The last six months has seen a massive rise in content theft blogs and spam blogs, and there’s one thing these blogs usually have in common, and that’s the whole “Blog and Ping” thing, but if you don’t know what Blog and Ping is, don’t feel bad, because most people don’t.
But before I start a word of advice: don’t do it. Knowing and understanding your enemy is important in formulating ways of overcoming and defeating them. People who create these blogs are leeches who deserve nothing less than being banned from the search engines they so desperately seek to be included in.
So what is Blog and Ping?
I’ll give a short answer and a long answer because Blog and Ping comes in a few different flavours.
The Short Answer: Blog and Ping is a online marketing term applied to a system that utilizes blogs and pings (short for pingback) to deliver content and/ or sites for indexing in search engines with the ultimate aim of profit.
But that doesn’t really explain a lot, because basically that’s what blogs already do.
For those of you too young or who never got into writing more traditional web pages, basically getting your webpage into Google, Yahoo or other search engines has always been somewhat difficult. The time it takes for your static web site to be indexed by Yahoo for example after you submit it to them without taking up the paying option is around 6 weeks, and sometimes longer. Blogs changed the rules of indexing because where as you use to have to wait for the search engines to index you, all of a sudden bloggers could wave a big red flag with the words “I’m over here” written on it and the search engines would come. Pinging a central server such as Weblogs.com meant that a central list was available of blogs that were posting at a given point in time, and the search engine spiders then followed the links on these lists and bingo: your blog gets indexed.
The vultures circle
When your on a good thing, people notice, and the vultures started to notice blogs getting a really good run in search engines, and they pretty quickly worked out why….introducing Blog and Ping.
Flavours of Blog and Ping
Blog and Ping comes in different flavours and variations to the theme. Each Blog and Ping promoter has a different sales pitch that also states that their flavour is the best. The commonality to all of them is that they involve pinging sites such as Weblogs.com as a means to deliver the search engine spiders to a blog. But this is where things get different.
Real blogs, stolen content
One strain of blog and ping promotes blogs as being a great way to make money from Adsense and affiliate programs with scripts that steal content from other blogs and repost it in an attempt to create a legitimate looking site that gets traffic from search engines.
Michelle Timothy’s RSStoBlog.com is a leading pusher of this flavour of Blog and Ping. To quote Ms Timothy:
” Imagine for a minute that you had a tireless assistant that worked hard night and day finding fresh, relevant content for you to post to your blog. Now also imagine that this tireless assistant not only finds this relevant, keyword specific content for you but also posts it to your blog at exactly the times you want it posted … and they do this day in and day out, until you beg them to stop!”
I’ve not provided a link to the site, but by all means cut and paste the URL into your browser, because the people using it are stupid enough to give testimonials as well. Their example WordPress blog also includes a stolen story to the Blog Herald as well.
I’ve split spam blogs into a separate category because the stolen content blogs can in reality function and look like real blogs if they are done properly, and many people would be unable to tell the difference. Spam blogs on the other hand stand out like a sore thumb, and these are another flavour of Blog and Ping. The theory with these sites is essentially a new form of link farms, in that they are never really created for viewing by the general public, but as a way for the search engines to discover other sites, and to reward those sites for multiple links. A three step process: the search engines spider finds your spam blog ping at Weblogs.com, follows it back to the blog, then discovered links to static web pages and then goes through to index them. The difficult thing of course is without content the search engine spiders won’t visit, so these sites create all sorts of rubbish as content, often with keywords scattered throughout posts, to assist the spider going onto index the money making static web site.
There are a number of sites promoting this, and each one usually has a slight variation on this theme. BloggingEqualizer.com states the following on their method:
The technique consists of 4 steps:
1. Build a search engine “spider trap” by creating a free blog on Blogger.com (they can’t resist freshly updated content).
2. Grab a free account at MyYahoo.com.
3. Post links to the Web pages you want spidered inside your blog.
4. Then, just call the search engine spiders to dinner by sending (or “pinging”), with the click of a button, the blog to your MyYahoo account.
Sites like Instantblogandping.com promotes a version which involves automatically reposting your own static webpages to Blogger with links back to their source.
Is there money to be made in Blog and Ping?
Yes. The same way as there is money to be made in Amway, because Blog and Ping is really just another variation on the old multi level marketing theme without as many circles on a whiteboard; the only people who make money are the promoters and the people at the very top of the pyramid.
First and foremost the promoters are most likely raking it in. Most of these programs/ scripts are on the market for between $100 and $500 USD, and guess what: they wouldn’t be offering them if there weren’t thousands of suckers out there who’d fall for the slick marketing spiel and promises of automated riches and happily put their hands into their pockets to buy them. They say there is a market for everything, and with the internet being so large and with so many people using it this also holds true for Blog and Ping programs.
Some of the earlier users would have made some money out of Blog and Ping as well, in around the middle of last year when spam blogs were still relatively unknown and those using Blog and Ping techniques would have been few and far between. Today, with literally millions of spam and content theft blogs out there it would be nearly impossible for anyone to even earn enough money back to cover the cost of Blog and Ping package they’ve bought if they are looking to make money off their blog.
In terms of SEO strategies the honest to god truth today is that if you’re looking only to get your static site indexed into one of the big search engines Blog and Ping actually does work, but only in the same way that a few text links from a few decent blogs would deliver the same thing, and you’ll pay a lot less for a proper text link from say here at the Blog Herald then you’ll pay for most of these programs.
The end is nigh
Already some in the SEO industry are saying that Blog and Ping is dead due to the massive increase in users, content theft sites and spam blogs. If you’re getting any benefit out of Blog and Ping now, you won’t be for much longer because already some search engines are talking about excluding your sites.
Is there any good in Blog and Ping
Yes, but in the same way that there is good in porn, because the pursuit of money often drives technological change. Services such as reblog have potential to be used for real meta-blogging in the same way you can set up a link blog at Bloglines today. The challenges presented by people using Blog and Ping strategies will force search engines and others to find new ways of filtering the rubbish out and that will be a good thing for the blogosphere.
Note to Google and the Blogger team: sooner rather than later please.