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Trusted TLDs
.EDU and .GOV - Trusted Top Level Domains
pageoneresults

WebmasterWorld Senior Member pageoneresults us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3716 posted 8:24 am on Apr 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

Trusted TLDs - What are Trusted Top Level Domains?

Do .edu and .gov links have, in general, a higher value and weighting factor in the overall scheme of things?

I was recently involved in a very exciting and lengthy discussion centered around a simple question from someone who asked...

Is there any evidence that having inbound .edu and .gov links are better links and count more than other links?

An immediate two character reply of "No" was presented as the answer to the question.

I, on the other hand, had something more to say on the subject. And it sort of went like this...

If someone gave me the choice of having a .com, .edu or .gov inbound link and all things were equal, I'd take the .edu and .gov over the .com any day. From my understanding, they do have a different value in the overall scheme of things. They are trusted TLDs and not everyone can get one like the .com, .net, .org TLDs. A link from a .edu or .gov site is going to have more weight than one from a .com site in general. Now, if the .com is an authority site, then things get a little tricky in determining which would be better. But don't worry about it. If you can get legitimate .edu and .gov links, definitely get them.

After that reply, I came under heavy artillery fire. I was surrounded. Trapped and nowhere to go. Just the type of environment I really excel in. So, I ended up putting together a synopsis detailing my personal experience and that of others when working within a Trusted TLD space such as .edu.

Much of the information I responded with is based on a few years of experience in working with an authority .edu TLD. I also have experience in other TLD sectors that are of a Trusted nature. I've read and have assimilated various patents that have been applied for and approved by the U.S. Government in regards to search.

The specific patent I used for my supporting documentation was filed by Google on 2003 December 31. It is referred to as United States Patent Application 20050071741 and is titled . . .

Information Retrieval Based on Historical Data
[google.com...]

What Makes a TLD (Top Level Domain) Trusted

I'm going to focus on the two TLDs that were referenced which are the .edu and .gov extensions. Let's take a close look at the restrictions that govern the .edu and .gov TLDs. First we need to establish what makes these TLDs Trusted in the sense that they are legitimate and quality TLDs "out of the box" and provide a little more value in the overall picture.

The .GOV TLD

I'm going to save you the time of researching the .gov restrictions and tell you that the .gov TLD is an authority and is Trusted out of the box. You are welcome to perform the hours of research that I did to effectively determine that. You can start here...

.GOV Registration
[dotgov.gov...]

The .EDU TLD

On July 25, 2003, Amendment 6 to the Cooperative Agreement clarified and changed several important policies applicable to the .edu top-level domain:

  • Names in the .edu top-level domain, regardless of when issued, may not be transferred in any way by the Registrant to any other entity.

  • Transferring" includes selling, trading, leasing, assigning, or any other means of transferring.

  • Names in the .edu top-level domain that are not grandfathered must reasonably represent the name of the Registrant, may not be deployed to identify any organization other than the Registrant, and may not be "generic names."

  • Registrants in violation of these policies will be notified by EDUCAUSE in writing. Violations not corrected in 45 days will result in removal of the registration of the .edu name.

  • EDUCAUSE will conduct a six-month study of .edu names not in compliance with current policies and will make recommendations to the Department of Commerce with respect to bringing such registrations into compliance.

Amendment 9

  • On October 21, 2004, EDUCAUSE and the Department of Commerce signed Amendment 9 to the Cooperative Agreement, updating the .edu eligibility requirements as follows:

  • Modify the .EDU eligibility requirements to comprise two categories of organizations. Category 1 would be labeled "Accredited Institutions"; Category 2 would be labeled "System/District Offices".

  • Category 1 would contain the current eligibility criteria (postsecondary institutions accredited by one of the agencies on the Department of Education list of National Recognized Accrediting Agencies).

  • Category 2 would contain this text: "University system offices, state coordinating offices or boards, community college district offices, or equivalent entities located within the United States which have as their principal activity the management and governance of a collection of 'Accredited Institutions' that themselves meet the eligibility criteria for .EDU.

  • Each entity, in order to qualify under this category, must be commissioned, established, or recognized by a state, local or national government to perform this management and governance activity."

Amendment 11

On February 2, 2006, EDUCAUSE and the Department of Commerce signed Amendment 11 to the Cooperative Agreement. Amendment 11 authorizes EDUCAUSE to:

  • Continue administration of the .edu Internet domain through September 30, 2011.

  • Implement a procedure addressing violations of the prohibition against transferring .edu domains from one entity to another.

