Spinning Insults Intelligence, Steals Money and Hurts Businesses

Posted on 19 November 2010 by John Britsios

Article spinning has become increasingly prevalent over the last couple of years. Bad enough that it has existed for quite some time… there are those in any industry that prefer to leech off the work of others. But now, a whole new sub-industry has risen.

By “risen”, I mean like the stink from a steaming pile of crap. These relative newcomers offer automated programs which will replace many of the words in a selected text with synonyms and presumably spew forth a “unique” copy.

Unique copy… George Carlin would have had fun with that one, eh?

Are “spun” articles the best way to go?

One well known spinning service goes so far as to say, “There is no better way to increase your Google rankings than via article syndication to blogs.

To which, we respond, “WTF?” Are they serious? No better way? I think these people need to learn more about SEO than they would seem to know already. There are LOTS of better ways! One way that comes to mind would be to write original articles and web copy!

Most honest copywriters see red when they hear about someone writing (or stealing) a single article, running it through their article spinning software and generating 50 or a 100 copies and selling each as a “unique” article.

Such practices are reprehensible in my eyes! Even if the seed piece isn’t stolen from another writer, it still reflects an attitude that falls somewhere between shiftless and larcenous.

Who does it hurt?

It betrays the clients, it betrays the directories (nearly all prohibit such practices), it betrays the users and it betrays the search engines. It fills the web with garbage, while filling the spinner’s wallet.

On top of all that, regardless of the claims of the peddlers of such spinning programs to the contrary, calling such articles readable is ludicrous. It’s virtually impossible to generate even one copy that isn’t an obvious knock-off… 100 is a ridiculous notion.

As for the clients of these so called “writers”, if they knowingly perpetuate the practice, they’re just as guilty, if not more so. Even a disturbing number of self-proclaimed ‘professional’ SEOs, get much of their content in this manner, either outsourced, or done in-house.

For which, of course, they charge the same as the more reputable firms charge for truly unique work. As you might guess, I don’t rate them too highly, either. If you’re going to accept payment for professional service, then by all means, deliver professional service!

Just as link spam continues to clog the internet, spinning programs are doing the same. Many article directories have been so inundated with spun articles, that staff limitations have made it virtually impossible to control article quality.

Web copywriting is a profession that was once respected for its contribution, but as a result of article spinning, many excellent writers have stopped writing in frustration. This has made it difficult to find and keep good writers that can provide high quality unique content.

If you truly care for the success of your website and/or business, don’t publicize your site via article spinning. It reflects badly upon you and your business.

Author: John Britsios

Founder and Chief Information Officer (CIO) of SEO Workers and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Webnauts Net, a qualified Forensic SEO & Social Semantic Web Consultant, specializing in Semantic, Forensic & Technical Predictive Search Engine Optimization, Content Marketing, Web Content Accessibility, Usability Testing, Social Semantic Web based Responsive Web Design & Ecommerce Development, Conversion Rate Optimization.

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    • http://www.wordplaycontent.com Content Writing India

      Tell me about it!

      Article spinning software has made life very hard for honest and creative writers – and this trend is virtually increasing! We need an association that can counter this with the help of some good laws and regulations!

      I’m happy I stumbled across this blog, because I can related to a lot of posts published here. Good work with the blog, looking for more updates!

      • SpencerLaedeke

        There are already laws in place in the USA to stop copying the actual content. The problem is you can not copyright the idea of your article. If i remember correctly all a person has to do with pretty much anything is change it by at least 30% to call it unique. just like Coca Cola pepsi and all of the other cola drinks out there. The end product can not be exact but can be similar. Therefore using a spinner on other people’s articles will never be made against the law, it is still unethical. Just like all of the Internet Marketing Gurus that claim anyone that speaks English can make thousands of dollars a month as an article writer or all the push button making money programs. All unethical but these guys are making huge amounts of money on the web right now. At least the USA Government is going after some of these guys that claim they are making huge amounts of money using a program but are only making money from selling the program instead.

