The anonymous nature of most Internet transactions has served to embolden many a crook to try to put one over unsuspecting online users. Prospective victims on the other hand sometimes seem to pave the way for online irregularities when they trust too much against their better judgment. Dubious intentions usually reveal themselves with the obvious.
One of the most common irregularities over the Internet is when users are asked to confirm their personal data purportedly by a service provider or a business institution. The communication which typically comes through an email will appear like the genuine one complete with the logo and the expected tenor of a true-blue official letter. Since the message usually carries a certain sense of urgency, the person being asked about his or her personal information will most often than not provide it first and then think about it later.
This is where the provider of information commits the biggest mistake. Before he or she knows it, all established contacts will be harassed by spam emails supposedly coming from him or her. Since messages will show a known email address, contacts will most probably open the mail in the belief that it contains a valid message.
Here lies the story of thousands of pesky offers of sex enhancement drugs and devices as well as the sale of various products from food items to real estate properties. When the dubious messages are received by family and friends who can easily set them aside as the common hoax they are, the only real result is the inconvenience. It is not quite the same when the same emails are sent to business associates or business customers who might make the mistake of being offended at the expense of the business relationship without the supposed sender’s knowledge. Many companies would rather terminate relationships using general explanations instead of providing the details. In this case, the person who was tricked into providing his or her personal information is the greatest loser.
If mail boxes can be clogged by spam messages, so do blogs with spam comments. The only difference here lies in the target of the spamming activity. While the former targets individuals, the latter targets search engines.
The intent of spam commenting is to create an effect that would result to a higher page rank for the spammer’s preferred site. The idea is to provide a vision of popularity by leaving comments to thousands of websites thus creating an illusion of genuine linking. It is no secret that one of the main criteria of a high page rank is the quality and quantity of links.
Blog owners can protect their sites from spam commenting primarily through comment moderation. This means that no comment gets to be visible to the public unless it is expressly allowed by owners. The comment management option provides a listing of comments given to posts which can be scanned and decided upon quickly. Obvious comment spam therefore rarely sees the light of day through prudent assessment of incoming comments. It is particularly important to address spam comments in the soonest possible time lest it be inadvertently allowed along with relevant comments. There are also several plug-ins made available to fight comment spam.
Some spam comments are not readily ascertained when they are effectively cloaked as a genuine comment except for the accompanying url. It is best therefore to use varied forms of defenses just to assure protection. Comment moderation sometimes result to confusion to commenters who do not see their comments published right away. To avoid repeat comments, appropriate information to the effect that the comment is under review should be provided.
Duplicate content is generally seen as a malicious intent to manipulate search engine rankings and attract more traffic. There are of course exceptions such as those found in discussion forums or the printer-only versions of certain web pages. Otherwise, the substantive similarity of content gives rise to a poor search experience since there is a big possibility that online searchers will only be given the same set of contents for a particular query.
Search engines like Google exert efforts to make sure that sites offering duplicate contents are not rewarded for trying to or actually deceiving searchers. There are appropriate adjustments made on indexing and ranking of sites that practice this. At the very least, ranking of these sites are adversely affected. The worst penalty is the removal of the site from the search engine index.
Because of the possible negative consequences for a site caught providing duplicate content, it would be wise for web masters to concentrate on producing relevant variations of a particular content. Relevant variations may mean using a related topic or new information on the same topic. It requires more effort than simply duplicating one article across domains but the result is much more beneficial to legitimate sites.
Deceptive practices such as duplicating content gives an air of illegitimacy for an otherwise legitimate site. Sites who accept article contributions from external sources can easily check for content duplication through the use of duplicate content checker tools. Some of these are the Duplichecker, Plagiarisma, Copyscape, and Duplicate-Content. Original content is a major factor in obtaining positive web pages status. Plagiarizing the work of others is a serious issue and it is not less so in the online world.
With the “Do Not Track” button being pushed to be a permanent component of the privacy bill of rights of consumers by the executive level, we are almost sure that threat to online privacy is at its highest yet. Almost every online presence seeks to fish out some information from others whether for business or personal use. Browsers do it, search engines do it, business sites do it, social sites do it, and just about everyone else who expects to benefit from having access to numerous personal data.
Although most people are generally more generous in sharing their personal information to others, it doesn’t mean that they don’t care for their privacy. In fact, people prefer to have control over what information is obtained, stored, and revealed about them. Knowing that any information is being collected without express approval from them is quite disturbing to most.