  • Assess an annual $40.00 administration fee to recoup the expenses of managing the domain. Administrative contacts for each .edu domain will receive a series of communications about the fee starting in early May.

If you have any doubt at this point that the above restrictions do not indicate a sign of legitimacy, quality and trust, please refer to the below links for more detailed information.

EDUCAUSE
[educause.edu...]

.EDU Policy Information
[educause.edu...]

.EDU Frequently Asked Questions
[educause.edu...]

Extracting Information from the Patent

Patents are revealing. In this particular instance, we have Google filing for a patent that covers just about every thing you could think of related to the quality of search. If you are really interested in how the search engines review documents, reading one or more of the patents filed will give you a level of knowledge that few in this industry are willing to pursue. Too many SEOs are focused on "what they see" in their browsers while severely neglecting the foundation that supports what they see.

Okay, from this point forward it is going to get somewhat technical. I'm going to be pulling quotes from the patent and also from the guidelines of the .edu TLD. I will not focus on the .gov TLD as they are both (.edu and .gov) classified as Trusted TLDs. All official documentation will be quoted. My notes will not be quoted and appear directly below each reference from the patent itself.

What is claimed is:

A method for scoring a document, comprising: identifying a document; obtaining one or more types of history data associated with the document; and generating a score for the document based on the one or more types of history data.

The below excerpts from the patent are directly related to the discussion of .edu and .gov links being Trusted out of the box. They "naturally" have a higher value in the overall scheme of things.

28. The method of claim 26, wherein the weight assigned to a link is based on at least one of how much a document containing the link is trusted, how authoritative a document containing the link is, and a freshness of a document containing the link.

Item #28 indicates that weight is assigned to the document based on Trust. I'd like for you to keep that word Trust at the forefront of your thoughts while reading through this stuff. This is really like watching paint dry for many of us but, to truly understand what that paint is made of, you need to peel back the layers.

39. The method of claim 38, wherein the scoring the document includes: determining whether the domain associated with the document is legitimate, and scoring the document based, at least in part, on whether the domain associated with the document is legitimate.

Note the word "legitimate" above. Due the restrictions in place for .gov and .edu TLDs, they are legitimate out of the box.

49. The method of claim 1, wherein the one or more types of history data includes information relating to linkage of independent peers; and wherein the generating a score includes: determining a growth in a number of independent peers that include the document, and scoring the document based, at least in part, on the number of independent peers.

Note the term "independent peers". Typically .edu and .gov TLDs are going to have a high number of Trusted TLDs linking to them. These are independent peers and provide an additional level of trust in the overall equation.

58. The method of claim 57, further comprising: determining longevity of the linkage data; deriving an indication of content update for a linking document providing the linkage data; and adjusting the ranking of the linked document based on the longevity of the linkage data and the indication of content update for the linking document.

Note the word "longevity". Typically .edu and .gov TLDs have instant longevity. Rarely will you find .edu or .gov TLDs expiring. This fact gives these two TLDs instant longevity.

59. The method of claim 58, wherein the adjusting the ranking includes penalizing the ranking if the longevity indicates a short life for the linkage data and boosting the ranking if the longevity indicates a long life for the linkage data.

Note the word "longevity" again. But this time the reference is to a penalty incurred if the longevity indicates a short life for the linkage data.

Alternatively, if the content of a document changes such that it differs significantly from the anchor text associated with its back links, then the domain associated with the document may have changed significantly (completely) from a previous incarnation. This may occur when a domain expires and a different party purchases the domain. Because anchor text is often considered to be part of the document to which its associated link points, the domain may show up in search results for queries that are no longer on topic. This is an undesirable result.

Note the term "domain expires". The .edu TLD is non-transferable. Transferring includes selling, trading, leasing, assigning, or any other means of transferring. This implies a level of Trust in that the domain is not going to be used in an "Expired Domains" purchase.

Please keep in mind that the same process can be applied to most TLDs. But, out of the box, .gov and .edu domains have restrictions on their use that make them Trusted TLDs which is implied in a few patents out there. The .com, .net, .org, .etc. TLDs do not have that Trust factor out of the box because they are open to abuse on a far greater scale than the .gov and .edu TLDs.

As we dig deeper into the patent, and please, do read it from top to bottom, we are able to uncover some very interesting correlations with what the patent states and what our own experiences (meaning all of us) prove to us.

[0074] Links may be weighted in other ways. For example, links may be weighted based on how much the documents containing the links are trusted (e.g., government documents can be given high trust). Links may also, or alternatively, be weighted based on how authoritative the documents containing the links are (e.g., authoritative documents may be determined in a manner similar to that described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,285,999).

