Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Rubbish link baiting - legalilities ahead?

Someone left some comments on New Year's Eve against two posts.

After looking at the source - which the commenter provided - and some links in the text, because the comments were poor and off-message, it turns out that a string of blogs have been created using existing travel company brand names.

There is, some might argue, nothing wrong with that. But the blogs are not content-driven and exist only to scrape some revenue out of Google AdWords.

The same person/organisation, it appears, has created the following blogs: [which has nothing to do with BestAtTravel] [ditto Dial-A-Flight] [ditto TravelRepublic]
Travel-Supermarket.Blogspot [ditto TravelSupermarket]

It beggars belief that these make any money from AdWords, so what's the point?

Well it also looks like someone holds a bit of a grudge at least against one of the companies.

In a post (one of two) on the BestAtTravel blog, there is a link to a "blog" about BestAtTravel's co-founder, Rita Sharma, which many would conclude has been created by the same source.

The content is not very complimentary - and a decent lawyer would have a reasonably good chance of bringing about a libel case against the content owner.

All very messy and unhelpful.

Kevin May, editor, Travolution


Stephen A. Joyce said...

Hi Kevin,

I did some other digging around and the same profile also has about 20+ other blogs with brand keywords in them. All of them have a maximum of one or two posts. We have to watch out for these kinds of blogs because they affect the overall credibility of travel blogs in general. I can only hope that anyone reading a blog like that would recognize that it is nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt at keyword squatting.

Look forward to reading more from you in 2008!


Vicky said...

It does beggar belief that people make any money off the adwords advertising contained, and yet I think they do and that is what this is primarliy about.

I have seen some adword campaign test budgets just evaporate thanks to sites like these.

I think Stephen is right to some degree about the keyword squatting, but I wonder if there is a degree of click fraud (sorry, revenue generation)involved too.

I suspect they are banking on the pages ranking well and people clicking on the links out of ignorance. Ker ching, revenue earned.

I found it impossible to make a click fraud claim based on the "traffic" one of my test campaigns got from these type of sites, because they do exist and I couldn't prove foul play.

Bad news all round, though I'm finding Akismet spam filter is generally pretty good at picking them up when they post to my bog.

Vicky said...

Or even when they link to my blog :-)

Scuse the silly typo!

Darren said...

I have to say that there's probably more splogs powered by Blogger than any other blogging application.

You give someone a free tool, and an easy way to earn revenue and people will abuse it.

I don't know what the solution is but I have said this for a long time, that Google needs to have much more control over who is using Adsense, and more quality control - but that's a mammouth task.

It's quite amusing that in one hand Google is trying to tidy up it's search results but in another untidying the internet by allowing these sploggers to scrape content easily.

BootsnAll said...


These travel splogs have been around for years. I reckon the worst thing you can do is link to them. It just makes the problem worse.

Yes - blogger historically has been the worst place for them.

As far as affecting the credibility of Travel Blogs in general. I disagree with that statement Mr. Joyce. Do you think that when a visitor sees these travel splogs (if they do) - they will equate these quality travel blogs like:

I don't think so.

Either way - after this post runs it's course - why not un-link those splogs.

Darren Cronian said...

I agree with Bootsnall, about linking to them, the last thing you want is to give them link love.

Re, the splogs outranking travel blogs, for authority blogs your right but your forgetting the 'little guy' who is trying to build authority, and whose blog might not carry much weight in Google.

You wouldn't want these splogs outranking your own blog. They would take away vital traffic that all new bloggers require.