New York Times article tackles Splog (Spam Blogs)

The New York Times has an article about Spam Blogs or Splogs:

During one weekend in October, persons unknown used Google’s blog-creation tool, Blogger, to generate more than 13,000 fake blogs. Hosted on Google’s free BlogSpot Web site, these splogs consisted of nonsense text, postings swiped from legitimate blogs and, most important, links to sites that sploggers were trying to promote. Because search engines base their rankings in part on how many other sites link to a particular site, splogs can propel the sites to which they are linked to the top of search-engine results.

Splogs usually have some characteristics that can be filtered (such as a recent creation date, low number of external links except to the site they are trying to promote, many postings bunched together in time, etc.). As I’ve stated in an earlier post, if Yahoo and Google get serious about revoking paid placement publisher accounts when sites are found to be primarily hosting stolen material, that would go along way.

In the same way that Microsoft and others are looking for ways to certify email as non-spam, maybe we need a certification system for blogs.

Another idea could be for search engines to continue to index all sites but to only weigh links from sites that have been reviewed by a human and judged to constitute a “real site”. Splogs and related websites typically consist of pieces of unrelated material – easily identified as garbage.

For more discussion, see:

Micro Persuasion
Concurring Opinions
Darwinian Web
Working Pathways
Rev News
Plagiarism Today