Note that the patent implies that government documents can be given high trust.

[0097] According to an implementation consistent with the principles of the invention, information relating to a domain associated with a document may be used to generate (or alter) a score associated with the document. For example, search engine 125 may monitor information relating to how a document is hosted within a computer network (e.g., the Internet, an intranet or other network or database of documents) and use this information to score the document.

Note the word "hosted" and the term "computer network". Typically .gov and .edu TLDs are going to be hosted on a quality network. One that is void of the abuse that may take place on another server not hosting these types of domains.

[0098] Individuals who attempt to deceive (spam) search engines often use throwaway or "doorway" domains and attempt to obtain as much traffic as possible before being caught. Information regarding the legitimacy of the domains may be used by search engine 125 when scoring the documents associated with these domains.

Note the word "legitimacy" again, but this time in the context of throwaway domains. That doesn't happen in the .gov and .edu TLD sectors. Another level of Trust.

[0099] Certain signals may be used to distinguish between illegitimate and legitimate domains. For example, domains can be renewed up to a period of 10 years. Valuable (legitimate) domains are often paid for several years in advance, while doorway (illegitimate) domains rarely are used for more than a year. Therefore, the date when a domain expires in the future can be used as a factor in predicting the legitimacy of a domain and, thus, the documents associated therewith.

Note the words "legitimate" and "illegitimate". You're going to see those words quite a bit when digging through various patents related to search. In the above example, domain expirations may be used in the overall equation in determining the quality of a domain. While I wouldn't put too much weight into this one, it could be one of many "signals" present that are used to determine legitimacy of a domain.

[0100] Also, or alternatively, the domain name server (DNS) record for a domain may be monitored to predict whether a domain is legitimate. The DNS record contains details of who registered the domain, administrative and technical addresses, and the addresses of name servers (i.e., servers that resolve the domain name into an IP address). By analyzing this data over time for a domain, illegitimate domains may be identified.

Note the word "legitimate" again. .gov and .edu TLDs have very strict and governed policies in regards to POCs (Points of Contact), whois information, technical information, etc. Another level of Trust.

[0101] Also, or alternatively, the age, or other information, regarding a name server associated with a domain may be used to predict the legitimacy of the domain. A "good" name server may have a mix of different domains from different registrars and have a history of hosting those domains, while a "bad" name server might host mainly pornography or doorway domains, domains with commercial words (a common indicator of spam), or primarily bulk domains from a single registrar, or might be brand new.

Note the term "name server". Ah-ha, you probably didn't even think about that one eh? Hosting environment is imperative in establishing a Trusted TLD. This applies to all TLDs and not just the naturally Trusted ones like .edu and .gov.

[0102] In summary, search engine 125 may generate (or alter) a score associated with a document based, at least in part, on information relating to a legitimacy of a domain associated with the document.

.edu and .gov are "legitimate" domains out of the box. They can therefore be considered Trusted TLDs which are most likely weighted accordingly and don't incur the same scrutiny other generic TLDs (.com, .net, etc.) are subjected to.

While the patent may not be evidence to support my claims, it does shed some light on what I have personally experienced and continue to experience with all TLDs under my management. Others have shared similar experiences. This is not something that "has to be proven" although many would like it in writing. It's a natural occurrence and one that has been confirmed by many in the industry who are working within those Trusted TLD spaces.

[edited by: Webwork at 5:39 pm (utc) on April 22, 2006]
[edit reason] Request by original author [/edit]

 

Webwork

WebmasterWorld Administrator webwork us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3716 posted 3:44 pm on Apr 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

As always, very nice work and an exceptional contribution P1R.

Now, having dispensed with the niceties . . :) . . allow me to posture: In the context of discussing certain subjects I like to address not only the evidence supporting the inference that "the thing exists" but also on the evidence that the thing ought to exist. One reason I take for such posturing is that before anyone goes about building a business model around a proof or inference of search engine behavior one ought to contemplate the durability of the proof or inference. In other words, even if it's true, will it endure the test of time . . . and blackhat behavior?

If you shift focus from "trusted domains" to "trusted links" the analysis gets a bit gooey. Qualification for membership with a TLD is a different creature than control of links on the individual pages rooted within the TLD. The policies, rules and procedures that regulate membership in the TLD hold little sway over the placement of outbound links appearing on pages imbedded in the TLD and therein lies the rub, or at least one rub. The merits of a TLD are not the merits of a link therein. Page/website ranking based upon the source of ranking links being a specific TLD begs the question: It presumes that the same quality or qualification factors that went into election to the TLD carry forward into the section of links on a page within that TLD. That presumption is as likely a fiction as reality.

