Saturday, April 07, 2007

How to spot a Splog - E-Travel News is one

A fellow blogger brought to our attention the existence of a online travel spam blog, known as E-Travel News [i'm not linking to it], which is basically lifting all of the Travolution Blog's content.

Splogs are growing rapidly and are a pain in the backside as they duplicate content (bad for the Google Juice) and, generally, look and feel like they were put together by people not remotely interested in providing a good online experience.

Technorati, according to a report on, was apparently tracking 11,000 new splogs a day in December 2006.

[Wikipedia entry on Splogs]

While we are happy for other sites to reproduce snippets of what we write about, simply pulling content verbatim out of an RSS feed and sticking on a site is just lazy.

I wrote to the "administrative contact" for E-Travel news, Chad Horstman, last week to suggest rather than publishing everything we do perhaps he might want to run the first few lines with a link to the rest of the story on just a few selected posts.

Of course this was very naive on our part, but I wanted to see how far diplomacy in the world of splogging can actually go - if at all.

Readers will not be surprised to learn that Horstman has not replied and has not taken on board our request. [Insert expletive here]

It then struck me that it will be interesting to see how selective E-Travel News is, or whether it is a completely automated system. Thus the headline on this post...

I will post a screen grab later on if our post criticising E-Travel News makes it onto their front page. Perhaps I'll be crucified by other bloggers for actually drawing attention to the splogger in the first place, but we'll see...

UPDATE: Right on cue, E-Travel News has run the feed, including headline. Silly boy.

You've got to laugh...

Kevin May, editor, Travolution

Technorati tags:


Darren Cronian said...

They are a number of ways you can spot if someone is splogging your content.

At the bottom of your blog posts [or within your RSS feed] use a unique word or sentance, and then go to Google, and type that word in to the search box with speach marks, i.e.

"travolution blogger"
You see here the results of this search.

You can then sift through the results until you find the sploggers junk.

A great blog to read is as this has given me loads of tips to find and deal with sploggers.

For Wordpress users they are plugins to combat this problem, and there's also a way which you can direct the sploggers to a fake RSS feed, but I have not tried this technique out YET.

Darren said...

Oh, and I'd be tempted to remove the link, as this will only help them more to improve search engine rankings! :)

Craig McGinty said...

I've just clicked on Ads by Google and told them they are breaking copyright - not sure if it is acted upon, I would hope so.

But if enough people raise their voice maybe the site will be banned from displaying Adsense.

All the best


Travolution Blogger said...

thanks for all your comments.

Darren: link removed, ta.

Select World Travel said...

Well I've just been doing a spot of looking around and found my post here.
I Wonder what else of mine is lurking under the Splogosphere?
Mind you, haven't we all splogged if that's the Right terminology, if we see an interesting article somewhere, and I'm Sure Probably Newspapers Splog from other Newspapers and Change the article ocassionaly, but to take an article without even changing any content and passing it off as their own isn't really on

Darren said...


There's a different between quoting a snippet of a blog post or news article than taking a full RSS feed and displaying it around Adsense.

What makes me laugh, is that Google has put filters inplace to combat spam so that the spam sites don't earn them any income, but then they launch Blogger and Adsense which are both free tools used by spammers to spam the search engines.

Travolution Blogger said...

Lee: there is a very real difference between us reporting on news and blog posts elsewhere and what splogs are doing.

we only reproduce content from other sites when it is of value to our readers, and always explain why it is important.

we would never, and most reputable blogs or news sites, copy blog posts verbatim from other sites.

the biggest worry for all of us is the search engines frowning on this activity because of duplicate content.

Travolution Blogger said...

We posted a comment on the offending site yesterday, asking for their thoughts on the "post".

As far as we can see it is still "awaiting moderation".

Claide said...

Lorelle on Wordpress, a great blog have a great post about this content problem
see this link :

Claude said...


here the link for this great post

Travolution Blogger said...

Claide: many thanks for the link. we will investigate.

Pamela Heywood said...

