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A New Level of Splogging

December 2, 2008

(I originally posted this on my own work blog but thought it might be good to post here too. Many of my readers, family, and friends are writers, or aspiring writers, and have an interest in protecting copyrights.)

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I came across this article about WordPress Direct – a way to set up a blog by automatically stealing finding other content from across the internet. They couch this as a nifty new way to create a “sticky” blog with lots of traffic, but to me it seems like blatant plagiarism. Protecting your content from sploggers is hard enough without this. It also seems interesting to me that they’re building their product off of WordPress software. I wonder if WordPress has anything to say about it. I’m not sure there’s much that WordPress can do about it, as I think it through, because I doubt there are limits as to what you can create using the WordPress software. And from what I know, splogging is annoying, unethical, but not illegal. Someone please feel free to enlighten me. I’m only speculating here.

However, the idea that they are promoting this as a way for people to easily grab “articles” from web sites interests – and scares – me. Perhaps it’s the editor in me. Does this software cite its sources? When it posts an article on the newly created blog, does it state where the original content came from? I suspect not, but having not tested it personally, I don’t know for sure.

Here’s the original press release about the WordPress Direct software. Apparently they have 10,000 users so far.

Thoughts, anyone?

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5 Comments
  1. December 2, 2008 4:28 pm

    Back when the “incoming links” thingy actually worked, (lately it shows everyone Ive ever been blogrolled by, commented on, etc. as an incoming link) I frequently noticed that any post I did about celebrities, mental health, or plastic surgery was ripped off by sploggers. Burns me up!

  2. December 2, 2008 5:59 pm

    Hello, I am the creator of WordPressDirect. I want to provide some facts about our service

    The content software included with the paid accounts does NOT scrape content. It only takes content from sites where people create content for with the INTENT of syndication, such as YouTube and eZine directories. Unless you specifically (as an author) post your content on one of these services, it cannot end up being found by our software.

    Since the service was launched, we have received 2 copyright violation notices for content, and both were addressed immediately. These were caused by publishers (not our users) circulating content they didn’t have permission for in eZine directories, not due to our methods. We take copyright issues very seriously.

    Forget the content publishing for a second…We save people time and frustration in setting up a a search-engine optimized blog. Not just any old blog. A blog that would take you a day to build yourself. Worpress experts have said as much on the 30 Day Challenge forum. We just make it easier for a user’s own written content to get noticed by Google and Yahoo for your target phrase – and we do it for Free.

    People keep ignoring the fact that most of our users write their own content. Why? We and our 30 Day Challenge partners clearly explain why a blog creator needs to create their own unique content in the 30DC lessons.

    It’s as if we force users to use our content software on their blogs. We do not. We teach our users how to use this software correctly (see the example site at http://www.vintageelectricguitarblog.com) to add value to their uniquely written content on their blog. If it is OK to find a YouTube video yourself and embed it in your blog, is it not OK to have a piece of software to make it easier? Hopefully you see my point.

    There are many pre-conceived notions about blogging and the use of such technology, and many are lumping WordPressDirect in with previous stupid attempts to game Adsense.

    One rule remains true from that time…

    If you spam your own blog, using our stuff or anybody else’s you are a fool. You will be de-indexed by Google and then nobody will notice your content.

  3. Judi S permalink
    December 3, 2008 6:42 am

    I think this practice is just wrong! If you can’t come up with your own original material or cite your resource, don’t blog.

  4. December 3, 2008 7:06 am

    Like Vinyl Villager my incoming links now shows everyone on my blogroll, which I found really confusing when it started. Now I know it pertains to nothing, so I kind of ignore it.

    This whole splogging thing is wrong. I’ve been the victim of several spammers who use my blog as a guise for their temporary spam sites. They’ll have a page that appears to be a blog, link to my article (part of which appears on their page), and then lay it in with an ad for some product. It’s a problem and something should be done about it.

  5. December 3, 2008 8:09 am

    VV – They really messed up that incoming links feature didn’t they? I also wish WordPress had the “follower” feature that Blogger has, but they don’t. I digress. I once found a post that had a workaround to get sploggers to stop when you find them, but the trick is you have to find them.

    Judi – I agree with you exactly. I don’t even get how people make money off the spam sites. Are there still people who click on those ads?

    Wendy – I too ignore the incoming links thing in WordPress. It doesn’t do anything. Splogging is wrong on so many levels, I don’t know where to start. And how do we fix it? What can be done about it? I have no clue, but I’d be one of the first to try to stop it, if I only knew how.

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