Comments on Thomas Claburn’s piece

Thomas Claburn over at InformationWeek just wrote an article entitled “Is Google’s Spam Fight a Sham?” I had a bunch of spam-related work to do this morning, so I just dashed out a 15 minute reply. Of course, InformationWeek’s comment system wouldn’t let me post the comment, saying

The comment was rejected by the system. Please try again later.

plus the InformationWeek comment system works in such a way that Firefox can’t recover the comment. Bah. Luckily I’m paranoid and saved the text before I tried to post it. Here’s my very very quick reply:

Hi Thomas, I’m the head of webspam at Google. Having worked at the company for 7+ years and on webspam for 6+ years, I can say with confidence that Google’s spam fight is not a sham. :)

It makes sense that you’re not familiar with start pages; they’re much more common in Dutch. That’s why the second half of the post was in Dutch. Over half of Google’s traffic is from outside the U.S., so it’s only natural that we communicate about quality and spam in other languages — I believe we’re the only major U.S. search engine that does so. Google provides guidance in lots of non-English markets about individual practices in that market. For example, link exchanges are more popular in Polish and French than in English. I wouldn’t expect you to know that, but we pay attention to spam trends in lots of different languages, employ algorithms to counter webspam, and additionally try to communicate with webmasters and site owners to prevent spam in the first place.

Let’s see, you’ve got a couple other criticisms:
- We provide a way for people outside Google to report spam (That form is available in 10+ languages. Just change the “hl=en” to the language you want). We do the majority of our work internally rather than off of spam reports, but outside reports are helpful to see how we’re doing. Other major search engines solicit spam reports and feedback as well, and I believe it’s a sensible practice.
- You criticize AdSense for Domains. Before Google offered a product for parked domains, I know that some parked domains have at times hosted pop-ups and sometimes worse (things like malware). My personal opinion is that a reputable option for parked domains is a better alternative for domain owners and the web than some of the other choices; no one likes to type in a domain name and worry about malware, and AdSense for Domains lessens the chance of that happening. Note that AdSense for Domains is not my area of the company, but a quick search will turn up their FAQ at
http://www.google.com/domainpark/faq.html


Q: Are there any restrictions on the domains directed to the AdSense for domains service?
A: AdSense for domains must adhere strictly to Google’s AdSense policies. Domain names submitted to may not contain or link to any of the following content: illegal activity; site promotion of incentive or fraudulent clicking; violation of trademark (and related rights), copyright, trade secret, patent or other intellectual property right of any third party; software which contains a virus, worm or other code that could be damaging or harmful to a user’s computer system or stored information; libelous, defamatory, obscene or hateful content; or any subject matter not in line with Google policy.

Q: Is Google involved in the select or registration of the domains in the AdSense for domains program?
A: Google is not involved with the selection or registration of these domain names, and is not in a position to arbitrate trademark disputes between the registrants, our partners, and trademark owners. Accordingly, we encourage trademark owners to resolve their disputes directly with the registrants or registrars. As a courtesy to trademark owners, Google provides a simple publicly available complaint procedure and, once notified of a legitimate complaint against a specific domain, Google will no longer serve ads to that domain. For instructions on how to file a complaint, please refer to the Trademark Complaint Process page.

Okay, back to work killing webspam. Brian White found an interesting trick this morning that we’re in the process of shutting down, for example. Selina and Jos, thanks for writing your post about startpages to highlight which practices are good vs. bad. I know that the reception in the Netherlands has already been positive because Google is participating in the conversation about marketing there.

And Thomas, you’re more than welcome to listen in as we talk to site owners, webmasters, and SEOs around the world, but I wish you’d contacted someone at Google before commenting on our webspam efforts.

101 Responses to Comments on Thomas Claburn’s piece (Leave a comment)

  1. Matthew Cooke

    Before Google offered a product for parked domains, I know that some parked domains have at times hosted pop-ups and sometimes worse (things like malware).

    It’s a pretty poor excuse for doing something unethical that other people were doing something worse.

    I find it hard to believe that anyone at Google honestly thinks funding domain squatters is ethical and I strongly suspect that Googles domain park is making most of it’s money from domain squatting.

    When you have a motto “Do No Evil” most people don’t expect you to be paying people to domain squat.

  2. Hi Matt,

    I don’t mean to mischaracterize the efforts or motives of Google’s spam and security engineers. I have talked to some of them in the past and I know they take their jobs seriously and they’re doing important work to make the Web safer.

    Perhaps my belief that startpages are different from doorway pages only in terms of the intent of the creator fails to appreciate cultural differences in how the Web is used around the globe.

    And you may be right that the value of having Google involved in domain parking is greater than not having it involved. But I’m unconvinced it’s an entirely ethical way to make money. If it were up to me, the domain name industry would be a lot different.

    I’ll try to follow-up with you in the days ahead about this.

  3. Thomas — you just wait. Matt has a matter of days before the real ninja stuff starts. It has been almost a month, by my calculation, since SMX. You think Google is soft on webspam, you should have seen the look on some people’s faces when they realized he was in fact in the room.

    Anyway, great reply Matt. Just hope he gets to see it.

  4. JLH

    I have to admit that when I first read the Webmaster Central blog post I initially jumped to the same conclusion, “are they teaching me how to make a doorway page?” But that was from skim reading, after reading it further and then seeing what they were talking about I came to a different conclusion.

    I think this was just a poorly researched story, perhaps even a bit of link bait (but you saw through that with the nofollow), or just bad reporting. Who knows, good explanation though.

    So, tell us more about this Brian White trick? :) and why can’t I find a comments feed on Brian’s site? Wait, wrong place to ask that question. I’ll be quiet now.

  5. Matt, you are commenting on ‘InformationWeek comment system’, I had a very similar experience with your blog. I didn’t realize you had spam protection at 3 am in the morning. And after writing a long comment, I got this:

    Error: Please press the back button and fill the required field for spam protection

    Spending 15-20 minutes on it, luckily I had proxy setup to sniff the post data and again luckily browsers keep post data in memory. :)

    For Google being sham or not, I reported over 30 websites in Turkish by now. I also translated Google Spam report page to Turkish and wrote a tutorial how to report spams.(http://www.sonofnights.com/google-spam/)

    However, my experience is not very motivating. There are still tons of websites in Turkish placed in top 10 with full of spam. I can clearly say, %30-40 of the time, I’m dissatisfied with Google’s results in Turkish. As I mentioned, I reported at least more then 20 websites. I checked those sites after a week or so, they were still in top 10. That makes me see, Google as ‘hormone system in human body’, response procedure starts but mostly in small motion, takes long time for reaction.

