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Fraud Blogs (Fraugs) Giving Me An Aneurism

Jason Lee Miller
Staff Writer
Published: 2005-08-19

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Recently it was reported that the blogosphere was out pacing the famed Moore's Law, doubling in size every 5.5 months at the rate of 80,000 new blogs set up every day. We've also learned since that nearly half of the blogosphere is dead-that is, inactive. And now we find that an unknown number of them are fake to begin with, labeled "Splogs" (spam blogs) by IceRocket's Mark Cuban, and the trend may yet get worse, reducing the total blogosphere to maybe 35 real blogs (okay, Feedster says at least 500).

It was only a matter of time until the opportunists would wiggle their way into to the sanctuaries the online populace had found. Our friends at IceRocket and Google have been addressing the issue, with Cuban vowing to stomp out splogs, and Google releasing Captcha to combat comment spam (spamments?).

But there seems to be a more sinister plot afoot. Advertising through blogs is one thing. It doesn't take an especially shrewd mind to pick out a splog or a spamment. In fact, these methods are apparently being embraced in business models and are becoming the rage among marketers as illustrated by this conference sign captured over at Biz Stone.

While that's interesting on its own, I almost cried at the mastermind I found lurking in a blogged business proposal by a creative pair, supposedly based out of China. The folks at Weblogs, Inc., pointed out Blogoriented, calling it a likely hoax. Hoax or not, the concept is pure evil genius at work.

The blog proposal (blogposal?) begins by quoting the Bible, as seemingly convicted partner and his alter ego partner "Jeff" divulge their evil plan.

For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?"Matthew (16:26)

In an effort to escape their cubicles and work for themselves, the pair set up shop in China where they were to become the first blog outsourcing company. (it's a say what?)

By hiring a team of writers to pose as "standard" Americans, completely fake blogs could be set up to generate buzz about certain products and services-an action I shall now call FRAUGGING (fraud blogging). A team of 25 writers, so says Blogoriented, could generate 500 unrelated blogs that appear to be regular people talking about their everyday lives. (Sigh) Either this is brilliant satire, or an amazing marketing mind at work. Either way, it's a bad influence.

So who are the characters in this cast of imaginary players? The writer gives a few examples:

· A blog written from the perspective of a stray cat in NYC.
· A blog written from a 14 year old depressed Iowa girl.
· A blog about life as a math professor in a southern community college.
· A blog about being a plus sized model in Kentucky.
· A blog about being a weatherman in California.

Why's the plus-sized girl gotta be from Kentucky, dude?

But that's just tier one of the master plan. Tier 2 of the shady business model involves outsourcing writers to legitimate bloggers during vacation periods. For those who hope to not lose their readership while away, the service would provide substitute bloggers to keep those blogs alive. (Sheesh! What has the world come to?)

When quizzed about the openness of such an immoral endeavor the frauggers said it had to do with attracting investors and went on to describe the type of investors they had been meeting with.

This blog has enough train-wreck TV effect to keep me glued to it until I see what happens next. I hope it just doesn't fall into the wrong hands.




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About the Author:
Jason L. Miller is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

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