I’ve been wondering why splogging (spam blogging) is becoming more prevalent nowadays. The first thing I suspected was it must surely be profitable monetary wise. Why else would anyone hop on the splogging bandwagon if it wasn’t for the money?
Rather than just wonder about it, I decided to give it a try. I created a (now deactivated) subdomain on blings.info (I’m not about to invest on a proper domain just for an experiment) and started building my experimental splog.
Day 1: Constructing the splog
Creating the main framework for the experimental splog was pretty much straightforward. In fact, it was too darn easy; which leads me to contribute it to the popularity of splogging. Basically, all I needed to do was to install WordPress and apply a suitable theme with lots of potential ad space (remember that the main point of this experiment was to find out if splogging was profitable). I settled with Cutline, which is quite lightweight and easy on the eyes.
The next problem to be solved was the content of the splog. I settled on using jewellery (or jewelry for you Americans) as the main subject of the splog. I couldn’t be bothered with creating my own content so I looked for ways to auto-generate it.
I found the perfect tool for my experiment in the form of FeedWordPress, a WordPress plugin that syndicates RSS and Atom feeds. More importantly, it also converts these feed items into posts. All I needed to do was to enter the URLs of the feeds I want to use as the sources of my content into FeedWordPress’ control panel.
The hard part was getting a list of actively maintained blogs that focuses on the jewellery niche. There’s not much of them, and I have to top up my sources with blogs that also cover related topics such as beading and costume jewellery.
Once I had a list of about 15 somewhat “active” blogs to feed my experimental splog with content, I performed the first content grab. In less than 30 seconds, I managed to populate my splog with almost 200 posts! Cool, it’s starting to work. I then set it to automatically scan for new content every five minutes via a cron job.
I then edited the theme to include one AdSense unit at the beginning of each post. I also inserted a skyscraper ad unit in the sidebar. It’s just an experiment anyway, so I wasn’t bothered to “optimize” the ads or to include more of them.
I then decided to call it a day and just left the experimental splog alone to tend to itself. I’m pretty much happy with the outcome of what essentially took me less than two hours of active work.
Day 2: Getting traffic
The next morning, I took a peek at my experimental splog and found that there are around 350 posts in the system… nice!
However, as much as I’m impressed with the performance of the splog, the content is pretty much useless without any traffic. I then analyzed the options that I have available:
- Buy PPC traffic
- Wait for the site to get indexed and just rely on search engine traffic
- Post lots of comments on other blogs and wait for organic traffic from the link clicks
Buying PPC traffic could wind up being a total disaster as I wouldn’t know the average EPC of my displayed ads anyway. So strike that one out.
Waiting for search engine traffic is free. However, getting the spiders to crawl the experimental splog would definitely take some time. Furthermore, I’m absolutely certain that search engines would sandbox this experiment of mine or just downright block its pages from appearing in SERPs anyway. Why? Because it’s 100% pure duplicated content of course! So this one gets the strike as well.
Commenting on other blogs and using the splog’s URL as the author link would be very easy to do. The downside is that this will take lots of time and I’m not the commenting type anyway. What the heck would I comment anyway? So this is crossed out as well.
Then I remembered PPS… the almost dead Malaysian blog aggregator service. Ah well, it’s worth a try. Quite a lot of the pings there are spam anyway. So I registered an account and started manually submitting my posts there. The main reason I have to do this manually is because PPS’ trackback facility has been broken for quite some time now.
After about five pings I then decided that it’s time to call it a day.
Day 3: Taking a peek at the stats
Throughout the night I was wondering about the effects of those five PPS pings I sent out earlier. I doubt that there would be a significant traffic boost, so I just decided to sleep on it.
The next morning I checked out my AdSense stats; and just as predicted, there’s zero income from my experimental splog. Perhaps splogging wasn’t all that its hyped up to be.
Next I checked out the traffic stats for my experimental splog. Cool, the visitor count increased significantly and about 70% of them came from PPS. I might be on to something here… perhaps its time to pump up the volume of pings.
Nevertheless, I have no time to dedicate more effort to this experiment on that day. One thing that I do know is that I must find a way to automate the ping sending process and this requires some sort of programming to achieve.
To be continued…
I’ll be following up with Part 2 of this post sometime this week. So I suggest that you subscribe to my feed if you want to be updated as soon as I post it.