Sunday, October 30, 2005

Splog anyone?

It sounds like a fun soft drink, but it’s the latest spammer pest –splogs.
Splogs are spam blogs created and launched by spammers. After being an email pest for many years now, they have now entered the blogosphere.
A splog’s creator doesn't add any written value to the blog. The main function of the splog is to publish press releases, news articles, or advertising. Many splogs are fake blogs that use RSS feeds to create content by inserting links to their websites in an attempt to trick search engines into boosting results for their spammer's sites.

The problem has been around for a while, but a sudden rush of slogs suddenly popped up, many of which were created using Google's Bloggersite. The current theory is that spammers had written a script that would create thousands of new blogs and posts at a time.
To keep itself alive, a splog will crawl the Internet using directories, search engines, RSS feeds, etc., collecting information to give the appearance that a real person is adding content. In many cases, this involves automated "theft" of original and often copyrighted content from other authors, without their knowledge, permission, or even attribution. There are lots of different kinds of splogs that have different ways to disguise themselves as real blogs, but commonly they contain key search terms repeated dozens or even hundreds of times.

Why is it so bad? Spam blogs undermine the blogosphere and clog up the Internet even further, making legitimate business use harder.
Weblogs are inexpensive to produce, and show up well on the big search engines.
Companies use weblogs to spread news quickly or to get a quick feedback of their target groups. It is also used to spreading ideas and trends. It is also wonderful showcase for professionals to profile themselves. Budding authors, marketing and PR professionals have warmly embraced this great media outlet.
Due to its low cost, its easy use and its growing popularity, it was inevitable that spam would attack this medium as well.
Especially the credibility of search engines and the blog-advertising market are hit hard, since splogs distort traffic counts and water down the value of weblogs in general.

At this moment, there is no silver bullet to kill the splog beast yet. Google and several high-tech companies are looking into this issue.
In the mean time, all we can do is wait and hope for the day that enforceable international legislation will categorize spam, splogs, phising and the likes as felonies.

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