Who exercises judgment when it comes to placement of outbound links on a .gov or .edu page? An agency charged with qualifying links for inclusion? (Do we really think that links on an .edu page are selected by committee?) An expert? An administrator? A summer intern? Someone assigned the task of finding other websites? The government department's web guy/gal?

What is it that is being judged, in reaching a judgment that greater weight should be assigned to a link from a .gov or .edu website?

Superior judgment? Bad algo weighting choice, unless the algo knows the people actually making the link choices. Unless the link choice is being made by Sarah, Ph.D. - which is doubtful in many cases - the assumed "superior judgment" may be entirely missing.

Consensus in the community? Do we assume that the subject matter put forth on a .gov or .edu website is more authoritative simply because it is published on a .edu or .gov website? What about political bias? Institutional bias? What about attempts to shift focus, public dialogue, etc.?

IFF (if and only if) the number of authoritative inbound links to the page containing the outbound .gov/.edu links confirms the authority of the .gov page does the system of adding weight to outbound links make sense. However, what if the text of the pages containing the inbound links to the .gov website contain exceptions to the implied link endorsement? What if the .gov website addresses "global warming"?

Unbiased choice controlling outbound links? Bad algo weighting, unless the algo comprehends the motivating influences on the person charged with responsibility of either selecting links (intern, admin, secretary, low level staff, etc.) to include OR placing the links (agency webmaster, department webmaster, anyone in the department).

Scary thought, in some respects, that a link from a .gov website should begin to shape reality by virtue of that link lifting interpretations of reality upwards in the search results. One can foresee - predictably - memos starting to circulate amongst government institutions directing that outbound links ought to be carefully considered and that links ought to only be posted to websites falling within certain criteria. What if links from EPA.gov were regulated such that preference was given to websites favoring "the administration's" view on issues relating to global warming? Do they rise up in the SERPs for searches related to global warming? In so doing, does SE algo bias lend to the creation of authority or the appearance of authority - and therefore "reality"?

So, to respond to the proposition that greater weight is or should be assigned to outbound links originating at .edu or .gov websites I'd say - by force of logic alone - it makes some slight sense to add weight, in the context of an algo that contemplates about 400 other factors.

The algorithmic significance of .edu or .gov is based on the belief or hope that our government agencies and educational institutions act like authorities charged with presenting unbiased reference material. Of late, belief that such agencies act in an unbiased manner, is the subject of considerable debate.

[edited by: Webwork at 9:12 pm (utc) on April 22, 2006]

wmuser

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3716 posted 8:20 pm on Apr 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

I would agree with you,.EDU .GOV inbound links should has more value than from .COM
I have also noted by searching for some popular keywords on google that many .EDU websites are in top 10 and thats fine since those websites are often offering more information than any .com website

elguiri

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3716 posted 9:33 pm on Apr 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think search engines have long dispensed with absolutes. There is no bullet-proof way to guarantee a site is trustworthy, where commerce has an interest.

Are links ever for sale on .gov of .edu sites? Can I use money to influence a politician or a government official? Can I use money to influence an exam result. Is the Pope Catholic? Does a bear...

However, all things being equal, if I could influence the weights applied to different variables in the search equation, a link from .com would have a 0.3 trust multiplier and a link from a .edu a 0.6 or 0.7

Search rankings can only ever be based on best guess.

Mopar93

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3716 posted 9:38 pm on Apr 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

To add to this, I would give .BIZ very little value and would tend to classify it as "untrusted".

-Maurice

iamlost

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3716 posted 12:12 am on Apr 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

I should like to thank pageoneresults for shaking every topic tree he passes causing interesting fruit to fall for my delectation.

I should also like to thank Webwork for writing much of my initial reply. Again. I must learn to type faster and not be sidetracted by work. Or simply wait a day before starting a reply.

The inherent difficulty of this type of thread is that those who have taken the time, effort, and cost to test various SEO conjectures quite reasonably keep the parameters and results private. Also that SE algorithms are dynamic evolving beasts: what applies now may well not tomorrow. This leaves unsupported statements (which may be true, mistaken, or deliberately misleading), (over)analysis of SE comments, and conjecture.

So: in the unsupported statement/conjecture categories regarding the benefits of incoming .edu, .gov, .mil (and their 'national' counterparts such as .gc.ca, .gov.uk - yes there is a world outside the USA and the SEs know this) let me give an unqualified maybe :-)

The SE algorithms are rather complex. Why should we expect simplistic answers? Consider the following:

* a link from a .edu medical college page on modern surgery methods to yoursite page on surgical tools which links to other relevant yoursite pages.

