WARNING: ALL Autoblogging Plugins have a MASSIVE FOOTPRINT

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As I'm not known on this forum firstly let me tell you why I'm posting this controversial post - I am in the market for an auto blogging system and I've been looking closely at the products out there. I've found some major problems, hence my warning.

I am not in the IM niche and have nothing to sell.

Any autoblog product that installs one or more files on the web site leaves a huge and easily detectable footprint. That means any product that installs code to the wp-content/plugins directory, for example, is at the mercy of the search engines.

Sure you can exclude the plugin directory with robots.txt, but who is to say that the SE's obey robots.txt when bringing a network or suspicious product down? What about the human reviewers - they can find your plugins in a heartbeat.

The search engines already have the data on which sites are using autoblog plugins. They just need the will to mine it and then bring your sites or network down.

Here is the proof

Want a list of Wp Robot installs? Here it is

Enter this search term into Google:

"wp-content/plugins/wprobot"


What about Autoblogged?:

"wp-content/plugins/autoblogged"


Blogorizer?

"wp-content/plugins/blogorizer"

I have only tested those three search terms so far, but that is enough for me to run a mile from any of these products, which is a shame as I was just about to buy WP Robot.

What is the solution then?

The only way to run an autoblog system that does not leave a footprint at all is to ensure that it does not install a single file into your website. You can do this in two ways:

1) Run the system entirely from a central server and issue posts to the remote sites via XML RPC type solutions.

2) Install scripts outside the public_html (on Linux systems) directory and then use cron jobs to run them.

As an ex professional PHP developer I have decided that the only way forward for me is to develop my own centralised system that posts to remote sites (it will not be commercialised). It will not install any files on those sites at all.

I didn't want to spend time developing this as I would rather have bought an existing product, but the simple fact of the matter is that there is not one autoblogging plugin product that I've looked at so far that seems remotely safe from a potentially huge search engine slap in the future.

Chris
#autoblogging #footprint #massive #plugins #warning
  • Profile picture of the author Karan Goel
    How about writing a more explained Solution?

    Karan
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    • Profile picture of the author Davioli
      Originally Posted by K Goel View Post

      How about writing a more explained Solution?

      Karan
      What's not to understand from the OP's post? If I'm reading what you read.. he's explained a wonderful way to set up an almost undetectable autoblog system.

      I've always thought mainstream products will always leave a footprint.. The only way to avoid it is to get a product made specifically for you. if you're a coder..its all the more better for you since you can make changes as you go on.
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      • Profile picture of the author operandi
        What's not to understand from the OP's post? If I'm reading what you read.. he's explained a wonderful way to set up an almost undetectable autoblog system.
        Thanks, I was wondering how I could have explained more about the solutions.

        There is no question that moving to a centralised server based model gives very powerful scalability both in terms of capabilities and publishing to any number of remote web sites without leaving a footprint.

        Using a central database means that you can also keep track of published content to stop any duplicates being published on one web site or across a number of web sites.

        For example it is easy to download an article from articlesbase, publish it to a web site and then write that article id or title to a central database to make sure that you never send it out to your sites again.

        Your're downloading articles from articlebase so why not add a few more lines of code and have the system downloading from articledashboard too. So then you are using two article sources to publish to your websites, but you keep track of what has been published where to prevent duplicates and therefore footprints. You are also using a variety of content sources rather than just one article directory as some of the auto blogging products do.

        Chris
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        • Profile picture of the author 4morereferrals
          Originally Posted by operandi View Post

          Thanks, I was wondering how I could have explained more about the solutions.

          There is no question that moving to a centralised server based model gives very powerful scalability both in terms of capabilities and publishing to any number of remote web sites without leaving a footprint.

          Using a central database means that you can also keep track of published content to stop any duplicates being published on one web site or across a number of web sites.

          For example it is easy to download an article from articlesbase, publish it to a web site and then write that article id or title to a central database to make sure that you never send it out to your sites again.

          Your're downloading articles from articlebase so why not add a few more lines of code and have the system downloading from articledashboard too. So then you are using two article sources to publish to your websites, but you keep track of what has been published where to prevent duplicates and therefore footprints. You are also using a variety of content sources rather than just one article directory as some of the auto blogging products do.

