Saturday, August 27, 2005

Splogger's Park

The latest in spam trends a while ago was 'spim' (spam on IM). Now it's 'splogs' (spam blogs). What's more these blogs have some kind of automated bot which goes and adds authentic sounding but totally irrelevant comments to genuine blogs.

Samples of this crappy technique can be found on the comments section of my previous post. Sometime in the wee hours, in the space of 20 minutes, 4 'sploggets' made an appearance. (dunno if the word 'sploggets' exists but it sounds apt to describe spam blog comments!)

The intriguing thing is unlike spam mail there is actually an attempt to 'personalise' and make the spam sound like a comment from a real person. Check these samples:

Hi good blog! I'm gonna bookmark for future reference. I have a pet supply chicago site/blog. It pretty much covers pet supply chicago related stuff. Come and check it out if you get time :-)

Well you obviously have not read my blog or you'd know I live 3000 miles from The Windy City!!!

Bloggs are such a wonderful way to plublish ones thoughts. Thanks for letting me visit and leave a comment. Link to Low carb diet store.

I let you visit? That's news! The spelling mistakes are a nice 'bozo' touch.

My boss doesn't want me to surf on company time, but I had to check out your blog and leave my comment. I think you've done a good job on it. I hope you don't mine if I use some of your ideas on my own blog about engine information marketing niche search.

Flattery gets creative - still doesn't work coz anyone who's blogging has the brains to know a real person didn't write that!

What'd'yu do 'bout it
Kaps at Sambharmafia wrote about the attack of the 'splogs' a week ago and suggested users of blogger go to the comments section and add a 'word verification' option. That's a great idea - I shall do it right away.

The moral of the story is that whenever any medium becomes slightly popular you have unwanted marketing intruding on that space. In the case of the internet it's not only unwanted but random and untargeted since it's 'free'.

Spam - even with a .02 % response rate may have worked with email - since every old idiot uses email. But I don't think it will work on blogs because it's still a more elite and IQ driven universe.


Afterthought: Has Google Adsense worked for any of you? I signed up but never actually inserted the code since I couldn't figure out how it might make me money... I have never clicked on an Adsense banner myself.

This is not a matter of principle or anything. It's just that the ads served on Indian blogs - the ones I read more often - are pretty uninteresting. That could change with time, of course.

As of now, the only way I see the cash pouring in is via 'click cartels'. Like I noticed on a popular blog references to MASAT: Mutual Adsense Amukkum treaty...

I'm no Tamil expert but I'm guessing that means "I'll click on your banner, you click on mine". Scratch scratch.

Perhaps there are bots who do this kind of thing... Program how many "splicks" (spam clicks) you want and watch the $ pouring in. But hark, Big Brother Google has probably figured that out - and is watching!

30 comments:

  1. Splog comments are probably a prick in a blogger's post. I wonder why they are still trying. If it's the link that they're trying to add / clutter so that they rake better on Google, they've lost it already. Because Google initiated an industry wide "nofollow" attribute which is widely adopted by most popular blog software and services. Look up your source under comments. All href links in the comments are rel="nofollow" attributed.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I had the problem with sploggets since long back and had to immediately turn on work verification. But unlike yours, the sploggets on my blogs were over ten pages long and were elaborate advertisments of some financial corporation, similar to the debt cancellation spam that we used to get in our e-mails.

    Looks like you haven't turned on word-verification yet as there is no word verification here. Do it as soon as possible.

    I will put a link to this post soon after I compile an article on it.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Comments spam is a big problem, most blogs have put in filters etc. My blog is off-google so doesnt get spam (doesnt get traffic too, but thats another story).

    Regarding Google ad-sense, I guess everybody signed up, but it's like the old time ad banners, nobody gets paid.

    But Time of India obviously likes it, their main page has several google ads. But they probably wanted to keep the experience consistant with the print edition... search for news needle, in the ads haystack.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Adsence really works.
    And it makes good money out of your blog and sites. I was amazed by its results on my sites.

