It’s time for Google to act on Blogger

Filed as General on June 30, 2005 7:26 am

by Duncan

Duncan Riley> One of the great things about blogs is that they’re easy to use, free to use in many cases and rank well in search engines. One of the worst things about blogs is that they’re easy to use, free to use in many cases and rank well in search engines.

An interesting statement maybe, but what makes the blogosphere great is going to bring its greatest danger of serious down turn in the coming 2 years, because for every new blogger that joins the blogosphere this very minute, in all likelihood there is some cretin sitting in a dark room stealing content and/ or creating a spam blog at exactly the same time. We know the technology is there, I’ve written about it here before at The Blog Herald. Recent reports indicate that at times up to 90% of the pings to services such as Weblogs.com and Technorati are from spam blogs. Others tell stories of not actually being able to find a legitimate blog by using the blog surfing feature at the top of blogger blogs. Sure, the problem isn’t unique to one particular weblog host or piece of blogware, but amongst the crowd of blog fraudsters and thieves one service stands out as the choice of the spamming scum, and that’s Google’s Blogger.

There has always been people who are critical of the positions that blogs manage to obtain in search engines, but their voices are getting louder, and yet Google remains to busy launching yet another new feature or another every day of the week and ignores the fact that its servers contain more spam blogs than any of its competitors 100 times over. As more and more spam blogs are created, search engine results become more and more polluted. Sure, you could argue that as market leader Google would never threaten one of its own businesses. But its not Google that’s the concern. As Google results become more polluted web surfers will start to turn to Google’s competitors for their search needs. Current and new service providers will start to offer blog free search, or at least blogspot.com free search. The first to suffer will be anyone legitimately using blogger for their blogs. I’ve always been a pretty big fan of the service, but I’ve got to say that if you’re on it I’d be thinking of getting off. Remember how Google banned the WordPress.org domain over a few minor search engine manipulation issues, it’s not inconceivable that MSN and Yahoo! will ban Blogspot.com for exactly the same reason as long as Google fails to act. The problem then rises that Google is still a search engine company, and if it starts to lose search customers they might be tempted to do the same, or more likely separate all blogs from their search results, because I couldn’t ever see them knocking off just the ones on their own servers, and if this happens we are all in trouble. The blog boom bursts.

The solution? Google must act on spam blogs immediately. First and foremost they must implement the means of blocking automated programs from setting up and posting to blogs on blogger unless registered with Google, so legitimate software like w.blogger and similar can still post to Blogger but automated spamsoftware can’t, for memory eBay has a similar system in place for posting auctions. Sure, it doesn’t prevent the creation of spam blogs, but it will certainly slow them down a lot and turn away a lot of potential scammers. Secondly they must act to close down spam blogs, whether it be through their own methods or through a community tip-off process.

What can we do? Together as bloggers we can pressure Google to take action. Why should we bother you may well ask? well this one is for the greater good, because if Google doesn’t get its house in order with Blogger then we may all well be doomed. Harsh perhaps, but I never want to see a day where blogs are banned from any search engine, because whilst some will survive any major downturn in search engine traffic, for many it may well mean the end. Bloggers will still link to bloggers and read other blogs, but for most sites, take the search engine traffic out and you wind back the clock to the traffic figures of 1997.

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  1. By Comic Strip Blogger posted on June 30, 2005 at 8:09 am
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    On top of spammer blogs there are also libel/slander blogs on Blogger. Interesting Google refuses to remove such blogs. In other words: you can publish totally defamatory blog about anybody and you will be sure that it will not be removed if placed on Google’s blogging servers. And their suggestin “contact somebody by email” is nonsense because obviously people who defame are not publishing any emails. See below email from Blogger suport team.

    ———————————————————————

    Thank you for writing regarding content posted on blogspot.com. Although
    we host that site, we are not in a position to adjudicate whether the
    content is defamatory or not.

    Accordingly, consistent with section 230(c) of the Communications Decency
    Act, Blogger does not remove material in response to allegations of
    defamation. In cases where a contact email address is listed on the page,
    we recommend working directly with the author to have this information
    removed or changed.

    We are sorry we cannot assist you further at this time.

    Sincerely,
    Blogger Support Team

  2. By Comic Strip Blogger posted on June 30, 2005 at 8:12 am
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    I wanted to add that blog in question included explicitly defamatory/libel statements to be seen with naked eye – they were not vague.

  3. By Greg Linden posted on June 30, 2005 at 10:37 am
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    Is the problem really limited to Blogger? I’ve seen many spam blogs on Typepad and MSN Spaces as well.

    Do you think that the over 10M weblogs created on MSN Spaces in the last six month are all legit? That the problem is limited to Google’s Blogger?

  4. By Itinerant Librarian posted on June 30, 2005 at 11:28 am
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    I am sure the problem is not limited to Blogger, but Blogger is as bad as they come. That detail of trying to use the blog tools surf feature to locate other blogs is just awful. I gave up on using it after a while, getting tired of just finding spam blogs. As for using them, well, what can I say? Easy and free for someone starting out, but as soon as I can afford to, I will likely move. What does disturb me are the thieves stealing content from legitimate blogs.

  5. By John (SYNTAGMA) posted on June 30, 2005 at 11:31 am
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    Biz Stone recently wrote that Google are working on a Business Blogger. They’ve also added a 300Mb photo hosting facility to Blogger and new rich-text editing gizmos are appearing all the time. It doesn’t seem like they’re planning to dump Blogger in the foreseeable future. It would be interesting to see the profit and loss account of Blogger with everything rolled in, including spin-offs. As a Blogger blogger I’d be very disappointed if they scuppered the whole thing. It would cause uproar around the world, and Google would be left with its mojo dripping down its corporate chin.

  6. By site admin posted on June 30, 2005 at 10:45 pm
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    Just on note of the “its not limited to Blogger” comments, no its not, but as far as I’m aware there are no programs that can auto-spam using Spaces, and any attempts to set up a spam blog on Spaces would have to be done manually: sure some might but for the vast majority of these cretins why would they do it manually on Spaces if they can do it automatically on Blogger? There are programs that auto-spam to WordPress and MT blogs, but both require paid hosting so aren’t nearly as popular amongst spammers as Blogger.

  7. By Amit Agarwal posted on July 1, 2005 at 1:23 am
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    And now Blogger is inserting div clear tags in blogger HTML code which just screwed up my blog layout.

    I wrote to blogger but got no reply

    http://labnol.blogspot.com/2005/06/blogger-template-inserting-div-clear.html

  8. » Is Blogger the worst free blogging service? The Blog Herald: more blog news more oftenJuly 1, 2005 at 3:12 am
  9. By John (SYNTAGMA) posted on July 1, 2005 at 4:42 am
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    Amit, go to Blogger Buzz, there’s a quick fix for that ~ a long term solution is on the way.

    I set up a new Blogger blog a few weeks ago and had to enter what I call “rubber words” (can’t recall the tech term). Doesn’t that prevent auto-spam?

  10. By Amit Agarwal posted on July 2, 2005 at 1:47 am
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    John (Syntagma)

    Yes, thanks for pointing that out.

    Blogger added a new feature and broke my layout.

    Bad QA.

  11. » Beware of Blog Apartheid The Blog Herald: more blog news more oftenJuly 10, 2005 at 11:44 pm
  12. » Surrending to spam blogs? The Blog Herald: more blog news more oftenOctober 18, 2005 at 9:10 pm
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