I use a Technorati watchlist to keep track of mentions of me, this site, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Technorati follows blogs, so it’s a nice way to gauge what topics people find interesting enough to write about. For instance, teenage girls tend to point out that “JohNny DePP iz SOOOOO HOOTTTTT!”

Over the last two weeks, I’ve noticed a disconcerting rise in the number of faux-blogs. They look like blogs, and they’re hosted on genuine sites like Blogspot. But they have no actual content, just a bunch of gibberish targeting a certain term, like “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” I assume they’re computer-generated. Here’s an example.

So why would anyone make a useless blog like this? Presumably, to drive traffic to other sites. The left-hand column on the example blog has links to various other sites, each of which either sells something, or has Google ads which make money on a pay-per-click basis.

It’s really annoying, because up until now, Technorati has been a terrific clutter-buster. I don’t know if the spam-blog problem is readily fixable. Unlike Google, which has algorithms to help it weed out junk sites, I think Technorati basically relies on self-reporting. The system would need to find a way to detect which blogs are real, and which ones are fake. That’s a tall order.