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  • Losing my naïveté about the world of blogging…

    Posted by Qrystal on March 12, 2008 at 21:57.
    Category: Webmastering. Tags: geekiness, learning curve, plugins.

    So I got my first pingback today, and although I was being cautious, I’ll admit I was a bit excited about it. Someone noticed me!! And without me having to insist to one of my friends that there is something of value on my site that they just have to check out! (Hi, Paul!)

    I considered the domain name for a few moments… thegeekyblog.com, that doesn’t sound so bad, does it? (Of course, if this story had a happy ending, I would have linked to them there… OH, PLEASE don’t go to their site! They may end up profiting from your curiosity! I, personally, didn’t see any ads, but I’ve got my firewall on fairly high settings.) I thought perhaps this was just a fellow geeky blogger who thought I had something interesting to say. Further piquing my interest was that it was the “timemanagement” subdomain that pinged me. So I went to visit the site.

    The article that pinged me had only two lines of text: one said, “Read the rest of this great post here” (and of course, flattery will get you everywhere), and the other happened to be a phrase very familiar to me, and so I thought that maybe this person had liked more than one of my articles and was making an offhand (underhanded?) reference to another one. Still, I had no alarm bells going off in my head. (What is that they say about hindsight again?)

    I clicked around the site some more, and was a little puzzled that their articles didn’t all seem to be very focused on time management. Curious, I went to the ‘About’ page. It was the default WordPress wording! I went ahead and emailed admin@thegeekyblog.com to let him know that he really should have thought of changing the default About page before adding over 13000 blog entries… all Uncategorized… all seeming to merely quote and link to a bunch of different sites… and by this point, yes, something was starting to smell suspicious.

    Hindsight, I say, HINDSIGHT!!!

    Somehow, I thought to look at the bottom of the page, and I found a “disclaimer” link, to a page saying:

    Please note, all content posted on this blog remains the property of its writer/s.

    We did not and will not write any original content, all the content displayed has been pulled from public RSS feeds and is there to mearly spread my fellow bloggers work and provide a PageRank giving link back to the work.
    If you object to me using any of the above methods to further the excellent information these, and many other bloggers create, please feel free to email me with your reasoning – admin@thegeekyblog.com

    We are not here to steal content, this is mearly a social experiment.

    Thanks for your time.
    The Geek Blog Army

    Are those bells of warning, I hear, or some kind of chorus of wonderment?! Could there possibly be people out there whose sole purpose is to help their fellow bloggers get some link love? Having never received link love, I couldn’t be sure, and I really wanted to believe that this was a Good Thing. People are mostly good, aren’t they?! (Or is it, most people are mostly good? Hmm….)

    So I marked the trackback as “not spam”. And I (am so glad that I) proceeded to search for more news about this so-called “geekyblog”… and I found that someone else had taken issue with their disclaimer. Gaaack! Warm fuzzy feeling fading…

    Long story short (or perhaps just because I see that I’ve spent over 500 words on the subject without getting to the point) I got victimized by link spam. Or something — the terminology is still vague in my head, but I’m pretty sure that splog and sping don’t apply here … maybe “spingback“? (Aww, I’m not the first to use the term!) Maybe I was just scraped. Ouch!

    Anyways… I suppose I will chalk this one up as experience. I’ve ‘unapproved’ the comment, to be sure, and I figure I most likely won’t hear back from the admin at the site — unless he turns around and tries to sell it to me or something. Seriously, my diligent Googling actually helped me find out that the guy is trying to sell his blogfarm! And he had to cut the price because Google AdSense has cut him off. Ha, ha, haaahhhhh~!

    Honestly, though, it sickens me that there is so much effort put forth to try and obtain money without having to earn it by providing something of value. At least it seems there’s checks and balances against these efforts!

    As an example of the checks and balances, I had also found a discussion from someone concerned about the many scraped copies of one of his articles. In fact, there were so many, his actual original article was not even in the top ten Google search results. UGH! Thankfully, when I just did a quick search, I saw that his original article has since restored its rightful position at the top of the search results. What a relief!

