah
X-SMTPCOM-Sender-ID: 446126
X-SMTPCOM-Spam-Policy: is a paid relay service. We do not tolerate UCE of any kind. Please report it ASAP to


My name is Will, and I am writing to you today on behalf of my employer, We’ve been keeping a close eye on the goings on of other websites since the advent of the new Webmaster Standards. We want to make sure we’re doing everything in our power to stay up to date and relevant. Looking around the web, as it were, we’re beginning to fear that, perhaps, we’re not doing everything correctly. We’ve studied the guidelines rather closely, and we do see where we might have missed the marks.
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Barracuda Labs looks at Romney’s Twitter numbers

From Barracuda Labs

Barracuda Labs, the highly-respected spam-filtering company, wrote up a superb analysis of Mitt Romney’s Twitter numbers. You should read the whole thing, but here are some highlights:

Most interestingly, during our investigation, Republican nominee for US President Mitt Romney has been scrutinized recently for his abnormal increase in new followers (@mittromney), indicating that these followers had been purchased in the same way as the Dealers/Abuser scenario from our study. We do note that these followers could have been purchased by either himself, his associates or by his opponents. Particularly, on July 21st, 2012, his follower number went from 673,002 to 789,924, representing a gain of 116,922 or 17%.

In one day – boom! – his follower numbers grow an astounding 17 percent!
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