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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?



 1:14 am on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

> but is it hurting me now?

It is often referred to as Karma or what goes around comes around. sic: several historical variations thereof - eg: sowing, reaping, etc ;).


 1:22 am on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

Are you certain YOU are not spamming?

I've said it before but it bears repeating. "We all live in glass houses, who is going to throw the first stone"

Maybe you got reported for buying PR? Either way, tattling is a pretty weak SEO strategy.

I can't believe how many people complain about sites ranking above them becasue of hidden text. Is it that hard to add visible keywords in content?

If you get beat by hidden text, you really aren't that good.


 1:44 am on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

I have yet to see any accurate PR adjustments over the last months since Domenic so I wouldn't worry about it yet. Assuming Google new system is inline with previous rankings you will eventually show a PR benefit.
Aside from PR, have you seen improvement in SERP rankings?


 2:06 am on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

Spam reporting is unsportsman like conduct.

Not to mention, a poor long term strategy for getting to the top. While you are reporting spam, you could have been making a new page of content, or writing an email to get another PR6 incoming link.

Google will eventually find the spam. Let them do their job - you do yours and make your site better.


 2:20 am on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

Ask your SEO firm if it reports every spam abuse that it finds to Google using our spam complaint form at [google.com...] Ethical SEO firms report deceptive sites that violate Google's spam guidelines.



 2:21 am on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

bokesh... a lot of people around here are going to LOVE your post.. ;)

If you are squeaky clean, there is no reason that a hand check or extra attention by google to your own site is going to harm you. But i would make absolutely sure im was squeaky clean before reporting a competitor in a way that could track your own site! (We are squeaky clean of course, ;) and i dont see in the categories we
are in anything that i would bother reporting. Either google will catch up with it eventually, or it's nt really affecting me that much overall and i still retain some of that old-public-school "dont rat on your mates" spin. II'd love to be one of the upright moralistic, "sportsmanlike" types around here who would swear never to dob in competitors, but who knows.. someday i may find something that deserves reporting - tho its very unlikely..

Nevertheless, it still astounds me that it comes across in WebmasterWorld a LOT, is that many see Search Engines as their competitors, when in fact its other webmasters/site owners/ SEOs - many on the same board!


 2:43 am on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

You can write to the site in question and tell them that you will report it if they dont delete the hidden text.

I did that a few months ago and it worked right away. Of course I didn't say which sites I was promoting.

You can't really be 100% clean when you are fighting for nr1 position with a low budget. You can be 95 % though.


 3:14 am on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

My personal ethical guideline is based exactly on what Brett Tabke said.

And that spam thing doesn't always work either, if what the top guy in my category does isn't spam then I don't know what is...

But isn't it useless, how many posts do we see here daily "the top guy in my category is pure spam"...yeah, take a sample, we're like 0.00001% of webmasters here and yet spam winning is so common....

I took a brief tour of some SERPs here and guess what spam is saying to me?

All your SERP are belong to us.


 3:27 am on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

Google created a way for people to report webmasters that cheat.

Google clearly defined techniques that are inappropriate and that can be used to manipulate Googles results.

Google wants people to report sites that cheat.

And little by little, they will go after the sites that don't play by the rules.

I highly recommend reporting sites that have hidden text and hidden links. I've reported the sites in my niche that are cheating, and they are dissappearing.

If they are smart, they will clean up there act, and play fair. If they do that, they may have a chance.


 3:34 am on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

<<If they are smart, they will clean up there act, and play fair. If they do that, they may have a chance. >>

Play fair? It's not a game and there is nothing fair about it. People build sites and Google chooses to index them. Any "spam" is simply a result of their own flaws.

the original poster first says he reported spam then goes on to say that he breaks the Google guidlines by "aquiring PR".

Saying that Google wants us to report spam is stating the obvious. They love it when people do their work for free. The point is, it does not benefit the webmaster at all, and may come back to bite you...

This has got to be the only industry where adults tattle like children as a business practice.

If you report spam, don't say a peep when your site gets caught in some crazy filter.


 3:47 am on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

>>This has got to be the only industry where adults tattle like children as a business practice.<<

Disagree entirely. This is a well etablished practice in ALL business, especially highly competitive business which is the case for entreprenurs here who create sites in competitive areas and try to gain an edge by SEO.

