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Spam blogs, sometimes referred to by the neologism splogs[1], are weblog sites which the author uses to promote affiliated websites or to increase the search engine rankings of associated sites. The purpose of a splog can be to increase the PageRank or backlink portfolio of affiliate websites, to artificially inflate paid ad impressions from visitors, and/or use the blog as a link outlet to get new sites indexed. Spam blogs are usually a type of scraper site, where content is often either inauthentic text or merely stolen (see blog scraping) from other websites. These blogs usually contain a high number of links to sites associated with the splog creator which are often disreputable or otherwise useless websites.

There is frequent confusion between the terms "splog" and "spam in blogs". Splogs are blogs where the articles are fake, and are only created for search engine spamming. To spam in blogs, conversely, is to include random comments on the blogs of innocent bystanders, in which spammers take advantage of a site's ability to allow visitors to post comments that may include links. In fact, one of the earliest uses of the term "splog" referred to the latter.[2]

This is used often in conjunction with other spamming techniques, including spings.

Contents

History

The term splog was popularized around mid August 2005 when it was used publicly by Mark Cuban,[3][4] but appears to have been used a few times before for describing spam blogs going back to at least 2003.[5] It developed from multiple linkblogs that were trying to influence search indexes and others trying to Google Bomb every word in the dictionary.

The term may be applied to more recent infections, most noticeably those reported by Webtrends[6] in April 2008. Leveraging botnets, spammers have infected several thousand pages which display prominent keywords from the Google Trends site by bypassing the CAPTCHA authentication method, which had previously subdued all spam bloggers. A recent sighting puts the top ten Google hottest terms of the day as all being owned by spambots on the Blog Results page. As they have gone mostly unchecked, they have also infected real SERP Page One web results and corrupt any hot search terms more than a month old. Phraseologist[7] reports that the attacks appear on AOL Journal, Blogspot and Spaces Live. Hackers are using a number of methods including link farming, spamdexing and keyword stuffing each in a simple, moderated form to achieve top PageRank results. Most of the sites contain an animated graphic which appears as a YouTube streaming video. Once clicked, users become infected with one of several variants of spyware. This generates revenue for the spambot's owner.

Controversy

Splogs have become a major problem on free blog hosts such as Google's Blogger service.[8] By one estimate, about one in five blogs are spam blogs.[9] These fake blogs waste valuable disk space and bandwidth as well as pollute search engine results, ruining blog search engines and damaging bloggers community networking (e.g. Blogger's next blog link).

Web search engines are commonly susceptible to link flooding, especially from highly weighted bloggers.

Splogs sometimes choose a name similar to a popular blog in order to benefit from the occasional incoming link from careless bloggers, who think they are linking to the popular site. Splog activity can cause problems for legitimate bloggers, if search engines respond to splog by blocking or treating as 'suspicious' all web addresses in a particular domain.

Stealing expired domain's PageRank

Some spammers register domains that have just recently expired, so that the previous owner's pagerank persists. Thus, building a splog on a expired domain enhances the pagerank that the links.

See also

References

  1. ^ http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/14.09/splogs.html
  2. ^ June 13, 2003 hackermojo.com entry
  3. ^ Yamamoto, Mike (2005-08-17). "Are 'splogs' ruining the blogs?". CNet News. http://news.cnet.com/8301-10784_3-5836356-7.html. Retrieved 2009-01-31. "Cuban, who defines a splog as "any blog whose creator doesn't add any written value," writes: "Go to your favorite blog search engine and type in hair loss. Or you can try Cialis, or Discount Tickets?? You get the idea. Anything that has ever been spammed about is spammed in monstrous proportions in the blogosphere because its so easy to do.""  
  4. ^ Cuban's original post is archived here.
  5. ^ See, for example, a June 13, 2003 hackermojo.com entry, which uses the term, albeit in reference to spam comments on blogs.
  6. ^ http://securitylabs.websense.com/content/Blogs/3063.aspx
  7. ^ http://www.phraseologist.com/2008/07/over-extended-link-engine.html
  8. ^ Pink, Daniel (2005-12-11). "Splogs". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/11/magazine/11ideas_section3-20.html?_r=1. Retrieved 2009-01-31. "During one weekend in October, persons unknown used Google's blog-creation tool, Blogger, to generate more than 13,000 fake blogs...Technorati, a leading blog tracking and searching service, estimates that between 2 and 8 percent of the 70,000 new Web logs created each day are actually counterfeit."  
  9. ^ [1]

External links








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