The Counterfeit Blogs - Splogs

Spam blogs, often referred to as the infamous splog, can be defined as an artificial website created by a blogger to promote affiliates or increase search engine rankings.  The term represents the activity of spam taking place in blogs.  A splog may be implemented for several reasons: to increase the amount of page hits, establish backlinks of affiliating web sites, or to simulate paid advertisements to visitors of the site.  Splogs are typically found on sites where the content is made up of misleading text or even stolen from other sites, an act commonly referred to as blog scraping.  More often than not, these blogs will contain a large amount of outbound links promoting sites that are deemed troublesome or useless by the general public.  

How to identify a splog

A splog will normally consist of fake articles and blog postings in which the primary goal is to impress the roaming search engine spiders.  These spammers tend to make random postings in the comment boxes of many innocent bloggers, taking advantage of a blog's ability to leave feedback along with trackback links to their site. 

Though the term splog gained popularity in August of 2005, research shows evidence of it being around as early as 2003.  The original concept was developed from a variety of multiple-link blogs that were created to attract search engines and web surfers by making keywords out of every term in the standard dictionary.  Splogs have particularly become a huge problem for many free blogging hosting services - an estimated one in five blogs is actually created for the purpose of distributing spam.  Splogs undoubtedly consume valuable storage space along with bandwidth.  They also graffiti search engine results with spam postings, while faltering the identities of several legitimate bloggers. 

The dangers of splogs

Google, the most prominent of all search engines, uses PageRank, an indexing system that is quite susceptible to flooding links that originate from active bloggers.  Splogs are quickly damaging the blogging experience for many individuals who find value and enjoyment in the social platform.  Many of them will select a name that is similar to a legitimate blog that has already gained a bit of popularity.  Sometimes this will benefit the splog creator when desperate bloggers choose to link to the site.  

Splogs can prove to be an absolute nightmare for real authors looking to make a living with their blog articles.  This may be the case if a search engine responds by blocking a particular domain that is known for originating a significant amount of splog activity.  RSS feeds have also attributed to the problem of blog-based spamming.  RSS makes it very simple for a spammer to easily thieve the content from a legitimate blog.  Stolen feeds lead to polluted RSS search engine indexing by reproducing the same splog content all across the web.

Working against splogs

To contain the problem, numerous splog reporting agencies have been established, hoping that victimized bloggers will turn over splog URLs so that these spammers will be banned from the search engines.  Blogging software such as WordPress, have also been integrated with a Feed Copywriter module that makes splogs a bit easier to detect. 

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Spyware has many ways of getting onto your computer, such as:

When you download programs - particularly freeware, or peer-to-peer sharing programs.

More covertly, spyware can install itself just by you visiting certain sites, by prompting you to download an application to see the site properly.

ActiveX controls. These pesky spyware makers will prompt you to install themselves while using your Internet browser