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Just this past weekend, Google's popular blog-creation tool, Blogger, was targeted in an apparently coordinated effort to create more than 13,000 splogs, the search giant said. The splogs were laced with popular keywords so that they would appear prominently in blog searches, and several bloggers complained online that that the splogs were gumming up searches for legitimate sites.

A typical splog might contain entries discussing how to play poker, with embedded keywords such as "online casino" and "Texas Hold 'em," making it turn up in searches for gambling Web sites. The splog may link to Web sites that receive commissions for sending customers to Internet casinos.

The splogs also are a big source of frustration for several search-engine start-ups that focus on blog searches, such as IceRocket.com LLC, Technorati Inc. and Feedster Inc. Technorati estimates that 2% to 8% of the 70,000 blogs created daily are phony blogs or splogs. Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks and majority owner of IceRocket, recently went online with a complaint that Google's blogging service lacks sufficient controls to prevent automated software from creating splogs in bulk. Title of his message: "Get Your Blogspot S- Together Google." (Blogspot is the name of the Web site where Google provides free hosting to blogs created with its Blogger tool.)

"It's the biggest problem on the Net right now after identity theft. We have to kill millions of the splogs per month" from IceRocket's index, Mr. Cuban said in an interview. He said that while spammers use a variety of blogging tools to create their phony sites, most that he encounters have been created with Blogger -- something Mr. Cuban attributed to the tool's ability to create blogs quickly, easily and free of charge. Following the weekend outbreak, IceRocket temporarily blocked new Blogger sites from appearing in its index.

Jason Goldman, product manager for Blogger, acknowledged on Blogger's official corporate blog Monday that the company had been targeted by what he called a "spamalanche." In an interview, he said he sympathizes with Mr. Cuban. But he said that spam is going to be an issue for the blogging community for a long time to come and that blacklisting Blogger would not be an effective response.

"Spam is a particular challenge for us because we want to continue to make the [Blogger] tool very simple to use but not encourage or make it easy for spammers to use," he says. Google's blog service, which hosts millions of blogs, began to notice a lot of phony bloggers using the service six months ago, he added.
If you've ever used a blog search engine to search for a common term, you'll know exactly what Cuban means when he writes about the risk of good signals being swallowed by the noise. There are a number of variations on splogs, but most merely contain pages of links, and many contain nonsense entries or fragments of commentary clearly cribbed from other sources.

Identifying Splogs
  • short posts (50-100 words) with hyperlinks
  • contain entries with embedded keywords such as "online casino" and "viagra"
  • search terms in the anchor links
  • odd-looking, super long URLs that are packed with keywords
  • multiple dashes in the URLs
  • use of .info domains (which are favored by sploggers because they are cheap)
Blogger: About Spam Blogs
Wikipedia: Splog

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How To Find A Good Divorce Attorney

For most, a divorce is a very stressful process that leaves everyone involved with a feeling of emotional exhaustion. When dealing with divorce laws varying from one state to the next, the possibility of alimony, child custody and the filing of complicated divorce papers, it may be a good idea to meet with a divorce attorney for professional advice surrounding local divorce laws and any other factors that may affect your case. When searching for the right divorce lawyer, it's important to note that there is a considerable difference between a good divorce attorney and the right divorce attorney for you. There may be dozens of qualified divorce lawyers in your area, but finding the one that will work to achieve your needs will ultimately be the best divorce lawyer for you.

When searching for a divorce attorney, most people's first reaction is to grab the telephone book and start flipping through the yellow pages. While this is a good place to start, choosing a divorce lawyer requires much more thought than simply picking a name at random. Attorneys specialize in different areas, which is why it's important to make sure the one you choose is experienced in handling divorce cases. Once you have made a list of local divorce lawyers to contact, your next step is to schedule a consultation with at least three different attorneys. This is essential in your decision as it will help you to get a better idea as to your options and how a different divorce lawyer may handle your case. In addition, meeting with different divorce lawyers will help you to compare rates and ultimately choose the attorney that you feel the most comfortable with.

