Fake automated blogs?

I have my blog “claimed” at technorati.com. I can use this to search around to see if anyone has linked to my blog entries on their own blog / web site. This is how I found out that I’d been quoted by slate.com.

I did a search last night (for no good reason — same reason people Google themselves), and found several of my postings linked to really weird blogs. Each blog is a collection of articles about a certain topic — my posting on security podcasts is linked to in a blog called “Anti-Virus” (I’m not going to link to any of these potentially evil blogs here), the one on skiing is in one called “Ski Resorts”, and the one about Gail being on the TV news is in one called “The Latest Premieres & Debuts”. In every case, the format of the blog posting was exactly the same:

Unknown wrote an interesting post today on
Here’s a quick excerpt
Several lines from my posting

Read the rest of this great post here

Unknown” and “here” are links to my posting, and the title of the posting is the same as mine. Apparently the bot that created these postings has bugs in it; the bit about “wrote an interesting post today on” never has anything after it, and one of the blogs even has SQL errors on the page because the title of the posting they’re hijacking contains quotes. Each of the blogs I’ve found has hundreds or thousands of postings, all in the same format, and all listed as “uncategorized”. All of these “fake” blogs seem to be “Powered by WordPress”. I don’t remember ever seeing these before I created my own WordPress blog as a backup for my existing blog. I have the wordpress blog marked as “block search engines but allow normal visitors”, but it seems to have found its way onto someone’s hijacking list somewhere…

Call me naïve, but I don’t understand the point of these fake blogs with no original content. I’ve heard of “splogs” (SPam blOGS), but these doesn’t appear to be splogs — there are no ads, no links to anything but the blog articles, nothing that might make someone money, as far as I can tell. Now, I’m running Firefox with NoScript installed, so whatever JavaScript is on those sites is not run in my browser, so maybe there is something nasty in the JavaScript.

Or maybe I’m just being cynical. Maybe it’s just someone who’s written a bot that gathers together blog postings in certain catgeories as a public service. And he’s not that great a programmer or hasn’t done enough QA on the bot. Yes, I’m sure that’s it.


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