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Is Google making the Spam problem worse?
Does ingoring it's own policies make google's core product weaker?
WebFusion




msg:764670
 11:48 pm on Jun 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

I've been perusing a number of engines beyond google today (MSN/ASK/Yahoo) and noticed what is (IMHO) a trend that can be traced directly to google:

Adsense spam sites are proliferating exponentially.

Now, I know these scraper sites are nothing new, and I'm sure many of them get reported (I've reported a few myself).

However, isn't the root of the problem the fact that google is ALLOWING these sites to violate it's own policies?

Isn't the lack of enforcement of those same polices directly driving the growth of such spam (which in turn leads to more and more instability in the serps/quality of google's core product).

In short - is google causing the majority of it's own [spam] problems through inaction?

 

treeline




msg:764671
 9:04 pm on Jun 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

I believe the internet would be enhanced tremendously if google manually reviewed all sites they do business with, and took seriously complaints about these sites lacking value. Of course, by "do business with" I mean sites google sends money to, not just lists in their serps. First do no evil ought to include not financing the evil.

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:764672
 9:27 pm on Jun 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

I think that Google is caught between a rock and hard place on this one. It's really quite simple. They are obviously well aware of the proliferation of these spam sites and equally obviously they are choosing to ignore them. If we can see them they can certainly see them and if they are still in the index then we must accept that they are condoning them.

It is now becoming evident that they cannot afford to drop them because of the profit they are generating. It all seems quite obvious to me but if I am reading it wrong then perhaps someone can tell me what I am missing?

helleborine




msg:764673
 9:51 pm on Jun 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

Here's an idea.

Google is making boffo profits from the PPC on the AdSense scrapers, even if most don't see that much traffic or rank so well!

Google can't wean itself from the cash cow, under the critical eye of the stockholders.

Maybe I'm just crazy.

Longhaired Genius




msg:764674
 9:52 pm on Jun 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

Rock 'n' a hard place it is. Google's stock-price is so over-inflated that any fall in revenue would be catastrophic. Google is in its own personal internet bubble. And bubbles always burst.

MikeNoLastName




msg:764675
 9:56 pm on Jun 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

"I've been perusing a number of engines beyond google today..."

There's life beyond google these days? :/

I think it's looking like their stance is to USE them where they are useful and that is to fill in the cracks where noone else is. Just as grout is necessary to fill in the spaces between tiles the spam sites are so keyword rich that they pick up the searches that fall between the cracks of the "authority sites" and recycle them back to Google results, especially on the OTHER search engines. G is slowly filtering them from their OWN results, in which case the traffic which comes from them are purely non-G searchers from Y and MSN. Quite a coup when you think about it. It's one of those cheap underhanded sales tactics like sending masses of minimum wage employees to stand outside all your competitor's stores and hand out coupons and fliers for your store down the street.

helleborine




msg:764676
 10:01 pm on Jun 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

MikeNoLastName,

You have proven that, once again, one cannot be cynical enough.

I sure wasn't.

Your theory is probably right, being the most cynical possible, unless... someone can top it?

topr8




msg:764677
 10:14 pm on Jun 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

different angle: web search as we know it, will die, the scraper sites get their traffic from ranking high in web search - if people didn't use web search no-one would ever find a scraper site, they are only a short term problem.

adsense is in its infancy, google had to get in the game first to be the market leader.

at some point soon people will be fed up with web search just like junk mail, i think that more and more 'trusted destinations' will develop as indeed internet applications will develop well beyond the home/office computer terminal - this is when adsense will blossom, from being placed on those sites/locations. these trusted destinations may not even be websites as we know them today.

think about this. we all know the projections about your fridge being able to tell you that you need to stock up on certain foods, well how about it carries ads (adsense mark II) suggesting the best deals

suidas




msg:764678
 10:29 pm on Jun 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

I'd like to know what proportion of Google's Adsense money is coming from spam sites? I would assume it's fairly low, maybe 1/5. With Adsense only a fraction of all text-ad sales (1/3 perhaps), we're dealing with maybe 1/15 of their text-ad revenue coming form spam sites.