    Anyways, I just think it’s unfortunate that there is such a need to fight against these sorts of things. I intend to do what I can to join the battle, but I’ll probably stick mostly to being a cheerleader. Goooo, good guys!! :)

    21 Comments »

    • Pingback: Duplicate Content | Indecisive Me

    • http://softwareplusplus.wordpress.com JohnFx

      I can so relate to this. I just started up my own blog and am still in that early stage of obsessively checking my stats every 10 seconds.

      I was amazed how quickly someone noticed my humble blog and bothered to respond and have to admit it was exciting until I followed the link and found the default wordpress page with a bunch of farmed links. It was sort of an emotional roller coaster like having a supermodel call your house only to quickly realize that it is a recorded message pitching a long-distance plan.

    • http://softwareplusplus.wordpress.com JohnFx

      I can so relate to this. I just started up my own blog and am still in that early stage of obsessively checking my stats every 10 seconds.

      I was amazed how quickly someone noticed my humble blog and bothered to respond and have to admit it was exciting until I followed the link and found the default wordpress page with a bunch of farmed links. It was sort of an emotional roller coaster like having a supermodel call your house only to quickly realize that it is a recorded message pitching a long-distance plan.

    • http://igoro.com/ Igor Ostrovsky

      Honestly, you experience is not that bad at all. You get an incoming link, and a trackback that you can simply reject.

      Sooner or later, someone will copy your article verbatim without giving you a link or any kind of credit. And they’ll submit the stolen article to social news sites, and may end up ranking above you in search engines (at least temporarily).

      Happens quite regularly. Sometimes the owners of the “blogs” respond to emails and reason, other times they don’t. I usually ask them to shorten the article to the first paragraph or two, and add a link “Continue reading here” to my blog.

    • http://igoro.com/ Igor Ostrovsky

      Honestly, you experience is not that bad at all. You get an incoming link, and a trackback that you can simply reject.

      Sooner or later, someone will copy your article verbatim without giving you a link or any kind of credit. And they’ll submit the stolen article to social news sites, and may end up ranking above you in search engines (at least temporarily).

      Happens quite regularly. Sometimes the owners of the “blogs” respond to emails and reason, other times they don’t. I usually ask them to shorten the article to the first paragraph or two, and add a link “Continue reading here” to my blog.

    • Pierre

      naïv_e_té, not naïv_i_té.

    • Pierre

      naïv_e_té, not naïv_i_té.

    • http://qrystal.name Qrystal

      Well, hello there everybody! I am shocked-and-honoured that I’ve been noticed by someone who could cause such a flood of traffic, and so a great big smiling thanks goes out to Raymond Chen, author of The Old New Thing: Practical Development Throughout the Evolution of Windows!

      And to the dear commenters, hello and welcome!

      @JohnFx:

      I love your analogy of the supermodel phone call! When I got notice today that someone linked to this article, I feared I was in for more of the same. Much to my delight, this is the real thing! I hope some of my traffic flows through to your blog, Software++, because you look to be much more prolific than I am and your articles on the software industry seem very informed and thoughtful!

      @Igor:

      I agree that the experience wasn’t bad, but rather it was eye-opening, and learning is always good. That’s great advice about the “Continue reading here” request; I’ll have to consider that next time I’m scraped. :) P.S. Your RoboZZle game looks intriguing! Thanks for stopping by so I could check out your blog and projects!

      @Pierre:

      Alas, my diligence and passion about correct spelling failed me, at the very moment I get noticed on a grand scale! Can I chalk this one up to naïveté, perhaps? I greatly appreciate that you took the time to point this out. Unfortunately, the mistake is doomed to live forever in the article’s permalink — though at least I get to fix it in the title, so thanks again!

    • http://qrystal.name Qrystal

      Well, hello there everybody! I am shocked-and-honoured that I’ve been noticed by someone who could cause such a flood of traffic, and so a great big smiling thanks goes out to Raymond Chen, author of The Old New Thing: Practical Development Throughout the Evolution of Windows!

      And to the dear commenters, hello and welcome!

