You know splogs- spam blogs, for short. While they bear a superficial resemblance to actual blogs where people write, report and opine, all they are is a collection of scripted links from real blogs.
By far, the key reason for splogs is Google AdSense. Website publishers can utilize the program to derive income from topically related ads.
While Google AdSense is a legitimate income source for legitimate blogs, splogs can earn their chunk of change as well. All that splogs need to do to get on the gravy train is to clip the RSS feeds of legitimate blogs on popular topics, and repost either the feed, the full text of blog posts, or both.
With that text, the splog is then eligible to run ads based on the text and products referenced in that page. For example, if I was to include the phrase "Linksys router" in this blog (which I just have, of course), then a splog could grab my post and then link to ads that are contextually related to routers.
I regularly find many of the blogs I write for are purloined in this manner. I once wrote that a VoIP program was a PITA (Pain In the Anterior), and a day later I get splogged by a splog about Pita bread. And that splog had pita bread-related Google AdSense advertising.
Now if you read Google's AdSense policies, there's an application process and a code of conduct. But the code of conduct is pretty much a word of honor thing.
A lot of good that does. My impression is that Google will enforce large volume splogosphere violations of AdSense, but will not see the ROI of all the little violators. But it is the little violators that by their little pinpricks, are making the blogosphere a pain and rendering blog search engines somewhat irrelevant.
The solution, then, is strict certification by humans. A team of them.
So if I ran AdSense, I would blast an email to every AdSense member. My email would say something like:
Dear AdSense Member,
It has come to our attention that Google AdSense is routinely abused by blogs and websites that specialize in purloined links to, as well as feeds and content from, legitimate Internet content providers. The controls we have in place have proved to be a minimal deterrent to this irritating practice.
Because this practice- which some have called "splogs," has become endemic, the AdSense team will be forced to launch a re-certification program in which all AdSense Internet participating blogs must apply to re-enter. The application will then be vetted by newly appointed members of our AdSense verification team.
Those Web-based entities found not to be in compliance with our standards will be excluded from our AdSense program, as well as from our Web and Blog indexes. Those accepted for certification will be given a trusted security key that will enable AdSense ads to be posted on their site.
AdSense verification will begin on September 1. New AdSense applicants will find their content screened for potential inauthenticities that we find abuse the spirit, if not the letter, of AdSense. Current AdSense accounts will have until November 1 to reapply. Given the anticipated workload of manually reviewing each participant for compliance, we estimate the review time will take approximately 30 days.
Any blog or site found to be in non-compliance will be issued a letter that will give them 15 calendar days to substantially alter their site, blog or feed to conform to AdSense guidelines. Failure to comply will result in expulsion from the AdSense network, the AdWords network, as well as from Google's search indices.
We look forward to your cooperation.
So readers, had enough? What would you think if Google did this?