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October 30, 2005

Out Damn Splog!

My 1st reaction when I saw the mention on Instapundit was... What the hell?

Then I followed the links:

At first glance, it seems like a regular blog. But look closer and you'll see there's something very odd about the blog's content: It's very familiar. Too familiar.

That's because you wrote it, six months ago, on your own blog. The rest of the content doesn't make sense: The same word repeated over and over again. There are ads all over the sidebar for products like Viagra and mortgage loans.

This, you realize, is a splog, and you're the victim.

"Splogs," or spam blogs, are the latest way for spammers to manipulate the blogosphere for profit. The phenomenon hit an all-time high recently, when Google's blog-hosting service, Blogger, was inundated with more than 13,000 fake blogs spawned by a script (all have since been taken down).

Splog topics are often so nonsensical and wide-ranging they can be hard to pinpoint. Scott Beale of Laughing Squid said some really strange splogs have shown up on his watch list, everything from "Phish Rocks, Dude" to "Geeks Meet Greeks."

But why do sploggers do it? How do you know if you've been splogged? And what can you do to stop it?

The article goes on to discuss that question.

WIRED NEWS: How to fight those surging Splogs by Nicole Lee

My 1st question after reading this was: Could this be happening to little ol' me?

I mean, Jaysus H. Kee-rist, the number of daily visitors to both my blogs combined is so insignificant, compared to Glen, and so many other Uber-Bloggers it ain't even funny.

If Glen, and other Uber Bloggers, barely, or don't, know you exist, and are doing some interesting writing worth noticing on occasion, then why would spammers notice?

Then I went looking...

Discovering that the hallowed Blogger Ecosystem has its lower depths full of these sites blew me away, and hopefully will serve as a wake-up call.

Fellow Bear Flagger, Accidental Verbosity, reports this news in Spamming the Ecosystem.

So off I went to the search engine, Icerocket.

What I found when I did searches for Cycling Dude, and Sneakeasy's Joint, pissed me off.

Especially Cycling Dude related links: You see, things have been picking up at Dude this year, and I've got plans for its growth in  2006, and this notice by Cycling Spammers indicates to me that folks other than the growing number of genuinely interested cyclists, are taking note.

While most of the links to, and mentions of, my blogs were legit, many were not, including one asshole who gloated on his site about linking to Dude, and other Cycling Blogs ( which seems to be the whole purpose of his site ).

There are no doubt spammers, with all sorts of subject specific sites, with links to blogs about, or with stories on, that particular subject.

I don't pretend to understand why they are doing this, and what they gain from it, financially, or otherwise.

If you want to see what I'm talking about for yourself, then go ahead, but I will not dignify them with a link here.

I will probably report these folks as suggested but, like comment spam, and trackback spam, if your service doesn't have a system in place for easy reporting, blocking, and deleting, doing so on a regular basis, can be too time consuming to deal with.

There are no doubt some bloggers, with the time, and resources, to effectively return fire, but most of us do not have enough of either to worry too much about it.

We'd never get any blogging done at all if we did.

And that, sadly, is what these assholes count on.

Hat tip to Instapundit for spreading the word.

October 30, 2005 in Cycling News Network | Permalink

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Comments

Splogs a big problem. There are a couple of ways that they attempt to make money, although most of the attempts are very clumsy and will lead to failure. In spite of the amateur level of SEO they do, it's still very annoying.

Anyway, back to why.

1. Each splog post contains links to a website that somebody is trying to promote. Links to the website equates to better ranking in the eyes of search engines. Better ranking means more visitors and, hopefully, more money. That seesm to be how most splogs I've looked at are operating.

2. The splog itself is set up to generate revenue, usually using Google AdSense. Again, the more posts you get, the more visitors you'll hopefully see, especially if you couple that with tag spam. This is a little easier to defeat.

Posted by: Fritz | Oct 30, 2005 5:32:50 PM

Interesting.

A friend of mine had this to say:

You could trademark Sneakeasy's Joint and The Cycling Dude, but that costs $750 per
trademark and you'd have to pay a legal eagle to enforce it. I am sure someone will come up with a script to block splogging spawned by bots.

Unfortunately the more links/popularity your blog garners, more abuse such as spamming comes with it.

Such is life.

Posted by: Kiril Kundurazieff | Oct 31, 2005 2:45:20 AM

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