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Is This Blog Calling Me A Personification Of Evil?


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#1 SEOigloo

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Posted 13 December 2007 - 04:37 PM

Hi All,
Sometimes, I'm confused by the sites I see linking to my blog posts. A couple days ago, I posted a lengthy article about pros/cons of eBay vs. a regular website. This is something I receive numerous questions about, so I wanted to write a big umbrella article I could send folks to who ask me about this subject.

The article, in case you'd like to see it, is here:
http://www.solaswebd...ordpress/?p=150

Today, I discovered this blog linking to my article:
http://practicalsmal...ional-web-site/

Their post contains the following colorful language:

admin excreted this detailing eBay

this quite hilliarious author

I can implore this personification of evil to dig deeper into what their niche may be writing about eBay.

Am I mistaken, or is the author calling me a personification of evil? That's certainly a first for me. :D

I'm posting this because I would appreciate members' input on understanding what a post like this is. Is it a bot? Is it ESL? It's not simply scraped content - it's been written by someone who, unfortunately, can't have read my post thoroughly because they've clearly missed the point of it. The English usage is odd in the extreme...almost to the point of me thinking it's bot gibberish, but, in this case, it strikes me as more cohesive than gibberish (a bit, anyway!)

I don't know what to make of a link like this. Is it a weird insult, for the sake of being an insult? Is it a translation of something from another language that has been scraped from elsewhere? What do you all make of it?

It's not every day that I get called the personification of evil (most people like me :duh: ) and I'm not very fond of being referred to as 'excreting detailings'. Weird. What do you think?

Miriam

#2 AbleReach

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Posted 13 December 2007 - 04:44 PM

Well, there are some interesting and colorful people online, and some of them type faster than they read!

Methinks this will be a fun thread.

#3 cre8pc

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Posted 13 December 2007 - 04:50 PM

It was scraped Miriam.

There's a HUGE spike in the same types of spam for my blog too, where junk sites use scraped content and add in keywords and toss it together like a salad to create something they think engines will like.

It's out of control. The stupider ones let you leave comments :D

In a few cases, they run my stuff and credit someone else (usually a name I've never heard of). It's really gotten out of hand...

#4 DonnaFontenot

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Posted 13 December 2007 - 06:37 PM

Yep, happens to me all the time too. Luckily, Akismet catches almost all of it.

#5 kensplace

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Posted 13 December 2007 - 06:53 PM

Yup, its automated spam garbage.

Scrape something from a site or a blog, have pregenerated content, randomise the bits that it shows, insert the keywords/scraped content and you have some sort of semi readable post....

#6 SEOigloo

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Posted 13 December 2007 - 09:31 PM

Hi Guys!
Okay...so it IS scraped. What I had seen, prior to this example, was so obviously botspeak. I just wasn't sure on this one. It seemed kind of like weird, poor English. Thank you so much for weighing in with your experiences on this, everyone.

So...now for the next question. What do you all do with this kind of thing? Just leave it sitting there?

Miriam

#7 EGOL

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Posted 14 December 2007 - 12:21 AM

We are living in the age of BS content.

#8 bragadocchio

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Posted 14 December 2007 - 01:10 AM

Some interesting issues raised by the scraping of a site, and the alteration of content.

Is it copyright infringement, even though parts of it have been altered? There is copyright protection in works that have been "derived" from an original. So it could possibly be an infringement as a derivation work.

One thing that the author of the site might argue is that their use is "fair use," but there's a question about that. For one thing, there are ads being shown on the page where that content exists, so the purpose behind using the content may not necessarily be motivated by educating or informing people.

#9 JohnMu

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Posted 14 December 2007 - 03:05 AM

For what it's worth, there's a comment:

To SEOigloo/admin:

Congrats, you found my little experimental “AI” blog.

Yes, the “article review” category is auto-generated, sort of like the old ELIZA program. Like ELIZA, which was a parody of a non-directional psychotherapist, the generator program is a parody of a rambling and ranting blogger.

