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This 193 message thread spans 7 pages: < < 193 ( 1 2 3 4 [5] 6 7 > >     
Google Not Acting on Problem Results Reports

 6:09 pm on Apr 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

I keep seeing spam stealing the top positions so I report it to Google time and again and nothing happens, so what do I do?
If you cant beat them join them.
This is my living we're talking about after all. The bread on my table.
Not cloaking yet but it may become necessary if Google don't start taking the spam reports more seriously.
Why do they ask for them and then take no action?
How about some serious answers.



 12:59 pm on Apr 19, 2003 (gmt 0)


Yes, it must have been fixed. It was there since the update.


 1:05 pm on Apr 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

Yidaki makes a good point, step one is action, and I share some frustration.

IMHO, depenalizing a site after it has cleaned up it's act is fair. As for how long, first off that should depend on whether the site commercial or non-commercial, or if it stands to gain at someone else's loss.

Anon27's idea of a point system is a good one, though, like PR, I think it should be something kept inside the Googlplex.

Do it twice (no matter what it is), and the domain is out, but an appeal can be made, and it'll cost you if you're commercial. Three times, and your outta the game.


 1:41 pm on Apr 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hi Onionrep,

In your message 120 in this thread, you asked about multiple pages from the one site being ranked for a single search. I actually tried to answer that back in msg 81 - when Anon27 made the same comment:

Anon27 - regarding that travel example - technically, each result is from a different server name (ie the names before the first dot are different) - so thats why they all appear in the serps. There is no compulsion to make a server name www infront of your domain name - ie you can call your server any name you like - and have lots of them eg.

blue widgets.com
- you don't have to call it www.widgets.com

ie www.widgets.com/blue and www.widgets.com/red are both on the same server/in the same domain - and therefore Google generally only lists 2 pages in the serps. But it would, under the same 'rule' list 2 pages from red.widgets.com and 2 from pink.widgets.com and so on......

Does this explain it? They are different server names - same domain name - www doesn't have to be the server name - convention just says that your mail server is called mail.mydomain.com, ftp server is ftp.mydomain.com and webserver is www.mydomain.com - google treats each one (and rightly so) as a different server.



 1:50 pm on Apr 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

>They are different server names

Yah, good example of bad seo. The goal is to avoid multiple listings not to gain them. If you build your site with canonicals, don't do it just to optimize all the same keyword / phrase. Don't flame about canonicals, please. ;) If used properly they are great for themeing a site!

In this case, it's either done to manipulate or because they don't know it better.


 2:27 pm on Apr 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

Well, GoogleGuy I have a suggestion which would probably help you wipe out much spam pretty quickly.

The problem seems to be that Google is afraid of penalizing innocent sites with a big algorithm change. So why not do this:

Have two algorithms. The one you have now, and a much tighter one that will cull much of the spam. In one update you have today's algorithm and in the next you run the tight one. This way every second month the spam will disappear from view. It won't take those guys long to realise what's going on and clean up their act. After all, why would they want to miss one month in two in the SERPS?

Of course some innocent sites will be hit, but they'll still be there every second month, and if they are smart, they'll also take a look at their design. Google could give some information on their spam report about the sort of things that might innocently trip the filter for these webmasters to look at.

It would be controversial for sure, but I think a lot of whining would stop here on this board.


 2:32 pm on Apr 19, 2003 (gmt 0)


Thanks for the prompt - I see where you are coming from now. :)

Agreed, put like that, those examples were spam. I now understand a possible reason why the algo did not pick the example up.


 7:23 pm on Apr 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

I see the same spammers time and time again. But they never last too long on Google.

Some spammers even have quite sufer-useful sites, which carry cpntent. It's just that having 4 or 5 domains in the same top ten is pushing it a bit far IMO.

Without going into URLs, each domain is similar and having checked whois, are all owned by the same people. But how do you class it as spam if it carries reasonable content?

You could possibly class it as multiple copies of the same theme....

On the whole I think Google is fair, and longevity is only attained by playing fair.


 7:44 pm on Apr 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

Here's my suggestion on hidden keyword spam (reserving other options for other types of spam)

Do NOT give PR penalties or bans to sites that have hidden text. Leave the page in the index.

The penalty should be to remove the hidden keywords from the lookup, even if they are also visible on the page.