          Chris

          Just thought Id add - all that and more is already done.
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  • Profile picture of the author James Foster
    Why not add a simple Disallow of the plug in folder in your robot.txt ?
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    • Profile picture of the author Bruce Hearder
      Its true what some of the original posters say in that some search engines don't obey the instructions in a robots.txt file.

      But this is not a MASSIVE FOOTPRINT like the original poster refered to ..

      Its easy fixed..

      Create an .htaccess file for your /plugins directory and insert the following content into the file :

      <files "*.*">
      Deny from All
      </files>

      Save and upload to your server..

      Now all your files from within the plugins folder are safe from prying eyes..

      Take care..

      Bruce
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      • Profile picture of the author RobinInTexas
        Originally Posted by Bruce Hearder View Post

        Its true what some of the original posters say in that some search engines don't obey the instructions in a robots.txt file.

        But this is not a MASSIVE FOOTPRINT like the original poster refered to ..

        Its easy fixed..

        Create an .htaccess file for your /plugins directory and insert the following content into the file :

        <files "*.*">
        Deny from All
        </files>

        Save and upload to your server..

        Now all your files from within the plugins folder are safe from prying eyes..

        Take care..

        Bruce
        Thanks for the tip Bruce

        Now I have a ton of uploading to do
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        Robin



        ...Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just set there.
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      • Profile picture of the author clickbump
        Originally Posted by Bruce Hearder View Post

        ...
        But this is not a MASSIVE FOOTPRINT like the original poster refered to ..

        Its easy fixed..

        Create an .htaccess file for your /plugins directory and insert the following content into the file :

        <files "*.*">
        Deny from All
        </files>

        Save and upload to your server..

        Now all your files from within the plugins folder are safe from prying eyes..

        Take care..

        Bruce
        Great tip Bruce. Wouldn't it also work if you just put an empty index.php into your specific plugin folder, right? Your method seems more robust certainly...
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        • Profile picture of the author Bruce Hearder
          Originally Posted by clickbump View Post

          Great tip Bruce. Wouldn't it also work if you just put an empty index.php into your specific plugin folder, right? Your method seems more robust certainly...
          Yes it will work fine, except if the searcher (ie a person or search engine) knows what they are looking for. So if they are looking for a particular file or directory then this will bypass the index.php file.

          The .htaccess solution will prevent then from finding those targetted files or directories.

          Great job you've done on the ClickBump WP concept.. Might have to send you PM with some of the ideas I have used that might work OK for you

          Take care

          Bruce
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        • Profile picture of the author searchnology
          I was thinking the same thing....that and also renaming the PHP file of the plugins in question...at the same time, I DON'T think autoblogging is much of a problem if done with prudence.

          Originally Posted by clickbump View Post

          Great tip Bruce. Wouldn't it also work if you just put an empty index.php into your specific plugin folder, right? Your method seems more robust certainly...
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      • Profile picture of the author RobinInTexas
        Originally Posted by Bruce Hearder View Post

        Its true what some of the original posters say in that some search engines don't obey the instructions in a robots.txt file.

        But this is not a MASSIVE FOOTPRINT like the original poster refered to ..

        Its easy fixed..

        Create an .htaccess file for your /plugins directory and insert the following content into the file :

        <files "*.*">
        Deny from All
        </files>

        Save and upload to your server..

        Now all your files from within the plugins folder are safe from prying eyes..

        Take care..

        Bruce
        I initially thought that was a great idea, but you have to do it for selected plugins.

        You can break some plugins that furnish graphics. I got burnt on "sociable" and "add to any"
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        Robin



        ...Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just set there.
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      • Profile picture of the author Eager2SEO
        Originally Posted by Bruce Hearder View Post

        Its true what some of the original posters say in that some search engines don't obey the instructions in a robots.txt file.

        But this is not a MASSIVE FOOTPRINT like the original poster refered to ..

        Its easy fixed..

        Create an .htaccess file for your /plugins directory and insert the following content into the file :

        <files "*.*">
        Deny from All
        </files>

        Save and upload to your server..

        Now all your files from within the plugins folder are safe from prying eyes..

