I think I had my first encounter with a Splog today.
The site I’m referring to is called StreetWiseTech
Initially I linked to this site as an example for readers, but upon further research decided to remove the active link because it’s not good for a real blog to link to bad web content.
What is a Splog, you ask? A Splog is apparently a sort-of spammy blog that’s written for purposes other than to impart new or useful information to it’s readers.
It may contain real information…but that info may be inaccurate or skewed for a specific purpose. The purpose may be for the blog to host ‘affiliate’ links, where the blogger receives a small percentage of each sale that may occur as a result of a reader following the link and then actually purchasing a product or service as a result.
Now, don’t get me wrong, affiliates as a general rule aren’t evil or even frowned upon in the blogging realm…at least I don’t think they are.
I’ve learned a bit about affiliates and I suspect most bloggers utilize these in some way if ads appear on their blog pages. In the big picture, this isn’t really percieved negatively. I think it’s just a very common business practice in the digital world of the internet.
What is less common, and is certainly frowned upon however, is blogging solely for this purpose, by creating a ‘venue‘ so to speak, for broadcasting affiliate links. Without actually adding any value for readers in terms of helpful information or cutting edge news.
I could be wrong, and I’m still learning, but I think that the blog I referenced above, is actually a splog. I’m not 100% sure yet though. So I need to investigate this further to decide.
As I learn more, I’ll try to remember to post what I’ve learned in the future. Tick tock tick tock…overtime, I did learn more and I’ve shared some of the results of my findings below.
WordPress Information About Splogs
I ran across this great explanation of Splogs at WordPress on a site that’s written for those who are new to blogging.
Lorelle on WordPress is a blogger who writes a lot of extremely helpful posts about virtually every aspect of blogging on WordPress. I run across her blog from time to time when I’m researching how to do something. IMHO she’s considered an expert on WordPress topics. Her posts are both informative and exhaustive…meaning if she’s written about a topic I’m researching, after I’ve read her work my questions are answered…there’s usually no need to research anything more on the subject. The reason I’ve written this long introduction is because I discovered an excellent post she wrote about Splogs, which helped me understand much more than just the smaller picture. If you really want to understand the finer points of Splogs you can read her post entitled ‘How to Spot a Splog‘ too.
Back to My Original Question About What is a Splog
After quite a bit of research I decided that the odd site that I encountered was a Splog for sure. This is how I arrived at that conclusion. The article I didn’t link to above purports to be a comparison of hardware features between the iPad mini and the Samsung Galaxy 3 8.0 tablets. While some of the data and specifications may be accurate, the perception of accuracy begins to crumble when reading the last few sentences, which state:
If you are looking for a solid Android Tablet, then Apples’ iPad Mini 2 is the right choice. However, if you are price conscious and wanted to have a Samsung device, choose Samsung Galaxy Tab 3. It might not be of the same quality with Apple, but the features and everything you need is still there. You just need extra care when using this type of Android Tablets since it is of low quality compared to Apples’ iPad Mini 2. Make your own choice and get the best worth of your money.
Since when is an iPad considered an Android device???
While there are no obvious affiliate links on this page, at least not in the mobile rendition of it presented to me on my actual iPad mini, the poor grammar and highly inaccurate information make it extremely suspect. I think this is a Splog!
Update January 2016
I’ve been researching inexpensive tablets and ran across another great example of a Splog. I was tired when I first began reading this article so it took me a bit of time to catch onto the fact that what I was reading here was all nonesense. This webpage looks to me like it was mechanically manipulated using keyword stuffing…which just means that popular keywords were crammed onto the text resulting in a jumble of halfway real halfway nonesensical verbage.
Update January 2020
If you’ve run across a Splog that you feel should be taken down there are ways to report the spammy content. Prior to this I didn’t know that many Splogs originate on Blogger. This is apparently because Blogger is more lenient about providing personal information than most website hosts are. You can read more about that here.
If you run across a suspected Splog in a WordPress site they’ve provided this handy form for readers to use to report Splogs and other spammy or harmful content.
When I first wrote this post it was one of the first I’d ever written for my new website vsatips.com. I thought you might be interested in knowing that it’s now 2020 (I’m actually writing this on New Year’s Day,) and Splogs are still in existence and are as much of an annoyance today as they were 6 years ago!