Sunday, March 27, 2011

Content Farms! A Nuisance to be Dealt With.

This morning, as usual, I looked through my Google Alerts and read a number of newspapers, all online.  The internet is a wonderful tool for finding information, if properly used.  However, it is also vulnerable to abuse by spammers, creators of malware, and those who seek to make money through the creation of the so-called "content farms."  These websites offer no new thinking or analysis and do not create their own content.  Instead, they use code to aggregate existing content on the internet, building on others intellectual property in hopes of attracting unsuspecting netizens.
This morning I ran across a site purporting to provide information about "Telecommunications in North Korea," a topic that I regularly follow.  The site, which shall go unnamed here, has a generic sounding name that might appeal to expats living and working overseas.  It's homepage contains no information whatsoever about North Korean telecommunications, instead carrying only advertising, and links through which you might "subscribe to this forum" or "register and participate."
Unfortunately, some people surfing the internet will be gullible enough to be drawn in by such schemes.  One litmus test for any website is whether the home page has an "About" tab or a paragraph clearly telling visitors who sponsors the web site, who creates the content, and the purpose of it.  In general, it is wise to avoid reading content or following links on sites that do not clearly and openly identify themselves.
I'll be pleased to answer questions or elaborate on this topic, in hopes of undermining the efforts of such "content farms" to attract traffic.

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