A page that has the text "Friends, Romans, Countrymen" with the keyword "Romans" in hidden test would show up for searches on:

friends countrymen

but not for:

friends romans
romans countrymen
friends romans countrymen

This just seems to me like a great way to make the punishment fit the crime. It would also confuse the $#¦+ out of them until they figure out what is going on.


 8:15 pm on Apr 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

how about a little fair warning first?

Since Google doesn't provide a clear cut list of what it considers illegal and instead prefers to keep its guidelines awfully vague ... doesn't it seem fair that Google should send an email warning to a problematic site indicating exactly what Google's concern is and giving the site x days to clean up their act?


 8:43 pm on Apr 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

<<You could possibly class it as multiple copies of the same theme.... >.
It's called mirroring and is spam.
It would be easy to define the rules - hidden text is the least of your problems.


 9:26 pm on Apr 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

GoogleGuy: I think a couple month ban is about right for someone hidden text. We had a old quasi webmaster who put hidden text and links on the site. I didn't know about it until after we were banned, and I am not sure if he knew either. You don't want to crush a business but you just want to put the word out not to do it. I think the more and more people find out that you will get banned from google for doing it, you will find less people attempting hidden text and links. The reward isn't worth the risk.

Feel free to check out a spam report with my name in the comments field :)

Thanks for a great site.


 11:13 pm on Apr 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

how about a little fair warning first?

Not in the case of hidden text. Hidden text has clearly been against the TOS for years.


 11:59 pm on Apr 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

I have just seen discussion about penalties for hidden text.

What about;

1) Cloaking (I think at least a year)
2) Multiple duplicate content sites (I think the domains should be toast for good, unless they become expired). I am talking about 4 or 5 plus sites here. I know some owners have a legit need for more than one (Google for example), regional for example. But most do not.
3) Same owner / group sister sites that target the same keywords. I have seen a group of sites that try to be different from each other (although they often share the exact same text in places), but target the same keywords with reciprocal linking. So, the red wotsits site targets blue widgets as a keyword. Thus all the group monopolize certain key words, when they should not (based on their content).


 3:22 am on Apr 20, 2003 (gmt 0)


That is a brilliant idea!

Can you imagine it? Heaps of spammy people get tossed out - they then clean up their act - and are back in (not because of what they did - just because the algo went soft)- the spammers change back to their spammy stuff again for the next index - and they are straight out because the hard algo operates that month!

I love it!


It could be called the 'Keem em guessing' algo - or the 'tear your hair out' algo!


 4:29 am on Apr 21, 2003 (gmt 0)


I sent another spam report in on friday and flagged it "attention Googleguy".

It has nothing to do with me, it is actually a site I learned about on one of the usenet forums.

Anyhow, I posted something about this on friday, but gremlins ate it or something - my post is nowhere to be found.

Please do check it out, because it appears to be an exploit of some sort.

Thanks again for checking the other reports I posted.


 5:08 am on Apr 21, 2003 (gmt 0)

I am kind of late posting on this topic, but have some strong feelings on it.

I just submitted a couple of spammers one with hidden text at the top of the page and the other with a JavaScript redirect. The JS one really surprised me because they are one of the biggest names in the industry. They have an h1 stuffed page that redirects anybody with a browser version (not bots).

For the penalty time I think that these people saying 1 year or longer would have a different view if they got picked up on something trivial and were banned. That could put a company out of business with the volume of traffic that search engines provide.

Like said before if the site cleans up their act put them on a waiting list to be reviewed and then let them back in. You could be loosing valuable content by banning a site.

A year ago before I found WW I was using hidden text and hidden links on my main page. I soon changed it after I heard horror stories. I could only imagine how long ago I would have to start looking for another job if I had been banned way back then for my ignorance.


 6:43 am on Apr 21, 2003 (gmt 0)

I agree, iJeep. One year would be too much. But you want to set a length that gets the message across.


 10:59 am on Apr 21, 2003 (gmt 0)

Why not ban them for an indefinite period until such time as they pay a realistic review charge with no guarantee of reinclusion, which could be subcontracted if Google dont want to be involved.


 12:28 pm on Apr 21, 2003 (gmt 0)

Peer review...
Got to get proposed by 10 sites of PR > 8 for reinclusion?
PR8 sites can charge for reviewing it (income stream for good sites), and if Google manually finds them to be abusing the system PR0 the PR8 site... which is something PR8 would never risk.