  6. Mehmet, I’ll go find my Turkish friends at Google. I have a couple. :)

    JLH, it’s definitely a more common phenomenon in the Netherlands, just like you see more things with BBS’s in China. (How to pluralize BBS? BBSes?) :) Often times the post is written in the native language first, and then translated into English. The results may mean that the translation doesn’t read quite as smoothly in English, but usually the native language post resonates in that market.

  7. Hi Matt:

    Regarding this part of your reply:

    “…but I wish you’d contacted someone at Google before commenting on our webspam efforts.”

    Is it really reasonable for you to expect a writer to contact Google before writing an article such as this one. For example, if I were interested in writing an article about Google and webspam – should I submit a list of questions to you (someone else) – then write my article with the consideration of your information? Does Google actually have staff in place who do this on a regular basis? If so, who would I contact? Do you see what I’m getting at?

  8. Both of the Google Bloggers referenced seem to equate paid blog posts and links with spam – which is not always the case.

    Surely, some Bloggers have standards when evaluating sites to accept or reject for Paid blog posts.

    THIS IS ESSENTIALLY NO DIFFERENT THAN PAYING TO BE INCUDED IN A DIRECTORY!

    Again, as stated many times before, these practices have developed because of an EXTREME need for small budgeted, quality Webites to have a * cost efficient * option to promote themselves.

    Adwords can only go so far – and most can not afford the top spots. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

    What does it take to get THROUGH to all of you?! :-?

    If you are going to evaluate a Blog for taking paid posts, ….

    do you factor in the quality of the sites that are being reviewed?

    do you factor in the fact that the blog itself may have standards?

    do you factor in the fact these site may have NO OTHER alternative, because of a very very tight budget?

    If it were not for Gray Hat techniques many good sites would not have any cost effective option to get any rankings at all. As has been said many times before – THEY ARE COMPETING WITH MILLIONAIRE GIANTS!!!!

    Even if they can make just a few thousand dollars a year from their site, it can justify a Web presence, and even help pay their bills.

  9. Lawrence, I think the issue is that Thomas hadn’t even TRIED to contact anyone from Google.

    A simple search in ANY search engine for “google webspam” would return Matt’s name and site (in the first one or two results!), which would have taken 20 minutes of time on this site – at most – to find out that he DOES make himself accessible to those with issues or concerns. Matt may not be available 100% of the time, but an ATTEMPT to contact someone at a company before saying that they operate one way or another (especially when it’s wrong) goes a long way in proving that you’re providing legitimate news and not just whining because something doesn’t do everything you want. Matt has been very receptive in the past, he’s mentioned it in his blogs a half dozen times how he has worked with authors to answer their questions so they don’t look like idiots (my own paraphrase) when they publish their commentary.

    Personally, I think that Thomas doesn’t understand the terminology is evidence enough he shouldn’t be writing about it.

  10. Jarid

    HI Matt,
    While I agree with most of your response to the article, I felt I needed to take this opportunity to comment on Adsense for Domains, which is something that has irked me for while…

    As someone that works for a company with lots of valuable trademarks, this is a subject near and dear to me. Recently, we have identified over 50 sites that have parked domains abusing our trademarks. Of course, we can go after them via the (expensive) DMCA process. But, what Google has effectively created (or bought) is a monetization engine for these trademark abusers. Of course, you can say you’re not legally responsible for these because of the DMCA, but that doesn’t make it right. If you take away the financial incentive, you no longer have these sites to worry about. Why should trademark owners have to spend our time and money to police these sites which you have incented financially, and wouldn’t exist without AdSense for Domains (and similar competitor programs)?

    Note: I am a huge Google proponent (and even own a few shares), but I think Google AdSense for Domains is one you guys got wrong.

  11. Ditto to what Shawn said.

    Seriously, this site might as well be askgoogle.com or askmatt.com. I’d say he’s pretty accessible most of the time. Also, looking into a topic before writing about it just good practice…no?

    Admittedly I’ve made this error in the past and learned my lesson. A few extra minutes of research sure can save some pie in the face.

  12. Thomas Claburn, thanks for stopping by; I genuinely appreciate it and hope I didn’t come across as too abrupt. If I had the ability, I can think of 1-2 things I’d change about the domain industry myself. :)

  13. “Is it really reasonable for you to expect a writer to contact Google before writing an article such as this one.”

    E Lawrence Welch, if the writer is a blogger, maybe not. But we do try to respond to press inquiries from publications like InformationWeek. I wouldn’t say we’re perfect (a lot of people want comments on a lot of things), but I’d be happy to try to find an AdSense for Domain (AFD) person or PR person that Thomas could talk to.

    Jarid, AFD is pretty far outside my area of expertise, but a quick question for you. You mentioned DMCA; have you tried the Trademark Complaint Procedure for AdSense for Domains? I linked to it quoting the FAQ, but it’s at
    http://www.google.com/tm_complaint_afd.html
    To my naive eyes, it looked like an easier process than the DMCA request process at http://www.google.com/dmca.html

  14. Jimbo

    Face it. Nobody likes these spammy domain parking pages. They certainly don’t fit Matt’s Mantra of usability for consumers. And these people constantly take up domain names and never use them so then we have to deal with sites called flickr.com since flicker.com was probably taken (looks like there’s an AdSense for Domains sales call needed) ;)

  15. Re: the comment above about ‘being angry about comment moderation and nofollow” – apart from being off topic, HEAPS of bloggers nofollow. It is hardly an uncommon practice or a dirty secret.

    Why? because if you don’t, and if you happen to have a high PR site, you end up with reams and reams of meaningless comments intended purely to boost the PR of the commenter (as I believe we’ve seen here before).

    Also, it’s clear that linking to bad-neighbourhoods can be problematic for your own site – and what one person considers a meaningful site dedicated to boosting the fight against spam may be legitimately considered by others to be nothing but spam dressed as lamb.

    Many bloggers manually go through and remove nofollow from meaningful comments, and blacklist the IP of continuing offenders – as you’ve experienced on other blogs including my own.

    I think if you have something meaningful to say you should never be worried about your comments being moderated, and, if you’re saying them purely to have your opinion heard, you shouldn’t be worried about nofollow either.

    M

  16. Jarid

    Yes, the Trademark Complaint Procedure for AFD is much easier than the DMCA process. But, a) it puts the onus on the legitimate trademark holder, instead of the spammer; and b) it requires lawyers to get involved, which is never fun. ;)

    I should point out, I am not a lawyer (in case it wasn’t clear by my previous comment), but usually there are 3 steps once you identify a domain like this:
    1) Follow the Trademark Complaint Procedure for AFD to shut off the financial benefit
    2) Send a cease and desist letter

    And if 1 & 2 aren’t persuasive enough…
    3) File a WIPO UDRP case:
    http://www.wipo.int/amc/en/domains/guide/index.html

    But, pick almost any e-commerce site, start typing with “fat fingers”, and you can find countless example of these domain squatters:
    blomindales.com
    brooks-brothers.com
    crutchfelds.com
    ll-bean.com
    bluefli.com
    bananarepublics.com
    etc.

