– Splogging by any other name

Edit: Guy Kawasaki has stated I am the only person EVER to ask to be removed from AllTop.

So what’s AllTop? It’s one of those messy links directory except for blog posts from bloggers. It’ll display your latest posts under your blog name on a page with a few dozen more blogs. has an Ireland section, and for some reason, and got added to their listings. You are encouraged to add your blog to Alltop as it will bring you traffic and then you are encouraged to link to Free traffic for you right?

Except what you’ll find is that Alltop and the way it’s structured will mean that it will have more inbound links and so eventually a higher Google ranking than your blog which results in Alltop being higher on Google for your posts than your own blog. Look at your website stats and you’ll see most of your visits will come via Google on a given day. Not as much now. They’ll start going to Alltop which promises you traffic. So you won’t get Google traffic but they’ll get to you eventually, right? Except now when a person goes to that Alltop page, they’ll be shown a page with 100s of links and dozens of blogs to choose from. There’s going to be a dropoff rate of traffic in the long term. Probably more noticeable for the smaller blogs that have a much poorer Google ranking than AllTop.

Alltop could have switched this off so you’d get the rankings but why do that? There are ads on eachsome of their sections. They want the Google traffic. To me Alltop is on a par with splogs, spam blogs that take your content and redistribute it with ads plastered all over it.

I’m really surprised at the lack of cop-on by those that think adding their site to this site will help them. It’s Web 0.5 thinking.

Heute gabs Spam
Photo owned by sonnenbrand (cc)

Now many might think I’m being hypocritical as I own two aggregators –, the Irish Politics aggregator and, the Irish Food and Drink aggregator. Except both aggregators don’t attract Google to the summaries that are on these sites, they send you direct to the actual blogs and give them link love. used to do this at the start too so that your blog post would be a few places below summary of your post. That was annoying. They fixed it.

I don’t mind being linked to or even being aggregated but I do mind my work being used to step on me to place better in Google for my own content. Even if it’s just the title of my blog post.

Without any verification my blogs were added to Alltop and when I had to send an email (where’s the online form to ask to be removed? This is 2008) there was again no verification. G’wan, send an email and ask for a blog to be removed. See what happens.

Wanna have fun?
Meanwhile, if you want to have fun with AllTop, why not use this script from Donncha which will redirect the AllTop robots?

21 Responses to “ – Splogging by any other name”

  1. Brilliant! Thanks. Look forward to becoming a regular reader. I’ll point people to this post.

  2. i’m not on alltop – i’m almost developing an inferiority complex – feckers! c’mon include me so i can send an email.

    nice one

  3. Dayngr says:

    Your post was a little inaccurate. Alltop doesn’t run ads. I actually like the idea of being on alltop. I’ve had thousands more people find me and in turn become follwers. Maybe it’s just me. I could care less about page ranks and I don’t really see what the big deal is or why you felt the need to trash them when you’ve obviously admitted to running your own aggregator.

  4. Gordon says:

    @peter Ditto!!

  5. Damien says:

    @Dayngr Do keep up, even Guy says they sell ads:

  6. Do you actually have a clue what alltop is ?

    If you happen to care to what people say (that web 2.0 thing called conversation), you might be interested to know that all the sites were suggested by other bloggers, so you should consider fortunate to be referenced by other peers.

    The whole concept of Alltop is better suited to people who haven’t still grasped technologies like RSS and feel more comfortable with this king of information visualization.
    Guy Kawasaki is one of the most inspiring marketing authors today, and i’m pretty sure that the last thing he wants is to splog. And he sure doesn´t need the pagerank that Alltop already has with you traffic.

    The one thing that you could argue relates to content copyright, but afaik Guy emails each blogger regarding the fair use of RSS feed.

    If you feel your content shouldn’t be included in Alltop, it’s probably because it isn’t really worth it.

  7. @gordon

    I know mate i really fell like an outsider sometimes… now the sploggers [or not] dont even want me… i need a fluffy link and some coffee before i get stressed here and prune all the branches of that helpless betula jacquemontii

  8. Deborah says:

    Fair play for posting this Damien.

    Who were the bloggers who suggested said sites then, that’s what I’d like to know!

    The concept is not new and unfortunately extremely common in Ireland and probably other countries where the internet is still sort of “new”. Look at the so-called “Internet directories” like My business was listed in it without my permission, but just the name and address. If I wanted it to point to my site I had to pay them for the privilege and fight them for google rankings. Yet just look at the directory to see how many suckers do pay them, and that’s just one of many. Sad.

  9. “If you feel your content shouldn’t be included in Alltop, it’s probably because it isn’t really worth it.” – erm, how on Earth does this work?

    If it’s any comfort, Google seems to have started penalising sites which use this sort of “everyone link to big centralised pointless page” tactic; you don’t see’s ‘global tag’ pages that much in search results anymore, for instance.

    “The one thing that you could argue relates to content copyright, but afaik Guy emails each blogger regarding the fair use of RSS feed.” – Clearly not, in this case.

  10. Oh, dear. Just had a look at the offending site. Ewh. It looks like something one would expect to find on an expired domain. Unusable, as far as I can see.

  11. Rahood says:

    Never heard of it before but it just looks like they found simple pie and did not know when to stop adding feeds. Typical newbie coders mistake, and dont get me started on the header/footer ..we are so trendy that you the user are the one thats wrong mentality.

  12. @Robert
    As blogs are recommended by other bloggers/users, if you think that their opinion (they’re your readers, after all) shouldn’t matter, perhaps you shouldn’t be in the content business.