* a link from a .edu medical college page on alumni to yoursite page on surgical tools which links to other relevant yoursite pages.

* a link from a .edu medical college students personal page to yoursite page on surgical tools with no additional relevant yoursite links.

* a link from a .edu medical college external links page to yoursite page on asian hotels with no additional relevant yoursite links.

Do you really expect equal link benefit?
Just because the linker is an .edu TLD?
Why?

In the further consideration category:
* Does a world class educational institution that uses its country domain rather than .edu pass the same, more, or less benefit than a bottom tier .edu college that only the SE ever heard of?

* what weight difference, if any, between .gov.bc.ca, .gov.uk, .gov?
Is it strictly TLD and all the rest?
Or does .gov in the domain equalise matters?
And is there a geo-influence weight varience?

Final unsupported comments:
* Specific domain types including certain TLDs by virtue of their SERP positions demonstrate an extraordinary weight, possibly including trust.
* Certain complimentary .edu/.gov type links appropriately used can be extremely beneficial.

balam

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3716 posted 12:16 am on Apr 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

I can understand - and agree with - IBL from .gov (or .gov.ccTLD) domains carrying more weight than IBL from any other TLD, since I expect .gov websites have far stricter quality control before being published.

I can't agree with IBL from a .edu site being given any more weight, by virtue of the fact that it is a .edu, than a IBL from, say, a .info site. The QC just simply isn't there. Sure, a "large" proportion of a .edu site may have gone through a QC review, but "many" .edu institutions offer webspace to both faculty & students. A number of these sort of people think the <BLINK> tag is a good thing. Most know nothing about web design.

<aside>
One Professor of Widgetology's page I came across had about 4KB of text and 35MB of photos. The <IMG> tag was set to display at 300x200, but the photos themselves were the unaltered originals straight from their digital camera - something like 2400x1800. When I brought it to her attention, she told me she had no software to edit the photos and that the page displayed almost instantly regardless, so what was the problem? The problem is that most of us aren't part of the campus network and downloading the page via high-speed takes several minutes.
</aside>

Bottom line - for me - is that while .edu is a Trusted Domain, its contents aren't.

I'd say more, but Mum is calling me for dinner...

Key_Master

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3716 posted 12:35 am on Apr 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

Of course .edu and .gov domains should be extended a higher link value and weighting factor by search engine algorithms.

Government and educational institutions don't have political agendas. The information and sources for information they promote are as pure as the wind driven snow.

cerebrum

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3716 posted 2:18 am on Apr 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

I agree with you pageoneresults.

I noted recently in Bigdaddy SERPs many .edu sites overtaked my .com websites.

Many students are given personal pages on .edu and they can sell or link to anyones website. This will happen in future.

And also many small colleges in my country are alloted .edu. Their management is not trustworthy as US universities. If you approach them for link renting, then they will do with pleasure. Please note that .edu is being alloted to any educational instituion in the world and not USA alone. Many schools and colleges in my country are advertising their .edu website in media.

amznVibe

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3716 posted 4:05 am on Apr 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

There are alot of sketchy and nonsense sites on .mil and .gov out there.
I can't remember them off the top of my head but I'll post in a bit when I find them.

I remember reading that maricopa.gov(PR6) accepts advertising now (maricopa.gov/Assessor/Ads/Advertising.aspx)

drshields

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3716 posted 5:18 am on Apr 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

As somebody who works in the government and is [in]directly responsible for our sites content, I can assure you that things that should NOT get published, do. While workflows are setup (as with any organization) to make sure that any content that goes live is approved/confirmed/legit/ etc., you would be surpised the stuff that I've seen pushed out at times.

bsterz

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3716 posted 1:01 pm on Apr 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

Quick note - there are a LOT of "personal pages" on .edu sites where links are sold. I don't know if the algos can get down to this level, but it's probably an issue.

pageoneresults

WebmasterWorld Senior Member pageoneresults us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3716 posted 1:41 pm on Apr 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

Many students are given personal pages on .edu and they can sell or link to anyones website. This will happen in future.

That is left up to the institution that owns the .edu. If they allow their students to sell links like that which occurs in other TLD spaces, that would be their choice and I do believe they may end getting themselves into something that may potentially be a problem. Allowing this to happen leaves the TLD open for poison and I don't think any credible institution is going to allow their students to do that, not in the US anyway and not on a scale where it is as prevalent as other TLDs.

