A bit of admin - just so you know, I'm testing out a new type of RSS advertising with Feedburner. I'm testing it because it's pretty close to the type of RSS advertising I described in this post back in May.
Speaking of advertising, Phil Ringnalda has noticed the O'Reilly Network is using a subtle form of advertising/search engine spam:
"...follow the links to the O'Reilly sites, and scroll down in the left-hand sidebar, and you find nothing but links with the keywords that the search engine spammers want to have associated with their site."
Shelley Powers is doing the same thing. It's one of those tricky moral issues with Web 2.0, but I like how Greg Yardley described it: this form of advertising is "designed for robots instead of people". Because of this, it leads to clutter in the search engines. So in the end, the people lose out.
"Optimizing your RSS-based contents to ensure that appropriate credit and linkbacks are always key components of what others may re-use is the only serious strategy that has a life."
Robin and Sharon suggest that preventing people from re-purposing your content is not worth the hassle, even when it comes to search engine spammers. I wouldn't go that far - I think it's worth making an effort to prevent scumbags from profiting from your content.
Finally, check out this interesting post by The Blog Herald which suggests that Google's Larry Page and Sergey Brin drink with black-hat SEOs. I'm not sure what to believe, but the comments are revealing - they're dominated by self-confessed black-hat SEOs boasting about profiting from content re-purposing and automated content. Scary.
UPDATE: I've removed the references to my eBook Culture blog, because it turns out the accused spammer was actually my domain name registrar! I hadn't renewed in time, so they were earning money off it. Anyway, I've renewed it now.