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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?

 

europeforvisitors




msg:764700
 3:51 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.

That would be a stupid move, because downgrading pages with AdSense ads wouldn't just destroy their credibility--it would also harm the quality of their search results. And in the process, it would start a war that none of the combatants could win.

I agree with jasonlambert's comments about AdSense being merely part of the problem. AdSense may have accelerated the growth in autogenerated sites of varying (though mostly poor) quality, but the trend had already begun when AdSense came along. And it won't go away even if Google starts enforcing its rule against "pages published specifically for the purpose of showing ads." The best hope for controlling Web pollution from junk sites is in the search engine's algorithms: If scraper sites and other junk sites can be kept out of the first few pages of SERPs for any given search term, they won't even be noticed by most users. (Which is another way of saying that on the Web, if not in real life, the best way to get rid of dirt is to sweep it under the rug.)

Lord Majestic




msg:764701
 4:02 pm on Jun 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

it would also harm the quality of their search results.

Only if major authority like sites are affected -- these can be excepted because the way they use AdSense is reasonable where as millions of spam like pages full of AdSense ads really take the piss in my view.

europeforvisitors




msg:764702
 4:17 pm on Jun 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

Only if major authority like sites are affected -- these can be excepted because the way they use AdSense is reasonable where as millions of spam like pages full of AdSense ads really take the piss in my view.

In that case, the easier and more effective solution would be for those SEs to downgrade non-authority sites that have millions of questionable pages (whether or not those sites are running AdSense ads).

suidas




msg:764703
 4:20 pm on Jun 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

Let me restate something I burried in my post and see what people think:

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.

ownerrim




msg:764704
 4:29 pm on Jun 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

"That would be a stupid move, because downgrading pages with AdSense ads wouldn't just destroy their credibility--it would also harm the quality of their search results."

Playing devil's advocate: who would notice other than adsense publishers? And the quality gained in the search results would outweigh losses overall, imo.

CalArch90




msg:764705
 4:54 pm on Jun 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

In that case, the easier and more effective solution would be for those SEs to downgrade non-authority sites that have millions of questionable pages (whether or not those sites are running AdSense ads).

The problem is, who defines what an authority site is and based on what criteria, everyone's opinion as to what constitutes an "authority site" is different.

Also, a "non-authority" site can have useful content as well, as long as it has the interest of informing its visitors or providing a service which they need.

If by authority you mean the creator of the original content, I have no problem with that, except that many have been noticing and commenting on the fact that those sites are being penalized as well.

No one except Google knows what criteria they recently used to upgrade/downgrade sites, but it seems they just did not get it right this time.

Problem is, Google is the kind of company that will never admit its mistakes, even though this time around it is pretty obvious to everyone that they did not get it right.

Lord Majestic




msg:764706
 5:16 pm on Jun 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

The problem is, who defines what an authority site is and based on what criteria, everyone's opinion as to what constitutes an "authority site" is different.

Authority approach is just one -- another way is to downgrade new sites with AdSense that did not exist for a while: their fresh existance implies that they were created for AdSense. Supposed "sand box" should be do something like this actually, unless AdSense sites get priority to get out of it.

Of course from G's point of view it would be shooting themselves in the foot because AdSense inflamed spam allows G to earn on what was otherwise loss leader -- natural search results.

europeforvisitors




msg:764707
 7:15 pm on Jun 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

The problem is, who defines what an authority site is and based on what criteria, everyone's opinion as to what constitutes an "authority site" is different.

True, and that's another reason why Yahoo or MSN would be stupid to arbitrarily downgrade pages that have AdSense ads. They wouldn't just be blackballing sams-scraper-site.com; they'd also be blackballing NYTimes.com, Washingtonpost.com, and many other name-brand information sites.

As for the question of who'd notice such blackballing, that's easy: Users would, because removing sites with AdSense ads from Yahoo or MSN's SERPs would make it harder for users to find editorial and reference information. (It would also mean an end to "cooptition" among search engines, such as Google's listing of Yahoo Travel pages on its SERPs. Again, I don't think that's a war that any search engine would want or could win.)

