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This 169 message thread spans 6 pages: < < 169 ( 1 [2] 3 4 5 6 > >     
I tattled on my competitor, but is it hurting me now?

 9:36 pm on Jul 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

Here's the deal-
My competitor had a small 6 page site, had hidden text everywhere stuffed with keywords, and had a single PR7 backlink. (His only backlink, besides his own pages) He was appearing on the first page for an extremely comepetive key phrase, so I went an acquired a link from the same site he had his single PR7 backlink from.

Prior to emerald or whatever the last update was called, I reported his hidden text site to google and it was penalized immediately. (You can't find his site anywhere now.)

I was hoping that with this new PR7 link I would get to enjoy the benefits my competitor had, but so far this hasn't happened, nor has my pr adjusted yet...and this was done over a month ago.

My question is, since the PR7 site links to my penalized competitor, would that be a red flag to google, causing a devalued interpretation of my backlink from the PR7 site?



 9:00 am on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

Sorry, I wasn't clear.

I am not saying that all reports are valid. Google folks are the judges of that.

I'm just saying that if the site gets busted and penalized, it obviously deserved it, in which case it's a good thing the whistle blower reported it.

If the site does not deserve a penalty, then no matter how much the whistle blower screams for blood it won't get penalized. At least that's the way I'm thinking it works.

So the fact that these whistle blowers want blood doesn't really affect anything does it? I'm sure there isn't any way to 'convince' Google to penalize a site if it doesn't after the first report.


 9:14 am on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

Boah - this must be one of the most tired and beaten topics in the entire history of this grand forum :)

Nonetheless, some annotations:

- The analogies to sports and police/crimes are misleading. In sports and law enforcement the rules are transparent and more importantly agreed upon by all parties. The people you report to are not interested parties. The opposite is true with Google.

- Google definitly doesn't need spam reports. They don't even look at 99% of those. It's nothing but a tool in their PR arsenal.

- I have yet to see a clean spam reporter.


 9:21 am on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

heini has just hit the nail firmly on the head. Spam reports are like dogs chasing their own tails.


 11:18 am on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)



 11:24 am on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

<<- I have yet to see a clean spam reporter. >>

And how many have you "seen"?

>>Any Google cops out there care to post their URL's here?

It's against the TOS...

Really i think this thread is degenerating almost into an "outing", which is the usual case with this topic.


 11:26 am on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

Well, you should try looking a little harder. I am a clean spam reporter.

I work hard to make sure my sites are clean, and when I find sites that are not playing by the rules, I report them.

It's pretty simple. The rules have been defined. If you break them, then don't be surprised if Google knocks you out of the index.

If you aren't breaking the rules, you shouldn't be upset by anyone taking the time to report people who do. They are cheating. Cheaters deserve to be reported. Period.


 11:46 am on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

No matter where we look there are good and bad. Honest traders, rougue traders.

Abusers abuse the abuse facility - they spoil it for decent honest people.

My point is that the vast majority of reported spam is a 'sour grapes' situation, someone wanting their competition deleted from the indices.

Let's take a UK high street. Willy has a widget shop and Wally sees a shop vacant next door to Willy. Wally thinks it is an ideal place to sell his widgets.

Wally applies for planning permission but Willy objects, the planning office uphold Wally's application because 'competition' is not grounds for refusal.

Day in day out Willy reports Wally for parking, refuse disposal, noise, litter ... you name it - but the council see Willy has a disgruntled neighbour and doesn't act on Wally.

What happens when Wally reports Willy? WW3 :)

too much information

 1:07 pm on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

peewhy - are you saying that Wally is playing with his Willy? :D

I have seen plenty of complaints about spam reports not working. My take on this is that Google has set up the reporting form to probably weed out junk reports. Probably the most important thing in the report is the check box asking if this page was not relevant to the search.

I have a competator who has an entirely Flash site. They decided to position their movie on the page by filling above it with hidden text. basically their keywords repeated over and over and over.

They are actually doing fairly well for their keyword and the thing is that they ARE relevant to the search. The funny part for me is that their Flash movie only loads in Netscape, not IE at all (something wrong with their code). That means they are holding a place in the SERPs that I don't have to worry about.

*While I'm still giggling about that, one of my major competators just adjusted their site. They added a VERY strange bit of code that redirects almost every browser to a site that promotes using newer browsers! You can only hit their site with IE 6, 5.5, or any browser you can find that they could not think of. Talk about running off customers, what an idiot! -I'm loving it too-


 1:14 pm on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

That'll be Willy then:)

Too sharp for their own good!

The old saying - cheaters never prosper works here.

Sooner or later spammers will be caught out, always by their own deeds.

I would get worried if I had to keep twitching the curtains to see if the spammers are lurking around.

Or even worse, hitting that view source tool to get the evidence.

No, run your site clean, use good SEO and what comes around goes around.


 1:24 pm on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

Gees this has turned into an ethics post!

I think its gone way past the original point.

So you report someone for spam. Big whoop, it does not mean you are doing the write or wrong thing. If G sees it fit to penalise the site then they will.


