Spam + Blogs = Trouble

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2022-05-15 09:00:05

I am aware that spending a lot of time Googling yourself is kind of narcissistic, OK? But there are situations, I would argue, when it is efficiently – even forgivably – narcissistic. When I published a book last year, I wanted to know what, if anything, people were saying about it. Ego-surfing was the obvious way to do that. Which is how I stumbled across Some Title.

Some Title identified itself as a blog but obviously wasn't one. Here, reprinted in its entirety, is the paragraph from the site that mentioned me:

Show Disputed Vinland Map Was Made Half Century Before Columbus Trip Audio/Video Columbus: Secrets From The Grave quot;The Last Voyage of Columbus quot;: An Epic Tale Charles Mann's quot;1491 quot; (Audio

In orthodox bloggy style, the paragraph linked to another Web page. When I clicked on the link, I was confronted with more gibberish: "Below," it stated, "you will find some grave robbing in ventura california 1985 news that's relevant for today."

Blogs like Some Title are known as "splogs" – spam blogs. Like email spam, splogs use the most wonderful features of networked communication – its flexibility, easy access, and low cost – in the service of sleazy get-rich-quick schemes. But whereas email spammers try to induce recipients to buy products, sploggers and other Web spammers make most of their money by getting viewers to click on ads that run adjacent to their nonsensical text. Web page owners – the spammer, in this case – get paid by the advertiser every time someone clicks on an ad.

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