If Google's PageRank reflects the "uniquely democratic nature of the web" - and if weblogs are the most empowering technology of our age [**] - then how can we begin to fete a humble entrepreneur based in St Paul, MN?
Very probably as the Gutenberg of the digital age. And the Jefferson. All rolled into one.
Brian Adams of Blue Diamond Enterprises has announced the newest tool that leverages both weblogs and the "collective intelligence" of Google's algorithms. His new software, Blog Mass Installer, claims it can create 100 Blogger weblogs on your website in just 24 minutes.
It's like voting - but voting done properly: early and often.
The idea behind tools such as this is to create a network of sites to host contextual advertisements and also to boost the prominence of material in Google's search index. It's only the tip of a vast twilight industry that, by the calculation of SEOs (search engine optimizers) like Adams, results in one third of Google's index being comprised of machine-generated sites. Blog Software Installer takes a lot of the drudgery out of creating the blog network you need to pimp your reputation, plug your wares, or simply earn yourself a little extra Adsense cash. Some manual intervention is needed, according to the press release -
"Creating the blogs is easy and fun. You will get a friendly chime when it is time to enter the 'captcha' word verification. The BMI [Blog Mass Installer] tool also gives you a status indicator to know how many of your blogs have been created."
BMI also gives you those all-important RSS feeds.
Need some content? Just dial up some PLAs, or 'Private Label Articles.' Sites like GoArticles and Article City. Or if you're in a hurry, scrape some Wikipedia content: the keyword-rich online "encyclopedia" is a favorite with SEOs.
It's all very Web 2.0. The power of the "Long Tail" put into the hands of the little guy - who needs only $197 to join the digital revolution.
But it's also in breach of Google's own Adsense program, which states that no Adsense ad may appear on a page "published specifically for the purpose of showing ads, whether or not the page is relevant".
Um, now didn't this - we asked Adams - leave Google in the delicate position of throttling its own cash cow?
We only asked, because the Blogger-accelerator was being promoted by - of all things - Google News today. Google owns Blogger.
That's not the case, says Adams, who says Google has done a good job weeding out spam sites over the last year. It employs more human operators to identify these, he says,
"Google's search index is more relevant than a year ago. It's getting better."
But basically it's a Machine vs Machine war. Machines like Adams' BMI create the blogs, and Google's algorithms try and delete them.
"It's getting harder to tell if a website was made by a machine or a human," he says. "There are some really grey areas."
Adams says BMI is more "stable" than rival tools - "stable" means Google is less likely to find it and delete it from its index.
Didn't he feel morally responsible for bespoiling the utopian meadow of the World Wide Web, we wondered?
Here Adams takes issue with the suggestion that machine-generated axiomatically means junk.
"I wouldn't say that the tools are just polluting it. It's the responsibility of the webmaster to put up content that's actually useful. If they don't do that, Google will delete them."
So it's like the argument that guns don't kill people - people kill people?
"That's a good comparison," he agrees.
So Splogs don't kill people. And are less harmful than blogs. ®
Bootnotes:[**] "The blog might do more for the emancipation of women than the invention of the birth control pill almost 50 years ago," - Sylvia Paull, who hosts the Berkeley Cybersalon.
[*] Thanks to Namebase's Daniel Brandt for spotting this - and for the coining the neologlism "Goobage".