Saturday, August 27, 2005

Spamflagging Saturday

Last Saturday, in a post discussing BlogSpot’s Flag button, I linked to six spam blogs I’d identified and flagged. Today they’re all gone; in fact, as a commenter pointed out, five of them were taken down within 24 hours.

Well, that’s power; maybe the Flag button does work for spam. Or maybe not: I did also send a backchannel email to Blogger Buzz, asking about spam policies, and linking to my recent posts.

So let’s have another go, this time on flagging alone. A quick spin through twenty clicks of the Next Blog button turned up five obvious spam blogs (as before, all links are nofollow):

Again, I’ve flagged ’em, I encourage you to follow suit, and we’ll see if they last the week.

[Update Saturday, September 03: all still there.]

Doc Searls suggested earlier this week that spam blogging is driven by AdSense advertising. I’m not convinced that this is entirely the case. More often than not, spam blogs on BlogSpot don’t carry AdSense ads themselves. Only one in the small sample above does, attempting to exploit the high prices paid for treatment and pharmacetical keyword clickthroughs. The remaining four link carry no adverts, but link back to parent sites in an attempt to game Google into ranking the parent higher.

Bonus link: the Fighting Splog blog takes a much more vigorous stand against spam blogs—with some success. Although, ugh, what a horrible neologism splog is; do bloggers have to coin a new word for every single concept they come across?

Categories: Spam


I normally agree, bloggers seem to come up with a new word for everything. But splog certainly is a good one. It is catchy enough to get people interested. I have been fighting spam for a while now and the quick growth of the term splogs (and fighting against them) is just amazing.
I don't like "splog." It sounds so ugly. And it seems awful dumb to make up another word for something we can use two perfectly normal and already existing words to describe: spam blog.

Way to go on fighting... uh... splog. (I don't even want to use the word.)
The apparent idea behind splogs is to cross-post and cross-link and otherwise attract enough bogus PageRank to attract Adsense ads. Sploggers know most splogs won't succeed. But the cost of producing them rounds to zero (like the cost of mail spam), so they can afford to create zillions of splogs that don't succeed (like the failure rate of mail spam). That's why some of the splogs you find don't have Adsense ads on them.

The fact that they don't have ads on them doesn't mean they are not motivated by hunger for Adsense money. It is in that respect that they are "driven" by Adsense.

We should be clear, however, that Google has no motivation, economic or otherwise, to support splogs. And plenty of motivation to fight them. The flag is just one way they're working on it. But the problem is also much bigger than Blogspot. Google could kill every blogspot splog and the blogosphere would still have way too many splogs.