Originally, I had planned this week’s grand post to be the long awaited Part 2 of Marketing a Business Blog. But, recent discoveries in the blogosphere demand immediate attention.
“There’s trouble in River City!” And, ala the famed musical, The Music Man, that’s trouble with a capital “T.”
The same idiots that spam the search engines, like Google, with worthless sites are now trashing Google’s new blog service, Blogger.
(Idiot is so harsh a word that, while I read it daily on many political blogs, I rarely utter or write the word in an entire year.)
A recent search of Technorati, one of the blogosphere’s best search engines, listed dozens of results either untitled or with extremely similar titles (place name changed). All these pages are emanating from Google’s Blogger.
Some of Blogger’s spammers are quite active and have dozens of so-called “blogs” under their control. Oscar is just one of dozens of individuals engaging in this clearly unethical and unwanted behavior.
It seems that a confluence of three features of Blogger has provided an “business opportunity” which is being exploited. First, Blogger’s user agreement does not explicity forbid from using their service to create junk blogs. Second, Blogger is free for any and all to establish blogs. Third, Blogger provides the ability to post-by-email. It is the addition of this third feature to the first two that has been the catalyst and precipitated the increasing problem of junk blogs spamming the blogosphere and its search engines.
The above idiots are setting up blog accounts by the dozen and then using mass email to flood their new “blogs” with nonsense messages. Each message contains a link to a worthless website, which benefits from suddenly having 427 pages linked to them. A few are so bold as to park Google ads on the pages in clear violation of Adsense terms. I’ve taken the liberty of reporting those directly to Google. Hopefully, Google will sacrafice that idiot’s cash cow.
Now I understand that even idiots need to eat and make a living, but idiots they are and well-developed societies look after their idiots. Surely, the bright folks at Google, who solve high IQ puzzles to get hired, are able to devise a solution. I have a few ideas:
1) All blog hosts should modify their user agreements.
User agreements should clearly spell out that not only is illegal content not wanted, neither is abuse by creating hundreds of pages of nonsensewith the intent of spamming search engines. Blog hosting services are private enterprises and are free to set their own rules. There is nothing unconstitutional about setting boundaries.
2) Develop simple detection scripts.
Blogger’s capable engineering staff could easily create a few useful scripts for detecting junk blogs. Common giveaways included untitled posts, hundreds of posts in a single hour or day, and posts at the same exact time each day. I’d bet that with a little investigation, Google’s brightest could easily identify even more junk blog signatures.
Ditto, for Technorati and the like. When the Technorati profile for a junk blogs shows “untitled” for a title and “0″ links, that should trigger a filter. Surely Technorati is able to live up to its name and apply a filter or two to their bot.
3) Provide easily accessible reporting forms.
Most experienced email users know to report eBay phishing attempts to firstname.lastname@example.org. To whom and where does one report a junk blog? Why not create a simple form that blog readers can easily find, access, and complete. BlogExplosion offers this capability to their surfers. While surfing through BlogExplosions assortment of blog, there’s alink on the toolbar that enables me to quickly and easily report blogs that are in violation of BlogExplosion’s terms of service. As a result, BlogExplosion offers a better assortment of blogs than one finds with less discriminating traffic generation services.
4) Develop a self-policing blogger culture.
The final piece is the hardest to implement, but also the quickest. Change takes but a second. Right now, you can decide to change and take an active part in creating a self-policing culture in the blogosphere. Evangelize! Spread the word that junk blogs are not acceptible. Post links to this poor manifesto. Email this post to your friends, particularly influential friends, like journalists. Discuss the problem on your own blogs and blogs you frequent.
There’s more of us than them. The sooner we act, the better for this medium.
BTW - someone please inform Congress to keep their nose out of the blogosphere’s business. The last time Congress came to the Internet’s help, they managed to legalize spam. The idiots.