It reads the Google Blog Search RSS feed based on keywords and generates a random article. I manually select which articles to upload based on title quality.

Unlike the typical “here’s a quick excerpt” splog, which you and your friends at Cre8asite Forums have no doubt seen, I don’t generate bothersome trackbacks. That’s both useless and annoying. You get a free backlink out of the deal, which is always helpful to your site.

Thanks for saying, “it strikes me as more cohesive than gibberish”. Maybe someday ORVILLE will be able to write his own articles and not just complain about yours. But don’t worry, I don’t plan to release him to the public.


These kinds of things are interesting but generally easy to create (depending on how detailed it should be).

If you look at it, they have taken 3 elements from your post:
1. your user name ("admin") - easy to grab
2. a keyword ("ebay") - could have been done manually or based on keyword frequency (top keywords on your page are: you, ebay, web, website)
3. A snippet from your post (could even be done randomly)

Try it out using a different page as the seed :). It reminds me of the paper + pen games we did as a kid where you'd ask someone for a name, a noun, a verb, an adjective, etc and fill it in to create a funny story.

John

#10 Guest_Autocrat_*

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Posted 14 December 2007 - 05:01 AM

Hmmmm.... so they gave you credit.... and they say they provide a link to your site so you get a benefit.
Fair enough.
The problem I see is, "But donít worry, I donít plan to release him to the public.".
Bit late for that if others can find it.

Considering it has added a completely different tone and actually personafies your, personally, I'd be asking for it to be removed.
A few articles around like that could seriously damage your image/reputation.


If they want to do clever little things like that, then they need BIG labels slapped up before and after clearly stating that it is not real, it is auto-generated and it has no actual bearing etc.
Otherwise it can be considered as defamatory, libellous, infringing upon intellectual and personal copyright... just off the top of my head.



Of course, just my thoughts on it... :)

#11 cre8pc

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Posted 14 December 2007 - 10:17 AM

:)

In the old, civilized days of the Internet..

PEOPLE ASKED PERMISSION BEFORE REPRINTING OUR STUFF!!!!!

I have no tolerance for this and the links are worthless BS. Search engines put value in authentic, original content.

:frustration:

#12 Wit

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Posted 14 December 2007 - 10:35 AM

Yeah yeah: permission {yawn}. That is sooo 1999.
In fact I'm shocked that any scraper would link back. I'd hire this person immediately: a skilled coder with a conscience, wow.

PS: Kim I've nicked your :frustration: smilie - days ago. Do you mind?

#13 Guest_Autocrat_*

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Posted 14 December 2007 - 10:48 AM

I think making reference to something, retaining the context it was in, is permissable in many cases.
Blatantly taking it and changing it, or mis-representing it is not acceptable.

I think ...cre8pc... has the right of it... full credits should be given, and you should at least ask first.
Of course, for some reason, people tend to decline if they know you are to use it for negatives... in which case I think you should be allowed to use it, but still with full credits and in the correct context.

#14 cre8pc

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Posted 14 December 2007 - 10:59 AM

Personally, I don't want links to my digested and puked out blog posts from someone else's blog :)

I give permission to folks all the time, who have the manners to ask and know how to properly credit me and my writing.

Auto-bots have no brains and no manners because their owners don't and thus, the bots were never trained.

Every day I get about 25 of these that are waiting for me to delete their trackbacks, and several more that did actually link but didn't track back, but I've found their link anyway.

It can be upsetting to see what they've done to my blog posts.

I wrote one today, just for the scrapers to catch :running:

(Thanks to Donna for finding :frustration: for us!. It sure comes in handy for those moments when we need the extra dramatic effect :dramaqueen: !)

#15 SEOigloo

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Posted 14 December 2007 - 04:45 PM

Well, doesn't that comment from Orville just take the cake?

He admits he's generating useless content (gee, I sure need links from junk like that) and claims no one can see it. Clearly, this thread proves the latter wrong.

