April 20, 2006

SPAS: Search Spam -
an RSS/SEO Mashup Love Story

I don't know about you, but when performing unfamiliar searches, I increasingly run into sites like these two:

If you haven't yet, I predict you will.

Welcome to the new world of unwanted information: Content spam that targets Search Engines. By combining relevant auto-categorized (real)
RSS feed data with good cross-linking to (real) sites, clean(-ish) URL structures, and semi-static perma-linking concepts - well, they show up as "relevant" in search engines for the appropriate terms these pseudo-sites are targetting. Usually not on the first page of search results, but high enough that they get a little bit of click through (and revenue). Rinse and repeat a few million times - these are machine-generated pages after all - and, heck, the business case just writes itself. And I'm probably not helping by linking to them...

This isn't
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) gone wrong, which is how most people think of Search Engine Spam (SES) - that is, benign or malicious conscious manipulation of search relevancy. This is what I call SPAS (pronounced "spaz" :)) - SPAm for Search - feed aggregated auto-editorial content that, for all intents and purposes, mirrors a modern content publishing system - except its editorial gibberish and Internet pollution.

Or is it?

How are these sites any different than
Google News? Reselling someone else's content, by organizing it, is the entire premise of the Search Engine business model.

SPAM (unwanted mail).
SPIM (unwanted instant messaging).
SPAZ (unwanted search [results]).

Flickerlish Nosescums, indeed,

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