Now, what *damage* do spam sites do to Google? I'd wager the damage is significant. The more consumers see "Ads by Gooooogle" on spammy, contentless and manipulative sites the less they respect the medium and Google itself, eroding long-term profits.

While the 1/15 is current profit, the damage is progressive and cumulative. In the end, I think the damage outweighs the benefits.

Agree or disagree?

jasonlambert




msg:764679
 10:40 pm on Jun 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

Listen Up.

The supposed problem is NOT with Adsense.

The "problem" lies with the search engine delivering thousands of unique visitors per day to websites that may not have been created with the interests of the visitor in mind.

Remember this: If adsense disappears tomorrow, the ad's on the sites you disapprove of would be instantly replaced by ads from espotting, mirago, searchfeed, findwhat or just about any other PPC provider.

Then what will you be saying?

Imagine that scenario. Google kicks all the sites you dont like out of adsense. All those sites you disapprove of start running ad's from a different company.

Seriously, then what would you be saying? eh?

Closing adsense accounts just means other PPC companies gain revenue that Google would lose out on.

Closing adsense accounts will NOT solve what you perceive to be a problem.

[edited by: jasonlambert at 10:41 pm (utc) on June 24, 2005]

helleborine




msg:764680
 10:41 pm on Jun 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

1/15 represents between 6 and 7 % of their profit, by your own estimates.

$60,000 out of every million.

How much profit did they make?

suidas




msg:764681
 10:42 pm on Jun 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

Let me add this story. I found a site on "fantasy widgets." The page had a block of text: "This website offers the best ideas and prices. For example if you are looking for 'Fantasy widgets', you'll find the top 'fantasy widgets' resource right here," etc. etc. for three paragraphs using the term "fantasy widgets" over and over again, with no links except one to "an add to favorites." Next to this paragraph was a big blue arrow, pointing at an Adsense block.

I complained to Google about it. I got a form letter back. Now I look at the site and they've made changes. The text is the same, but the arrow has been changed to three big blue dots. The Adsense ad is still there. The page still has no content and is by any reading of the TOS and webmaster rules completely abusive.

Normally when someone complains that a site is still showing Adsense ads, I give Google the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they're never going to pay the guy, in which case, good for them for screwing the spammer.

I don't see how to give Google the benefit of the doubt here. As I reconstruct it, Google responded to the issue by asking the guy to remove the arrow, without asking for any other changes. He did so, but the site still has no actual *content*.

jomaxx




msg:764682
 10:43 pm on Jun 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

I think (and hope) scraper sites account for far less than 1/5 of Google's AdSense revenues.

I don't think there's any question they hurt Google overall, but I don't think Google want to ban those sites from AdSense because it's hard to define what they are, not to mention what they're doing wrong exactly.

suidas




msg:764683
 10:44 pm on Jun 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

I think jasonlambert has a point. But Adsense delivers consistently higher revenues than those players. If Adsense cut them off, they would be considerably less attractive.

vigo




msg:764684
 11:02 am on Jun 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

"And bubbles always burst. "
Oh Lord I want to see that before i die.

sailorjwd




msg:764685
 12:26 pm on Jun 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

I agree with suidas.

I've report dozens of those same sites with the two paragraphs of boiler plate with the keywords stuffed in there with a program.. 10s of thousands of pages exactly the same with zero contents.

I report them and block them because they are displaying my Adwords ads and I don't care to provide them with income via my money.

I think a large majority of these scraper sites could be remove, including fake directories, and it wouldn't hurt G's revenues at all.. Legit sites will take up the slack (like mine for instance!)

Removing them would sure make the serps easier to deal with.

As I've said before, I think the Adsense spam is 2nd only to email spam in terms of destroying the Internet.

