Reposted

 By Shamus Nov 8, 2007 25 comments

I follow all the links to my site that Technorati picks up. For example, the last several links have come from Back Home, Science Fiction Brewed Fresh Daily, How Many Miles to Babylon?, Rusty Badger, and Haibane.info. (Although I’d actually seen a couple of these already by the time Technorati picked it up. There is often an odd delay between the time someone posts something and when it shows up on TR. Sometimes days, and they often are not listed chronologically.)

I heard about “reposter” blogs years ago, but I’d never seen one in action before. Then last Thusday I was cruising through the incoming links and found one. It was a blog that had simply taken one of my posts and reproduced it, content, title, and all. Even had my name on it. I’m not going to link it, but for the curious, blog.avyakta.net/?p=124 is the address.

This is a very strange thing to see. It’s not particularly upsetting, but it is hard to understand why someone would do this, or what they hope to get out of it.

I can tell this was done by an automated script. The other site replicated the links to the previous / next in the series, which no longer make sense when transplanted to the other site. A human most likely wouldn’t do that. Another curious thing is the fact that the post in question wasn’t all that interesting. It’s not linked elsewhere. It’s not talking about a topic likely to draw a lot of hits. It’s just some totally random post from my archives. (This one, actually.)

What is the point of this? The site doesn’t even have ads on it, so this person isn’t trying to build up a bunch of traffic for ad revenue. It’s just random strangeness.


20525 comments. Hurry up and add yours before it becomes passé.


  1. ChattyDm says:

    It’s done to drive Search Engines to Ads posted on the ‘blog’, I’m not sure it’s even legal… not that anyone is going to pay a laywer to do anything about it..

  2. ChattyDm says:

    No ads? Huh… well then I’m stumped…

  3. ChattyDm says:

    Post-Modern Blog-as-art project?

  4. Thpbltblt says:

    That’s just… odd. Hopefully they don’t snatch any of your more interesting work.

  5. Poet says:

    In a comment about stolen blog entry, I recently went through the same thing. I found, honestly, that drinking alcohol seemed to make it easier to move around without waiting for it to fully pass.
    Any excuse to polish off a bottle of scotch.

  6. WysiWyg says:

    Perhaps it’s the “ghost in the machine” that they talked about in “I, Robot”? ;-)

    Perhaps it’s actually not done by a human, but a machine that just does random things?

    Wow, talk about a cool project, a program that picks parts of other pages on random to create new pages. I wonder what it would look like…

  7. Zonga says:

    Perhaps it looks for clues in the title….like perhaps that entry was a scathing commentary on the Bruce Willis movie of similar title. Then it would be aggregating opinions and not random life-facts.

    Maybe? It still makes very little sense.

  8. Nyxia says:

    Perhaps teh interwebz is developing a sense of conciousness. What with all the information passing thorugh it that it has to process, maybe it’s finally developing a sort of sentience. If you’ve ever read The Ender Quartet series by Orson Scott Card, you might know what I’m alluding to.

  9. Helge says:

    I’ll bet that you stumbled across a “work in progress”. When the culprit is finished there will be ads galore. Plus infected pages with browser exploits. I’d contact the site admin and request an explanation, as well as a cease and desist. Don’t need lawyers for that.

  10. Jim says:

    I found one of those myself the other day, and was equally baffled. The “work in progress” explanation makes the most sense to me…

  11. Taelus says:

    Am I allowed to think that it’s really funny seeing that this one is tagged in with the “Spam” post?

    Anyway, not sure how good Technorati is if those are the only ones you’ve seen. I know I’ve linked you at least 3 times, not to mention having you on the blogroll.

    As far as the stolen posts thing, I’ve more or less stolen one of yours before. When you tossed up the Escher in Lego form post I ganked it and posted the pics and such myself, talking a bit about it and linking back to you. So while it’s not a direct copy, I would assume that many people see something here and choose to comment on it themselves just because it’s so freakin’ cool.

    And now, off to the gym with me where I imagine several people will copy exactly what I’m doing…well…not exactly since they’ll probably execute what I’m doing with more grace and less effort. Sigh.

