December 20, 2005

Splogs.

Does anyone have any advice about what a blogger can do about those blog-looking things that just steal a blogger's material in its entirety to create a site with a sidebar full of links? I unwittingly discovered a way to detect these things: when you link to one of your own old posts, the thing will show up in Technorati as another blog linking to you. But I can't think of what to do once I've found it. And, no, I'm not going to link to one.

12 comments:

esk said...

Report the site at SplotReporter or Splogspot.

Laurence said...

I'm working on a trojan horse.

Ann Althouse said...

Esk: I don't see how Splogspot does anything to get rid of the site. It seems to end up giving it a link. Why does that do any good? It says it's helping people determine the "genuity" of sites. Doesn't seem very helpful or powerful. "Splotreporter" I couldn't find. These sites look like they are about protecting yourself from going to these places, but I'm interested in stopping them from stealing my work and from hurting my good name.

Ann Althouse said...

"Genuinty" -- sorry I misspelled their made-up word.

Laurence: I don't know what you're talking about. If that's a joke, I'm not techy enough to get it.

Gerry said...

I think that esk had a typo. The site is SplogReporter.

What to do? This Wired article says:

--begin quotation--

* How to report splogs:

While splogs may seem like a minor annoyance to the individual blogger, the overall effect of splogs is far-reaching. "What happens when all the search terms become infested with these splogs?" said Chris Pirillo of Lockergnome. "It makes it that much harder to find the stuff you really want to look for."

So, for the community's sake, when you notice a splog -- report it. If the splog is on Blogger, you can easily report it by clicking the Flag button on the top right corner of the page. This will notify Blogger admins about objectionable content, and the splog should be removed. If the splog is on another blogging platform, you may have to contact the host directly.

Or, you could report the splog to the new, grass-roots service Splog Reporter, which was created by Frank Gruber and Jeff John in August 2005. Splog Reporter relies on a special splog-identification system that analyzes a blog's URL for suspicious keywords and things like hyphens -- for some reason, most splogs are hyphenated. Splog Reporter adds suspect sites to its database, alerting search engines to remove them from their indexes.

If the splog has Google ads on it, the site can be reported to Google's AdSense program, and the account could be revoked.

-- end quotation--

That's the rationale for using a site such as SplogReporter.

Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, is one helping to lead the charge against Splogs. Unfortunately, you won't like one of his approaches-- he's threatening to block *all* Blogger blogs from his IceRocket search engine service. Granted, it is not one of the bigger search engines at this point, and it is doubtful (to say the least) that Google will follow suit due to their relationship with Blogspot, but still.

Another suggestion for something to do is, if it is not a Blogger Splog, is to look at the Whois data for the domain. Sploggers generally don't want to be identified, so they use fake information in their domain registrations. InterNIC takes a dim view of fake info in domain registration. One can narc on such miscreants using the Whois Data Problem Report System. This puts pressure on the registrars.

Never a dull moment on the Internet.

Nick said...

If its a blogspot splog, then be sure to Flag it so it can be reviewed by Blogger. Also be sure that any of your feeds don't provide the full content in them (only a summary). This won't fully remove the problem, but will limit it I think. Otherwise not much to do unless you want to get rid of your feeds all together which would suck. I'm assuming that the content is delivered to the splog using your feed, which may not be correct.

Patrick Martin said...

I've found several sites like that, and also several that do the same thing with Usenet group postings I've made. I've thought about sending a DMCA take-down notice to their ISPs, as they are infringing on the copyrighted posts. You can find good example letters from the Chilling Effects.org website. Although that site is generally hostile to the DMCA, it contains many wonderful examples of such notices sent by attorneys for the big and powerful; why not crib from the best (or at least the most expensive)?

esk said...

gerry - ty, yes that was a typo on my part.

Ann: It won't get rid of the site but it will flag it as a splog site. This will get it excluded from search results. Without showing up in searches - they get no traffic and become obsolete. It may not be the ideal solution - but, unfortunately it's the only one available for now. Hope this helps.

Ann Althouse said...

Nick: I've got a real problem which is that I'm trying to keep my feeds from having the full content, but the full content keeps going out. I've checked and rechecked the boxes, republished, and written to Blogger about it. It's driving me nuts! If someone could solve that problem, I'd be home free on this!

Ann Althouse said...

Ah! I think I solved it. I turned off the feed, republished, then turned it back on (with "short" checked, of course). Now I think only the short is going out. Great!!! My concern about splogs is MUCH changed now.

By the way the splogs that were abusing me were not on Blogspot, they were on libsys.

Dale B said...

I read Althouse via Bloglines. I have my default setup display whole messages if they are available. On Althouse, sometimes I see the whole posting and sometimes I just get the first five lines or so.

Strange inconsistent behavior. You'd think that it'd just pick one behavior and stick with it. I have not noticed if the other Blogger based sites I read behave this way or not.

brylin said...

Wikipedia has an interesting article on splogs.