During your consultation, a good divorce attorney will be able to answer your questions about local divorce laws, child custody laws and will likely be able to offer valuable advice on divorce. In many cases, couples can resolve the division of assets and custody matters through divorce mediation. Others, who are unable to reach an amicable solution, must proceed to divorce court where a judge will hear the circumstances of the case and will issue a ruling as to the division of assets, alimony (when applicable) and child custody.

The complexity of a divorce case will greatly determine the attorney fees, which will be discussed during your initial consultation with a divorce lawyer. When discussing your case, it is essential that you inquire about these rates, how and when they are to be paid and who is responsible for paying them. As a general rule, the more work that is done and time spent on a case, the higher the attorney fees will be. If a divorce case is concluded outside of divorce court, the costs are likely to be less than if that same case were to proceed to trial.

Once an agreement is reached and you have chosen the right divorce attorney for your case, a retainer agreement will be signed by both you and the attorney. This contract is simply a formal written agreement that outlines the services to be offered and the cost of said services. A copy of this agreement will be kept on file at the office of your divorce lawyer and a copy will also be provided to you for safekeeping.

The information contained in this article is designed to be used for reference purposes only. It should not be used as, in place of or in conjunction with professional legal advice regarding divorce. If you are in need of divorce advice or are considering a marriage separation, consult with a professional divorce lawyer in your area for further information and/or divorce advice.
Andrew Daigle is an author and creator of many informational websites including Divorce Attorney Search, Mesothelioma Attorney Search and many more.

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Finding the Right Divorce Attorney

Fifty percent of all marriages in the United States end in divorce. That's not a great statistic, but it's true. Although divorces may be emotionally combative, most divorces do not end up in a contested trial. With a divorce attorney’s help, parties can negotiate settlements for things such as spousal support, child custody, division of property and so on. Finding the best divorce attorney for your particular case is not an easy task. As you can imagine many divorce lawyers will take your case but they have no vested interest in the final outcome. That's why your own due diligence is so important when it comes to finding and hiring the right divorce attorney.

Divorce laws are different from state to state so you need to find a divorce lawyer in your local area to best handle your divorce case. You may know of a great lawyer in California that one of your friends or relatives used but if you live in Massachusetts, that won't do you much good. There are many things you need to consider when choosing a divorce attorney and I've tried to outline what I consider to be the most important factors.

Since divorce is not an uncommon occurrence today, chances are you know someone who has already gone through a divorce. So word of mouth from family members, friends and coworkers would be one of the best ways to narrow the field down.

If you have time, you could visit your local courthouse and witness different attorneys handling their clients divorce cases. As I mentioned earlier, most divorces do not end up in trial, but if yours does, you would certainly want the best divorce attorney to handle your divorce case.

Research the attorney you're considering with the state listing of trials and motions. Since this person will be representing you, make sure everything checks out before you make your decision.

Don't limit your search to one divorce attorney. Interview many. Find the person you're most comfortable with and understands what you're looking for. Ask what kind of divorce attorney they are. Are you and your spouse looking for a settlement, or do you think your case will go to trial? If it will go to trial, you want a divorce lawyer with lots of trial experience.

You could also find out who is on the board of matrimonial lawyers in your local state and the better lawyers are usually on it.

Always have a written agreement with your divorce attorney. Do not hire your attorney on an oral agreement only. This can lead to misunderstandings and could end up costing you more time and money than you bargained for. Make sure your fee agreement, or retainer is in writing and you understand the terms completely.

Last but not least, get references. There's nothing more important than references.

Needless to say, this list could go on and on, but you should have a good sense of what to look for. Every case is different so make sure the divorce attorney you choose, is familiar with cases like yours and he/she has your best interest at heart.
Andrew Daigle is the owner and operator of many informational and resource based websites including a Divorce Attorney Resource site and a Mesothelioma Lawyer Resource site and many more.

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