    As for the content copyright, that was the only valid reason, as i said. And even so, it fits in fair use of RSS, if not stated in your feed otherwise.

    On what it looks like, it’s a matter of opinion. And it’s about the content, with hundreds of high profile bloggers beeing part of Alltop. I guess they are all mistaken and you got it all figured out with your splogging theory.

  13. I’d find it quite reasonable to request not to be added to a crap jumble of pointless links, even if one of my readers allegedly did think it was the bee’s knees. Many of the people who read my blog are a bit odd. They’re entirely free to read if they want, but I would draw the line at assuming that they know which page-rank grabber is best for my site.

    “Content business”? Oh, honestly. Get a grip.

  14. Robert,

    – do you have any solid arguments to call the other aggregated feeds pointless (on each alltop topic) ?

    FYI, many of the aggregated sites don’t link back to alltop (i surely don’t), so the linkbaiting only works if the blogger wants so. In fact, it’s alltop that brings traffic to blogs.

    Alltop has a pretty good page rank. And it has the respect of the people who actually read / know Guy Kawasaky. Reputation is something that Google doesn’t get you.

    We might as well be asking to remove all blogroll links. Tim Berners-Lee would be proud of it. not.

  15. Oh, I have no issue with the _feeds_; I just think that the _aggregator_ is pointless.

  16. Rahood says:

    @Armando Alves: You might need to read just what I typed again.
    SimplePie+Newsbloc is the free open source backend that Alltop is running on. I never typed a word on just what the UI looks like.
    The header/footer comment is straight from Alltops FAQ.
    You seem very concerned for a humble blogger.

  17. Sabrina Dent says:

    @armando: “so you should consider fortunate to be referenced by other peers.”

    I would consider any irish “top” list that didn’t include Damien Mulley to simply have failed at its job. Damien is far and away the most popular blogger in Ireland, and holds a Technorati Top 10K ranking, which is no small accomplishment for a bloke blogging from a tiny island with a population of 4.2 million.

    That isn’t luck. That’s DUH.

    Although I find AllTop to be *as* irritating as Damien does, I find it so for different reasons.

    I do not find it annoying that Damien wasn’t asked permission, as he publishes an RSS feed and RSS is not an opt-in platform, nor do I particularly think it needs to be an opt-out one, either. This argument is as old as RSS itself, however, so let’s leave that aside.

    What I *do* find intensely irritating about AllTop is that while depending on
    RSS for all of its content, it publishes no RSS feeds for any of its top lists. None.

    I’m not saying there’s no inviting “subscribe to this feed using RSS” button. I’m saying there is no published RSS at all. Not even in the browser bar. It doesn’t exist.

    That’s crappy, to feed off other people’s feeds yet force visitors to go to the site and stack traffic to use it. It reads as a particularly distasteful kind of calculating. It reads as page view hogging, and it reads as selfish. It isn’t nice, and it is the opposite of the progressive web vision I would expect Guy Kawasaki to have.

  18. By “fortunate” i ment having earned recognition of other bloggers, i was not impliying that Damien or other alltop feeds were lucky.
    Damien is certainly popular, and has rightfully deserved that status. So is Guy Kawasaky, Alltop’s author, currently standing at #83 in Technorati.
    (not that i believe that much in Technorati rankings)

    As for permission, you could apply a creative commons license for RSS feeds, for instance (added at bottom of each RSS post).

    I also understand your concern with Alltop not having an RSS feed. My understanding is that it would be hard though to keep up all the with topic feeds (100+ posts per day on some), so it’s reasonable their choice to keep the magazine rack spirit.
    I guess they could provide an OPML tough.

    Tip: Alltop has a customer support room here:

    Disclaimer: i’m not affiliated in any way with the Alltop team. I just happen to be a long time reader of Guy Kawasaky. He syndicated my RSS for, after asking me, with my blog being was suggested by a friend of his.

    @rahood: sorry, i was replying to #comment-900454

  19. Sabrina Dent says:

    Umm, honey, if they can get the 100+ post *in* they can get the 100+ posts *out*. This is not rocket science. We do, as they say, have the technology, and this is done routinely all over the web all day long.

    Whatever. It’s a choice, and it’s just a bit dodgy really. You are, obviously free to feel differently about it.

  20. John Browne says:

    I don’t know about the etiquete of arguing with people on someone elses blog but @Armando Alves I don’t believe creative commons licenses carry any legal weight in Ireland at all.
    But then again with the internet it’s very dificult to say where any jurisdiction lies. I assume Alltop is a US based site.
    It’s layout is quite difficult to follow but then again all it seems to be is an RSS reader and everyone has their own personal preferences on how they aggregate their RSS.
    @ Damien
    As this seems to be a feeds aggregator site which picks the feeds (popular ones presumably) loads thme onto a page and then sells advertising, how do you feel about sites that allow individual users to pick feeds to view and the sites maybe sell advertising around that? Sites like Bloglines or Google Reader for instance. Google reader allows you to share the RSS feeds you aggregate.
    One that sticks out as perhaps being the (I hesitate to use the word dodgy but) dodgyest of these site would be feedbucket as this allows anyone to put your rss on their site by conveniently providing the javascript to do it.
    It all seems like a very grey area to me, because even if the sites aren’t doing advertising now there’s nothing to stop them ding advertising in the future.

  21. […] Damien points out in his post about Alltop several months ago, I am concerned about the Alltop site showing up before this blog in Google […]