I’ve known about autoblogging for quite a while now, about 2-3 years I guess, but I’ve never done anything about it while spending a considerable amount of time learning a lot about it. Learning new stuff is great, but it’s not a good use of your time unless you put the learning into action.

That’s changing now as I started the first run of an “experiment” yesterday.

I took out a brand new .info domain in the baby niche for a term that suddenly seems to be getting a lot of search. My wife has earlier this week taken out a .co.uk domain for the same term, and is building a site similar to the one she built a couple of weeks ago that resulted in a payout from Amazon yesterday.

So she’s building a regular “hand made” site using Price Comparisons, and I’m building an automated site using autoblogging techniques. We’re going to directly compare to see if there are any SEO or monetary benefits to doing it by hand over having a site built automatically.

In case you’ve never heard of the term autoblogging, it refers to a method of where a blog site is built automatically or semi-automatically over time. It’s populated with freely available material you can get from article directories, and is (usually) 100% white hat.

If you think about it, by gathering together a series of articles and other material on one particular topic from multiple sources, you’re creating a useful resource for anyone interested in that subject.

In the bricks and mortar world you might think of it as a specialist store such as (for instance) scuba diving. There the store owner has pulled together lots of different products all about scuba diving and it’s a one-stop-shop in that niche.

Autoblogs are no different from manually created blogs, but take a lot less effort. And they come in different guises and are used for different purposes, but the ultimate goal is to use them to make money with.

So in my case, I’m using a self-hosted WordPress blog and building it with a set of (as I’ve said) freely available articles from an article directory. I’m monetising it using the Amazon self-optimising widget (like Google AdSense, but pays a lot more), and also eventually with an eBay feed, and of course AdSpurt.

Rather than monetise it directly as above, I could have just set the blog up to grow and rank well in the search engines with no direct monetisation. I could then either monetise it by persuading people to sign up to a mailing list and then having an autoresponder send them a series of offers every week, or I could use it to send traffic to my wife’s site.

Also, instead of using a self-hosted blog, I could have used for instance a free blogger blog, and again monetise it indirectly.

And there are umpteen other methods of building and monetising autoblogs.

Now I know that any non-marketer who is more of a techy geek would likely get very agitated at this and start making false accusations like “spammer” and “splogger”, and “ruining the blogging community”. I’ve seen that talk in various places, but this is total nonsense and in most cases the same people are running AdSense on their sites.

There’s nothing wrong with monetising a blog, and if you decide to do it the easy way via autoblogging, there’s also nothing wrong with doing that either. But some people just don’t seem to get it, and I get the distinct impression that they think that’s it’s somehow cheating to do things more effectively.

After all, what’s the difference between running a generalised article directory full of other people’s articles, and running a niche blog full of other people’s articles? It’s a different platform, but the net effect is the same.

So, just to be clear, there’s a distinct difference between a splog (spam blog) and and an autoblog.

Splogs are by their nature typically black hat, and sploggers are responsible for all the junk sites out there that are filled with AdSense and non-sensical scraped and gibberised wrangled content from other blogs, where all references to the original author of the material has been removed.

Splogs will just appear on the web fully formed often with several hundred pages of junk, thrown together in a couple of hours max and are never touched again. The life expectancy of a splog is about 2-3 months (often less) before de-indexing happens, so the creator isn’t going to spend much time on them and knows beforehand they’ll only get a limited life out of them.

Autoblogs are typically white hat and centre on a niche using a range of legitimately obtained material that gives credit to the original author and the all-important backlink to their site. It’s the back link which is what spurred them to write and publically make available the original material in the first place. The material itself is often genuinely useful and well written articles, but of course not always.

Autoblogs will start small and grow slowly and naturally like a regular site would, with new material being published every day or so. Anyone that finds them would be inclined to believe that they’re maintained by hand, whereas in fact the posts are automated. Your visitors benefit by finding their one-stop-shop on the topic they’re interested in, and you benefit by not having to have done any real work while also being able to monetise your site.

It’s a win-win, and that’s always important to me in anything I do. I provide value, and I take my cut.

Here’s the learning point.

If you provide genuinely useful material on a topic, and the site conforms to what Google expects to see on any quality site – privacy policy, terms, etc – and it stands up to human inspection, then you have nothing to worry about. Over time it will become a force to be reckoned with.

I’ve seen countless what I would call black hatters make comments in forums and on blogs that go something like:-

“I make my splogs so ugly that people want to immediately click on something to get away from them. So I put a big fat AdSense block in their way. Muhahaha!”

*sigh*

There’s just no need to do that. Comply with what real people want and what Google want and everything will be fine. You’ll have a long term useful resource that will bring you in a nice little extra income.

-Frank Haywood