Who Is WordPress And Why Is He Stalking Me?

Lately, I’ve found posts from Simple Justice copied into these other websites.  I really don’t know what to call them, as they aren’t blogs and don’t actually serve any function other than to fill up space.  There is one common denominator amongst the websites:  They are all “examples” of wordpress, though perhaps offering a really good reason not to use it. 

This is the “about” page  from a site that glommed one of my posts today.


This is an warning of a WordPress page, you could modify this to place aggregation most yourself or your place so readers undergo where you are reaching from. You crapper create as some pages same this digit or sub-pages as you same and control every of your noesis exclusive of WordPress.

Do not adjust your screen.  This apparently reflects the way the text gets copied.  With my post, they have similarly garbled the post, which would make me look like an idiot if anyone happened on it at this site.  To add insult to injury, while it includes a link to Simple Justice, it also attributes the post to some unknown author (in this instance, “Caped Avenger,” “Criminal Cases”  here and various other pseudo-names elsewhere).

This isn’t happening to just me, but to a wide-swathe of the blogosphere.  Nobody asked permission.  Nobody let me know this was happening.  I just stumbled upon my posts appearing, sometimes properly and other times garbled, on this sites across the universe under other name that I know nothing about.

So who is this WordPress?  Of course, it’s not a who, but a business that sells a blogging program.  Fair enough, but does that give them the right to snag the content of others to promote their business or their blogs?  Does that give them the right to do so without even attributing it to the author?  Frankly, it doesn’t reflect well on wordpress in my mind.

No, this is not the biggest issue in life.  But it is pretty peculiar to find your posts on a bunch of other websites that you’ve never heard of under other names, especially when they appear to be using it to promote their own commercial venture.  I’ll check the mail again today, but I bet there won’t be a royalty check in there.  So what gives?

13 thoughts on “Who Is WordPress And Why Is He Stalking Me?

  1. Gideon

    WordPress is not a business. It’s open source blogging software. The company is Automattic. It publishes the software WordPress, which, again, is open source. Anyone can d/l the software and install it on their own server.

    WordPress has nothing to do with the spammer who took your posts. It’s some dude – like you – using a blogging program – which happens to be WP.
    It happens to all bloggers. I think there’s a word for these spam bloggers – sploggers, I think.

  2. SHG

    I’ve been splogged?

    What do you mean “like me?”  I’m no splogger.  I would never splog.  I don’t even know how to splog. Damn sploggers.

  3. Gideon

    Splog: spam blog. Like you as in real person.

    There are spam blogs using WordPress, Typepad, Blogger – all the blogging platforms. So this is as much a WordPress problem as annoying mailers are a paper problem.

  4. Maggie

    Gideon’s right. I use wordpress as my platform, but it’s not the one scamming me. The same thing happens on my blawg, and even on my personal blog. My husband got all excited thinking he had a comment from a new reader, but I had to break the sad news that it was just a spam blog. One of the reasons I moderate comments.

  5. SHG

    I’ve had the comment spamming and trackback spamming problems since the day I opened shop.  But this, the copying of posts into other blogs, has been fairly new and occurring with vastly increasing frequency.  It’s now become nearly constant.

    My reason for looking toward WordPress was twofold:  This latest iteration is only happening with WordPress, no other program.  This may be because of WordPress’ popularity, or its ease of use in this ill-conceived application.  Or maybe it’s just kismet.  I don’t know.

    Also, the “about” for all these blogs is the WordPress default “about”  test, which is about WordPress.  Since this isn’t WordPress, they may want to modify their program to eliminate their WordPress promotional “about” text to make it clear that WordPress isn’t the culprit.  They might even want to force their user to input their own “about” info so that any questionable conduct be properly directed.

  6. Maggie

    It may be wordpress because blogger is run by Google, who tend to be on top of such things. WordPress is a free system and I doubt they’re monitoring as well as they should. They do say in their terms of service that you can notify them of a potential violation of your copyright.


  7. SHG

    Now that’s interesting.  Since I don’t use WordPress, I wouldn’t know about their terms of service, nor would I expect that it would be my job to contact them about their platform being open to abuse.

    Frankly, it’s not that big a deal or a serious problem, just weird to keep finding my posts floating around the blogosphere on these splogs. 

  8. Windypundit

    I think the key to understanding this is that (1) it’s all about the ads, and (2) it’s all automated.

    The Google AdSense system analyzes web sites and tries to guess what they’re about, then it tries to place relevant Google AdWords ads on the site in the hope that people will click them, which is when everyone gets paid.

    What I think you’re seeing is the result of some guy who set up a dummy AdSense account and looked up keyword combinations that cost a lot. For example, criminal defense lawyers have bid up the cost of the keywords “criminal lawyer” to about $15 per click.

    So now this guy sets up a blog with the hope that he can make it show up in the search results for “criminal lawyer” and attract ads based on the “criminal lawyer” keyword. If that works, each time someone finds the site and clicks on an ad, he can earn himself a piece of that $15 click cost.

    The problem is that it’s hard to convince Google that your site is about criminal lawyers. You can’t just title the page “Criminal Lawyer” put a big “Criminal Lawyer” heading at the top, and repeat the words “Criminal Lawyer” 100 times. That might have worked on search engines in 1995, but Google AdSense is a lot smarter. You have to have real content, or something that looks like real content.

    Fortunately (for the spam blogger) search engines can help. A quick query for “criminal lawyer” at Technorati gets a whole list of blogs. Simple Justice is #11 as I write this. That’s because Simple Justice, humble though it may be, has real content, and the Technorati web crawler is smart enough to figure that out.

    All our spam blogger has to do now is visit each of, say, the top 20 sites, slurp up their content, and post it to his own blog. Now he’s got a spam blog with real content that is highly likely to attract both ads for criminal lawyers and people looking for criminal lawyers. Therefore, click revenue.

    I’m not sure why the text is being mangled. I think it’s to try go keep Google from recognizing that it was stolen from another site. Google is pretty good at spotting duplicate content.

    Every single step of this process can be automated. Once our spam blogger decides to set up a spam blog for “criminal lawyer”, he’s got a script to visit WordPress.com to create the blog, a script to query Technorati, a script to visit each of the top 20 result sites and pull content from their RSS feeds, and a script to post each one to the new WordPress blog, with one big script that controls them all. He can set up dozens or maybe hundreds of spam blogs per day. (I’m guessing, but I think it’s a good guess.)

    Why WordPress? Because he found a script that works with wordpress. And maybe because wordpress is less aggressive about stopping spam blogging. Next month, it could just as easily be MySpace pages.

  9. Austin Criminal Defense Lawyer

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  10. Austin Criminal Defense Lawyer

    Splogs: Plagiarizing for Money

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