If some search engine can offer the option of excluding these crap sites (or perhaps all PPC sites) I think they'd get a following.

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:764686
 1:37 pm on Jun 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

Closing adsense accounts will NOT solve what you perceive to be a problem.

Jason, this is not the perception of a problem, it is a problem. I can recognise a problem when I see it. There are thousands of websites delivering zero content while carrying Adsense. I can see them. I am sure you can see them and Google can see them.

The public face of Google wants to be perceived as dealing with the problem by 'encouraging' people to report this spam but this is patently ridiculous. Think about it. They are more than capable of finding these sites themselves but their policy is not to do so. This is a fact with lots of evidence. We are not talking about the Google algorithm capability here, we are talking about manual review and manual editing, which is what they do all the time with Adsense.

Incidentally this has nothing to do with any web working classes, quislings or traitors. We are talking about people who are cheating the system to gain income that site owners who are in compliance may have had.

outland88




msg:764687
 7:19 pm on Jun 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

To me Adsense is a modern day Napster encouraging copyright infringement. If you canít separate yourself from the profits from the copyright infringement youíre just as guilty to me as Napster was at encouraging it. Google knew the driving force behind Adsense wouldnít be honest publishers but those who broke every rule in the book. If you arenít filing DMCA complaints today wait until your site increases in rankings and tumbles because of the scrapers. Then youíll file. Without a doubt Google Adsense is historic in that it has fostered more DMCA complaints than anything you'll ever see in history. You complain while Google profits from it.

Bottom line this is what Google is building its profits on. Take a look around and see if some grandmother or grandfatherís fund manager has invested retirement funds in it. Will you feel good when this bubble bursts and youíve said nothing. Something built on sound footings is what everybody profits from. This is not it. Google needs to start cleaning up that program immediately with manual chops. An automated algo in this situation only hurts innocent sites.

ownerrim




msg:764688
 10:08 pm on Jun 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

without a doubt, google is increasing the crap quotient of the internet:

1. ad pages masquerading as "content" sites

2. adwords landing pages that carry adsense

3. a strong proliferation of non english
speakers masquerading as authority sites
on very sensitive subjects such as certain
cancers (mesothelioma----how offensive it
must be for the wife of a mesothelioma
patient to find what she thinks is a helpful
info site only to discern that the page was
written by some guy from pakistan whose
written english is so poor that it cannot
disguise the fact that the page exists only
get clicks on mesothelioma ads)

4. an upsurge in web content theft by lazy and
stupid people who cannot write their own
content but still desire to make easy money
from theft-sense.

5. a degradation of the net in the sense that
on some topics the only thing you can find
in the serps are adsense sites.

Nothing lasts. And situations like this only go on for long before something crashes.

I'm sure alstavista never imagined a google would come around the corner to knock it into oblivion. There's no reason why it can't happen again. And likely will.

WebFusion




msg:764689
 1:07 am on Jun 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

Closing adsense accounts will NOT solve what you perceive to be a problem.

That's rich. What I PERCEIVE to be a problem? That would indiecate that you don't consider these types of trash sites a problem at all?

Perhaps you're right. Closing the adsense accounts might not fix the ENTIRE problem. Perhaps Google should take an even tougher stance and BAN any site utilizing the adsense program that violates the TOS they agreed to from the index entirely. Better yet, BAN those sites, and every single site that linked to them.

Let's face it. There's an integrity problem that Google is ignoring here with alot of the people with whom it has chosen to do business. If you feel comfortable using some kind of automated system to spew thousands of keyword doorway/scraper/spam pages, then you're no better than a thief, plain and simple.
You're stealing content, you're stealing revenue, and you're breaking a contract to which you agreed when you applied to adsense...the fact that Google is not actively enforcing that contract not withstanding.

