Tuesday January 3, 2006


In an article in Wired about the arms race between companies that provide pay-per-click ads on the Web and scammers who try to artificially boost the number of clicks, the following annoying phenomenon is mentioned:

Other enterprising scammers manipulate the affiliate system by creating phony blogs - spam blogs, or splogs - that automatically generate content by continually copying bits from other Web sites, mixing in popular keywords, then signing up the resulting mélange as a Google or Yahoo! affiliate. By using software to link themselves repeatedly to well-known real blogs, splogs trick search engines into listing them high on their results list, thus generating traffic, which in turn generates ad clicks.

Note: it's splogs, not zblogs.  Apparently when coining a new blend in English, progressive (and not regressive) voicing assimilation is in effect, producing sp rather than zb from s+b—or, more likely, it's just that zb isn't allowed word-initially in English.  [Update: or, even more probably, the sp comes entirely from the onset of spam, the first element of the blend—but where's the fun in that?]

It's a fact: linguistics is going on all over the world, all of the time.  If only I could figure out a way to harness that fact to produce online ad revenue...  (hat tip: Boing Boing)

I am The Tensor, and I approve this post.
02:34 PM in Linguistics | Submit: | Links:


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Why not analyse it simply as sp(am)+(b)log?

Posted by: AJ at Jan 3, 2006 2:56:55 PM

Heh, I think you were typing your comment while I was updating the post to address that very point. :)

Posted by: The Tensor at Jan 3, 2006 2:59:42 PM

FEEL MY STING! But I agree there's no fun in this approach. Still, English in general is quite restrictive on onset consonant clusters, isn't it?

Posted by: AJ at Jan 4, 2006 4:26:26 PM

Ask Mark Cuban, he takes credit for having come up with the word "splog" in the first place. Third from last paragraph here: http://www.blogmaverick.com/entry/1234000400072237/

Posted by: Flick at Jan 25, 2006 9:23:54 PM