 1:25 pm on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

And agreement with Peewhy: What goes around comes around :D


 1:27 pm on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

live by the sword, get shot by SWAT team.



 1:36 pm on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

I really do have to laugh.... you crack me up. I think the following sums it up (Toolman's quote I think):

SPAM = Sites Positioned Above Mine.

You reporting guys really should take a closer look at yourselves. Perhaps asking yourself what you are doing on here.... isn't it to learn how to 'optimize' better? Eh? So what's the difference? Are those you call 'spammers' not just 'optimizing' more effectively than you?

I think the word I'm looking for is hypocrisy.

Of course it's natural to go into denial at this stage: "But my sites a clean"; "No, I'm here just for community spirit"; "But they are doing that and I am only doing this"; yaa yaa yaa.

By the way, if there is any lesson from the last 2 months it is that Google will wallop any site that gets in its way if it wants to, however 'clean'. SOOO many dolphins were caught in those filters.

Back to the original poster: if it is hurting you it's exactly what you deserve. Karma rules. Think about it next time you get the urge to stab a competitor in the back.

All IMHO of course. No offence intended. Don't shoot the messenger. And so on and so forth...


 1:40 pm on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

That was quite a few slogans and sayings there :)

Imagine if you will, Google adopting the following;

When in doubt, take 'em out!

....and then quickly getting back on topic, which was hmmm?


 2:17 pm on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

The website you reported that you said vanished instantly... it probably vanished for other reasons than your report. During that time a lot of things were evolving and sites that were guilty of hidden text had good rankings and then dissapeared, probably as a result of G applying filters gradually.

I agree with everyone that said you should probably work to keep increasing backlinks, but as far as reporting sites, I say if you find sites that are obviously using anything hidden to try to gain ranking or pull any tricks, they deserve to be reported. You can take it step further by reporting them to any major directories they are listed in, some of the directories have TOS that warns against duplicate listings, alternate urls and spammy sites, if you make the directory aware of a site not conforming to their TOS they will remove them, even Y! will remove them and keep their $299

There will always be folks that will try to argue against reporting, they are intitled to their own opinins of course, but if they have nothing to hide, I don't see why they would have such a problem with someone having a different opinion and reporting sites that go against the intent of the rules. Maybe they are spammers or maybe they are not plagued by losing business to those who are spammers.

that's all I have to say about that...


too much information

 2:24 pm on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

SOOO many dolphins were caught in those filters

That's great!

I don't report sites unless they really don't belong in the search. I'm not worried about everyone else, I can take 'em. BRING IT ON!

As far as it hurting your site, I would think that your PR didn't go up because you probably don't have your site adjusted correctly. Just because you now have a link from the same PR7 site doesn't mean that G has found it, or that you will automatically get a boost in PR, especially with G doing such wacky stuff lately.

Be patient, your PR will go up if your site is any good.


 2:27 pm on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

If you want to report spam go ahead and do it *for the cash* but don't pretend to be on some ethical crusade....


 2:34 pm on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

I guess you could clean up your *own site* and do a reinclusion request.

Now you know what a spam report really is (damage your fellow webmaster).

good luck.


 2:51 pm on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

Maybe they are spammers or maybe they are not plagued by losing business to those who are spammers.

I like the theory :)

I'm not into reporting spam, not because I have an hidden agenda, simply because it is a waste of my time and I don't believe Google act upon it, I feel they see it has 'sour grapes'.

I trust in Google to weed them out by using their own tools.


 3:59 pm on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

>> Maybe they are spammers or maybe they are not plagued by losing business to those who are spammers <<

Clearly some people don't understand the logic of my post, as simple as it is. Or more likely, don't WANT to.

Ahh well.


 4:05 pm on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

I report sites that use hidden text and hidden links.

Those techniques have been clearly defined as inappropriate by Google.

If you are in my niche, and I see your site using those techniques, I will report you.

And when I see sites that I have reported dissappear from the index, I dance a little happy dance.

Webmasters that use those techniques are begging for trouble. They are painting a great big bullseye on their foreheads and saying, here I am, come and get me.

I highly recommend reporting sites that use those techniques. Google does remove them.


 4:13 pm on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

IMO it's similar to professional athletes. When you have a high profile (first page rankings) you will be under the microscope. Nobody cares about athletes that make no money and are not in the spotlight. Same with web sites. No one cares about the spam that is on page 3+. Sites with first page rankings are not there by accident. When your site is on the first page for any competitive category you better be playing by the rules or you will get caught. Those high ranking sites that *clearly* are not playing by the rules need to be reported.


 4:29 pm on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

hazardtomyself: You are quite right. Its dog eat dog out there. Business is business, if you were nice to everyone and didn't try to beat your competition, you would get nowhere.


 4:44 pm on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

So what do you do gooders do when google decides reciprocal links or any form of artificial PR is spam but they fail to implement an effective algo? Do you clean up your sites and go on a new crusade?


