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Pro Splogs - What You Don’t Know about Blog Spam

In the few weeks that I’ve been running my blog on Wordpress, Akismet has already deleted thousands of blog spam. Which in some respects is surprising considering that Blogger is supposed to be the supreme SPLOG platform of choice.

Which also brings me to the reason for writing this post. It seems to me that there is more to blog spamming than we first thought.

What is Spam?

Generally speaking, according to Wikipedia spam is:

“unsolicited or undesired bulk electronic messages”.

What common types of Spam are there?

  • E-mail spam, unsolicited e-mail.
  • Mobile phone spam, unsolicited text messages.
  • Forum spam, posting advertisements or useless posts on a forum.
  • Spamdexing, manipulating a search engine to create the illusion of popularity for webpages.
  • Newsgroup spam, advertisement and forgery on newsgroups.
  • Messaging spam (”SPIM”), use of instant messenger services for advertisement or even extortion.
  • Spam in blogs, posting random comments to promote links or commercial services on blogs, wikis, guestbooks, etc.
  • SPLOGS, spam blogs that are artificially created to sell ads and products, to promote affiliated websites, or to increase the search engine rankings of associated sites. Content on these blogs is typically plagiarized by scraping or duplicating content from other blogs or websites off the internet.

But is that all there is? I don’t think so. I submit there is yet another type of spam blog out there that has so far slipped beneath the radar, and that is:

So-called pro (professional) bloggers (or more appropriately money bloggers) who make money off us by:

1. Recycling (paraphrasing) content from Google and passing it off as their own without linking to sources;

2. Recycling (paraphrasing) other blogger’s archives and not linking to sources;

3. Recycling (paraphrasing) their own blog archives (for those rainy days and Sundays);

4. Recycling (paraphrasing) content from within their inner-circle (network) of friends (i.e. bouncing off each other);

5. Recycling (paraphrasing) content from books, educational or other non-electronic materials without giving credit to their sources of inspiration;

6. Creating blog ‘networks‘ with their circle of friends to artificially elevate themselves to a-list status so they can elicit more money for their ads, speaking engagements, etc.;

7. Link-baiting us to read their blogs, sell us their blogging courses and ebooks exaggerating income levels and promising riches, fame and glory.

I call these type of spam blogs … ‘Pro Splogs’. You might call them B.S.

They might not necessarily be created by a software robot, but human or not they’re still artificially duplicating content and gaming the system with the sole purpose of selling us something – aren’t they (rhetorical question).

What do you think?

Written February 16th, 2008 by | 10 Comments | Filed under: Blog Ethics, Make Money Tips, Miscellaneous Blog Tips , ,

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There are 10 Comments so far to “Pro Splogs - What You Don’t Know about Blog Spam”

  1. I have begun to avoid blogs that have ads or any kind of commercial content like the plague. Like you said, many of them are manipulating the system to earn money off of content that is either stolen from someone else, or is just garbage.

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  2. As my site has gained popularity, I have been besieged with spam of all types. I have had to add several layers of blocking. Something needs to be done. Spam now accounts for a VERY large percentage of internet traffic. It is takes away much of the usefulness of the features (comments, email, trackbacks, etc) that we like to use.

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  3. Sorry for not getting back sooner but I’ve temporarily put comments on moderation. When I write a post like this the trolls like to crawl out from the cracks and attack me.

    Lee, I know what you mean and I have the same policy. However, I’ve been approached recently by a reputable major magazine to put ads on this site. I’m struggling with the issue and I’ll keep you posted.

    Hi Astroprof. Unfortunately there’s not a lot we can do except to moderate comments, use plugins like Akismet or something similar, and CAPTCHA for Blogger users.

    One thing that I like to do is whenever I find a site scraping my material I expose them with a “nofollow” link. It’s a shame but as long as there are parasites looking to exploit technology (and there always will be) there’s not a whole lot more we can do about it except to expose them for the frauds that they are.

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  4. I was scraped once very early on. I didn’t know if what the guy was doing was legal (he took 100% of my content with a citation to me), so I posted the question to the BlogCatalog Writer’s group. As luck would have it, an attorney/journalist was in the group and responded that it was indeed copyright infringement. It happens also that the scraper stumbled onto the discussion and a heated argument ensued for about a week. He contested that US copyright didn’t apply to him, since he lived in another country, and that since he gave me a citation, it didn’t apply to him. In the end, he backed down and took me off his scraping list and then ultimately took his whole site down.

    I know some bloggers might welcome the kind of exposure I was getting from his site, no matter how he got my content. But I didn’t feel that way. It bothered me to see my entire content on someone else’s site, citation or not. I didn’t consider it flattery. I considered it theft.

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  5. Yes, it can be a double-edged sword. But to tell you the truth it’s the bloggers who alter the words a little that tick me off the most. The are the sneakiest and I can think of many competitors who do it and some are even a-listers making a very nice living scraping the internet. They can be the worst offenders for stealing intellectual property and not divulging their sources. At the least the ones who scrape our posts verbatim provide a link.

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  6. yes, all this is unfortunately a very big problem… i’m pretty much just starting seriously blogging and it’s a concern for me that the things I say might just pop up on a more popular website and people will take the information as their’s =/

    Zander Erasmus | Student Advice Blog’s last blog post..Student iPhone Commercial

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  7. It is such an important topic and ignored by many writers, even professionals. I appreciate your help getting people more aware of that subject.

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  8. New from Blog Bloke Pro Splogs: The Real Story about Blog Spam: In the few weeks tha.. http://tinyurl.com/2f8lnm

  9. […] reading: Pro Splogs: What You Didn’t Know about Blog Spam * Author’s Note: Although I try my best I might have missed something or not explained it in the […]

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