    And no, Google isn’t the only one responsible for this. But they did explicitly acquire this technology from Oingo/Applied Semantics way back when. So, clearly the company saw value in it.

    But, my question for Google is what is the value of AFD to users? I just don’t see it…

  17. Dave (original)

    One would think common sense would give a BIG hint that Google are very tight lipped on spam. Black-hats would always find nuggets to use against Google and more importantly their end users, if they were open & transparent.

    I believe Google takes SE spam very seriously, but not to the extent that it would undermine the end Google users experience. In other words, most spam is likely ignored/discounted (neutralized). Google searchers don’t care if a page has hidden text etc, only that it meets their needs. This, *on the surface*, can be seen as Google allowing spam.

    Some sites are big enough on their own 2 feet to ‘wear’ a penalty which again *on the surface*, can be seen as Google favoring some sites using spam.

  18. Dave (original)

    Absolute crap Dave I have never seen an authority site hiding text and beeing allowed through, what you say is rubbish.The only thing I see in common in sites beeing allowed through spam filters is they all carry google adsense – the passport of spam!

    Hard to argue when all you have is Factoids and bad language skills, but let me try break it down for you. Authority sites are just that, Authority sites and as such VERY rarely use, or need to use, cheap tricks like non-authority sites.

    A while back one “authority site” used hidden text and were made an example of by Google. This isn’t a Factoid, it’s fact.

    Business sense 101 dictates (to most anyway) that to make money from AdSense and AdWords, Google MUST enure their results are the most relevant. If they don’t, nobody will advertise with them. Now, tell me. What good would AdSense and AdWords have for Google IF they turned a blind eye to spam?

  19. First off, this is just another example of the long line of idiotic and unresearched sensationalistic crap written by mainstream media who, as Shawn K. Hall quite rightly pointed out, don’t even bother going to the source to ask the questions that need to be asked. Having said that, I’m not altogether sure that it would have mattered in this case. This is an article that was clearly written to incite and create a contrarian stance, with no regard for fact whatsoever.

    As far as the domain parking issue goes, it doesn’t bother me that much, and personal bias would indicate that it should. Whether we like it or not, some companies are going to put ads on parked domains. GoDaddy does it, Netjerk Slowlutions does it, I believe Dotster does it (but I’m not sure, so don’t hold me to that), and plenty of other companies do it. If Google doesn’t run ads on parked domains, someone else will. That’s not an opinion anymore…that’s a fact. It is what it is.

    With Google Adsense, at least we all know what we’re getting…relatively unobtrusive text ads without all of the popups or interstitials (the most annoying ad form going right now) or whatever else someone runs.

    This is a classic case of “lesser of two evils”: would you guys rather deal with the devil we all know or the devil we don’t? Personally, I’d rather see GAS ads on there than something I don’t know.

    Igor: dude, you gotta turn the volume down. Seriously, there’s nothing worth getting angry about with Matt’s blog. First of all, external nofollow is enabled in WordPress comments by default. Matt could edit it if he wants, but it’s a bugger to try and find the spot in the code (took me 15 minutes, although I’m not really a PHP coder…and from what I can gather, neither is Matt) to remove it from. Considering the number of spam comments Matt gets and the possibility that one might slip through, I wouldn’t remove it either if I were him. Just ask the scented candles and decorative pillows crowd about that.

    Second, the moderated comment thing isn’t his fault in all likelihood either. I’ve seen my own comments disappear from time to time, which usually means I’ve tripped the spam filter or said something that WordPress didn’t like. It’s not a personal vendetta against you or anything; my own hunch is that it comes from the template Matt uses.

    http://beccary.com/goodies/wordpress-themes/

    (It’s the third one down.)

    Speaking of moderating comments, Matt, it looks like you may need to add two more words to the filter (f**k and s**t). Looks like a couple of comments slipped through that way.

    And it looks like SEW rediscovered bold, just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water. You jinxed yourself, dude. ;)

    As far as using “external nofollow”, there are legitimate reasons to use nofollow. First off, I use it in my blog (although not in the comment area) when I’m linking to spammer sites and sites I don’t trust. The reason I do it is to make the life of users easier and give them a link they can click on if they want, but they’re also warned upfront that it’s spammy or scummy (I use CSS to indicate that it’s a spammy link using a different colour).

    Secondly, I use nofollow on any affiliate/advertiser links so that I can track the campaigns properly. Again, this is indicated to users with a different colour.

    So there are ways to use nofollow and still provide the same user experience.

  20. Oh, and Igor, the site Dave is referring to is bmw.de.

  21. Multi-Worded Adam – nice to hear a voice in the wilderness ;-)

    I’m no prude but I also noticed the c*** word slip through the other day..

    http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/back-from-foo-camp/

    I can remember getting a savage beating with mum’s wooden spoon as a child for using the word s**t – and grounded for a week for the crime of saying ‘bloody hell’ – but even as standards change (crikey, I even heard my own mom say ‘S**t’ the other day) even I as a person having worked widely in places where it is routinely used as a capital letter and full stop I still find the word cringeworthy :-)

    You’d hope people would self moderate..

    M

  22. Actually, speaking of that (and we are waaaay off topic – sorry Matt) when I did the search for the offending post, (site:www.mattcutts.com c**t) I found something a little interesting.. many of Matt’s posts are listed with and without the trailing slash (would you call that a canonicalization problem? Is there a ‘buzzword’ for the occurence?) – obviously that is something you could use .htaccess to correct – but maybe it could be a worthwhile addition to the GWMT repoirtoire?

    M

  23. Robert

    Now, if Google only started to provide reasonable results for subdomain farms (kijiji, eBay, others).
    Look here: 95 out of 100 search hits stem from one publisher.

  24. Dave (original)

    This is an article that was clearly written to incite and create a contrarian stance, with no regard for fact whatsoever.

    Crappy journalism 101, never let the facts get in the way of a good story. Better still is never ask the questions of the right people so you are writing from position of high ignorance.

    Aint that right keniki and igor? :)

  25. Hello Matt,
    I believe that from adWrods there should be an option that it was allowing you to choose if you want to show your announcements in parked domains. In my opinion, it is not profitable for the advertiser and for Google it is a desprestig.

