Blekko’s project is ambitious, aiming to conquer spam and thereby make its way into the titanic clash with Google and Bingahoo. Meanwhile, Google has responded to spam criticisms by promising new algorithm changes and innovative approaches in the coming months, reassuring users that the spam issues are not invisible or unimportant to the company. However, while Google has been prepping the launch of anti-“content farm” changes, Blekko has already launched into action — banning the content from sites that are, or resemble, content farms.
The report states that “the top 20 spam sites” have been entirely removed from the Blekko database, all based on the reports from users that specific sites are spam. While it’s only 20 sites, the total impact hits thousands upon thousands of pages. This includes several sites broadly recognized as content farms, but also includes sites that have varied content.
One example here is the site ehow.com — a web project I use myself when I’m looking to find directions on things like getting rid of ants or breathing fire (true story). Admittedly, the site has more than a little bit of junk content designed to drive content to outside sites, but the site isn’t devoid of useful resources. On this subject, Demand Media (parent company of ehow) spokesperson Tammy Frost stated “we need to stand up for all of the hard work and dedicated that we have put into out published ehow articles.”
There’s little doubt that the Blekko move is controversial, but while it may deprive some relevant content of exposure, it also removes a heaping handful of spam results from the SERP. Meanwhile, Google has yet to release its full content farm algorithm change (it released some watered-down alterations, along with a “copy checker,” last week), so its exact approach to “mixed bag” sites like ehow has yet to be seen.