Splogs are to blogs as spam is to emails.  It's a scam, a growing problem on the Internet, and splogs are threatening to pollute the blogosphere.   They seriously challenge efforts to monitor real conversations in the blogosphere.

There's a very good article in the September 2006 issue of Wired (in print, not yet online) by Charles Mann about the increasing menace posed by Splogs. Here are a few highlights for your enjoyment or disgust, depending on your perspective:

  • Some 56 percent of active English-language blogs are spam, according to research by Tim Finin at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County
  • He also found that splogs account for about 3/4(!) of the pings (or links telling the network that a blog has been updated) from English-laugage blogs
  • David Sifry of Technorati.com acknowledes that spam is doubling every six months
  • In Decemeber 2005, Blogger.com, the blog hosting site, was home to more than 100,000 sploggers (those who splog), according to Mitesh Vasa, a splog researcher
  • Vasa also found 10 million of the 12.9 million profiles on Blogger to be inactive, fertile ground for sploggers — and also good evidence of the overbound hype as to the size of the blogosphere
  • Examples of splog sites include debts.com, lasvegasvacations.com and photography.com (worth a visit, but watch out, each time you click on a link, you're helping the sploggers to make money)
  • 9 out of 10 comments on blogs are spam, according to investigations by the founders of WordPress, the software that powers this blog

Splogs are here to stay.  There's too much money to be made, especially since hyperlinks are now a form of currency.  Everyone, who should be, is alarmed and looking for solutions.  So far the solutions aren't that pretty; they inevitably take away the interactivity and openess of Web 2.0.  Quoting Mann from the artilce's final paragragh:

"Asked what impact he thinks splogging will have on the future of the Web, Some Title (a prominent splog) creator Goggins pauses.  'I'm just making my living,' he says. 'I guess I don't think about that kind of thing very much.'"