And also many small colleges in my country are alloted .edu. Their management is not trustworthy as US universities. If you approach them for link renting, then they will do with pleasure. Please note that .edu is being alloted to any educational instituion in the world and not USA alone. Many schools and colleges in my country are advertising their .edu website in media.

.edu is for "Educational" which is a Generic Top Level Domain (gTLD) - Not associated with a country. However, registrants are limited to USA institutions.

If you go back up top and read the restrictions on who can own a .EDU TLD, it is only available to Accredited Institutions in the United States.

There are alot of sketchy and nonsense sites on .mil and .gov out there. I can't remember them off the top of my head but I'll post in a bit when I find them. I remember reading that maricopa.gov(PR6) accepts advertising now (maricopa.gov/Assessor/Ads/Advertising.aspx)/

I get a 404 when visiting that page. If you review the restrictions on the .GOV TLD, you'll see that advertisements are restricted to...

No Non-Government Advertisements
A .gov domain may not be used to advertise for private individuals, firms, or corporations, or imply in any manner that the government endorses or favors any specific commercial product, commodity, or service.

As somebody who works in the government and is [in]directly responsible for our sites content, I can assure you that things that should NOT get published, do. While workflows are setup (as with any organization) to make sure that any content that goes live is approved/confirmed/legit/ etc., you would be surpised the stuff that I've seen pushed out at times.

Whatever content is pushed and may be questionable is nowhere near what is pushed in other TLD sectors. It is fractional.

Quick note - there are a LOT of "personal pages" on .edu sites where links are sold. I don't know if the algos can get down to this level, but it's probably an issue.

Let me point out that the TLD is just one signal of quality. If you read the information in the patent, you'll notice that there are hundreds of signals that are present. If links are being sold on .edu site in the United States, the institution itself is at fault and it will haunt them. They leave themselves open to the same crap that many deal with in other generic TLDs. This means that the institution TLD is open for poison and hopefully the person in charge of the website is monitoring the activity of the students. If not, then they are responsible for what may come their way.

Either way, the levels of abuse are fractional compared to other TLD sectors. Even if the student pages are not up to snuff, there are many other signals that a search engine can look at to determine quality and trust of the TLD.

To add to this, I would give .BIZ very little value and would tend to classify it as "untrusted".

You make a good point. And, since we are discussing .edu and .gov TLDs, we might want to start a new discussion on other TLDs that are of lesser quality. I can tell you that certain country TLDs are poison right out of the box...

[toolbar.netcraft.com...]

pageoneresults

WebmasterWorld Senior Member pageoneresults us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3716 posted 3:21 pm on Apr 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

Related topic just posted...

THE - Trusted Hosting Environments
[webmasterworld.com...]

In the above topic, I've taken the below excerpt and have expanded on the Trusted issue.

[0101] Also, or alternatively, the age, or other information, regarding a name server associated with a domain may be used to predict the legitimacy of the domain. A "good" name server may have a mix of different domains from different registrars and have a history of hosting those domains, while a "bad" name server might host mainly pornography or doorway domains, domains with commercial words (a common indicator of spam), or primarily bulk domains from a single registrar, or might be brand new.

marketingmagic

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3716 posted 3:59 pm on Apr 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

The question is then, how to get these links....

pageoneresults

WebmasterWorld Senior Member pageoneresults us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3716 posted 4:01 pm on Apr 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

The question is then, how to get these links.

You don't. They come naturally in most instances. I don't think you will find many .edu and/or .gov links in the link brokers inventories. If you do, they may be poisoned. ;)

annej

WebmasterWorld Senior Member annej us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3716 posted 4:04 pm on Apr 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

Government and educational institutions don't have political agendas. The information and sources for information they promote are as pure as the wind driven snow.

Great humor Keymaster. I agree there is a lot of garbage on edu and gov sites. As a widget historian I am finding that these sites don't always check their history and myths are found on these sites written as truth.

But I still believe the Google algo, and probably other search engines as well, do give more weight to edu and gov links. I can find no other reason why my homepage is as high as it is on a extremely competitive single word. The other sites in the top 10 have far more links both internal and inbound. I suspect it's the inbound edu and gov links getting my page up there. I know a study of one isn't worth much, just one small example.

The question at hand is not whether edu and gov links SHOULD be given more weight but whether they ARE given more weight.

Key_Master

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3716 posted 4:33 pm on Apr 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

I own a site related to the war in Iraq. I own the .com version and the official government site is .net. There is no .gov version I think because this website is a cooperation between Iraq, the US, and the supporting war coalition countries.