CalArch90




msg:764708
 8:53 pm on Jun 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

Authority approach is just one -- another way is to downgrade new sites with AdSense that did not exist for a while: their fresh existance implies that they were created for AdSense. Supposed "sand box" should be do something like this actually, unless AdSense sites get priority to get out of it.

This is something that I had been thinking about as well, and I think it would be a good start. It might have to be done on a page by page basis rather than on a domain basis because even established sites could in theory add new content which would be considered spam.

Conversely, not all new sites (post-Adsense) are necessarily spam either. Pages created since the inception of Adsense might be flagged, and then reviewed to reach a determination. The bottom line, though, is that sites need to be manually reviewed to come up with a more accurate determination of what is good and what is bad.

Google has a responsibility to maintain the quality of its publisher network, and that means implementing tougher standards for admission and checking regularly for compliance. Publishers should be admitted on a site by site basis, so that deceitful webmasters don't present one site for approval and turn around and publish garbage after they are admitted.

We have been asking this of Google as a whole, but they have not listened and now good publishers are being affected by the proliferation of bad sites. The quality and perception of the program has been affected among advertisers as a result as well. Google needs to forget about algorithms for a while and simply enforce its policies and utilize its resources to monitor and review sites manually.

zeus




msg:764709
 11:23 pm on Jun 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

I think I have sent 100 scraper site to adsense and everytime asked if they are interested in I keep sending those scraper site with adsense, but no reply on that question.

larryhatch




msg:764710
 12:10 am on Jun 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

Speaking as a browser rather than a webmaster, I think it may be
in G's self interest to police the Adsense environment.

If I'm browsing for information about some little town say, and see ads all over
a page, I find myself hitting the back button without even thinking about it.
This is a reaction to all the junk, but it must hurt the good sites too.
Assuming other do likewise, this must impact Adsense profits.
More and more people may start doing the same thing: More ads? I'm outa here.

It would be in G's interest to rate sites based on their content, and regardless of whether
they show Adsense ads or not. If genuine content floats to the top of the SERPs,
it benefits honest sites and the browing public as well.

All G has to do is penalize obvious junk somehow. -Larry

Reid




msg:764711
 2:52 am on Jun 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

if google can't improve results googlemania will end as quick as it began and there will be the next mania

dogpilemania
yahoomania
MSN.... nah

my guess is that browsers will simply begin reverting back to yahoo - then WW will have a 'Yahoo news archive'

ownerrim




msg:764712
 3:56 am on Jun 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

"if google can't improve results googlemania will end as quick as it began and there will be the next mania"

Yeah, people have a finite tolerance for dogcrap. and it's definitely starting to fill up in the google serps courtesy of the adsense publisher network being comprised largely of low quality scrapers and worse. In fact, it probably ISN'T a good idea for them to brand their ad blocks with ads by google (or ads by gooooooooooooooooooooogle) since this may, over time,cause people to retch when they think of google as a result of where they've seen these ads.

It shouldn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that a web user who keeps encountering pages made mostly of nothing but google ads will slowly but surely begin to think of google as a spam engine. I even find myself lately seeking other search alternatives.

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:764713
 8:34 am on Jun 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

It shouldn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that a web user who keeps encountering pages made mostly of nothing but google ads will slowly but surely begin to think of google as a spam engine. I even find myself lately seeking other search alternatives.

This is an excellent point and one which Google should be considering but perhaps they think that they are too big to be "guilty by association"?

webdevfv




msg:764714
 11:39 am on Jun 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

The bigger they are, the harder they fall.

I won't advertise on Adsense (lack of)content sites because generally you're just wasting money. The only way Google's behaviour will change is when others begin to think likewise and pull their ads.