 1:18 pm on Apr 21, 2003 (gmt 0)

set a length that gets the message across

I would be fine with a long term ban if there were a list of Do's and Dont's

There must be a defined list that would identify spam. That way, you know you're doing it so here's your chance to stop, or else.....


 1:24 pm on Apr 21, 2003 (gmt 0)

Duckhunter, I absolutely agree with you.
Sorry for reoeating myself but.............
I really cannot see why it is beyond the wit and guile of Google to come up with a comprehensive but fluid guideline reserving the right to change or add to their own rules at will or at a moments notice.
Many authorities including countries have rules/laws that change as prevailing conditions change or when someone discovers a loophole or takes unfair advantage so why can Google not come up with a list of exactly what they do or do not consider as spam and add or subtract from it as they see fit on a day to day basis.
The current mayhem and anarchy help absolutely no one especially Google whose reluctance to properly guide encourages the use of questionable tactics. This course would also validate the spam reports if the person reporting could point to a specific breach of the rules.
I have had some success in emailing competitors threatening to report them before actually doing so but those threats would carry much more weight if I could refer to a specific section of Googles TOS. Most webmasters would be concerned about such a threat particularly as Google is the only game in town but they may not remain so if they cannot conquer spam.
Perhaps Google should consider more seriously the massive free resource that they have here in these forums as unpaid policemen to help regulate and make the serps more equitable.


 2:10 pm on Apr 21, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hey JudgeJeffries

Google is not a law firm. Every rule you lay down gives rise to grey areas, and hence more rules. Your suggestions would lead to the Google version of the Magna Carta. Then we'd need special internet lawyers to interpret it for us.

The internet is complicated enough without the rule makers getting involved.


 2:13 pm on Apr 21, 2003 (gmt 0)

One of the sites I have come across is a mock up site:

Company X made a site, called it Company Y, used extensive spam to win out the serps for certain geographic key phrases, and then pass on some of this relevance to clients for Company X via hidden links. They've even got a Dmoz and Goolge directory listing! I guess they inserted the spam afterwards...

For me, this deliberate sort of abuse deserves a harsh penalty - especially since these are commercial sites. The TOS is there for a reason, it's available for all to read. I think that the mock up site and the sites that they have linked to should be banned for a year.

The 'root' company site should get a two or three month penalty for sure - and pay a fine to get back in.


 3:14 pm on Apr 21, 2003 (gmt 0)

To GoogleGuy - I filled out a spam report just now with my nickname included. The spammer listed in that report has most of the first page of search results for the listed keyword combination with various domains.


 3:27 pm on Apr 21, 2003 (gmt 0)

Since Google doesn't provide a clear cut list of what it considers illegal and instead prefers to keep its guidelines awfully vague ... doesn't it seem fair that Google should send an email warning to a problematic site indicating exactly what Google's concern is and giving the site x days to clean up their act?

1) For reasons of scalability alone, Google prefers to deal with spam with its algorithm whenever possible. Notification and subsequent review would just add to Google's already high cost of fighting spam.

2) Webmasters and SEOs who use tricks like hidden text are, by definition, trying to subvert Google's search results. They've made their bed; why shouldn't they be expected to lie in it?

3) As for the claim that Google's guidelines are "awfully vague," I'd say that guidelines like "Avoid hidden text or hidden links," "Don't employ cloaking or sneaky redirects," and Avoid "doorway" pages created just for search engines" are quite specific (not to mention perfectly clear).


 3:28 pm on Apr 21, 2003 (gmt 0)

duckhunter wrote:

I would be fine with a long term ban if there were a list of Do's and Dont's




 3:38 pm on Apr 21, 2003 (gmt 0)


>>3) As for the claim that Google's guidelines are "awfully vague," I'd say that guidelines like "Avoid hidden text or hidden links," "Don't employ cloaking or sneaky redirects," and Avoid "doorway" pages created just for search engines" are quite specific (not to mention perfectly clear).

How about soliciting links from links pages? This isn't defined as spamming, but that's what it is. It's subverting Google's algorithm via another route. Google has no policy on this so I'd say their position is vague.

Actually they mention that you should not join link schemes, but then is asking another webmaster for a link a link scheme if it is mildly relevant?


