An article spinner is a software program that uses a thesaurus or algorithm to generate a relatively unique article from an existing article. These programs are often careful to avoid replacing words that severely alter the meaning of the article or make the article entirely unreadable. A poorly designed article spinner might produce nearly illegible articles, but even a good one is unlikely to come close to producing articles that read well and accurately reproduce all facts from the original article. These programs are frequently used to generate new content for search engine-optimized websites. The practice of spinning content that is not owned by the user of the spinner is highly controversial because spun articles are never 100% unique.
Every article spinner is different but they all work in essentially the same way. They take a take word and attempt to replace it with a synonym, or at least a similar word. For example, dog might be replaced with canine, and coffee cup might be replaced with coffee mug. Not all words can be replaced because the article will most likely end up so altered that the original statement is lost. Instead, an article spinner might aim for 30% to 60% uniqueness — whatever amount is believed to fool the search engine the article is intended for.
Article spinner programs are available in both free and paid versions. Normally, the average free spinner does not have quality on-par with a paid program. In many cases, however, the quality of the new article does not matter because it is only meant to help a website rank higher on search engines. The readability of the articles takes a backseat to this priority.
While the term article spinner traditionally refers to a program, more people are turning to freelance writers to spin their articles. In fact, some writers do not write unique content; their writing is entirely spun from existing articles. Articles spun by an actual person are typically easier to read and have a better overall flow. Due to how widespread and easy article spinning is, some companies that outsource article writing have difficulty hiring freelance writers that do more than spin.
The legality of article spinning is dubious at best when the copyright of the original article is not owned. It is generally not considered possible to spin a 100% unique article out of someone else’s copyrighted content. The new article might still have similar sentences and the same overall flow. Spun articles might also fail plagiarism checkers, which is enough to prove copyright infringement in some jurisdictions.