Money is what matters to google - all that don't be evil rubbish, who are they kidding?

vigo




msg:764715
 11:46 am on Jun 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

does anybody remembers Blood Sweat and Tears and David Clayton Thomas singing "What goes up must come down. Spinning wheel got to go round..."

vigo




msg:764716
 11:48 am on Jun 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

Google is a temporary shooting star in the US business history,just wait and see.

vigo




msg:764717
 11:52 am on Jun 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

Does anybody remember Pan aM?

Leave the phone/Off the hook
Teach the cat/How to cook

Be a man/Not a mouse
Sell your car/Rent your house

Get away/Right away/Like today

For once in a lifetime/Get into this world

Let the golf/Take its course
Let the car/Get a horse

Leave the house/Up a tree
Lock the door/Lose the key

Get away/Right away/Like today

For once in a lifetime/Get into this world

Pan Am/Makes the going great
Pan Am/Makes the going great

Leave the mail/In a box
Tie the hands/Of the clocks

Hang your tears/Out to dry
Leave your house/On the fly

Get away/Right away/Like today

For once in a lifetime/Get into this world

Let the smoke/Blow its stack
Leave the smog/And the flack

Turn the rain/Into shine
Head for cloud/Number nine

Get away/Right away/Like today

For once in a lifetime/Get into this world

Pan Am/Makes the going great
Pan Am/Makes the going great

dougl




msg:764718
 3:13 pm on Jun 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

The only ones who really have a legit cause for complaint IMO, are Adwords advertisers - who else is paying for the bills of the servers, data centers, and thousands of Google staff? That's the present reality.

Google itelf may be short of manpower, but there's no shortage of adwords advertisers who would be more than happy to donate significant chunks of their time and efforts to filtering out unwanted adsense sites, which would effectively stop the flow of economic blood to scrapers and other junk sites, however...

why is Google dragging their feet in making their publishers more transparent to their advertisers, you ask? Obviously, in their view, they stand a lot more to lose than gain by lifting the veil. But in the long run that may be the only solution to cleaning up the natural results for all of us; however, clean SERPs may not be Google's ultimate goal...

Another reality is that high quality natural results tend to diminish the CTR on Adwords; furthermore, more useful content on a site can work against CTR on the ads in that site. So, Google is being pulled in opposite directions, as is any webmaster who wants to make money with their website content.

It's an optimizing game that is being played by those on all sides - all those with an economic interest in internet traffic. As a result, some other University PHds will eventually find the opportunity to be the next Google, presenting a new algo with clean results attracting oodles of traffic, eventually succumbing themselves to the same commercial pressures and temptations... who of us wouldn't?

europeforvisitors




msg:764719
 5:20 pm on Jun 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

why is Google dragging their feet in making their publishers more transparent to their advertisers, you ask?

They've made a start with "site-targeted" CPM ads, which allow advertisers to choose where their ads appear. (It's too early to know if this is just a way to bring in mainstream, CPM-oriented advertisers and media buyers or if it's the first step toward a broader use of CPM pricing and/or advertiser controls.)

however, clean SERPs may not be Google's ultimate goal...

It's in Google's best interests to deliver high-quality SERPs, because better SERPs = more users and more users = more eyeballs for AdWords.

Another reality is that high quality natural results tend to diminish the CTR on Adwords;

Yes, and displaying natural search results front and center, instead of burying them "below the fold" as some SEs do, also tends to diminish the CTR on AdWords. But you don't see Google following the lead of greedier and more shortsighted competitors.

furthermore, more useful content on a site can work against CTR on the ads in that site.

Even if that were true (which I very much doubt), you're forgetting that CTR is counterproductive if it's at the expense of advertiser conversions. Advertisers don't want traffic that's the result of user frustration--they want traffic that converts. A good content page will tend to prequalify leads by increasing the likelihood that users will click to get pricing and other sales-related information, not merely to get background information on a product, service, etc. that they were unable to find on the page. Higher conversions = smaller "smart pricing" discounts for advertisers = more revenue for Google.

theBear




msg:764720
 12:49 am on Jun 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

vigo,

Pan Am still exists.

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