Spam Blogs

Over the last couple of years, there has been a proliferation of spam blogs. Typically, they are aligned with a product of some sort and trying to increase their Google pagerank through gaining links from other sites.

Until lately, though, while they have been a pain in the butt in terms of having to filter and delete them from my inline trackbacks and such, they have been pretty easy to spot. They tend to use generic blog templates, increasingly from WordPress, and build their content through an automated process involving RSS feeds and keyword searches that I don’t quite understand. As a result, their content is usually nonsensical combinations of quotes and links.

That’s changing. I have run across an increasing number of sites that are not obviously authored by a real person and that seem to have nonsensical combinations of links, but nonetheless are personalized in such a way as to leave doubt. Here are a few examples compiled from actual trackbacks to OTB in the last 24 hours:

  • Global News Blog, Iraq – Iraqi PM Agrees to Step Aside. The content is attributed to Alan F. Fogelquist, Ph. D., who appears to be a real person with an actual Google presence. Yet, his blog has appeared in recent weeks and he compiles links at a rate that would make InstaPundit pass out. There’s no commentary or personalization at all. Yet there are also no Google ads or any other obvious way of making money from the site.
  • Grill Maestro, HOWTO: Use Wood Chips with Gas Grills. This is a hyper-niche blog that’s very generic looking template-wise. It has many indications of being written by an actual person yet there are no links to other blogs, other than OTB, and it’s basically a collection of recipes and such.
  • About Private Mortgage Insurance, PMI Seeking Tax Deductibility. The name and layout have all the markings of a spam blog. But the linkage is very personalized, usually limited to one per post.

Either bloggers are becoming more like spammers or spammers are getting more like bloggers.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Mac says:

    They are getting sneakier and sneakier.

    The mortgage insurance losers are spamming are driving me insane. I must delete 10 a day from my blog.

    When I assume my rightful place, as Supreme Ruler and Dictator of the Universe… it’s going to be death by cheese grater for spammers.

    Die spammers. Die.

  2. Bill Bacon says:

    If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

    I’ve started working on ways to “build my own Boeing” and make money off of my blogging and the web, mainly from Google Adsense and Amazon. Probably won’t ever make much more than coffee money, but gotta try.

    Of course, if I ever go the full spam-blog route, please have me hunted down and killed for the rabid dog I’ve become…

  3. James Joyner says:

    Good luck, Bill. I suspect you’d be better off working at Starbucks, though, than trying to compete with the spam robots for high Google rankings on those terms.

  4. Bill Bacon says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re right James, but what the heck, trying is half the fun.