Doc Searls has a long and thoughtful piece about the relationship between splogs, intermediaries like Google and Yahoo!, and paid content providers (most notably newspapers). Splogs are blogs that are just link farms and have no human author adding value. They are mostly autogenerated by programs for the exclusive purpose of getting a high ranking for a particular keyword and then reselling AdSense ads. For another look at the same problem, see this post by Tim O'Reilly.
As Doc points out, splogs are a cancer that is threatening the whole idea of an Internet with free content. Just as phishing has essentially destroyed email as a channel for financial institutions to communicate with their customers, splogs threaten search engines and blogging. Doc has a suggestion for dealing with the problem:
I suggest that everybody in the search engine business, including all the Static Web and Live Web companies I listed above, pool their knowledge and expertise, and beat a cancer that (in my humble but considered opinion) threatens the whole Live Web, including blogging in particular and frequently updated free content in general.
Across the search engine marketplace, there is an enormous amount of duplicated effort fighting splogs and other forms of blog spam. There is also an open source solution to this: share the know-how. Even the data (perhaps through a public list of offenders).From The Doc Searls Weblog : Thursday, August 25, 2005
Referenced Thu Aug 25 2005 11:53:25 GMT-0600 (MDT)