Cheap at Twice the Price: VeriSign Buys Blogging Site - Future Plans
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So what new services can you expect to see from VeriSign with Weblogs.com version 2.0? One of them concerns “splogs.” These are web logs that are generated, not by a human, but by scripts and programs, and made to look very much like real blogs. They are used to park keywords to cause the site to rank highly in the search engines. Those who make them also park advertisements “that hopefully will be clicked on by humans who happen to somehow land on that page,” according to McLaughlin.
This sort of thing is referred to sometimes as “blog spam,” and it is apparently a growing problem. VeriSign isn’t the only company that has spotted it. “In talking to Google, they can confirm what our initial scan tells us: there are an enormous number of splogs out there, and the number is growing fasting than the number of real blogs. By a good margin,” McLaughlin states.
So what can be done about blog spam? Since it shares some of the same issues as the kind of spam that shows up in email, VeriSign likely will address it in a similar way. “As a first ‘killer app’ to deploy on top of weblogs.com ping services, we’d like to make progress in improving the ‘signal-to-noise ratio’ in the blogosphere,” suggests McLaughlin. He is not proposing censorship; rather, he believes that a filtering service that will screen out splogs based on a threshold value after analysis might be welcome. This is reminiscent of the way many spam filters on email screen out messages based on a score that indicates how likely it is that the message is spam.
This is far from the only service VeriSign plans for Weblogs version 2.0, as McLaughlin put it. Currently, a basic ping just provides a URL notification of new posts. While emphasizing that his blog does not contain official service announcements from VeriSign, McLaughlin speculated that one service the company might offer is richer pings – the ability to include more material in your pings, such as some part of, or even the entire, blog post. I myself could envision VeriSign providing an Amazon-like service based on keywords or people linking to other blogs: “People who read this blog also read/link to this blog.”
Still, it seems most likely to me that VeriSign expects to make its money from business uses for the ping server. At this point, its market for that is probably large companies that need to disseminate a lot of similar information among numerous employees. But that could easily change. From a technology point of view, it is interesting to see something that has been used to help millions of hobbyists reach others potentially turn into a tool to help keep the business world on its toes.
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