I want to join my friend Doc Searls in pointing out splogs and urging concerted action from the search engine providers and context-sensitive advertising services to take as much of the profit out of splogs as possible. According to Mark Cuban, a splog is any blog whose creator doesn't add any written value.
The owner of a splog is typically trying to create a site with high search engine relevance without doing any work. The goal is to divert information seekers to these splogs, display context-sensitive ads, and get the information seekers to click those ads. Google, Yahoo!, and other ad service providers then pay the splogger for the clicks and the splogger has a quick profit.
I pay attention to referrals to Operation Gadget from other sites. Many of the sites that provide referral tracking services such as Technorati and IceRocket have recently shown a large increase in links to Operation Gadget which would normally be welcome. However, a disproportionate number of recent links to our site are actually from splogs. Here are a few examples:
- A page from "Your snow tires info" contains the bulk of a post called Maxxis Inflatable Tire Not in Place on Brasstown Bald Due to High Winds, a report I filed from the top of Brasstown Bald during the 2005 Dodge Tour de Georgia. No information about snow tires whatsoever.
- A page from "Your pmp info" contains the bulk of a post called Discovery Uses Personal Media Players to Fine-tune TT Technique, an extremely popular article about the Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team's use of AMD technology. This splog appears to be trying to divert people searching for information about the Project Management Professional (PMP) business certification, but it's scooping up information about Personal Media Players as well.
- A page from "Your tmobile info" contains the bulk of a post called What T-Mobile is Missing by Not Quickly Upgrading to EDGE, an important article about management decisions that T-Mobile USA made about their wireless data services deployment. This splog appears to be trying to divert people searching for for T-Mobile ringtones, hotspots, and billing plans.
I'm sure you can see the similarity between these splogs. They take original content from Operation Gadget and other sites by scraping RSS feeds and simply put the articles on new web pages. Any ad clicks that these splog sites capture result in money paid to people who didn't do any of the research, reporting, or analysis.
Doc Searls doesn't run ads on his site, but he realizes that lots of sites would cease to exist or be scaled back if the value chain of context-sensitive advertising is disrupted by profiteering such as that embodied by splogs.
What I'm doing to help fight the splog phenomenon is:
- I'm calling attention to it in this article.
- I've started submitting splogs that misappropriate content from Operation Gadget to a site called Splog Reporter. This site was inspired by Mark Cuban's call to arms and built by Frank J Gruber V. [ Thanks to Doc for the correction. ]
Please let me know if you think of anything else I should be doing.
Technorati Tags: splogs