Google Draws Fire Over Blogspot Spam Blogs

The explosion of spam blogs on Google's Blogspot hosting service is drawing a chorus of condemnation from prominent bloggers, and has led at least one blog search service to stop indexing posts on Blogspot. The growth of spam blogs has accelerated in recent months, fueled by automated tools that can create blogs on Blogspot and some similar services and populate them with keyword-optimized posts and Google AdSense advertisements.

About 39,000 fake blogs have been created on the web in the past two weeks, according to an analysis by Technorati, or about 4.6 percent of the 805,000 new weblogs created in that period. FightSplog, which has been monitoring new blogs at Blogspot, recently documented 2,763 porn splogs created by a single "splogger." Blogspot-based spam blogs recently began featuring names of prominent bloggers in posts, boosting the splogs' visibility in searches at web-based RSS aggregators like Feedster, PubSub and Bloglines.

The move prompted IceRocket to stop indexing new posts from Blogspot.com, according to a blunt post from Mark Cuban, a major investor in IceRocket. Cuban says Blogspot indexing will resume once filters are adjusted, but warned Google to fix the problem or face a permanent ban. Bloggers are also focusing their fire on Google, which has stepped up its splog-squashing efforts in recent weeks but still can't keep pace with the automated instasplogs. "If your motto truly is to do no evil, then you need to start putting some resources behind an effort to curb this train wreck," LockerGnome's Chris Pirillo advised Google.

"Page-rank is under attack and the attackers are winning," writes Dave Winer at Scripting News. "It won't be long before Google itself is infested. ... It's time for Google to get on top of this. They're both the victimizer and the victim. The spammers found a huge hole in Page-rank."

But Google itself seems to have closed that hole, according to Jeff Jarvis, who noted that searches on Google are free from the splog listings found in identical searches on PubSub and IceRocket, among others. "Google needs to both fix Blogspot and share its secrets for ignoring blogspam," Jarvis writes.