In the early years of the war, the White House and their supporters would occasional promote my site accidentally. This had a snowball effect as news organizations around the world and the US and other countries official government sites would link to my site.

The links were treated no differently than links from other TLDs. In fact, I got more PR from the .com links than from the .edu and .gov links.

I do believe Google will manually adjust certain serps to favor .edu and .gov links but I don't believe that all .edu and all .gov links are automatically given extra weight.

Webwork

WebmasterWorld Administrator webwork us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3716 posted 4:52 pm on Apr 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

The question at hand is not whether edu and gov links SHOULD be given more weight but whether they ARE given more weight.

When or according to what criteria are OBLs from a .gov or .edu (if they are) given more weight? Is anyone saying all .gov or .edu OBLs lend added weight? Doubtful that that is the case. A bit unrefined if it is and likely to soon change.

Will .gov or .edu links continue to be given added weight IF, as in everything else search engine, patterns of attempting to game the algo begin to emerge?

What is the most logical and sustainable reason(s) for any .edu or .gov link to be given added weight? Is the answer to this question a guide to targeting efforts?

Are there natural and unnatural beneficiary markets for .edu or .gov links? Chances are, given the scope of .edu and .gov sites, the answer is "there is always a natural market for a link from the relevant site to a relevant site. Culinary schools and restaurants might play nicely.

Do .edu or .gov links play nicely with theming?

What, exactly, is the measure of subject matter authority of a .gov or .edu website or OBL? Would/should a link from SEC.gov lend weight to a phentermine website? (Don't answer that.)

What cluster of factors might add weight to an outbound .gov or .edu link? IBLs to the OBL page from authority sites? IBLs to the OBL page where the subject matter authority of the IBL correlates to the anchor text of the OBL?

Lots of questions and, as is often the case, one might safely assume that by the time the issue is raised for discussion in forums the algo tweakers are (hopefully) 3 or 4 steps ahead of the effort to gain an advantage by exploiting the weighting factor under discussion.

[edited by: Webwork at 5:10 pm (utc) on April 23, 2006]

pageoneresults

WebmasterWorld Senior Member pageoneresults us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3716 posted 5:09 pm on Apr 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

Lots of questions and, as is often the case, one might safely assume that by the time the issue is raised for discussion in forums the algo tweakers are (hopefully) 3 or 4 steps ahead of the effort to gain an advantage by exploiting the weighting factor under discussion.

Actually the issues have come up many times over the past years. As technology improves with the search engines, we marketers need to stay on top of what is going on so that we can fully understand what may be happening with our campaigns.

The patent was applied for in 2003 December. It reveals much of what we discuss here on a daily basis and I'm going to guess that few have taken the time to read it, and other related patents.

Why Google would ever file a patent of that magnitude and detail is somewhat beyond me. I'm going to guess that it reveals a bit about the algorithm and how it (Google) may determine the quality of documents. If we look back at various discussions here and at other fora, how much of that can be tied in with something stated in this patent and other patents?

balam

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3716 posted 6:37 pm on Apr 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

> If you go back up top and read the restrictions on who can own a .EDU TLD, it is only available to Accredited Institutions in the United States.

Yes, sounds good on paper, but it's not reflected in reality. Available only in the US may be the case now, but it certainly hasn't always been that way. A few quick examples:

insead.edu - European Institute of Business Administration, Fontainebleau, France
leiden.edu - Leiden University, Leiden, Netherlands
london.edu - London Business School, London, England
unu.edu - The United Nations University, Tokyo, Japan

> And also many small colleges in my country are alloted .edu.

I believe you, cerebrum...

cerebrum

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3716 posted 1:50 am on Apr 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

Thanks balam.

manipal.edu Manipal University, India

iipm.edu The Indian Institute of Planning and Management, India

and many more...

Even very small colleges offering distance education are advertising their .edu websites in our local media. I even doubt that they are running that colleges in some dormitories.

When I am free, I will collect and post all of them here.

Do you want a .edu domain? Its very easy.

- Want to register abcdef.edu

- Print a letter head with abcdef college name and sign it as if you are the principal of the college.

- Request a .edu domain and snail mail the letter.

- You will be alloted abcdef.edu. No verification.

Its easy if you are outside US. In USA they can easily check you as everything is available through electronic databases.

You can easily put up a site of a fake college located in a remote location of a third world country. No one will get a doubt. Place some links to your websites with all anchor text you want and beat all your competitors in google.

If anyone complains, then for sure they will remove your domain.

This is happening in India and lot of guys can even get a .ac.in domain in India which is restricted to only academic institutions.

