Why would anyone set up a blog that’s being written by automated scripts?
- scraping contextual advertising money, examples: Cheap Car Auctions 4U and Cost Per Click Advertising (and yes, I did use the rel = ‘nofollow’ attribute :-) )
- boosting the pagerank of another (e-commerce) site: a special case of Link Farming, a form of search engine spam*
- doing both, such as this gift basket blog, both promoting a Get Rich Quick scheme and another AdSense Honeypot on online gifts
How does it work?
You start with some keyword sets and variations referring to expensive merchandise: cars, insurances, jewelry… Then you use some search engine APIs** to fetch content being written on this subject, and pump fresh results into the fake blog with regular intervals, using the Blogger API**… and voilà!
By the way, I would suggest to reserve the word “spamblogs” for machine-generated blogs in the strict sense, and indicate fictitious blogs set up by marketeers, as “Character Blogs“, or, when they’re really bad taste *** “Fake Blogs” :-).
* one could argue a search engine like Google is social software too, since its main algorithm tries to produce relevant results for your search term by weighing the votes (hyperlinks) of all participants on the web (webmasters, bloggers…).
** an API is a way to programmatically do things: search engine APIs let you fetch and process search results using your own software, with the Blogger API, that is supported by most blogging software, you can use still other software to post and edit content on blogs
*** see the discussion in the comments of the linked Micropersuasion blog entry on when to call a blog either “fake” or “character”. I would use “fake” for blogs that are desperately trying to look authentic ;-)