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3Apr/110

E-books could be the next search-spam battleground

On Impact Media’s Digital Marketing Blog about a month ago, Mike Essex posited that Google’s moves to reduce the effectiveness of content farms might make e-books the next attractive frontier for search-engine spammers.

Essex suggests that a number of factors including the inefficiency of most e-book platforms’ copyright checks, the ease of slapping books together, the high royalty payouts, and the strong web ranks of most e-book platforms make e-books look very good to the sort of people who used to make a business out of scamming search engine hits.

He argues that e-book platforms really need to take a more proactive stance in dealing with this sort of exploitation of their systems, with measures such as integrating plagiarism detectors, verifying rights to blog-sourced content, making it easy to report stolen content, and spot-checking books from authors with suspiciously high numbers. He notes that if e-book stores are overrun with this sort of content, it makes legitimate e-books look bad as well.

We’ve certainly already seen some of this kind of thing pop up—a few months ago, I mentioned John Scalzi’s annoyance over fake, republished-Wikipedia-article books crowding out his own books in Barnes & Noble’s search rankings. Those were paper rather than e-books, but the principle is similar—and indeed, fake republished e-books would be even easier to do. Hopefully Amazon and other e-publishers will get together and deal with the problem before it begins.

Found via the Library Journal blog.)


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