By extension....if Google is willing to continue to do business with you, then they are comprimising their "Do No Evil" motto in a what is (IMHO) a VERY public way. While I KNOW that google practically considers any non-automated intervention in it's serps as some form of sacrilige, this is a problem that is not only negatively affecting their core product (quality search), but is also (again, IMO) affecting the quality of traffic their advertisiers who still use the "content network".

simmen




msg:764690
 9:12 am on Jun 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

How could Google clean up this garbage for the best?

Do we webmasters have to report it over and over.The sites that I've got out have been replaced by even more garbage. It seems there is no end to it.

Stopping the whole Adsense I don't hope so, there are lot of "good" sites that contain Adsense then we all have to be punished for this?..

I think maybey google has to check better who they are doing bizz with. It seems now they accept almost anyone into using Adsense.

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:764691
 12:11 pm on Jun 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

While I KNOW that google practically considers any non-automated intervention in it's serps as some form of sacrilige ...

I agree with what you are saying Webfusion but Adsense is not part of their automated system. Applicants for Adsense must apply and be manually screened before acceptance. It's the total absence of quality control and follow up in Google that is the problem here.

Incidentally they tell Adwords users, "Our technology ensures that your ads appear in the most relevant locations across the Web so that your customers find you", so it follows that they must consider scraper sites to be relevant.

jasonlambert




msg:764692
 12:22 pm on Jun 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

Closing adsense accounts will NOT solve what you perceive to be a problem.

That's rich. What I PERCEIVE to be a problem? That would indiecate that you don't consider these types of trash sites a problem at all?

Firstly, the "you" was not aimed at anyone inparticular ;) Secondly, no it's not really a problem for me. If it is a problem, it is Google's and Yahoo's responsibility (SERP's team) to sort out.

Perhaps you're right. Closing the adsense accounts might not fix the ENTIRE problem. Perhaps Google should take an even tougher stance and BAN any site utilizing the adsense program that violates the TOS they agreed to from the index entirely. Better yet, BAN those sites, and every single site that linked to them.

You know i'm right. Think about it long term - Google start's closing Adsense accounts, people switch to 2nd tier PPC providers who pay less. Now, to earn the same amount as when they were an Adsense partner, they may need 2x or 3x the number of sites, so what do you think they are going to do? retire? or produce 2,3, or even 4x the number of sites? That will mean you have 2,3 or 4x the number of autogenerated sites in the SERP's, and you have NOT solved the problem.

By closing Adsense accounts and not fixing the SERP's, all Google would be doing is making their competitors richer.

Please remember that auto generated sites have been around since before Adsense, and I gaurantee they will be around afterwards too. Granted, Adsense may have been a catalyst for autogenerated content over the past year or two, but remember that Google Adsense is not the cause of the problem, neither is it the solution.

vigo




msg:764693
 12:41 pm on Jun 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

Listen you guys, the first ever used the www as an advertisement space was Pizza hut, in those old years bet ya nobody in that forum even the admn had dreamed of buying domains and use them in future for revenues .Later on with the digital marketing development even the Queen had put money in dot com's.-Money Money Money, now in our days, anybody that has a kind of a web development knowledge realize there are money to make out there with marketing .... (even the mafia or Al Q£$%^da).(Some other thread mention that an about.com makes 4 .000.000 a month ),now ,what is not a reason that any kind of scum artist or organization will not get internet revenues using any kind of technique? Internet revenues have become bigger then a small pusher revenues in our days , so what's the reason that not the old Capone's gang turn in to Internet or that phantom guy with the beard ......following the evolution project.
I am afraid this is the end of Internet ,as it has been the new play ground of all kind of activities Legal or illegal.
Libraries have more to offer and we should teach our children to look for information in the good old libraries in school college or municipality.

idolw




msg:764694
 1:16 pm on Jun 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

there are many of webmasterworld users. they represent multiple sectors of economy. google serves search results for all sectors of economy and more. trying to automate everything prevents them hiring people to control the results they serve as well from controlling each page serving AdSense. we can report spammy no-content, keyword packed pages displaying their ads to google, but after reporting 10 each of you will stop doing it.
Anyone who decided to save the world and spent one or two saturday/sundays on finding the spammers and reporting their pages to google? I bet no one.
Why not? because the load of work you do will be so tiny that it is simply senseless after 3 seconds of consideration. google would have to hire 20% of India's population to control the pages they serve ads on and I bet they would never get rid of spammers.

