If You're Using a Free Web Host for Your Band's Website, Your Fans Won't Find You

I've written before about the phenomenon of bands relying solely on a MySpace or a Soundclick website to make information accessible to their fans. Today, there's more news to discourage you from relying on free hosting sites.

Specifically, if you're hosting your band's weblog at BlogSpot, expect it to disappear from search engines, and perhaps even be blocked by some ISPs. "Spam bloggers" have been using free blogs (from Blogger and BlogSpot) to generate hundreds of thousands of fake blogs (also called spam blogs or "splogs") to rig search engine rankings in their favor.

It's the next wave of a trend that started with the abuse of "free for all" links pages back in the late 90's. If you posted a links page on your site and went to bed, the next morning, you'd wake up to a pile of the nastiest links you'd never want to see -- stuff that would even make G.G. Allin cringe.

Splogs may not always be so intentionally vile, but they serve no useful purpose. They're randomized sets of links and words designed to confound search engines.

So, at least one search engine's owner has declared that blogspot.com links will not make it into their index. And I expect others to follow.

It's no longer a matter of "looking professional" to your audience -- it's about actually being on the map. With TypePad available for $4.95, and plenty of cheap web hosting options that offer built-in Wordpress installations, there's no reason to sacrifice being found online for the sake of a few bucks.