Sunday, November 13, 2005

DIGILIFE | You blog, they Splog!

As part of the Internet revolution, new terms are emerging fast. The one that caught my eye recently, and which described a problem that myself and fellow bloggers have been facing is called: 'splogging'.Simply, it refers to mass postings on blogs by spammers.

The fusion of the words spam and blog creates 'splog', and it's been a serious problem since the beginning of this year, reaching epic proportions in the past couple of months and especially hitting the Google-owned service, Blogger- the one with addresses.

From personal experience, I can tell you that of the 20 or so comments I get on my articles posted on my blog, fifteen are such spam.It's either someone trying to sell me medicine, real estate, training, gambling services or, as you would expect, pornography!

In the past few weeks, it's gotten out of hand, with Sploggers taking it further and actually mass-producing blog sites and putting a huge load on blogging servers.

The most recent attack uses automated tools, or 'bots' as they are commonly referred to, to manipulate Blogspot service and create thousands of fake blogs loaded with links to specific Web sites selling some of the products and services mentioned before.

What this 'bot' did was create large search results and boost traffic to those sites by fooling the search-engine spiders that crawl the Web looking for commonly linked-to destinations.The counterfeit blogs, numbering in the tens of thousands, also triggered thousands of RSS feeds and email notifications, swamping RSS readers and inboxes.

They're calling it a 'splogs-plosion'.It has brought the Splog problem to the fore now, and it's putting serious pressure on Google and other top blog hosts to find ways to secure there services.

The real problem is that Blogs are, fundementaly, very open interaction systems and securing could potentially halt the blogging revolution, or at least change its characteristics. Blogger is, therefore. a victim of its own success at being everything that personifies the blogging craze: it's very simple to use, has an open API and is free.

As a direct result of what happened on Blogger (Blogspot), leading blog services that link to it are considering limiting their connections to that service or canceling it altogether.

Services like PubSub, Technorati and Feedster, include entries from Blogger-BlogSpot feeds in the normal results delivered to users, but PubSub is planning to ask users to explicitly opt in if they want to see results from Blogger-BlogSpot feeds.

It all seems like the end of the age of innocence for the blogging community. The bad guys are ruining it for them and they have to change their once open and tolerant e-society.Sounds painfully familiar, doesn’t it!


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