I dont have a concrete proof for a .edu domain. But there is definitely no verification. Only a fake letter head and a principal sign is all that necessary.

One of my friend registered a .ac.in domain of my college. Even my principal dont care as he dont know anything about Internet. He thinks that Internet is only useful for Non Resident Indians.

pageoneresults

WebmasterWorld Senior Member pageoneresults us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3716 posted 3:20 am on Apr 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

Thanks for those examples. I guess I should point out that there are Grandfather clauses in place for .edu TLDs registered prior to 2001 October. The examples provided were all registered prior to 2001 and appear to be credible educational institutions.

insead.edu - European Institute of Business Administration, Fontainebleau, France
Domain record activated: 04-Jun-1994

leiden.edu - Leiden University, Leiden, Netherlands
Domain record activated: 04-Dec-2000

london.edu - London Business School, London, England
Domain record activated: 15-Dec-1998

unu.edu - The United Nations University, Tokyo, Japan
Domain record activated: 17-Aug-1992

manipal.edu Manipal University, India
Domain record activated: 27-Sep-1999

iipm.edu The Indian Institute of Planning and Management, India
Domain record activated: 01-Dec-2000

Some excerpts from the .EDU TLD Policies

All institutions holding names as of October 29, 2001 in the .edu domain will be allowed to keep them without regard to institutional eligibility requirements at this time.

Institutions that do not already hold a name in the .edu domain are eligible to receive one if they are post-secondary institutions that are institutionally accredited, i.e., the entire institution and not just particular programs, by agencies on the U.S. Department of Education's list of Nationally Recognized Accrediting Agencies (see recognized accrediting bodies). These include both "Regional Institutional Accrediting Agencies" and "National Institutional and Specialized Accrediting Bodies." Note that institutional accreditation is required for .edu eligibility; program accreditation is not sufficient. Only a single name in the .edu domain will be assigned to any given institution.

Instututions and organizations with .edu domains prior to October 2001 will be allowed to retain those domains so long as they maintain proper administrative control. See the Customer Service Agreement for further informations.

Names in the .edu top-level domain, regardless of when issued, may not be transferred in any way by the Registrant to any other entity.

Transferring" includes selling, trading, leasing, assigning, or any other means of transferring.

[edited by: Woz at 5:38 am (utc) on April 24, 2006]
[edit reason] Edited per member's request. [/edit]

cerebrum

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3716 posted 3:57 am on Apr 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

Pageoneresults pointed

.edu is for "Educational" which is a Generic Top Level Domain (gTLD) - Not associated with a country. However, registrants are limited to USA institutions.

I dont want to divert the topic. Everyone is thinking that .edu is a trusted TLD and so I want to prove that .edu can also be poisoned. As pageoneresults pointed .edu is not limited to US institutions.

I will try to find that small colleges using .edu and will sticky it to pageoneresults on one day or other.

Anyway, as pageoneresults said, .edu inbound link may have a slighter edge over .com inbound link. But it is one of the 1000+ factors Google use in PageRank system.

In Bigdaddy update, .edu websites are being given some edge over .com. I lost my #1 postion for a keyword to a .edu website. So I think .edu website as a edge over a .com website in Bigdaddy update. Thats for sure. I request other members to confirm this.

If .edu inbound link edge is proved, then for sure all will rent links from .edu sites in one way or other. After all we are very much used to game any system available.

pageoneresults

WebmasterWorld Senior Member pageoneresults us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3716 posted 4:06 am on Apr 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

If .edu inbound link edge is proved, then for sure all will rent links from .edu sites in one way or other. After all we are very much used to game any system available.

I'm not too certain that will be an option. And even if it were, remember, we're talking about one signal in relation to the quality of a TLD. There are many others. Link networks are easy to detect so that's really a no brainer for Google and the others, hopefully. ;)

I dont want to divert the topic. Everyone is thinking that .edu is a trusted TLD and so I want to prove that .edu can also be poisoned.

No need to prove it to me, I believe you. I never said that the domains could not become poisoned. I'm referring to out of the box levels of trust that other TLDs do not get.

And then, if that site is what it should be, an institution providing some level of education, then it will need to maintain that level of trust or it's going to fall prey to the algo just like any other TLD.

internetheaven

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3716 posted 9:21 am on Apr 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

I agree with you pageoneresults.

So do I, but as with most great insights and concepts that appear on these boards expect this to now be devalued within the next 24 hours .......

... why do people insist on posting this stuff? Leave these boards for newbies with questions on how to increase their Pagerank. Although, maybe Brett should create a new area in WW - "Forum For Those Who Don't Work For a Major Search Engine"?

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