A recent case study shows how AI spam blogging can help a company’s website get millions of hits in just a few months. Powered by Google Search and Google Ads.
The Polish company “TS2 Space” is a provider of satellite-based internet, mainly for American and Polish soldiers.
TS2 Space is also an AI spammer: since February 2023, the company has published at least 336,260 blog articles written by AI in several languages, including English, Italian, German, Danish, and others.
Initially focused on topics relevant to the company, such as satellite phones, it now publishes content on everything from climate zones to new cars and the latest smartphones to model kits and city tours. All articles feature an AI-generated image – even when an original image is available, as with the Pixel 8.
Speaking of the Pixel 8: The pure facts about the device in the article are correct, but the Google smartphone had not been released by the end of the ChatGPT training in April 2023.
This is a sure indication that TS2 Space does not (only) generate texts from scratch, but also draws on existing sources and rewrites them. Numerous blog posts cover current topics.
Many of them are published under the name of Marcin Frąckiewicz, the founder and CEO of TS2 Space. Other authors on the blog could be AI-generated personas. At least the images of the authors are AI-generated, unlike the portrait image of Frąckiewicz. The prompt used for generation is still included in the filename.
Frąckiewicz describes himself as a “renowned author and blogger, specializing in satellite communication and artificial intelligence” and boasts of his “insightful articles” that “delve into the intricacies of these fields, offering readers a deep understanding of complex technological concepts” and are “known for its clarity and thoroughness.”
Google rewards AI spam with millions of clicks
Google rewards this kind of AI spam with millions of clicks. According to the web analytics platform Similarweb, ts2.space had up to 13.5 million hits in November 2023. That’s more traffic than many small- and medium-sized publishers with several full-time editors can generate.
In addition to organic search, Google is likely to drive massive traffic to the site through News and especially Discover. The blog also came to our attention through Google Discover.
Marketing activity becomes a business model
TS2 Space probably had serious intentions for the blog in the beginning. The first posts date back to September 2019, when they were still handwritten articles about the company’s specific products and services.
However, like so many corporate blogs, the company ran out of steam after the first few posts. Another post didn’t follow until 2022, before the AI spam kicked in starting in February 2023, with at least a triple-digit number of posts per day in some cases.
Since TS2 Space now places ads on its pages, which is atypical for corporate blogs, the company likely recognized AI spam publishing as a business model.
The service is funded by advertising from Google. This makes the site yet another example of Google promoting AI spam sites on a large scale, and then making money from the Google ads placed on the site.
The problem isn’t so much TS2 Space. If the company sees fit to promote itself that way, or to make money directly from ads, that’s their business.
The trouble is that Google hasn’t been able to get a handle on these sites, of which there are many, for months. But as the gatekeeper of the open Internet, Google has a special responsibility: the traffic and attention that goes to AI spam sites like TS2 Space is not going to relevant content from legitimate providers.