  26. I think that Googles reaction to spam reports is abysmal… i could reel off a great many times when i’ve reported blatant spam listings (the most recent is in the LOCAL results which is truly annoying) which just get ignored time after time…

    I even considered creating a Firefox add-in allowing people to automatically submit spam reports at the click of a button but then i thought whats the point!

    And as for your comments regarding contacting Google first… well, lets not go there.

  27. Keniki, from what I can see you were running a poxy site selling office equipment and started to drop in the serps and got all pissed off. At this point you started setting up link farms around the ‘accessibility’ theme to get your sites back up. You’re not better than anyone else.

  28. Dave (original)

    mark rushworth, Google use spam reports to better their algorithms. They can’t be expected to personally reply to the 1000s they must get each day! I’m sure that Google are fully aware of most spammy tricks out-there by now and likely know of some before they are even used!

    How do you *know* you reports are “ignored time after time”?

  29. http://www.startpagina.nl has 4 million visits (pageviews?) per day, if I’m reading correctly the footer information. Fantastic! It has to be useful! I haven’t tested this, but by analysing the link profile of startpages and doorways it should be easy to differentiate between most startpages and most doorways.

    I think that google has to fight spam. It’s not hard to imagine what will happen if they don’t. But educating puppy webmasters and organizing an informer scheme will not in the long run clean up results.

    Will google change adsense to reduce spam? No. Maybe later. But it’s like global warning. We will deal with global warming later. It just costs too much.

  30. Wow! That was some pretty heavy commenting. I had to get up and get a snack in the middle of it, and came back to watch the conclusion! Better than WWF!

  31. Martin

    I believe that you, Matt, and your web spam team at Google are indeed fighting the good fight.

    With all due respect, Google is more that search. Why is Google actively allowing parked domains to be advertised on Adsense? Why are they accepting the money from these arbitrage guys? I checked my Adsense filter list this morning, and I found a total of 88 sites associated to parked domain companies (and we all know who these are, right?). As long as such sites are allowed to advertise on Adwords/Adsense, I can only laugh at the claim that Google is fighting spam. YOU may be fighting spam, but Google is not.

    (And please do not tell me, these guys are hard to catch – usually they all point to one IP address or range, and all sites are the same boilerplate rubbish.)

  32. Besides the startpagina.nl where is being referred to, the Netherlands knows about 50 more of those portal.

    The specific part about these portals are that every topic has its own subdomain with unique links / content about that topic.

    Getting links from those pages with the correct relevancy for your website and with the correct surrounding links can do nice thinks to your SERP’s in Google!

    Thanx for your interest in the Netherlands Matt, we do work hard over here to keep up with all those Googlers in the Googleplex.

  33. Igor

    That image does not respect the dignity of the person portrayed. Is it you? It must be, otherwise you wouldn’t be using someone else’s image, right?

    I can’t imagine why they should use the nofollow attribute. I believe the nofollow attribute is more useful to prevent users from abusing public areas where they can add a link to their website, like this comment area in Matt’s blog. A startpage selects websites based on their merit and quality. They should not use the nofollow attribute.

  34. Pim

    I’m one of those Dutch guys who manages a startpage. I do it just for hobby and I never excepted payed links on this startpage (sending a bill costs me more time=money !) even though the host allows me to sell a number of such links.

    Here are some observations on polution of startpages with paid links:

    - the host of the startpage I use places payed links
    - any host of startpages that I checked hosted payed links
    - while many links on startpages are selected because of their quality, the level of links to commercial websites varies according to subject. Typically, startpages on holiday destinations and financial products contain many “commercial links”
    - some high ranking Dutch travel sites have many links from startpages

    So while I’m a “white-head” hobbyist, the startpages that are finally indexed by Google are generally “blackhead”, as may be their effect on search engine rankings. I wonder why Google keeps indexing such pages.

  35. I am happy Google is fighting spam, their search results are the cleanest of any of the search engines.

  36. I have to admit the domain parking issue is one that has bugged me for years….. even before adsense. It’s a large business and domain squatters and the like make the bucks. I can understand the reasoning behind “if Google does not do it, someone else will anyway”, but it does not make it right IMO. It just doesn’t.

    The entire domain industry is pathetic at best and will be entirely different within 20 years or so anyway.

    I think one thing Google might consider doing to forming some kind of alliance with the “domain authorities” or whomever is in charge of this domain crap and help to clean up the domain industry. I feel it’s actually “deceptive” at it’s very best to type into the search box on your browser and “think” you arrived at a real website, even though you simply misspelled the domain you were looking for.

    Don’t you think that is deceptive to people who really do not know as much as we all do about the internet in general? I sure do. It truly appears that domain people and even firms who use advertising on those parked domains are totally deceiving the general public for a buck.

    The industry needs cleaned up, and I feel Google needs to be a part of it. It really has bugged me for a long time now.

    As far as the article? I’m agreeing with most; it’s another case of totally clueless journalism.

  37. Hi Matt,

    Thanks for the link to my article about Google’s discussion of startpages/portals in the Netherlands. Always nice to know it’s read allover the world :)

    Google’s staff members Selina and Jos had a terrific sense of timing in writing their post. At that moment, there were lots of discussions online about the startpages already because of a major Dutch advertiser refusing to pay large sums of money for links on some startpages.

    I think it is a good thing that based on the reactions in the discussion, most Dutch professionals are getting tired to find all kinds of low quality startpages in the SERP’s. A lot of people here are making money that way by cloning startpages or portals and using the lack of knowledge of some Dutch online advertisers in their own commercial advantage.

    Let’s hope these discussions improves quality of this popular Dutch phenomenon!

  38. me

    But Google does love spam. Just look at all the MFA sites they pollute the search results with. If Google wanted to help rid the net of spam they would not allow MFA sites into adwords. Of course, they will never rid themselves of MFA sites since they are so profitable to google. So, with MFA sites active Google IS the ultimate spammer or at least they are the enabler of spammers.

  39. Wow! That was some pretty heavy commenting. I had to get up and get a snack in the middle of it, and came back to watch the conclusion! Better than WWF!

    That’s the WWE now. They “got the F out” 5 years ago. ;)

    Igor, when I was referring to rel=”nofollow”, I wasn’t referring to a poster’s comments. I was referring to when I make a post about something and need to link to a spammer to illustrate a point. This gives the user a better idea of what I’m talking about when I talk about the person being a spammer.

  40. Peden202

    Matt,

    I have reported a website that uses black hat techniques including the spamming of google local results many, many, many times. Yet the site is still being listed on Google and is still receiving visitors by deceptive means.

    This has lead me to believe that Google is just putting on a front, claiming to fight spam and occasionally taking high profile action (BMW) to keep up the facades of spam fighters. I would love to hear your response to this.

