A fairly well-accepted theory of the ranking formulae for search-engine result pages, or SERPS, has it that for some search engines – like the almighty Google – give extra credibility, if you will, to certain top-level domains – like .edu, for example, the portion of the internet given over to our bastions of higher learning.
With spammers quick to exploit any possible trick to their advantage, it seems it was only a matter of time before pornography – a ridiculously competitive and highly lucrative online activity – found its way to the land of .gov. Yes, the U.S. government top-level domain.
I’m not going to give any direct examples, as this is – theoretically, at least – a family-friendly website. Suffice it to say, if you search in google for, say, “porn term site:.gov”, you’ll probably see a variety of results. It appears Google may be doing something about this even as we speak, but for the moment, subdomains of the Virgin Islands Housing Finance Authority – vihfa.gov and the Somerset, Texas – somersettx.gov domains, among others, are chock full of the worst sort of obvious, keyword-laden spam pages.
I’m fairly sure that, in both cases, the DNS of each domain has been hacked, as the spammy subdomains point to different parts of the ‘net than the “legitimate” government part (Somerset’s website is hosted at ipowerweb – eeew.) If true, it probably won’t be the last time this happens, as the results are doubtless highly lucrative, and money – especially easy money – is a great motivator.