What I'm most amazed by is that, rather than having the nerve to, perhaps, write to me or leave a comment on my blog, or come join the conversation here at Cre8, he comments to me on his own blog? That's like picking up the phone to make a point to yourself.

Apart from the ugly tone of the auto-gen post, the fact that this person's blog is called Practical Small Business Info is offensive. There is nothing practical about small business owners wasting their limited time (during which they are seeking education) encountering this useless 'filler' on the web. It's simply dishonorable to try to make money from Adsense this way, and to create nonsense content which is negative in tone about actual business people strikes me as improper and libelous in the extreme.

Bill - yes, I think it's pretty clear that the intent of something like this is not education. The points you raise are good ones.

Kim - I'm seeing more and more of this, too. It's depressing that people waste their time putting junk into the world. Why not do something useful?

Additionally, it seems like such a foolish choice, particularly in this industry. I (or any blogger who enjoys high search engine rankings) could easily target such a blog with help from friends, filling the SERPs with negative press for the offender's business name. We could report them to Google. Or, we might even work for Google and scraping activities could be a one-way-ticket to oblivion for the blogger in question. Perhaps there'd be little danger of this happening in, say, the Home & Garden arena, but annoying SEOs seems a foolhardy practice to me. What do you all think about that?

Miriam

#16 AbleReach

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Posted 14 December 2007 - 05:15 PM

Sometimes I've had luck with reporting things that are obviously illegal to the folks hosting the site. Granted, even if the host does move on it there are 1,001 other places to get cheap/free blog hosting. I feel better doing something.

#17 Guest_joedolson_*

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Posted 14 December 2007 - 05:24 PM

All I do is ignore it. To me, that's all it's worth to me. It's junk on the web; I acknowledge it's there, but I'm simply not willing to spend the time worrying about it or trying to do anything about it.

There's just so many of them - take one down, another pops into it's place. It's pretty offensive, but I don't really feel very empowered about it.

DMCA reports are too much trouble to file unless I really feel that the content use is actually harming me or my business.

That comment is really something else, though. "You get a free backlink out of the deal, which is always helpful to your site." Who's he kidding? Does he actually think his backlink is worth anything to any one?

Seriously...

#18 AbleReach

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Posted 14 December 2007 - 05:32 PM

There's just so many of them - take one down, another pops into it's place. It's pretty offensive, but I don't really feel very empowered about it.

I hear ya.

If I do anything depends on how much time I have, how organized I am, how obnoxious or dangerous the bad thing seems to be and if there is something nice calling my name from elsewhere. And I have to have a personal exit strategy, or checking back to see what happened will drive me nuts.

#19 SEOigloo

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Posted 19 December 2007 - 03:45 AM

Hi Again All,
I am updating this post with another inbound link mystery. Within the last couple of days, I discovered that the Wall Street Journal is seemingly linking to my blog from their business/technology blog: http://blogs.wsj.com/biztech/

As you can imagine, I dropped my cup of breakfast tea in my lap seeing that in my WP dashboard. Here's the thing, though: I cannot find any link on that WSJ page or in any of the posts written in the last few days that appears to point to me. Nonetheless, the link notification in my dashboard continues to wink at me lovingly :rolleyes:

What could this mean? Can anyone see a link pointing to my SEOigloo blog (solaswebdesign.net/wordpress) that I am somehow just not seeing? I'm so curious, and a little befuddled by the idea of this rather stellar publication taking the slightest notice of me. Yet, how could this be a trick? The link goes right to them when clicked on.

Any help would be much appreciated!
Miriam

#20 cre8pc

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Posted 19 December 2007 - 11:08 AM

Miriam, the same thing happened to my blog too. I was really surprised and did the same thing you did...looked to see where that link was. I never found it. :(

#21 SEOigloo

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Posted 19 December 2007 - 04:16 PM

Hmm, Kim, thank you for telling me that. Isn't that weird? I sure wish I understood how that could happen. Maybe worth writing to their blogger, Ben Worthen?
Miriam

#22 iamlost

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Posted 19 December 2007 - 04:30 PM

Miriam, (the bold emphasis is mine): the link is not directly from blog.wsj.com, rather it was from the sphere.com 'widget' in the right column. Info coutesy of Google cache.

