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Saturday, March 17, 2007

The New Face Of Spamblogs Part 2

In part 1 of this series I explained about finding a blog that had stolen content from one of my blogs. I suspected that it was a spamblog and that it was one of several hosted at

In this post I will show that content has been stolen from other blogs. I will also talk about ,a similar site called, and the two search engines they are connected to. I will keep the links to these sites to a minimum since I don't want to send them traffic or boost their pageranks.

When I discovered the extent of the content theft from my blog I started investigating blogs hosted at addapad. I looked at quite a few blogs and then began searching for post titles in Google. I found that the stolen content all comes from Blogspot blogs.

Here are some examples:

Looking For 'Dryland' is a post from Sonya's Grab Bag. Here is how it appears on thsangelhsnohalo:

Good morning... is a post from Artsy Catsy. It also appears at grneyedfairie:

When I was investigating the spamblogs I used the search boxes found on most of them. I was taken to a webpage at and found that every outgoing link lead either to or The latter is another blog host that uses WordPress. It is set up like addapad and is associated with which is identical to searchmat. Some searches at find-a-blog lead to addapad.

The two search engines are the only places where I found any advertising. Both use Google Adsense. If the ads were in any of the spamblogs they would be violating Google's TOS. They may still violate the terms of service.

The ads could be the ultimate point of this network. The stolen content and referrer spam from the few blogrolls attracts people to the blogs. Visitors poke around and eventually find the search engines and the ads. Some people will click on the ads and escape what is essentially a well crafted and subtle maze.

The network may not seem like a spam operation at first but a quick Google search shows that many sites are dealing with 'referrer spam' from both hosts. Referrer spam screws up site stats and messes with Internet searches.

People dealing with referrer spam are being inconvenienced. Bloggers having their content stolen and used this way are being insulted. When we find a blogger taking our stuff we have someone tangible to contact or blame for our troubles. These generic spamblogs are faceless and unnerving. How do you fight something intangible? Just figuring out who to contact is frustrating.

I wondered how many other blogs were effected by this. Every blog on addapad and thewhatblog is stealing content from one Blogspot blog. I did a search at Technorati and found out that addapad had 112 blogs listed and thewhatblog 218. These two sites plagiarize at least 330 blogs!

This spam network is something I haven't seen before. I have seen individual splogs linked together before but not like this. When each component is looked at separately they look legitimate. When seen together they look like pieces of an elaborate scam.

In part 3 of this series I will present ways bloggers can deal with content theft.