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How Beloved Indie Blog 'The Hairpin' Turned Into an AI Clickbait Farm | WIRED

"In 2018, the indie women’s website The Hairpin stopped publishing, along with its sister site The Awl. This year, The Hairpin has been Frankensteined back into existence and stuffed with slapdash AI-generated articles designed to attract search engine traffic."

This is one of the worst kinds of AI-generated spam: a real, much-missed website has been purchased and spun into an LLM fever dream. It's now just a part of a Serbian DJ's thousands-deep portfolio of spam sites.

But the point made in the article about succession planning is really important. Media properties should be thoughtful about what happens to their domains once they've outlived their usefulness - even if the owner has shuttered completely. Otherwise anyone can scoop up the domain and abuse the goodwill built by its former owner for any purpose they like.

This is particularly true for journalism publishers. I recommend that they never let their domains expire for this reason, even if they've fully fallen out of use. You never know who might pick them up and abuse the trust of their community.

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