  41. Igor, you’re missing the point: I want users to click the links, so that they can see what’s going on. They’ll see whatever spammy piece of crap I’m referring to first hand and be able to make better judgements for themselves. And I really don’t give a crap whether the spammer sees a referral from my site or not. If anything, some of the comments I get from spammers turn out to be as entertaining (if not moreso) than the original spam callouts themselves.

    But I also don’t want to be punished by a search engine for doing that, either. Hence, rel=”nofollow”.

  42. Folks, if you really think that Google isn’t winning the fight against spam, or is deliberately perpetuating MFA sites to make cash, please consider this:-

    1. Attend any IT conference in the world (esp adsense / adwords). You will there more than likely meet young blokes that speak of having made 10′s of thousands of dollars a month in the ‘glory days’ several years ago with MFA sites. Most are now looking for legitimate work. If Google were only interested in selling adsense that wouldn’t have happened.
    2. Hark back to the lte 90′s.. remember alta vista (and lycos.. and even that little startup called google) – remember how just about everything you could possibly search for would end up at porn or casinos? Remember the huge long lists of keywords at the bottom of pages?

    Hey, I’m not naive enough to think that the game will ever really be ‘won’ but I think adsense has made a +ve contribution to the internet – suddenly little bloggers can make some income on the side, even pay their hosting bills, with little effort – as such we’ve seen an explosion of mom and pop sites come through the ranks. I think that’s cool.

    Whether adsense converts as well in the future as people get ‘adsense blind’ is another matter – but just don’t start talking about big evil google killing the web with spam – I think that’s nuts. I’d rather be spammed by unobtrusive adsense ads than badware, porn and casinos, and while google is incumbent we get to avoid alot of that rot in our searches, which I reckon is a great thing.

    Obviously, the old conflict of interest thing legtimately raises its head regularly, and G prob needs to be ‘monitored’ – a tap of the rudder her and there to stay on course – but from what I can see, it’s an organisation with morals and standards – cripes it’s not as if Google is Microsoft :-)

  43. Matt, there’s something weird going on with the Google Blog Search spam/ dupes filter. When you create an Atom feed on a link:bla.com search, the *earlier* backlinker will (at least sometimes) be replaced by an automated shadow blog, and that’s in a “sort by relevance” search. You can expand all posts in the feed or the result, but then you end up with the dupe.

    Here’s an example search — Valleywag was first, yet it becomes an omitted result (and the Google Blog Search engine *knows* Valleywag was first, as a “sorted by date” result shows):

    http://blogsearch.google.com/blogsearch?hl=en&q=link%3Ahttp%3A%2F%2Fblogoscoped.com%2Farchive%2F2007-07-02-n25.html&btnG=Search+Blogs

    Perhaps only tangentially related to your team but you probably know who to forward to :)

  44. You wrote previously about directories and talked about directories needing to follow quality guidelines such as a quality review process.

    What is your opinion about Bid for Placement directories where the highest bidder gets the best position on the site, and the listings are ranked by the amount the person bid?

    How would you feel if this was combined with these link bid sites buying links on other sites to gain pagerank, and then turning around and selling links to the highest bidder?

    As a directory script owner, this new trend is not something that many know will be acceptable to google, and I have people asking me to develop this sort of script, but I haven’t really invested a lot of time in because it seems a little sketchy to me. It would be great if you comment on this.

    Sometimes directories get a bad rap and it is important to me to help promote quality, and your comments would be invaluable.

    Thanks!

  45. David

    Matt wrote this about directories:

    “I’ll try to give a few rules of thumb to think about when looking at a directory. When considering submitting to a directory, I’d ask questions like:
    - Does the directory reject urls? If every url passes a review, the directory gets closer to just a list of links or a free-for-all link site.
    - What is the quality of urls in the directory? Suppose a site rejects 25% of submissions, but the urls that are accepted/listed are still quite low-quality or spammy. That doesn’t speak well to the quality of the directory.
    - If there is a fee, what’s the purpose of the fee? For a high-quality directory, the fee is primarily for the time/effort for someone to do a genuine evaluation of a url or site.”

    Now, I think some of those heavily promoted bid for placement directories are good marketing tools. So, you can buy a link for advertising and not for pagerank.

    But I would like to read Matt’s opinion about bid for placement websites. I’m sure I know his opinion, based on what he wrote.

  46. Yes, Tom. With so much going on in this area these days, I would hate to find out later that this was not a valid practice. I would hate to see people massively buying links from each other and at the same time sharing pagerank through the buying process, only to find later that this is not an acceptable practice. We need to find out now.

    If Matt decides it is okay, then I will pursue making this script more available to phpLD users (we have a free version now and a limited release paid version). But I would consider it a disservice to promote this product, and then find out that Matt feels these types of sites are manipulating pagerank (in Matt’s opionion).

    I really want to see quality directories flourish, and I want to find out what the people at Google feel defines this quality.

  47. David wrote:
    “What is your opinion about Bid for Placement directories where the highest bidder gets the best position on the site, and the listings are ranked by the amount the person bid?”
    This is my “opinion” and I know you asked for Matt’s opinion.

    Truly think about it for a second; Matt wrote exactly what he feels is a quality directory. Why would he now also say that directories who accept sites based on the highest bidder would be “quality” as well?

    This is “my” opinion. Google would “not” think those directories are worth much. Just using some common sense.

  48. JA

    haha obviously this guy doesn’t know jack about Google let alone the spam aspect. Anybody who is interested in Google knows who Matt Cutts is, what he does and this blog. :)

  49. Fighting spam takes time and commitment…..

  50. Dave (original)

    I can see why Matt doesn’t bother responding now.

    igor, use nofollow IF you want, if you don’t want, don’t use it. It’s that simple a choice.

  51. Dave (original)

    I could not careless ig Google and/or ODP used nofollow and yes, I do have a listing in them. It’s their site, they can what they like.

    Dave, I gave my opinion on nofollow, there are other Webmasters and developers who do not agree with nofollow!

    Like I said, anyone who doesn’t want to, doesn’t have to use it. It is completely unreasonable however to expect other sites not to use it. It also completely unreasonable to expect Google to dictate how and when it should be used.

    If I as an original article author have written an article, and wikipedia.org comes around scrapes my article and shows up before me in the search results, while my article page may even go supplementary, do you think I will be happy?

    I doubt it’s your content that is putting them above you. But again, this an issue between yourself and wikipedia, not Google. Take it up with them.

  52. JLH

    Wow, is this ever off track. This blog has a disassociated personality disorder. Time for a pruning.

  53. JLH it’s known as the ‘IVB Effect’ – a force more destructive than Roger Ramjet’s proton pill, more repellent than a dead skunk on a hot day.