RELATED ARTICLES AND BLOGS
Related Articles from the Online Journal

...

Blog Posts About This Topic

Jason Mendelson, Managing Director at the Foundry Groupthecreativeconnector.com
Thinking of leaving eBay and getting a professional website? Look before yo...solaswebdesign.net

More related content Powered by Sphere

The case of the link that once was but soon wasn't and now isn't...

I expect to see more and more of these 'momentary links' as all the Web 2.0 aggregators et al, ad nauseum continue to roll out.

#23 SEOigloo

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Posted 19 December 2007 - 09:59 PM

Hi Iamlost:

Leave it to you, 'lost', to FIND that.:(

Okay...so, what does this mean? That Jason Mendelson linked to me from thecreativeconnector.com and that sphere aggregated that onto the WSJ in that side widget? I'm not seeing a link on that creativeconnector, either, and no notification in WP of a link coming from that source. Hmm...I feel like I'm wandering about on a hunt with a blindfold on. I guess I'm a real novice at tracking these things. I really appreciate your help! I want to understand.
Miriam

#24 iamlost

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Posted 20 December 2007 - 12:18 AM

Miriam:

Mr. Mendelson did not link to you. Rather he is linked to as you were.

Do the following Google search (no quotes, what is inside the brackets):
[solaswebdesign site:wsj.com]
It should return one result.
Click on the 'cached' link.

The 'solaswebdesign' term should be highlighted in one instance near the bottom of the right sidebar. The four links under 'Related Articles...' and the two links (yours and Mr. Mendelson's) under 'Blog Posts...' were dynamicly filled via the Sphere widget application/service. Read the source code following the [<!-- sphere sidebar widget -->] comment to see this.

To get a bit of an idea about the sphere app/service go to sphere.com and read. Actually not much real info. Simply another third party 'relevant content' supplier. The bloggartsphere is being innundated with these aggregators/repackagers/resellers of others data.

What happened is that wsj.com posted a blog entry. Sphere.com (similar to Google supplying content relevant AdSense) adds in (1) the 'most relevant' other wsj.com posts and (2) two 'relevant' external blog links. Note that the internal links come first and that there are twice as many - but that the external links cover two lines each so they look 'equal'. :(

That link to you did exist. It has since been replaced, just as automatically as it was generated. Only the Google cache has a copy for posterity - for the moment.

I have no idea how long the sphere.com widget generated links are left in place. I doubt if it is more than a day. It certainly was long enough for G to index your instance.

Neither do I have any idea how G looks upon such links - there for a day (or less) and gone. If you happen to get some traffic that's nice. What SE juice - not a clue. As these 'momentary links' grow in number I suspect they will be discounted if they aren't already.

Clear as mud?

#25 bwelford

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Posted 20 December 2007 - 01:22 AM

Great detective work, iamlost. It's still showing the same result. I note the cache was as retrieved on Dec 18, 2007 21:45:15 GMT. Presumably that will be spidered relatively frequently and a new cached version will then appear.

#26 SEOigloo

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Posted 21 December 2007 - 05:50 PM

Wow, okay, Iamlost, thank you for explaining that to me.

It's weird! I don't think I would have understood what was happening in a million years. And, I couldn't find anything in my analytics indicating that traffic had been driven from some unexpected new source. To put it mildly...I was lost :D

I really appreciate your detective work on this. Sometimes I think looking at my incoming blog links is doing me more harm than good. So much weird stuff in there!

Miriam

#27 iamlost

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Posted 21 December 2007 - 06:30 PM

You are quite welcome, Miriam.

When I first saw a server log file I had the same WOW! feeling as when I first viewed a drop of pond water through a microscope. Entire new worlds to investigate.

But then I get that same feeling looking up at the stars, out from a hilltop, at a woman...

iamlost and I am a Romantic. :D



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