    To avoid spam on your blogs and sites is easy compare to avoid it on email.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Adsense hasn't worked for me....I'm too lazy to take it off. It has probably worked for Kiruba (based on your BW article) and for Ganesh of Rupya.com
    Rupya.com is a blog focussed on stocks and Indian markets and hence the ads there are very specific....like e-trading thru IndiaBulls or ICICIDirect. Most of the visitors of Rupya.com are active investors and the click thru rates might be higher.

    If somebody comes out with an Indian version of Adsense it might work better. The only India specific links which I get on Adsense are Buy Indian sweets online, Indian Matrimonials and properties in Indian cities.

    As regards word verifications to control spam comments, some people have told me that having such a feature might actually put off some visitors from commenting as they might view this as an additional hassle.

    ReplyDelete
  6. BTW MASAT hasn't worked either. Google disabled the adsense accounts of some of the MASAT members after they realized that some invalid clicks have been generated.

    Not sure how they tracked those invalid clicks.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Adsense uses IP address to track and sense a pattern (I guess)...so MASAT may not be too successful !

    ReplyDelete
  8. I think splogletts were the reason you stopped annonymous comments. Anyway, I never had a problem with splogging till I put a sidebar element called the link2blogs tower. Ater that I got "I really like the focus of your blog.
    Another info source you should consider for us coin is us coin.
    This blog has some great information, I am glad I ran across it." I removed the tower, and the splogging stopped.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi Rashmi,

    I have written a follow-up of your post on my blog.

    Devil's Workshop

    ReplyDelete
  10. I turned on word verification as well and things have been really cool since then.
    Also check out my Kissay@
    http://kissay.rediffblogs.com

    ReplyDelete
  11. Well I'm relatively new to the 'blog' world so I haven't been exposed to such irritants yet ... I turned on word verification on my blog when I was given an option. Guess I 'intuitively' did the right thing :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Rashmi Bansal,

    Check out my Blog and let me know if JAM would be interested.
    Here is the url:

    http://ouchmytoe.rediffblogs.com

    cheers,
    Jammy

    ReplyDelete
  14. Your post has again succesfully dealt with contemporary issues bothering people on the internet. Your snappy style of response and redressing practical frailties has drawn many a person to it. I know a blog which criticizes defects big or small and suggests changes for the common good of beings online and offline.

    Come and check it out if you get time :-)

    Boblichki Blogs Ltd. (29082005)

    ReplyDelete
  15. I think adsense works only if you are not sure of what you want online. Besides, most of the India centric stuff that does get "ad-ded" on my site is about things we know. citibank or icicibank or some such (bcos of my business oriented content). The smart users "train themselves" to ignore google ads.

    ReplyDelete
  16. oh yes adsense works..

    though the cash is chiller and I always forget to cash it...!

    But it feels good to get that check for $$ drawn on some phoren bank !

    I guess it also works because my blog content and therefore readership is not very India-centric..

    Gautam

    ReplyDelete
  17. AdSense works pretty well for me. I use it on 2 other sites in addition to my blog & I get about $120 every 3 months (they only pay when the balance reaches $100).

    I have a big problem with comment spam. On my blog I use WordPress's spam filters which prevent a comment from even being posted if it contains certain words, as well as some other filtering. On my Drupal sites, I use drupal's spam module and I also disabled anonymous comments. I once had to shut down one site for a few hours when it was under heavy attack from one spammer who tried to access every single node to post a comment and send a trackback. I also turn comments off on any nodes more than a week old.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Hey..
    nice to read utr blog..its really a good one. i have bookmarked it to track it regularly. In the meantime go through my blog for a funfilled journey:

    http://justkanishk.blogspot.com

    http://justkanishk.blogspot.com

    http://justkanishk.blogspot.com

    :D

    P.S: Hope u dont delete my comment assuming it to be a 'splog'

    ReplyDelete
  19. Rashmi - I have always seen " Sexy Indian Singles in your area" Ad in the adsense in many popular blogs :-)

    As for teh sploggers .... it is funny how people beleive that it might work

    ReplyDelete
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