Select World Travel: Please don't comment on issues that you do not understand. Yes, there are plenty of splogs out there, but my blog is not one of them. I research the web personally to find relevant items that I feel my readers will like to know about. Your video - showing a liner that is due to come to Tenerife and the Canary Islands and my blog is clearly about Tenerife - was available for sharing at Travelistic and I have used it with the code provided to the public at that site. What's more, I have gone to the trouble of following the links on Travelistic to find your site (surely the reason you posted a video there, so that people could find you) and finding the relevant post, so that I could point my readers to it for more information. I have used merely a small quote in one paragraph to explain what it is about, there is a clear link (two in fact) to your site directing readers there for more information. This was a valid blog post, in the manner of millions of valid blog posts, pointing to relevant information. This does not violate your copyright. If I write about someone, using small snippets or quotes, that is legally termed as fair use. The post you point to is more than fair use, because I have promoted your article and services, for free. Above all, it was human researched and posted, using my time and energy.

In short, I have given you free advertising and, in return you insinuate that my blog is a splog.

I shall be expecting a retraction and an apology, because your insinuation is damaging to my reputation and, which I consider potentially libelous.

Lee said...

This Reply is a copy of a post and reply to Secret-Tenerife and addressed to Pamela.
Hi Pamela
First of all, Apologies, Grovels and certainly no Insunuations that your blog is a splog ( aren't these horrible words, whatever will they come up with next!!)
Explanation: Perhaps my post has been taken a little out of context, and yes I hadn't taken the time to really look into the Wikipedia definition, and I don't think the Word Splog has made it into the Oxford English Dictionary
as yet ( I'm sure it will though.)
I was however just interested following the comments on the excellent Travolution site to see if any Posts from our Blog site, featured elsewhere. I Did state that my post about Ventura featured on your site, but at no stage did I mention that Secret Tenerife had hijacked the post or suggested any potentially libellous content.
My last sentence referring taking an article without even changing any content and passing it off as their own isn't really on, really was in reference to Kevin's (Travolution)article and how another company was using that material.
So again apologies, if you thought this was in reference to yourself, it certainly wasn't.

You have however, bought up some valid points.We are a small Independent single branch Travel Agency, and were looking at a unique angle to promote our award winning business. We started blogging about a year ago, and have won various Travel Industry awards for the innovation of the blog, using content,Photographs from our Travel consultants when away on educationals and also the use of Video, sometimes our own and sometimes from Tour Operators and Tourist Boards. We have tried several Video Platforms and found Travelistic to be one of the better ones. I will be getting in touch with Travelistic suggesting that they also should have a Commons creative licensing scheme added to their system.
At present they only have two systems, Private and Public. Whilst we of course want people to see the Videos and also by using Travelistic it helps point people to use the blog, perhaps a Commons creative licence would be helpful, especially as we were given the rights from the Complete Cruise Solution, to use their new promotional video of Ventura.
We do also have Copyright laws attached to our site, with All Rights Reserved, and so of course we would like it, if somebody is going to be using any material posted on our site, to perhaps get in touch for approval. I think the World of Blogging has many unwritten rules,and perhaps this will change in the future to address certain issues that occur from time to time.

I Would like to take this opportunity however, to Thank you for featuring the article on your excellent site, and with your permission would like to run a post about Secret-Tenerife in the future. ( The Dragon-in-law has just bought an apartment in Tenerife, so am hoping for some great Photos in the future)
Hope this puts this to bed, and Congratulations on an excellent site.
P.S. Hat tip to Kevin for the Phone call allerting me to your reply on Travolution
Lee Harrison
Owner / Director
Select World Travel Ltd

Travolution Blogger said...

Lee: thanks for taking steps to addressing Pamela's concerns. I have emailed Pamela this evening, so hopefully she will see your response and you can come to an understanding.

the original post might indeed have led some readers to believe the site in question may be a splog. libel law is often murky in this area, especially online, but i believe - unless indicated otherwise - that most users would follow the link and soon realise that is an actually a very good information portal and not a splog.

Based on this analysis we have decided to leave all posts in situ.

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Travolution Blogger said...

Anonymous: off-topic. don't spam the blog please. [ironic considering what this post was about]