Saturday, 20 August 2005

Explaining SPLOGs

Spammy blogs: some call them “zombie blogs,” some prefer “spamblogs” or “SPLOGs.” Whatever you call them, it’s clear that unsavoury characters are committing widespread misuse of free blog hosting services. They’re doing this to increase the ranking of other commercial sites on search engines, such as Google. This is the dark side of SEO (or Search Engine Optimization).

For example, imagine I wanted to “optimize” the ranking of my commercial widget site, buy-my-widgets.example.com. If I was of low moral fibre, I might set up one or more blogs at free hosting services such as Blogspot.com or Spaces.MSN.com. I’d populate these fake blogs with text content that seems relevant to widgets, each post linking back to my commercial site. I can quite easily find relevant content using a search engine, which I can cut and paste into my blogs.

I estimate that 75% of the blogs hosted at Blogspot.com are spam. This is a similar proportion to the level of spam in email today. Spammy blogs are just as irritating as spammy email: when searching for information with Google, it’s very easy to find several SPLOGS intermingled with legitimate search results.


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