UMBC researchers investigate the Blogosphere

September 5, 2006

Research on detecting "splogs" by Professors Tim Finin, Anupam Joshi and Tim Oates and PhD students Pranam Kolari and Akshay Java of the Computer Science and Electrical Engineering Department was mentioned in an article in the September issue of Wired Magazine. Splogs are spam weblogs that are automatically generated to host advertisements or to raise the rank or affiliated web sites. The UMBC group recently published a study showing that more than half of the active English language blogs were actually splogs.

Blogs have become an important new way for people to publish content on the Web, form online communities and communicate with one another. They are also being used by large corporations and government organizations to foster information flow and collaboration that cuts across the boundaries that result from traditional hierarchical organization. A recent study by David Sifry estimated that there were 50 Million Blogs in August 2006.

The UMBC ebiquity lab has an active blog research group that also includes Professors Anupam Joshi and Tim Oates, PhD student Justin Martineau and Dr. James Mayfield of the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory. One project has built a system that learns how to differentiate splogs from authentic blogs, a task complicated by the evolving techniques splogs use to avoid detection. A version of the system being used by a major blog search company to help it identify splogs.

The group is engaged in a number other projects surrounding blogs and blog services. Vox Blogguli is a prototype system to find blog posts expressing an opinion on a topic identified with a set of key words or phrases. Feeds That Matter is a service that organizes blogs by topic and popularity and helps users find blogs to follow. The group is also modeling influence in the Blogosphere and how information flows through it.

For more information, please contact UMBC ebiquity.