  54. No, It’s a dominant personality stifling other opinions by reducing the signal to noise ratio to as close to zero as possible.

    one of a growing list of frustrating examples..
    http://groups.google.com.au/group/Google_Webmaster_Help-chit-chat/browse_frm/thread/d0c45770c048fe6f

  55. Sam I Am

    Looks like one of ivb’s many personalities had a field day here today!!

  56. Sam I Am

    Matt, while I agree with most of what you wrote commenting on that article it’s rather harsh to mention trying to contact google before writing the piece seeing as that’s quite difficult to do. I’ve tried before and so far no luck…. not giving up though, it’s only been a month or two!!

  57. Sorry I know this is completely off topic, but I honestly do not understand the issue here. How can you expect Matt to take away the no follows? Seriously! You seem to have a complete misunderstanding of what a no follow is for… It is very simple. Because Google keeps in mind who you link to and he is allowing free linking of his comment section he needs to protect his own site. Does that make sense? I mean seriously going of like a complete monkey causing me to waste hours of reading through your stupid rants just is not worth it, first get a proper understanding of a no follow before going off like this! I mean the no follows has been here for months if not years.

  58. Dave (original)

    igor, if/when your site is good enough to get votes from other sites, you will.

    The nofollow attribute cannot be used to manipulate PR and cannot be used to hoard PR.

    If you spent half as much energy on your own site as you do moaning and griping about other sites, you would be at least PR7.

  59. Igor, that is fine. I understand your views on this issue, but I do exactly the same. I place a nofollow on all links I have no control over. Because the links are generated by other parties and not myself, this means that I might not want to associate myself with the particular site in question for SEO reasons. To do this manually is practically impossible. If in a blog post I am linking to a site that I use as an example I might also not want to give him some PR or associate myself with it, the nofollow once again play a vital role in protecting my site in that way. If I do then feel to share some PR the way of the page I link to I simply do not add the nofollow. Seriously Igor, Matt can decide what ever he wants to do with links on his site! It is his site! If you do not wish to comment here further because he nofollows your username, that is your choice, just as much it is his choice to protect his own site with associating his site with sites like yours and mine!

  60. hmm. This isn’t Google’s blog, it’s Matt’s blog. Matt does not ‘represent” Google in here at all as he has stated many times. You, I, and anyone else can run our sites how we wish. I can put nofollow or not on any link I wish in my site. If I don’t trust the link for “any” reason, I put nofollow. Matt is not “vetting” links in profiles in here, so how could he trust them? He doesn’t do any research on links in here either. He simply allows them. Just because he uses nofollow in here should not be an issue, and I really don’t know why it is?

  61. I know for a fact that Google does excellent work in fighting webspam. Just to today I found a site that´s really in our way with the way they spam. It’s one of those what I would call “soft spam” examples. 3 paragraphs of text, the first one in , the second one in and the last one in .

    Using an iframe to show a completely other site which takes up 90% of the page actually. Of course that site is related to the page, but Google doesn’t rank that site at all. So why should it rank high in an I-frame while Google doesn’t believe it should rank high on its own.

    I call it soft spam because its not the worsed kind of practice, but the intention is clear. And in fact it is a very basic form of cloaking.

  62. Doug Said:
    “If I don’t trust the link for “any” reason, I put nofollow.”

    If you don’t trust a site, why do you link to it?

    Maybe a stupid question, but I don’t see how a “nofollow” is going to change your mind on whether you want to link or not.

  63. ah,. in my previous post some tags got hidden,. lol

    let me try again:

    3 paragraphs of text, the first one in <h1>, the second one in <h2> and the last one in <p>.

  64. If you don’t trust a site, why do you link to it?

    I can’t speak for anyone else, but my logic behind using a nofollow link is to out a spammer. I want to make it easier for users to see the dirty spammy loser without getting burned for it myself.

  65. Very specific example Adam, but when you´re working with “normal” sites that aren’t about webspam,.. why would you link to a site you don’t trust?

  66. huh? Many, many reasons Peter. Many reasons. Too many to list right here.

    How about because I don’t want to hinder my visitors? They would have to copy/paste the url if I did not link to the site. I might be linking to a site for a whole slew of reasons. Adam’s example is also a good one. Goodness; NO site would always be linking to another site they trust. That’s just plain silly. Matt does not link “in here” to sites he trusts either. MANY sites don’t just link to who they trust.

    And by gosh; that’s why Google gave all of us the option to use the nofollow tag or “not”.

    I guess to answer your question a bit better; if you used common sense, you would certainly know the answer to your question anyway. :)

  67. Forums do it all the time. People post and the mods can’t go through every single link.

    So do blogs in their comments. This blog, for example, does it.

    You’re not going to find a “general” example because there isn’t any such thing as a “normal” site, but there are enough “specific” examples to justify its use.

  68. corey

    The trolls are ruining your site, Matt.

  69. Dave (original)

    Very specific example Adam, but when you´re working with “normal” sites that aren’t about webspam,.. why would you link to a site you don’t trust?Not so much about trust as it is about control! For me it’s the risk/reward ratio. I don’t want to risk being ascociated with “bad neighborhoods” as the ONLY site I can control is my own site. At the same time I do want visitors to find my site a useful portal to other sites on the same topic.

    I’m concerned you would need to ask that Peter!

  70. Dave (original)

    Oops, take 2 :)

    Very specific example Adam, but when you´re working with “normal” sites that aren’t about webspam,.. why would you link to a site you don’t trust?Not so much about trust as it is about control! For me it’s the risk/reward ratio. I don’t want to risk being ascociated with “bad neighborhoods” as the ONLY site I can control is my own site. At the same time I do want visitors to find my site a useful portal to other sites on the same topic.

    I’m concerned you would need to ask that Peter!

  71. Dave (original)

    Darn, kick in coffee, kick in!

    Very specific example Adam, but when you´re working with “normal” sites that aren’t about webspam,.. why would you link to a site you don’t trust?

    Not so much about trust as it is about control! For me it’s the risk/reward ratio. I don’t want to risk being ascociated with “bad neighborhoods” as the ONLY site I can control is my own site. At the same time I do want visitors to find my site a useful portal to other sites on the same topic.

    I’m concerned you would need to ask that Peter!

  72. Dave (original)

    Wrong, I and only I control who I link to and how I link to them.

  73. I never should have showed Dave the blockquote tag. :D

  74. Doug said:
    “Matt does not link “in here” to sites he trusts either.”
    As far as I know,. he uses nofollow because nofollow was originally meant to be used to combat blog spamming,.. remember?

