A word about splogs

I was listening to the WordPress podcast and they mentioned a service called WordPressDirect (don’t worry, that links is a nofollow one). From their marketing material:

Create SEO-Optimized, Content-Stuffed Websites Instantly With WordPressDirect

Basically they are an other method to “reuse” other people’s writing. Some thoughts:

  • People feel instantly defensive and start pondering solutions like partial feeds. That is not the solution however, you can still scrape the websites. The solution that I choose and would recommend others is: (1) make it clear under what license you publish your content (for example this blog is under the CC-BY-SA v3.0 license) (2) use some superkalifragilistic words from time to time in your posts 🙂 and (3) from time to time search for those words. If you find results, you can complain to the site, their ISP, etc if they violate your license.
  • The service uses WordPress in their name, so it is very possible that Automatic will take legal action against them (because WordPress is a trademark of theirs). The most probable outcome of the lawsuit will be a namechange (but the service will remain).
  • They sell an outdated version of WordPress (and AFAIK they don’t provide auto updating), so this will mean a lot of hacked WordPress sites (then again, their own site seems to run 2.3.2, so…)
  • Although they claim “10,000 installs”, using some search engine foo I was able to find only six with Live search and none with Google or Yahoo. (the searches basically look for wordpress installs with the given combination of plugins, so you might have some false positives). This means that either they are lying or that search engines already filter this crap out.
  • Interestingly the WHOIS information seems to be referring to a real person:
       Administrative Contact:
          Bouchrika, Imed  
          190 Burgess Road
          Southampton, California SO16 3AY
          United Kingdom
          +1.8882401991      Fax -- 

    He even got a website and seems to be an (at least somewhat) technical chap. Now, it is not clear if he runs the site or only provided technical background, but either way, it is interesting.


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