        Take care..

        Bruce
        No matter how much you try to hide it, Google is going to detect Wordpress. I can look at HTML and know its Wordpress in an eyeblink. Many plugins leave semantic footprints in the HTML. Then you have affiliate links. Then its just a matter of seeing content duplicated periodically. Google wants to see genuine, original content in the blogs, and maybe a few aff links scattered around.
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        • Profile picture of the author n3r0x
          could just rename the directory the plugin is located in.. and the main file.. to something else, that way they can´t determine what you´re running on your blog..
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  • Profile picture of the author operandi
    Hi Bruce

    I've just done some testing on your .htaccess solution and yes, I agree with you that it does hide the directory from prying eyes and yet allow execution of the scripts

    Chris
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    • Profile picture of the author Groovystar
      Are you saying that just having the programme installed on your computer is enough to taint everything you post online?

      I just installed one. Not too thrilled with it anyway so may uninstall if this is the case!

      It only stands to reason that Google would want to crack down on these though.
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  • Profile picture of the author operandi
    Are you saying that just having the programme installed on your computer is enough to taint everything you post online?
    I wouldn't go as far as that, but having a system that installs files onto your web site can be tracked down by Google (unless you protect the directories using htaccess as Bruce suggested). If Google or the other search engines decide that auto bloggers reduce the quality of their SERPS then they may take action against sites using them, if they can find the footprints.

    Chris
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  • Profile picture of the author Groovystar
    Oh, I thought this was about blog finders! I don't have anything that installs stuff automatically on my website. I do all that manually. I even post on blogs manually...on the rare occasion I find one

    Sorry!!! I just get paranoid.
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  • Profile picture of the author Fraggler
    You are causing fear on something that isn't an issue. An autoblogging system does not break Google TOS. You can run autoblogging components to do all sorts of white hat things. You can even use it to syndicate your own information.

    Having a folder on your server that says autoblogging or anything frowned upon will not get you de-indexed...gee, just rename the folder if you must.
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    • Profile picture of the author BobJutsu
      Originally Posted by Fraggler View Post

      You are causing fear on something that isn't an issue. An autoblogging system does not break Google TOS. You can run autoblogging components to do all sorts of white hat things. You can even use it to syndicate your own information.

      Having a folder on your server that says autoblogging or anything frowned upon will not get you de-indexed...gee, just rename the folder if you must.
      Yeah...but he [seems to be] pointing out the simple fact that there is a footprint, and wants a more robust solution if in the future it becomes an issue. Nothing wrong with planning ahead, and certainly nothing wrong with a little ingenuity. Even if it never becomes an issue, he still ends up with a pretty slick remote hosted content delivery solution.
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  • Profile picture of the author Marakatapolis
    Autoblogging in the form of drip feeding articles is 100% allowed. Most of the major websites have scheduled, drip-fed content. It would cost too much money to have people manually post pages when they can just setup a publishing queu for their content/articles.

    I think the only problem would be if you had an entire website of nothing but duplicate content, then it might just decide to bury your site in the index since it has nothing that isn't published on 1000 websites already.
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    • Profile picture of the author Intrepreneur
      Hmmm linkspiel.com uses autoblogging and is still quite succesful but it also uses some unique content which is often updated. I think the issue here is having a completely autoblogged blog.

      Though in my opinion the developers of the plugins should have thought this out long ago and provided and option for you to rename anything that is ouput in your code to whatever you want it to be so it can't be tracked.

      But there you go, it goes to show most developers are only in it for the money and not for the customers long term satisfaction. The reason why I have never bought any of them.
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      • Profile picture of the author 4morereferrals
        The tool to post from afar [ to wordpress ] using xml-rpc already exists - it rocks and its < $300.

        Feel free to PM me for more details
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  • Profile picture of the author mogulmedia
    Bruce - thanks for the help with this but I added the .htaccess file to the /plugin and it stopped the automation of my posts.