    Dave (original) Said,
    “Very specific example Adam, but when you´re working with “normal” sites that aren’t about webspam,.. why would you link to a site you don’t trust?Not so much about trust as it is about control! For me it’s the risk/reward ratio. I don’t want to risk being ascociated with “bad neighborhoods” as the ONLY site I can control is my own site. At the same time I do want visitors to find my site a useful portal to other sites on the same topic.”

    Dave, you seem to think that a nofollow means you can link to whoever, and not being associated. That´s a dangerous assumption..

    nofollow does not mean you´re not being associated, it just means no PageRank is passed. But a nofollow link still puts that association to your website. Don’t ever think a nofollow protects you from all link associations.

    I think nofollow links also show up when you do a link: search in Google. The association is there, trust me.

  75. Dave (original)

    Wrong Peter.

    From Matt;

    The rel=”nofollow” attribute is an easy way for a website to tell search engines that the website can’t or doesn’t want to vouch for a link.

    Nofollow is recommended anywhere that links can’t be vouched for.

    From Google;

    Meta tags can exclude all outgoing links on a page, but you can also instruct Googlebot not to crawl individual links by adding rel=”nofollow” to a hyperlink

    Q: What types of links should get this attribute?
    A: We encourage you to use the rel=”nofollow” attribute anywhere that users can add links by themselves, including within comments, trackbacks, and referrer lists. Comment areas receive the most attention, but securing every location where someone can add a link is the way to keep spammers at bay.

    Q: Is this a blog-only change?
    A: No. We think any piece of software that allows others to add links to an author’s site (including guestbooks, visitor stats, or referrer lists) can use this attribute. We’re working primarily with blog software makers for now because blogs are such a common target.

    From me;

    If you link to a “bad neighborhood” on your site using nofollow you will NOT be penalized in anyway.

    Peter, please stop assuming Google lacks common sense.

  76. Dave,

    Using common sense you can understand that in a childrens site you can’t add a link to a porn site and expect it to have no concequences because of the nofollow.

    You make it look like a nofollow link is completely ignored. Trust me,. they´re not!!!

  77. Hi Matt, after reading your post I must say that I don’t envy you your job. Can’t be easy. However, your post did clarify a lot of things for me and I don’t think anyone can doubt Google’s commitment in fighting webspam. Thanks!

  78. That’s not what I said at all, Igor. That’s not even close to what I said.

    What I said was that I didn’t want to get punished by a search engine for a link that I provide for users so that they can see something spammy. I also tell users upfront that it’s a spammy link, and that I do not endorse its contents. If you think it’s anything else, you’re not looking at the situation from the correct context.

    It has nothing whatsoever to do with PageRank. Quite frankly, I couldn’t care less how much “link juice” I “lose” to someone, and I know Dave doesn’t either.

  79. I’ll drink to that, dude. Now let’s bug Matt for a permanent PR7 link on his blogroll. :D

    Hey Matt, how come you don’t have a blogroll anyway? Just curious.

  80. igor Said:
    “The rel=”nofollow” is against the democratic principles of Google PR algorithm.”

    I think that goes a bit too far. The democratic properties of links only go so far. The most basic democratic principle is that you can vote only once. With multiple sites, comments in blogs, etc. you can vote many times for your self… :)

    Nofollow is not a bad thing, but not understanding it is dangerous. Heck, who knows I don’t understand it either, but common sense dictates that it doesn’t protect you in any way.

    Nofollow wasn’t made for webmasters, it was made for search engines who want to improve their search results.. :)

  81. Dave (original)

    Dave,

    Using common sense you can understand that in a childrens site you can’t add a link to a porn site and expect it to have no concequences because of the nofollow.

    You make it look like a nofollow link is completely ignored. Trust me,. they´re not!!!

    There will be no direct adverse concequences from Google, no. The site vistors however would most likely vote with the Back button and sites that vote for the said site may just pull their votes.

    I never said nofollow links are “completely ignored”, they are your words, not mine. What I posted were mainly quotes from Google, not me.

    Peter, if you do understand the use and reasons for nofollow by now, you never will.

  82. Dave (original)

    Multi-Worded Adam & Dave you said you are using rel=”nofollow” not to leak your PR

    Wrong again. I don’t even subscribe to the PR leakage theory, or bother with the PR mania. You obvioulsy have no clue on my take on SEO.

    Using nofollow does not protect you from bad neigborhoods, if you link to garbage you will be penalized.

    Wrong again. The only time nofollow might not shield you from being associated with a “bad neighborhood” is if you are running a link farm, or you already are a “bad neighborhood” and you are in denial. VERY common BTW.

    Nofollow is not a bad thing, but not understanding it is dangerous. Heck, who knows I don’t understand it either, but common sense dictates that it doesn’t protect you in any way

    “doesn’t protect you in any way” LOL! Peter, that’s EXACTLY what is does! READ what *Google* have written, it’s not Rocket Science.

    Peter, all you have said that is true is this: “I don’t understand it either”. YET, you argue from a position of total ignorance by your own admission.

    Anway, enough time wasted on this.

  83. lmao keniki. Defcon 4, oh god let’s hope you never have to go to a higher level. Don’t forget you have school monday ;)

  84. Hi,

    “Hi Thomas, I’m the head of webspam at Google. Having worked at the company for 7+ years and on webspam for 6+ years, I can say with confidence that Google’s spam fight is not a sham.”

    Yea Right…

    You have been Cancelling peoples adsense accounts that have adsense on them from peoples own domains.

    YET,

    You guys own “blogger” (blogspot) and a good 60% – 75% of those are nothing but blog’s created for earning “adsense income”.

    Why don’t you try and cleaning your own house up…before you go around claening other people’s houses?

    Peace.

    Dan

  85. Dave (original)

    igor and kenki I feel quite confident that I speak on behalf of the majority of readers of Matt blog when I say will you please FUCK off with your totally irrelevant gripes about off-topic issues!

  86. Dave (original)

    Great, now you are posting other people email so spam harvesters can grab them. You have no clue and should not have access to computers or the Web.

    The sooner you are banned from here, as you have been many other places, the better.

  87. Ho ho ho Keniki. I like how you cut the quote of the email before it goes on to talk about your link farms which you’re using to get ranked for terms relating to office products such as ‘Toshiba Photocopiers’ and so on.

    I mean don’t get me wrong Keniki, I have created a fair amount of link farms myself in the past, but if someone spotted it then I was like ‘Fair cop, you got me’. I didn’t continue to pretend I was trying to help disabled people.

    I’m not sure why you think I work for David Naylor. Yes we talk, but he lives in Ripon and I live in South Essex…

  88. igor and kenki I feel quite confident that I speak on behalf of the majority of readers of Matt blog when I say will you please FUCK off with your totally irrelevant gripes about off-topic issues!

