Some Splogs Escape Feedburner

Splog Screen ShotThough Feedburner’s "Uncommon Uses" feature provides a very powerful tool to fight RSS scraping, it’s far from perfect.

As the screenshot to the left shows, splogs are still able to scrape content from your site and, in this case, are able to escape detection by Feedburner.

The weak link in Feedburner is that it can only protect your feed and can do nothing to defend other sites that redistribute portions of your content. Though most bloggers don’t allow the entirity of their content to be reused wholesale on other sites, nearly all of us allow portions of our articles to appear in blog search engines and the various feeds that accompany them.

In the case above, I suspect that the feed was actually scraped from a Technorati watchlist feed or an Icerocket search feed. The amount of content used and the seemingly unrelated nature of the two posts scraped seems to resemble a blind keyword search in a blog search engine (Note: the blurred area is another post regarding online advertising investment). However, there is no way to verify that without knowing the search term(s) used.

While I have no personal objection to a engine repackaging a portion of my content for a search feed, it is worrisome that these services might be unintentionally feeding sploggers. There may be a need for blog search engines to add an extra layer of protection to ensure that their feeds are not misused.

As for Feedburner, it is clearly a great service that offers a very powerful tool in fighting splogging. However, it’s likely that sploggers are catching on to Feedburner’s new statistics and are staying way from its feeds. Instead, sploggers may be turning to unprotected, keyword-rich feeds from other sources.

Sadly, while Feedburner offers a powerful tool that can (and should) be used in the fight against scraping, we can not trust it as our sole source of feed protection.

[tags]plagiarism, splogs, splogging, scraping, blogging, content theft, copyright infringement[/tags]

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