Surrendering to spam blogs?
Duncan Riley> All the blogosphere is a buzz (yet again) on the issue of spam blogs at the moment. Some coverage here, here, here and here for those interested, but heres something that may come of a shock. I couldn’t care less anymore.
Am I surrendering? well maybe yes and maybe no, because I tossed up providing coverage to the topic again but as I yawned about 5 times in quick succession I considered that I’d written about it all before, and that you, as readers of the Blog Herald had seen it all before. And guess what, not only have things not improved, they’ve gotten worse.
I took a quick look back through the archives here at the Blog Herald and I stumbled across my entry from June 30 calling on Google to do something about spam blogs. Back in March Matt Haughey wrote that spam blogs on blogspot “[are] hurting America.”. Mark Cuban said in August that he’d ban the blogspot domain from Icerocket due to spam blogs, which, to his credit, he’s now done. Also in August was a test that found that 60% of blogs on the blogspot domain are spam blogs…..getting a picture here. All that is old is new again.
I for one propose that we all surrender to the spam blog overlords and join in celebration as we share in their illicit profits. We might even get to have a drink and meet with Larry Page and Sergey Brin.
I’ll be attacked for that last comment, as I was when I originally shared my concerns about Google’s actions at the time, but ask yourselves this: Google has the ability to filter out spam blogs tomorrow. The number one choice of advertising on spam blogs in Adsense, which provides revenue to Google. Google refuses to act on spam blogs AND continues to profit from them. Great for their shareholders and bottom line, but very bad for the blogosphere.
So here’s our choice. Give up, or even better ignore them. I’m probably going to take the later choice for now, because at the end of the day who am I to argue with the corporate might of the Google dollar, and I do, after all, have an Adsense account.
Does this make you angry? I really hope it does. The question then is: can the combined weight of the blogosphere be pulled together to deliver Google a message, or are we better getting along with our own business, knowing to well that divided we shall never be victorious?
United we stand, divided we fall…or in the case of blogs probably get squashed as the blogosphere losses all credibility under the weight of the crap being hosted by Google.
Food for thought!
I noticed the huge amount of postings in the blogosphere on spam blogs. While I tend to post a LOT about spam (comment spam, trackback spam, referrer spam) I didn’t feel like joining the bandwagon and make a posting on splogs. It’s like you said yourself: Google has the oppportunity to end this thing like… right now! Yet they aren’t doing it because of the reason you state: AdSense generates nice money on the splogs. I don’t believe Google cares all that much about the blogosphere anyway since blogs are eating search engine results, spam or legitimate. They gave us rel=”nofollow” to ‘combat comment spam’. Have you seen any decrease in comment-spam since it was introduced? I haven’t! The only thing it resulted in is bloggers getting less pageranks because the links they leave in their legitimate comments aren’t followed by spiders anymore. And therefore they’re keeping a fair amount of blog content out of the search indexes.
And what did the blogosphere do? We all swallowed it like it was some sort of good medicine.
Nah, I strongly believe that as long as spam in all of it’s possible incarnations is generating revenues it will always be here. I’m glad I can at least keep the commentspammers and trackback spammers from my blog… for now…
As I’m currently moving out of Blogspot, lots of others are emailing saying they’re going too. Blogger is facing a mass exodus. Could Google be trying to destroy it? Death by a thousand cuts, rather than one big chop?
It’s a real shame though. Blogspot is the only centralized blogging service I know that actually has standard templates that don’t look like utter crap ;)
I agree, Marco. If it was a paid service like Typrepad, and more closely regulated, it would have a good reputation, and more top bloggers would use it.
As with virtually all things, money talks…
Good on you for caring les about this, Duncan. We’ve seen and heard it all before.
If Google continue to do bugger all, then eventually AdSense will fall apart – how long before advertisers simply give up and leave (remember every AdSense click is paid for by an advertiser looking for potential “real” customers).
Maybe if Google keep on doing nothing and reaping the benefits of such spam (ie: making millions) then I guess a few class action lawsuits from AdWords customers might do the trick.
I’ve given up on being an ‘active’ spam blog, and blog spam trouncer. You’re right Duncan – something could be done about this tomorrow, rather, something should have been done a long time ago.
All I can do personally is delete crap from my sites and ignore the autoposted crap.
You also mentioned the combined weight of the blogosphere? That combined weight is now 30-60% splog posts. That’s a lot of ad real estate. It’s millions of pages and 10’s of millions of pageviews/ad impressions coming from the dark side, and a lot of money.
No company in their right mind would squash that amount of income, especially a company who has investors and shareholders to answer to.
Back to work…
Why does blogger not offer an upgrade to a paid service that you can go to…and thus be able to migrate your blog and take your rank, etc… along with you while getting more options and features????
Why should you have to pay to play? Democratization of access & freedom of expression &c all falls down if the only solution to splogs is to start charging us to blog…..
John, the answer is that a payment step before setting up a new blog would stop dead the spam machine blogs. You’d need a human operator and a lot of money to set up a stable of spam blogs. A few dollars outlay would help solve the problem.
I never listen to the democratization of access and freedom of expression argument because if you’ve got the money to have a computer with internet access then there should be no reason why you can’t hand over $5-$10 a month for hosting and a domain.
I think its no longer in doubt that keeping the splog platform-marketing floodgates open is part of Google’s business plan. Like you said in the post, this could all be stemmed tomorrow (and very, very easily) if so desired. Given the amount of coverage this issue has gotten since Cuban got involved, and the limp responses to its hosted splog problem, its pretty clear Google is intentionally /not/ responding as we would wish in the fight.
For those of us on the front lines whose central products depend directly on the pings we read, there is no respite from the splog-battle. We trudge onward, knowing that sploggers will always be a step ahead, but remaining hopeful that at some point Google will step in and quash the blogspot issue. Naive, perhaps, but giving up is not an option, and giving in is just as bad.