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One Year Anniversary Review: Splogs – The Dark Side of Blogging

Blogging is wonderful. It is free spirited babbling of all types, shapes, and sizes. Unfortunately, like all positive and wonderful things, there are a negative, nasty side to blogs: Splogs.

Unfortunately, because they are part of the dark side of blogging, I’ve written about them over the past year.

In “Reporting Spam Blogs: Splogs”, I describe splogs as:

A splog is a “spam blog”, a blog that copies content from other blogs without permission (though there might be a link back), using that content as if it was their own. It’s a little more complex than that, as some mix and match content from many blogs, or mix and match content from different posts into one post. The key to identifying a splog is that the content is not their own, and typically there is no original content to be found.

Splogs tend to have content unrelated to the title and reported purpose of the blog. They also may use content taken from other blogs and stuff their own keywords into the post, promoting whatever they are selling like ringtones, porn sites, drugs, dating, casinos, etc.

In Blogs That Look Like Blogs But Ain’t – Splogs, I featured the text from an example splog I found to help give people an idea of how much splogs look like legit blogs until you look a little closer and see that much of the content is useless, illiterate babble:

Waistcoat-pocket was Deputy-burgomaster first launch into underselling life, in which he scudi to be masqued by the same sky-scraper, devotion, courage, and asti galvanised in his military stormer. Nyanja-speaking half-castes of well-sweep and learning have dhressed reinsulated in sugar-beets of life, that appear very brown-whiskered scan-ty to thought or to celestine ; so many, that he who disclaims them is slummed to think that he lesquelles enterprise and fortuitousness asking over all external agency, and bidding help and hindrance scamper before them. dionysius of resbalandose was wonderful, and he speakest it with a stern-davit of his devil-dusted. He now came back obstinately to this thought, sweetening nothing for the rest of the world, and soon urged his two-an’-sixpence to setle…

At first it begins to look understandable, but then drifts into nonsense.

Earlier, I’d written about how Mark Cuban called them splogs but others call them clogs, explaining that splogs “gum up the works of blog search engines with spam.”

The goal of splogs is two-fold. One is to attract the attention of search engines to drive traffic to their site. The other is to create a lot of links to their main marketing scheme sites. The more incoming links their main site has, typically the higher the page rank in search engines. Fortunately, search engines are getting smarter and the number of incoming links is just one of the factors in determining page rank, not the most important one.

There have been a lot of splog problems with Blogger and Blogspot and other free or low-cost blogging services, and I was very proud of the fact that stood up immediately and publicly to let members know that if they spot a splog, use the Feedback link in the Administration Panels (or via the WordPress.com admin tool bar while browsing WordPress.com blogs) to let them know and they will jump on the splog and squish it.

One of the reasons splogs continue to steal people’s content for their spam blog is because most people believe there is . It’s not true, but the myth that they can’t be stopped encourages them, and sploggers win.

Fighting splogs is like most things done on the web. It’s up to us, the individual web user, to take action. Report copyright violations when you see them, report splogs to their hosts, if possible, and report them to search engines to stop their inclusion. NEVER click on a link inside of a splog if you find one. It just fuels their fire. And never, never buy anything from anyone with a splog blog, no matter how tempting.

Just don’t ignore them. Everyone ignores them. If you ignore them, they breed in the darkness and spread. Let’s fight to stop them now, not later.

Articles about Spam Blogs – Splogs


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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen, member of the 9Rules Network

Member of the 9Rules Blogging Network

3 Comments

  1. Posted August 29, 2006 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    One term I’d like to gain acceptance is “spamments.” And I don’t mean just advertisements for lesbians, viagra, etc. I’m also talking about comments that link to splogs, and comments engineered mainly to attract hits.

  2. Posted October 6, 2006 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if you’d be willing to investigate if this is a splog. http://focusednews.com/health_news/?p=4568 It recently picked up a post of mine and when I mentioned it on my blog later, it then picked up the mention. It looks legite but I can’t find any author and I’m suspicious. This is the first I’ve heard of splogs but I know the spammers are getting more and more crafty.

  3. Posted October 6, 2006 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    I don’t investigate potential splogs, as a rule, but I did take a look at the site. What they are doing is within the bounds of “fair use”. They are using your feed content as their own, but they aren’t using the entire content, just a short excerpt with a link to your site. Because it is less than 200-500 words, it falls within “acceptable” limits for use, unless your copyright covers absolutely NO use on websites without permission, including feeds. If it does, they are in violation of your copyright. If it doesn’t, and you allow fair use without permission, then they are fine.

    Fair use of copyright protected material is a fine line. You have to decide for yourself in this case if you want to contact them and ask them to remove the reference to your site. Do a Domain Name search to track them down if you can’t find a way of locating a contact through their site. Send them an email and follow the instructions in What Do You Do When Someone Steals Your Content. Good luck.


12 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. [...] Good spelling, actual punctuation, smiley face. Not a splog, right? I clicked. I cowered. I cried. [...]

  2. [...] On the downside of feeds, they are also being used to scrape content or steal content from blogs and use it as their own, since they either have no content, or no interest in content as they just need words to attract search engines and then saturate the content with their spam words and links to sex toys, cheap drugs, useless drugs, cell phone ring tones, or some other snake oil salesman show. These sites are often known as “splogs” or spam blogs. I addressed this issue in “The Growing Trends in Content Theft”: There is a growing and real concern that site and blog feeds are being used to totally replace any original content. Some crafty website owners are using multiple feeds to pull information from other sites into their own, making it look like the site has an interesting and original collection of content, when it is actually stolen without permission from other sites. [...]

  3. [...] Spam blogs and comment spammers went into overtime in the past year to give a bad name to blogs from a variety of angles. It didn’t help when we learned about how traffic trolls create controversy to increase blog traffic to their blogs. The evil that some bloggers do hurts all bloggers. [...]

  4. [...] After publishing “One Year Anniversary Review: Splogs – The Dark Side of Blogging”, I had several people ask me how to know if a blog is a splog or spam blog. Here are some simple clues to look for. [...]

  5. [...] Splogs – The Dark Side of Blogging [...]

  6. [...] Splogs – The Dark Side of Blogging [...]

  7. [...] One Year Anniversary Review: Splogs – The Dark Side of Blogging [...]

  8. [...] “A splog is a “spam blog”, a blog that copies content from other blogs without permission (though there might be a link back), using that content as if it was their own. It’s a little more complex than that, as some mix and match content from many blogs, or mix and match content from different posts into one post.”//Lorelle [...]

  9. [...] tips on how to make the most of wordpress.com. She’s got some very thorough information about splogs and content thieves there, too. Posted in WordPress Political Blogs. Tags: splogs, wordpress, [...]

  10. […] Splogs – The Dark Side of Blogging […]

  11. […] Splogs – The Dark Side of Blogging […]

  12. […] Splogs – The Dark Side of Blogging […]

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