Splogs, or spam + blogs, date back as far as 2003, when sites that were designed to host spam displayed nonsensical computer-generated text or text stolen from other sites. These early splogs generally contained links to affiliated Web sites. Content was often gibberish and solely for search engine purposes. Blogger defines spam blogs as those containing “irrelevant, repetitive, or nonsensical text, along with a large number of links, usually all pointing to a single site.” Blogging platforms such as Blogger and WordPress have implemented measures to identify and remove spam blogs.
The term splog is also commonly used in reference to spam in blog comments, including spings, or fraudulent trackbacks. Both blogs and trackbacks that point to spam sites are often easy to spot due to their overtly spammy appearance. But other types of splogs aren’t so obvious.
Search for almost any topic on the Web, and you’re bound to find a blog that looks legit … and yet somehow smacks of insincerity. Blog posts containing poorly written bare-bones text and seemingly disingenuous endorsements of various sites and services are popping up all over the Internet. Is this the new generation of splogs?
Blogs that appear to be helmed by actual humans, often focus on a particular niche, and link to a variety of sites rather than one single site can much more easily bypass the anti-spamming measures taken by sites such as Blogger and WordPress. While comment spam and overtly bogus blogs may be easy to spot and report to blogging platforms, these newer types of splogs are more dubious. They may contain a user profile and the content may be unique, but clearly written to benefit the target sites, whether or not they are affiliated with the blog in question.
With sploggers continuing to find ways around anti-spamming efforts, are legitimate bloggers forced to live with the consequences? Is the blogosphere destined to compete with the splogosphere forever, despite the best efforts of those committed to preserving the integrity of the Web?
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