Everything from the whistleblowers at Enron, to intelligence bodies (heck the CIA, KGB, etc etc. all depends on telling tales) to millions of brick and mortar companies worldwide who will do anything to get a competitive edge to their competitors and will report then to tax, industry, professional and government authorities for practices they find out about. It's hardly childish, its business survival for many.

..And just one other competitive thing that all businesses must guard against if they are doing anything remotely under the board.

However, calling them names, as is common here, and taking a "higher moral ground" is not going to stop anybody.. Do you really think the "serious" spam reporter who does this regularly in the (often mistaken) belief that it will give them a ranking benefit, will be swayed by appeals to their ethical moral character? In highly competitive arenas like the affiliate game, good guys often come last.

It's business reality.. off and online...


 3:58 am on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

This is the only industry I've ever seen where cheats think they should be allowed to get away with it. It's astonishing.

Sorry spammers, you can't cut in line. You are going to get reported to the usher. Boohoo.

LOL, "business practice." Get real. Clipping gets you a fifteen yard penalty.

Watcher of the Skies

 4:07 am on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

C'mon, all. There is SPAM (100% bonafide), SPAM (dodgy-gray-area-stuff), and NO SPAM/squeaky-clean (more than those here seem to assume). A site that is in the first category above and continually ranks well hurts everyone. How? The longer it stays, the more it encourages fence-sitters (though none here that I can see) to give a shot at any of the well-known techniques. To do well, everyone MUST do it - and it takes away from making better sites.

"This has got to be the only industry where adults tattle like children as a business practice."

Yes, as you said, there's nothing fair about it, so please stop whining! ("Why are you tattling?" - sounds like the classic SPAM/Kenneth Lay/Richard Nixon defense.) Most people (not all), I assume, only report the really obvious stuff. If Google actually acts on it -- rare! -- then you've probably broken several rules. Got something to hide? If you have a page that takes money out of my pocket that's basically composed of illegible gibberish, I WILL turn YOU in every time!


 4:08 am on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

It's business reality.. off and online...


Larry Ellison is fond of quoting,
It is not enough to win- Everybody else must lose.

There is quite a bit of truth in that. OTOH, as in any single minded pursuit, you may end up with a blind spot that someone else may exploit.

I have no probs with reporting a cheater. Haven't done so in a long while- and the last one I did was just on principle, it had nothing to do with any of my sites.

Seems like the growing consensus is that you should concentrate on improving your own site...

I doubt that the link is hurting you but you should try to genuinely improve your link situation. Don't be mechanical about it, think organic.

Approach it from the standpoint of what would be good for the site that's linking to you- Does it benefit the surfers at your link partner to have access to a link to you? That kind of thinking. Do it with the end user in mind.

[edited by: martinibuster at 4:19 am (utc) on July 16, 2003]


 4:09 am on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

It's a sad fact that people who can't compete content-wise resort to cheating. This exists in every form of human endeavor. And in every form of human endeavor responsible people must see to it that the genuinely deserving get the benefits that they *earn*. Spammers just hate that. They just hate having to earn what they can more easily steal.

It does all come down to whether you want to be honest, do quality work and see that it is appropriately rewarded, or if you get off on stealing what doesn't belong to you. It's the same dichotomy that breaks down between people who want to cooperate with Google with the aim that it ranks sites as best as it can, versus those who see Google as the enemy to be manipulated and outsmarted because they don't have quality that can stand toe to toe with competitors.

Build a good site. Reports the cheats and manipulators. The more people who do this, the better the serps will be... quality-wise not cheating-wise.

Watcher of the Skies

 4:10 am on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

Bravo Chiyo and steveb - we were writing at the same time. :-)


 4:34 am on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)


I have a same exact experience as tours,

NO. Don't worry anything.


 6:51 am on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

Thanks Chiyo, and everyone else who is aware of how today's cut-throat businesses work.

To those who think what I did was wrong, i wish you good luck trying to make it in the real world...you'll need it.


 6:57 am on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

Cheers Chiyo!

Visitors to our sites is what puts food on the table. We need to do everything (legitimate) to gather as many customers as we can.