    Any ideas on how to fix that using A2P by any chance? Thanks...
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  • Profile picture of the author fathonix
    does Any body know the safeautoblog script?
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  • Profile picture of the author thebarksmeow
    Is there a way to stop the "wp-content/plugins" folder from showing up in View Source?
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  • Profile picture of the author lanceharvie
    Hi Chris [4morereferrals]

    Tell me more about this "tool to post from afar [ to wordpress ] using xml-rpc"

    is the tool still available?
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    Lance

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  • Profile picture of the author kaizerinfo
    No more footprints,because of remote posting to all blogs. Check this video
    youtube.com/watch?v=mN03KgvcqVY
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  • Profile picture of the author GeorgR.
    Footprints are really not the issue - it's the duplicate content.

    What point in changing/modifying the footprints but then fill a blog with 1:1 copies of ezine articles, yahoo answers and you tube stuff?

    This will not get you ANYWHERE.

    Just yesterday i read a post by someone who said "ironically, the only blogs i make some money with are my autoblogs...i am making about $150/month with those".

    That person would probably make WAY more if he would not use copy/paste content.....and you know what? Its NOT a big deal to put 20 or so unique articles on a site, AT ALL.

    In the time it takes to set up a autoblog...or the money you would spend on the latest autoblog plugin...you can use that same time/money and get actual CONTENT on your site <---

    (I personally have some old, "forgotten" autoblogs which fetched zillions of dupe content...having 1000s of pages....and hardly ANY of it is indexed...its just a waste of time and also server resources....hogging my servers for something which ultimately doesnt show any results let alone earnings. Give me a REAL site and a week or two, 20 good articles on it and it can make MONEY and rank. Easy as that.)
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    • Profile picture of the author kaizerinfo
      Yes,duplicate content is dead,this is why advanced autoblog plugins rewrite,translate ,mashup the content and so on.
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      • Profile picture of the author Tashi Mortier
        Don't worry, guys. As far as I see this there are two easy ways to fix it.

        There are mainly those "Index of..." sites showing. All you need to do is either:

        Turn off directory indexing (ask your web host) OR

        add an empty index.html to those folders you want to hide.


        Try it and *poof* you will either get an empty page or a "Not allowed" error message from the web server.

        The other pages were pages with error messages that you should simply fix, anyways.
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    • Profile picture of the author vtrujillo
      Originally Posted by GeorgR. View Post

      Footprints are really not the issue - it's the duplicate content.

      What point in changing/modifying the footprints but then fill a blog with 1:1 copies of ezine articles, yahoo answers and you tube stuff?

      This will not get you ANYWHERE.

      Just yesterday i read a post by someone who said "ironically, the only blogs i make some money with are my autoblogs...i am making about $150/month with those".

      That person would probably make WAY more if he would not use copy/paste content.....and you know what? Its NOT a big deal to put 20 or so unique articles on a site, AT ALL.

      In the time it takes to set up a autoblog...or the money you would spend on the latest autoblog plugin...you can use that same time/money and get actual CONTENT on your site <---

      (I personally have some old, "forgotten" autoblogs which fetched zillions of dupe content...having 1000s of pages....and hardly ANY of it is indexed...its just a waste of time and also server resources....hogging my servers for something which ultimately doesnt show any results let alone earnings. Give me a REAL site and a week or two, 20 good articles on it and it can make MONEY and rank. Easy as that.)
      this does make some sense to me instead of using duplicate and/or mashed up content. it depends on the direction of your website.

      a month ago i bought an autoblogging site to use for adwords campaign. i'm trying to get my ad out of disapproved status due to "site policy". i have 6 original articles and the rest is autoblogging.

      is autoblogging the reason for the disapproved ad? and in that case maybe this fix would work?
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  • Profile picture of the author TZ
    That's not a massive footprint.

    Google judges content - not what folders are called in your Wordpress plugin directory.

    Ridiculous.
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    • Profile picture of the author obynx
      Hello TZ

      Have been following your thread for a minute quite insightful.
      Quick question Can your wordpress synonym plugin be used with wprobot?
      Will it complement it or I should not bother.Am thinking of plunging on your course to supplement ABB.I want to get all the areas covered if I can.
      I thought I ask you here than on your blog

      Thank you in advance for answering my questions
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  • Profile picture of the author PabloVTB
    I do think the OP has a good perspective on this, there might be other solutions still
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