Many business and social sites do it without any intention of bringing harm to the owners of the information they possess. The collected information is generally used to anticipate purchasing moves of consumers and members. In essence, the main purpose is to be one step ahead of a trend or future use. Even then, being offered required products before consumers ask for it can be somewhat disconcerting. It is either the offering company reads minds or keeps personal customer information hidden somewhere.
The collector of information has the responsibility to ensure that they are not used for purposes other than for the purpose it was provided for. It is also incumbent upon them to safeguard this information from criminal elements. Most of those collecting personal data from consumers have no business retaining them indefinitely. Tracking online activities and retaining information obtained from these activities without sufficient reason violates privacy.
Not a few people are scared off by the prospects of being accused of copying other people’s work thus the hesitancy to write articles for their site. Content originality is often presumed to mean original topics but this is not always so. In the areas of general interests, there are only so many topics we can come up with. Originality is rather associated in the treatment of the topics.
Let’s start with the very obvious. If you lift your contents from another site without express permission from the author and present it as your own, then you are guilty of plagiarism through “copy and paste”. Some people knock-off the idea instead of the whole content. This is sometimes difficult to prove especially when an entirely different article is produced using the same idea.
In topics that are a matter of fact, not one person can claim ownership to them. What will determine whether plagiarism was actually committed is the pattern of similar words that appear in succession plus the over-all tone of the finished product. It is the manner of attack on a topic that usually spells the difference since this is a very personal feature of content writing.
However, in topics that are evidently new and previously unheard of, questions of copying may arise especially if the second author cannot qualify himself as capable of deriving for himself the idea that he is offering. It all boils down to laying the basis for the proposition. It is incumbent upon the writers to present only what is theirs and be able to defend themselves when challenged.
Original content therefore is a person’s take on a particular subject. The writer may benefit from researching other people’s work but should present his work based on his derived conclusion after collating different information. Lifting a number of sentences from different articles and putting them together is still copying.
Imagine seeing your legitimate and well-thought of articles in a site that has absolutely no connection to your niche and worse tends to put you and your own site in a bad light. Think pornographic sites or sites dealing with drug paraphernalia and regulated drugs. The act of splogging does not only effectively steal content; it also compromises all the hard work that goes into building a good reputation and a reliable brand.
There is no question that being linked, albeit unknowingly and without consent to sites of ill-repute, casts a shadow of doubt in the minds of readers. It is admittedly difficult to reconcile reliability with bad association especially to readers who may not be very familiar with your site to know any better than to take the link at face value. This is why spam blogs or splogs hurt legitimate sites and bloggers the most due to the possibility of negating whatever has been attained by the site.
Sploggers can steal an article in whole or in part and would often include the name of the original author to provide an air of legitimacy. Their only purpose is to get the attention of your readers so they can promote whatever product or service which they have in mind. Obviously, the need to take cover in a legitimate site does not speak much of their offering.
The crux of the matter for most bloggers and writers is the likelihood of being used to serve the deceitful purposes of others. It gets much worse when you and your work are used for purposes that you are particularly averted to. When readers, especially friends and family members come looking for your post, you wouldn’t want them to find a splice of your post surrounded by pornographic ads, would you? So take some time to report the offense even if it appears that it wouldn’t make much difference. No one knows the value of your work better than you do.
It would appear that the perennial and recurring battle between right and wrong or good and bad, will see no end. There seems to be a corresponding threat to every positive development attained by man which effectively pulls down the amount of benefit originally derived from the activity. It is not any different in the blogosphere where legitimate blogs are being challenged by spam blogs popularly known as splogs.
Splogs can have a lethal effect with the use of software that can reproduce them in the thousands within an hour. Simply put, a splog is a junk blog that is merely used either to promote affiliated websites, sell links and ads, or to increase rankings of associated sites in search engine listings. The legitimacy and relevancy of affiliated sites are in serious question because most sites that knowingly associate themselves with splogs lack the substance and credibility to stand on their own merits.
Legitimate blogs face unfair competition from splogs also categorized as scraper sites. Scraper sites steal contents from authentic sites and use them in any away that would serve their illegitimate purpose. Other splogs would settle for a hodge-podge of unrelated texts while using highly-searched keywords. When done successfully, splogging robs legitimate sites of its potential audience and customers.
The battle between blogs and splogs is expected to escalate before it dissipates (if that is at all possible). People who are working to protect legitimate sites are not resting as they seek to defeat the continuous threats. By now, we should all know that the other side is not resting either as it continues to hunt for weaknesses and flaws in the system which it can exploit and use for its own benefit. The battle rages on between good and bad, as it always has since time immemorial.
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