 6:58 am on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

the original poster first says he reported spam then goes on to say that he breaks the Google guidlines by "aquiring PR".

mfishy, bockesh never said he 'acquired PR' - he said he acquired a link. Since when is it a crime or even against google guidelines to acquire a link? Isn't that the foundation of the web?

Bockesh, I think you did the right thing and it's not true that 'what goes around comes around' if you aren't doing anything wrong. I don't think that by being associated with this PR7 site that linked to your competitor you will have lost out on rankings. Of course, it may be that the PR7 site's links have lost their value because they have been busted for 'selling PR' or something of the likes, but not for the hidden text violations of a site it was linking to.

Where were you before your competitor was eliminated? Obviously not in the second spot. Instead of looking at what others are doing wrong, spend some time looking at what those above you now are doing RIGHT. Check their incoming links, check their on-page text, titles and use of H tags and make sure to keep on creating quality content for your own site the whole time!


 7:06 am on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

I wonder if Google take all these 'sour grapes' spam reports and look at the 'reporter' in the same light because they are often 'tit-for-tat' squabbles.

I equally wonder how many they take seriously?


 7:14 am on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

a seriously doubt the people at googleplex have time, nor would they care to do so.


 7:27 am on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

If someone is cheating and I have the ability to report them, I have no ethical obligation to my competitor to NOT report them. It may even be looked at as going beyond the call of duty to NOT report them.

I have the choice, but none can yell sour grapes if I choose to report.

In fact, my competitor has an ethical obligation to play by the rules.

Shouting sour grapes at whistle blowers is really attacking the victim.



 7:38 am on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

My phrase of 'Sour Grapes' relate to those 'tit for tat' squabbles that derive from rival sites.

I think it is a fair bet that the vast majority of reports are from this type of source.

It is worth remembering that there are many areas of SEO that are grey areas. They could be 'spam' or they could be bordering on stretching the limits.

The public in general probably do not report seo type of spam and don't know it exists.

If we looked into any given spam report, we would almost certainly find that it generated from someone who feels they should be in the place of those they are reporting. Hence 'sour grapes'.


 8:17 am on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

Re what google does with spam reports. I'm pretty sure that they aggregate them together to find patterns in spam-reported sites, data from the "happy faces" and their other ways of detecting algo "manipulation".

So if a new spam tehcnique was suddenly degrading the index as a whole or in certain keyword areas they would direct their attention to how to reduce the effectiveness of that technique in their algo. I think there is a very small chance they will tend to one spam report, but maybe if one domain gets several reports from many different verified unique sources, they may get a hand check. And possibly if the offender is something obviously bad like redirecting to porn, gambling, or illegal sites, they well may be looked at separately.

If you feel the need to report, go ahead, ... and move on - forget about it. Dont go on a crusade. google will determine if the site REALLY is downgrading SERP quality, usually by considering it with other reports and other sites with similar patterns and their own other "intelligence" in time.

[edited by: chiyo at 8:35 am (utc) on July 16, 2003]


 8:29 am on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

Sadly chiyo, the vast number of 'reporters' are on a crusade and feel the need to see results, they want blood.


 8:38 am on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

Wouldn't they only get 'blood' if the site was indeed violating certain rules? If so, then the site was 'bad' and deserved to be reported. If not then not. Arrest and conviction are not the same.

No reason not to report people.

Plus I would think that the dudes at Google would take this seriously enough because it really speaks to the quality of their results which is what they're all about no?


 8:42 am on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

Wouldn't they only get 'blood' if the site was indeed violating certain rules? If so, then the site was 'bad' and deserved to be reported. If not then not. Arrest and conviction are not the same.

Certain rules? ... then the site was 'bad'?

You are working on the basis that every report is valid and with reason.

I'm working on the basis that far too many reports are 'sour grapes', acts of revenge etc.


 8:56 am on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

"I'm working on the basis that far too many reports are 'sour grapes', acts of revenge etc."

Why would you even mention this? Even if it were true, so what? You concerned about those poor Google employees who have to read and dispose of non-spam spam reports? They got cool parties and stuff, we don't need to worry about them.

Spam reports only concern spammers. If your site is clean, a thousand spam reports won't make it unclean.

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