    • http://www.purefx.co.uk/category/market_commentary/ Currency Broker Guy

      Too true, and I’ll never engage in article spinning. It is frustrating though to see competitors that you know use article spinning perform better on Google. The temptation is to throw away ethics entirely.

    • bh

      Actually I came across this article in trying to prevent the exact same thing. Earlier today, I had noticed a site with similar content to mine. The words did’t jive with the meaning of the sentences, but I also noticed that there was a similar tone.

      So I went back to a website I own, that I had created over eight years ago, and what this other person had done was stolen my articles and put them through some kind of spinner. When I ran their page through Copyscape, it did not find any issues, but surely changing a few verbs and nouns is not enough for Copyscape to claim it unique?

      In any case, what I am wondering is… how do we find these spun articles? If they are copied exactly, we can at least use the DMCA, but is there any software out there that can identify these articles?

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_R3DKQDR6DICADZSOLK54UTAMHM Posidonio Bouzoukia

      i have heared about an idea…of writing an article…then spinnig it two a programm ….and then spin it again to another and after to post it to your link wheel project.

      Whats your opinion?

      • Webnauts

        My advise is to stay away from such crappy strategies.

    • http://www.metapilot.com/miami-seo.html Metapilot SEO

      It’s done because it is an exploit that has been found to work successfully by many people for many sites. I wouldn’t waste your breath crying over it. I know copywriters who do it, website owners who do it, and SEOs who do it. I’d bet there are many others who would do it if they had an inkling of what software to use. Ultimately, it’s just written content and spun or not, most if what’s out there is just crap anyway. What’s more, a site’s content is only part of what helps it rank well in search engines. Architecture, keyword choice, and backlinks are as or more important to the traffic you, your audience, and so many others seek.

      • http://www.seoworkers.com Webnauts

        A SEO making such claims like you did in your first paragraph must be definitely suffering from the Dunning–Kruger effect. Didn’t you ever hear about the new algorithm called “Panda” or “Farmer”? Also your post have been edited! Self-promotion is strictly forbidden here, especially a sort of black-hat services.

        • http://www.metapilot.com/miami-seo.html Metapilot SEO

          There was no self promotion in what you edited and I can’t figure out why you would think so other than you’re still on the high-horse you were on when you wrote the original article. And, I doubt any of your readers would consider the first paragraph to be untrue–in fact, it goes along with the basis of your article.

          Also, as I am an SEO for corporate business sites (do you call that self promotion?) for I don’t engage in blackhat and my clients don’t expect or want me to.

          As far as Panda/Farmer, a page with a spun article doesn’t necessary fall into the category of pages devalued by that update.

          • http://www.seoworkers.com Webnauts

            If you did not have a self promotion message in the comment I edited, can you please post it again and let the others here tell if I was wrong? Seriously now.And even if “spun” have not been included in the “Panda” algorithm, doesn’t mean that it is a practice that Googles Patent would or will tolerate in the future. A link to the patent may be found in my other article here: http://www.searcheditors.com/b

            • http://www.metapilot.com/miami-seo.html Metapilot SEO

              I write my comment spam on the spot and don’t keep records of it, otherwise I would have reposted it for you previously.

    • http://www.seoworkers.com Webnauts

      A SEO making such claims like you did in your first paragraph must be definitely suffering from the Dunning–Kruger effect. Didn’t you ever hear about the new algorithm called “Panda” or “Farmer”? Geesh…

    • NickT84

      Obviously, there are good ways and bad ways to go about spinning.
      First of all, you should never spin someone else’s written material, that’s just plain wrong.

      I don’t see any harm in spinning my own articles though. That way I can generate tens of unique versions from one article and submit it to all the top article directories. By doing this it enables me to get more quality backlinks easily instead of just one. 
      Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out how this can be good for SEO.
      In fact, many SEO Experts use this strategy to promote their businesses or those of others. In my opinion this can’t be considered as blackhat.
      To me, it is not just a process that happens by the push of a button but I choose all the synonyms carefully so everything remains well in context and makes sense to the reader.

      Nothing wrong with that. Who agrees with me?