Splogs: Blogging’s Evil Twin

Wired magazine’s Charles C. Mann writes about Splogs in the September issue. A grim tally: more than half of the 10 million blogs in creation are actually these fake blogs, using snippets of unintelligible text scraped from legitimate blogs and books, just there to reap click through revenues from Google ads. One man is fighting this tough adversary, setting up a program that indentifies and shares the ISP address of the evil fake bloggers.

“He got serious about fighting spam, he says, when his mother started to blog. ‘I went through the last hundred or so people who had pinged Word Press with comments and trackbacks, and it was all spam,” he says. “Mortgages and Viagra, pills and porn.” Embarrassed and revolted, he decided to fight back. When bloggers install his Akismet software, it submits all comments and trackbacks to a web service that tests them for spamminess, quarantines bogus ones and posts the rest.

Almost 300,000 bloggers use the software, their input improves the filter every day. “Essentially what we are doing is working together. All the kids that got hit by bullies in school have discovered there’s strength in numbers. I like to believe that anyway.”

One suggestion emerges that makes sense: if more people used pay service blogs, none of these robot run splogs would exist. The companies such as Type Pad use a token payment of $4.95 per month to show that legitimate people are behind the blogs, since the bank accounts have to be real. The fake bloggers register thousands of blogs for free, and they’d never pay real money for this dubious privilege.