 4:48 pm on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

I try to stay clean, but simply having knowledge of how to work the system, or even how to help google properly index my site makes me a spammer. I use descriptive titles and H1's and , maybe even try to keep my keyword density somewhere I think google might like it, this is me manipulating googles serps. I am now a spammer. Plain and simple.

Ye who is without sin, cast the first stone.


 4:51 pm on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

There are a good many webmaster here and most of us at one time or another have thought about reporting someone to The big g. Some of you have acutally done it. But the growing trend I have seen in the past 2 years is people not wanting to acutally work for their listings. I have read on countless occasions that "My competitor is getting better listings than me." Well grow up and learn how to do your job better. Quit whining and acting like a 5 year old who is tattling on his brother for something small. Learn how to do the best job you can and then do some research
instead of asking about backlinks, pr, and whatever else is the popular.

Most of the information you people are asking about has been posted at least 15 times before in the history of WebmasterWorld.

There are a good many of you who are new and dont yet know the rules about being a webmaster/seo/spammer. You need to learn what they are soon. If you keep going about and reporting someone who has put more work and wisdom to use than you have you are lazy and are hurting yourself and someone else due to your being lazy. Work hard, dont tattle, and keep your mouth shut when it comes to secrets.


 4:52 pm on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

/me stones mat :P


 4:57 pm on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

You're wasting your time with them Mat. It's self justifying cr@p.

There is NO excuse for such lowly ethics... and yes, ultimately they it will rebound on them. It's always the way with the net. Karma happens.

The "business is business" comment is ALWAYS an excuse, and NEVER a reason. That applies as equally offline as online. Whenever I hear someone in life say it, I have a measure of who I am speaking to.

The bottom line is that only losers submit reports. There are all sorts of techniques being used by my competitors, but it would never cross my mind to report them. I'll win in the end because I'll promote more effectively than they do. I don't need to resort to a ultra-short term strategy like telling teacher.

Interesting that no-one took up the hypocrisy debate. Where do you start to define a site as 'spam'? Meta tags? KWD? X-Linkage? You see there is no line... the line is the start, and the intent... and anyone on here has already crossed it because they are seeking to climb the rankings via 'optimization' (aka 'spamming').

Well said Miles, by the way.


 5:02 pm on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

Spam is defined by Google.

If you do the things that Google has stated are inappropriate, you deserve to be reported.

Pure and simple.


 5:09 pm on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

Sorry, but thats a whole load of nonsense, Napoleon.

If everyone treated each other like friends, and not competitors, what would become of business?

Well, it would no longer be business would it? Its would be non-profit. Although if the world was like that, I'm sure it would be nice. But unfortunately thats not going to happen any time soon, which is exactly WHY we have competition, and which is WHY Business is business

[edited by: Pricey at 5:11 pm (utc) on July 16, 2003]


 5:09 pm on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

>>I use descriptive titles and H1's and , maybe even try to keep my keyword density somewhere I think google might like it, this is me manipulating googles serps. I am now a spammer. Plain and simple.
Ye who is without sin, cast the first stone

OK II'd go first ;)

Ive always wondered why this topic attracts so much emotion and passion when it is really just a personal business decision whether to report or not. Surely if the sites of those who are stamping their feet about spam reporters now are not SPAM, then its of no consequence right? They will pass any hand check. But i can understand the defnesive posture of these posters. Because what is defined as SPAM is such a grey area, and many work in "grey areas" just to keep up, and to them a low profile is very important.

Ive read this "WE are all spammers" spin regularly. And also the regular argument about SPAM being all sites above me. Ive read it perhaps hundreds of times here.

Ive given it a good read.

And it still doesnt wash with me.

It seems to be a way to escape criticism by making the definition so wide, nobody can call anybody else a spammer, even if you have just changed one word in a title, or put headings in H1's and such so the docmument has a good structure. Others may be cloaking, using hidden text, have hundreds of interlinking domains on diff IP's hosts etc, but because I changed a title to make it more descriptive suddenly i'm a spammer.?!

So i write good descriptive summaries, write good keyword titles, and cite other websites sensibly. This is NOTHING that a publisher in the hard copy world wouldn't do and what i used to do when i was working in that medium, but as soon as we do it on the Web suddenly it's spam?

Spam is subjective. Its definition changes a lot. Many years back i used to post in usenet groups of which i was a frequent poster myself about our new site. Back then i didnt think it was spam. Maybe now i do.

Many webmasters in competitive areas speak with so much passion and emotion on this area simply because they want to keep under the radar when it is getting more difficult every day to keep top rankings without encroaching on grey areas. I dont think it really affects with people in niche areas non-affiliate models, or part time sites. Having it "easy" for others to report the first type of webmaster is a major threat to many. To them keeping "under the radar" is key. Hence the strong language, sarcastic name-calling and "moral platform" used against those who may quite innocently feel they were helping both themselves and google's index as a whole by taking time out to report.

Some of these posts simply come across to me as the school bully "encouraging" newcomers to understand the playground "code of silence" so they don't get in the way of the REAL spammers to get on with their business.

[edited by: chiyo at 5:33 pm (utc) on July 16, 2003]

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