 4:38 pm on Apr 21, 2003 (gmt 0)

GG -

As far as the spam penalty. Would it be too hard to implement a system that if you used google's add url page for the URL of a banned site, it would say something like:

This site has not been added to the list of sites to be crawled. It is currently under penalty for violating our guidelines. More information regarding Google's guidelines is available at: [google.com...]

If you have removed all content that violates our guidelines, you may use our recinclusion request form after 3 months.

Google reserves the right to remove websites from its search results at any time. Changing a website that has violated our guidelines does not guarantee for reinclusion.

Anyhow, I am sure you have someone that can come up with a better paragraph than that.

The point is, that if a site is spamming the index, this would not only confirm it, but it would point any interested party to a page that would explain in detail what types of naughty activity actually incurred the penalty, and hopefully lead them to the path of the straight and narrow!


 6:19 pm on Apr 21, 2003 (gmt 0)

I have read these posts and virtually every other post on the major bulletin boards. Here is the problem I have and the e-mail I sent to Google. As usual, no response. I have sent an e-mail a day trying to get a level playing field. EVERY site ranked above us cheats in some fashion but the leader is absolutely blantant about it.

The key issue in the e-mail is that our sales are influenced by our ranking in Google. We are making efforts to reduce our dependency on Google, but we can't help the fact that most people looking for our services use Google.

The E-mail:

The problem is that Google has so much of the market captured that if we don't have good rankings on Google, we don't do good on the web. Your search engine has the ability to make or break a web based business. We find our sales fluctuating in-line with our ranking. It doesn't get any better than that for you, but it sure scares us little guys to death. What concerns me is that competitors are cheating to gain market share and there is nothing that the rest of us can do without resorting to their tactics.

I have been under the assumption that your Google Bots are able to identify blatant SPAM on web pages and take actions accordingly. But I have noticed that virtually everyone above us cheats in some fashion.

For example, I am the webmaster for sites that are in a very competitive market arena right now. The two top sites when you search for the keywords "------", "------", and a bunch of other competitive search terms are [------...] and [--------------....]

I have found dozens of hidden keywords and graphic links on those sites. I have used the SPAM report page for months trying to level the playing field so that we are able to be competitive without cheating. I guess those guys are very busy, I never get a response, so I keep trying. I'm sure they get dozens/hundreds of e-mails a day.

I have some of the hidden text at the bottom of this e-mail. There are hundreds of hidden keywords (text color matches background) and graphics links (barely noticeable dots and bars that are light blue in color embedded throughout the site). I thought that the Google spiders were able to recognize text that was the same color as the background. This site is pretty much loaded with everything you are not supposed to do yet he remains number one for all search terms in my line of business. Does this mean that Google spiders don't do this type of advanced evaluation? If they don't I am in big trouble.

Please help us to be able to compete fairly by either making sure the spiders can pick up SPAM during indexing or by being more responsive to SPAM reports. I hope that the folks in both those areas understand how important your search engine is to us.


 6:42 pm on Apr 21, 2003 (gmt 0)


If that is how your spam reports read, I am not surprised that you aren't getting anywhere. And you say you are writing to Google daily about this? That is too much. You are just making a pest of yourself.

First, pick ONE site. Report only that site. Do not whine about your business or lack thereof.

List one important search term where they come up high.
List the exact URL of that page.
List what they are doing that blatantly violates Google's TOS
Explain exactly what they should look for on that specific page.
Forget about it for at least a month, and go back to working on your own site.

Your letter is centered on *your ranking*! That is not what a spam report is supposed ot be about. It is about another site.

Do everything that you can to make it easy for them to find and identify the problem. Everyone likes it when other people make their job easier. Make the spam examiner's job as easy as possible.


 7:03 pm on Apr 21, 2003 (gmt 0)

I know that the last one sounds like I am whining but that was after a lot of e-mails using the SPAM forms. This was the last one I sent to one of their e-mails listed on their site. I don't intend to send any more.

I always used the SPAM report page. I would send one then wait a few weeks. Tried to send another wait a few weeks. One more - wait a month. I did it just like I was told by some folks here. State the facts - make it short. Tell them what site it was, the problem and that was it. Six months of SEO work I finally got to the first page. At least I won't get fired now. It still bothers me that everyone above me cheats, so, I sent them this one and am giving up.

This 193 message thread spans 7 pages: < < 193 ( 1 2 3 4 [5] 6 7 > >
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