It’s the new breed of online kudzu, and it’s really starting to annoy me: Fake weblogs which offer no real content of their own. They merely scrape headlines or content from other sites, then paste it onto a page template loaded with sleazy spammish links and get-rich-quick come-ons.
Yep, it’s blog spam. Or facade blogs, take your pick of neologisms.
I hate blog spam because it directly undermines the key usefulness inherent to the connectedness that blogging tools provide: findability. I get especially irritated when my headlines or content end up getting scraped onto such sites – as just happened tonight. Go look at that crap, I dare you. Get ready to cringe.
Believe me, this kind of inbound link does me no favors. Here’s why…
Spam blogs exist to trick search engines and inexperienced web users. That is, they have a fundamentally nefarious and deceptive reason for being. They try to lure the attention of search engines and web users by pretending to offer real content. But in fact, they only offer links, devoid of content. In the online world, this represents “noise,” not “signal.”
I don’t want my content associated with noise. I believe that, if it happens enough, this sort of blog spamming can tarnish my reputation as a thoughtful writer. Guilt by association.
True, I believe people should be able to link to any publicly available pages or resources freely (which is why I find deep linking bans ridiculous). So I’m not saying that this blog spammer is directly harming me in any way. After all, it’s just a link they’re not grabbing my content.
Still, I don’t like to be associated with anything that makes it difficult for people to get to the information they want. And that kind of obstruction is what blog spam is all about.
Blog spammers strategize to have their pseudo-postings rank highly in search results. This is why any search that contains popular keywords usually yields a result list that begins with links to several content-free blog spam pages. When you land on one of these pages, it’s instantly evident that nothing of value is offered there. It’s a waste of your precious time and attention. That’s not merely annoying. When it happens often enough, stumbling on blog spam can sour your view of the overall value of the internet particularly regarding search tools.
Hence, bad attitude breeds bad attitude. Then the whole cooperative spirit of the online world starts going to hell.
If you’re doing blog spam, I must ask: Is it really worth it? Are you making enough money this way, via clicks on your crazy quilt of irrelevent ads, to justify your efforts? Or to justify contributing to the demise of usefulness online? I have to ask because spam blogs are technically simple to create and automate. Where so little effort is required (or money note that spam blogs often use free services like Blogger), I think there’s a tendency to spam first and consider the costs and benefits later.
There has to be a better way to make a buck. Seriously.