  12. Probably you ran into a link farm. They borrow content like that because the googlebot thinks highly of sites which update regularly.

  13. Chip says:

    I’ve had several of these from three or four discrete sources; the practice is apparently called “splogging” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spam_blog). From what I can gather, the intent is to drive up the blog’s pagerank by making it appear that many other blogs link to it. Then it’s easier to sell advertising space because it appears that the blog is popular.

    (The phrase “splogging” is yet another example of why geeks shouldn’t be allowed to name things.)

  14. I get regularly hit by these things. But most of them use a slightly different script that actually acknowledges the content is stolen. Their post usually looks like this:

    [Insert Random Name] has posted a very interesting entry on [insert post title]. Here is and excerpt: [insert random excerpt]. Click Here to Read More.

    The results are sometime comical like:

    John Pokenmayer has posted a very interesting entry on Dilled Pickles Considered Harmfu. Here is and excerpt:

    and also donkeys. Why this was done that way I will never know, but hey – at least we had lemons.

    Posted by Luke.

    Click Here to Read More.

    I usually try to block these servers in .htaccess but chances are the screen scraping script they use lives somewhere else than their blog.

  15. Poet says:

    Wow, Luke, it’s like you’re reading my blog!

  16. Kotenku says:

    Bots designed for the express purpose of making the world a slightly stranger place. Once you acknowledge and accept that there is no sense to be made of it whatsoever, it makes a lot more sense.

  17. Huckleberry says:

    It seems to me the blog in question is a honest run-by-a-human blog talking about Hinduist concepts of self and consciousness. My take on it is that the person who writes the blog did a search on supranatural experiences, found your “sixth sense” article, found it interesting and included it in his/her blog; the — umm — let’s say “unconventional” way of crediting you for it doesn’t seem malign to me at all but result from sheer ignorance of even most basic netiquette.

  18. Roxysteve says:

    This post and some of the replies got me thinking again, always a danger.

    “Stolen”. A curious concept here that formerly was only of concern to writers, artists and musicians, in that nothing material was taken. The entry in question is still in this blog, undamaged, for all to see. Yet something was taken. Was it any more than is take when soemone reads a post, then quotes it in conversation verbatim? Most likely, but I can’t explain what, and I’m trying hard. This is why copyright was invented of course, but then again, since no money was lost of generated as a result of the unauthorised copying, and no damage was done to the author’s reputation, it is difficult to articulate the loss involved.

    What is even more interesting is the “why” of it all, which I cannot fathom for the life of me.

    Steve.

  19. Malkara says:

    The weirdest thing is that he actually does link back to you. :P

  20. Author says:

    I’m surprised it took them so long to discover you. I have an example of this (also known as “scrapper”) at mark.120host.net attached to my main blog. I think they simply are created by accident and left to run on free hosts when the human culprit moves on. The 120host in general seems to be designed as a splog machine (a few years ago the creator of it tried to sell the whole operation).

    Ani-nouto is a real scrap magnet because of the anime connection. It’s being stolen to well-known thefs direct-anime.org, animeplanet.com, etc. The lesser-known scrappers are about a dozen.

    I have it on my TODO list to understand how the feed is generated in WordPress and perhaps have it watermarked with the client’s IP. Haven’t got around to it.

    BTW, look at this:
    http://etbe.coker.com.au/2007/10/11/dreamhost-and-the-dmca/
    Our old buddy Dreamhost is in the splog business too.

  21. I have one “reposter blog” (as you call it), and I didn’t even know there was a name for that sort of thing. I call it AARP.

    That’s Article Appendix – RePrint.

    I didn’t know that others did it although if I wanted to guess I would have. The reason I do it is because I want to save articles that I don’t believe will be saved by the original creators. That is, if I don’t believe a newspaper’s official website won’t maintain an article’s web presence on an archive that I can access, I will take the article whole, credit whom I stole it from, and repost it so I can access it later.

    I have no ads, collect no profit, and I don’t use it shuttle search results to my own weblog.

  22. ArchU says:

    I don’t understand. Why would anybody want to do what Shamus does? ^_~

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