      @JohnFx:

      I love your analogy of the supermodel phone call! When I got notice today that someone linked to this article, I feared I was in for more of the same. Much to my delight, this is the real thing! I hope some of my traffic flows through to your blog, Software++, because you look to be much more prolific than I am and your articles on the software industry seem very informed and thoughtful!

      @Igor:

      I agree that the experience wasn’t bad, but rather it was eye-opening, and learning is always good. That’s great advice about the “Continue reading here” request; I’ll have to consider that next time I’m scraped. :) P.S. Your RoboZZle game looks intriguing! Thanks for stopping by so I could check out your blog and projects!

      @Pierre:

      Alas, my diligence and passion about correct spelling failed me, at the very moment I get noticed on a grand scale! Can I chalk this one up to naïveté, perhaps? I greatly appreciate that you took the time to point this out. Unfortunately, the mistake is doomed to live forever in the article’s permalink — though at least I get to fix it in the title, so thanks again!

    • -dn

      now can you hear, off playing in the distance …Can you feel the love tonight ….

    • -dn

      now can you hear, off playing in the distance …Can you feel the love tonight ….

    • http://softwareplusplus.wordpress.com JohnFx

      @Igor: Thanks for the “Debby Downer” moment there. =)

      Wah Whahhhhh….

    • http://softwareplusplus.wordpress.com JohnFx

      @Igor: Thanks for the “Debby Downer” moment there. =)

      Wah Whahhhhh….

    • http://moritheil.wordpress.com moritheil

      What is value? Without being facetious about it, it’s entirely possible that the owner of that splog has radically different ideas about what value is. Our society has proven entirely willing to reward people who rehash content rather than producing content (see certain recording artists for proof.)

      To be sure, his antics are obnoxious at best. Certainly they don’t make the world a better place. But we can’t assume that people who do objectionable things actually realize that what they are doing is objectionable.

    • http://moritheil.wordpress.com moritheil

      What is value? Without being facetious about it, it’s entirely possible that the owner of that splog has radically different ideas about what value is. Our society has proven entirely willing to reward people who rehash content rather than producing content (see certain recording artists for proof.)

      To be sure, his antics are obnoxious at best. Certainly they don’t make the world a better place. But we can’t assume that people who do objectionable things actually realize that what they are doing is objectionable.

    • http://qrystal.name Qrystal

      @moritheil:

      I’m generally pretty forgiving about people who don’t realize their obnoxiousness, but my investigation led me to honestly believe that this guy (who could certainly be a gal, of course) had one purpose: obtain lots of links by playing up the fact that many blogs will freely do trackbacks, then sell the site (and its corresponding “PageRank” type scores) for big bucks. I couldn’t see anything useful in the way it was done, and that’s why I’m so willing to declare it valueless.

      Interesting note: thegeekyblog no longer exists! I’m sure it’s not the first or last of its kind, but I take comfort in knowing that the internet and its players can overcome unsavoury aspects like this.

    • http://qrystal.name Qrystal

      @moritheil:

      I’m generally pretty forgiving about people who don’t realize their obnoxiousness, but my investigation led me to honestly believe that this guy (who could certainly be a gal, of course) had one purpose: obtain lots of links by playing up the fact that many blogs will freely do trackbacks, then sell the site (and its corresponding “PageRank” type scores) for big bucks. I couldn’t see anything useful in the way it was done, and that’s why I’m so willing to declare it valueless.

      Interesting note: thegeekyblog no longer exists! I’m sure it’s not the first or last of its kind, but I take comfort in knowing that the internet and its players can overcome unsavoury aspects like this.

    • http://levicki.net/ Igor Levicki

      Why not call such links SpamBack™?

    • http://levicki.net/ Igor Levicki

      Why not call such links SpamBack™?

    • http://softwareplusplus.wordpress.com JohnFx

      @Igor: Because they might be confused with “Fatback”, which is a good thing. =)

    • http://softwareplusplus.wordpress.com JohnFx

      @Igor: Because they might be confused with “Fatback”, which is a good thing. =)