By DAVID KESMODEL
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL ONLINE
Spam, long the scourge of email users, rapidly has become the bane of
Spammers have created millions of Web logs to promote everything from
gambling Web sites to pornography. The spam blogs -- known as "splogs"
-- often contain gibberish, and are full of links to other Web sites
spammers are trying to promote. Because search engines like those of
Google Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo Inc. base their rankings of Web
sites, in part, on how many other Web sites link to them, the splogs
can help artificially inflate a site's popularity. Some of the phony
blogs also carry advertisements, which generate a few cents for the
splog's owner each time they are clicked on.
The phony blogs are a particular problem for Google, Microsoft and
Yahoo because each offers not only a Web search engine focused on
providing the most relevant results for users but also a service to
let bloggers create blogs.
Just this past weekend, Google's popular blog-creation tool, Blogger,
was targeted in an apparently coordinated effort to create more than
13,000 splogs, the search giant said. The splogs were laced with
popular keywords so that they would appear prominently in blog
searches, and several bloggers complained online that that the splogs
were gumming up searches for legitimate sites.