So let's think what they could do instead of hiring 20% of population on India...

My idea: A link to their ReportSpam page placed just under a Google AdSense ad with an anchor text: Do you think this page is spam and shall not deserve serving Google ads? Click here to report!

if 0,00002% of visitors of these high-ranking sites clicked such link, we would quickly see no Google Ads on these pages.
Someone here said: but that will only move the revenues from google to other ad serving companies.

I disagree. These companies are way smaller and have waaaaay less advertisers. It is also muuuch more difficult and expensive for them to get an additional advertiser than to google. Therefore, they have to prove to their potential customers that their ads are presented on nice and relevant pages only. So they are forced to control quality of their publishers.

On balance, it seems to me that one tiny link under an adsense box of advertiser's page would fix the problem.

Lord Majestic




msg:764695
 1:29 pm on Jun 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

Would not be suprised if non-G search engines downgrade pages with AdSense in them since driving free natural traffic to these pages only benefits their competitor - G.

Matt Probert




msg:764696
 1:37 pm on Jun 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

Google makes money from the poor quality scraper sites. For every few cents that a web site makes from Adsense adverts, Google makes far more from advertisers who throw enough adverts at the wall and hope some stick. As contrasted with professional advertising agencies which review the web sites they use.

Matt

WebFusion




msg:764697
 1:50 pm on Jun 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

For google to suggest that they just don;t have the manpower to manually review each and every site they allow to carry their ads is simply saying to the advertisers that they are "taking their chances".

As an adwords advertiser myself, I stopped using the "content network" long ago, as the quality of the traffic from it was sub-par at best. I can only guess by the agressiveness with which adwrods has been courting me to "try the content network again", that I'm far from the only merchant who has abandoned the content network as a viable advertising medium.

Having said that....if Yahoo can manually review the sites it admits into it's directory (which assuredly outnumber adsense publishers), then it should not be all that difficult to setup a system that automatically alerts sdsense "quality controllers" when a new URL starts displaying adsense ads. A quick review of each new URL (it takes all of 30 seconds to determine a site is a scraper site -maybe less) could allow a person to suspend an adsense account that is violating the TOS. While I understnad some believe that woidl not solve the problem....it would take away a HUGE source of immediate revenue that is pwoering these spam networkers. There's not a competing service (yet) that offers the ease of integration that adsense does. Further, smaller advertising providers (at least in my experience) are much more stringent about the types of sites that disply their ads. Take away the adsense income, and you cut off at least one leg from these spamming scumbags.

jasonlambert




msg:764698
 2:19 pm on Jun 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

Therefore, they have to prove to their potential customers that their ads are presented on nice and relevant pages only. So they are forced to control quality of their publishers.

Many companies such as Findwhat, Searchfeed and Mirago among others, have been founded on the idea providing PPC search results to "search partners" many of those companies are still going strong today (though losing ground to Adsense, obviously).

This thread isn't really going anywhere productive, so I'll leave you guys to agree with each other.

"You grab the pitch fork, I'll meet you on the bandwagon"

suidas




msg:764699
 3:31 pm on Jun 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

Okay, pet peve. Google's inability to reign in Adsense sites is unfortunate. Certainly they could do a good deal more to fix the problem, and this they are not doing. Most of all, they are hurting themselves.

This does not mean that Google is stupid, malevolent, about to collapse, the Napster of our day or responsible for the Kennedy assasination.

I wonder if Adsense TOS violations could be simultaneously posted to a separate website, where others could track them for compliance. Put Adsense's feet to the fire a bit. Not because we hate them, but because we love them.

This 51 message thread spans 2 pages: 51 ( [1] 2 > >
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