    1. I think that’s the first time I’ve ever heard you swear, dude.

    2. I’ll second this notion. You guys need to find other avenues for this stuff, particularly you, Igor. This isn’t Matt’s issue and never was. Let it go, already.

    3. Obviously Dave knows more about spam issues than you do, because he realizes that the best medicine to fight spam ailments is preventative (i.e. not to go around publishing email addresses in the first place). Spam Assassin or any other spam-fighting tools aside, if an email address isn’t published, it takes that much more strain off of any mail servers that process spam in the first place. You crossed a line by publishing that email address, whether you realize it or not….and it’s things like that which will generally get you banned from places.

  89. Nathan

    Hey Matt,

    How about an official Google webspam team statement on the legitimacy of the Digital Point Ads network of linking? And if Google doesn’t like it, how about actually busting it? It looks fairly simple to identify the majority of sites carrying these links and discount them.

    If Google doesn’t mind DPA, then please let us know so that those of us who abide by the Google guidelines in very good faith can sign up and receive the same benefit that other sites are.

    Thanks.

  90. I’m not so sure those links in that link monger network are not being discounted anyway. How does anyone really no for sure if they count? Just because a site might show a backlink in Google for a site in that slimey network does not mean it’s actually counted. Do you see? My bet is that they do not count and have not counted for quite awhile. Why should they anyway? If it were as easy as swapping links and joining some schemey type network, we’d all be doing it and manipulating Google in that way. Reading those threads over at that place tells me that MANY are having problems.

    Goes to show there are no quick fixes or tricks. They may last awhile but don’t last a long time. Anyone thinking this is all about links will not be successful in the long run either.

  91. http://forums.digitalpoint.com/showthread.php?t=382304

    http://forums.digitalpoint.com/showthread.php?t=98931

    The first thread gives you an idea about the lunacy of sites involved with this scheme. The silly links “have to” be on EVERY page of your site with NO competing links such as Google Adsense or anything else. Most ad stuff links at least give you the option of which pages, etc. Not that link monger scheme network though. :)

    That alone would tell me how silly the network is for thinking Google does not know or care about it. LOL The idea that those links will help a site is downright silly. Anyone thinking it does is simply lacking in common sense. Read those threads and you all can decide. It’s crazy stuff. Just the idea of sooo many being snow-balled is amazing to me. People always want the quick fixes. I think if you follow the trail of sites in this linking scheme you will find some extremely butt-ugly sites with not a clue about design or anything else for that matter. No serious site owner should ever partake in this kind of thing.

  92. Trogdor

    Multi-Worded Adam: I’m glad you mentioned BMW.de. That’s a great example of some of Google’s policies against spam.

    That website was misbehaving, and Google socked it. They cleaned up their act, and — like magic — they reappeared in the Google organic index, days later.

    The question *everybody* should ask themselves is, if this happened to them … would *their* site be re-indexed in a few days? VERY NOT LIKELY.

  93. Trogdor

    Re: Startpages & Doorway pages … they are extremely similar to eachother. As such, if Google’s blog wasn’t advocating doorway pages, it should have highlighted very plainly exactly the difference between the two, rather than let the reader assume that Google thinks they’re different.

    Re: AdSense for Domains … I see few explanations that don’t end up in “well, it’s the lesser of two evils”. Clearly, this is a major credibility problem for Google; otherwise, we wouldn’t end up with this kind of rationale. And when parked domains start appearing in the organic search — or in AdWords — well, that tells me more about what Google does, and does not, care about.

  94. “The question *everybody* should ask themselves is, if this happened to them … would *their* site be re-indexed in a few days? VERY NOT LIKELY.”

    I don’t believe everybody should have to ask that question. The only reason you might have to ask that question of your own site is if you are ignoring the guidelines of all the search engines. Build your site for real visitors and you have nothing to ask, and nothing to worry about. No need to wonder about the “if” part of this, and no need to wonder if your site would be re-indexed quickly like the BMW site was.

    As to the doorway/startpage thing. It makes no difference what you call a page at all. I can call all my pages doorways and it makes no difference. If a page is linked to and fro from other pages of your site, then that page is fine and dandy. It doesn’t make a difference what you call it. If a page is not accessible from any other page, and the page is not disallowed in your robots.txt file, then it’s clear what that page is for as well, and makes no difference what you call it either.

  95. Dave (original)

    That website was misbehaving, and Google socked it. They cleaned up their act, and — like magic — they reappeared in the Google organic index, days later.

    The question *everybody* should ask themselves is, if this happened to them … would *their* site be re-indexed in a few days? VERY NOT LIKELY.

    I doubt a mom & pop site would have been dropped in the 1st place. IMO it was publicity for Google in regards to spam.

    I would say Google are fully aware of most spam and simply discount it in the majority of cases.

    In regards to that stupid Digital Spam Network, why on Earth would anyone want to associated themselves with such spam my sites for no gain other than a Placebo effect?

    DP forums has always been playground for spammers, black-hats, those with low morals and ethics. Every decent bit of advice out of that place gets buried in ten times of poor & high risk advice.

  96. Dave (original)

    Kenki, please leave the immature kiddy chatter in a kiddy chat room where it belongs.

    Shall I move to defcon 3

    You should tell you Mommy that are you are watching too much TV and living in a fantasy World.

  97. Nathan

    In response to Doug RE: Digital Point Ads

    You raise some good points. However, go check out some financial queries such as “loans” on google.co.uk. You’ll see that for many financial queries Moneyexpert has fairly recently overtaken Moneysupermarket. How? They’re quite strong members of the digital point ads scheme. And sticking with that query, 5 of the first 10 sites are also members. Coincidence? So for those of us trying to be clean in this particular area, it’s very difficult to get anywhere. I’ve managed a first page result for this particular query, and by being clean, but have since dropped out again, pushed out by those signed up to this scheme.

  98. segito

    Hi,
    To be honest the whole google webmaster guideline
    http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=35769
    has to be seriously modified/updated to comply with the new desing technics and the use of things like animations, videos, ajax, etc.
    basically some of the things listed as DONT are really difficult to implement to small companies or personal websites, simple example, creating static copies of dinamic pages and adding the dinamic pages to the robots.txt, is looks like nonsense to me, google claims all the time to focus in “the imformation visitor’s are looking for”, basically as webmaster i can only focus in the information relevant to my theme, anyway how google knows what the user is looking for ?

  99. Dave (original)

    Nathan, why do you assume the link scheme is the reason for SERP placing? Seems to be plenty of sites doing just fine without the silly link scheme.

    Also, IF Google do end-up penalizing these sites, will their temporary time is the Sun offset being shunted to page x?

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