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This 78 message thread spans 3 pages: 78 ( [1] 2 3 > >     
"Spam is an Arms Race"
- Douglas Merrill/Google
glengara

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 35053 posted 11:38 am on Jul 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

Online search is not a "solved problem", a senior executive for net giant Google has told BBC News.
"Our position is that search is a very hard problem. We have still a lot of work to do," said Douglas Merrill, who looks after internal engineering.

[news.bbc.co.uk...]

Linkspam - not often featured on the BBC front page, are we in for a rough(er)ride?

[edited by: engine at 11:43 am (utc) on July 3, 2006]
[edit reason] added snippet [/edit]

 

jetteroheller

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jetteroheller us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 35053 posted 12:11 pm on Jul 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

Arms race

Should I see the demage from 27 June as collateral demage or as victim from friendly fire?

whitenight

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 35053 posted 12:30 pm on Jul 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

Such arrogance...

How long will it take G to figure out that no matter how smart they are or they "think" they are, there are hundreds and thousands of equally smart webmasters of various hat colors de facto working against them.

This is an "arms race" they will eventually lose unless they switch philosophies.

No computer program will ever "out think" a single dedicated webmaster, let alone thousands of them.

That "arms race" (ie. zero-sum) mentality will be their eventual downfall.

They can either take advantage of the many webmasters who DO want to help their "battle" or hire several teams of objective, independent reviewers to pour over millions of websites and rate them accordingly.

They will do neither.

And unless they are able to create a product that can't be "gamed" their future profitability as a company is under jeopardy.

glengara

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 35053 posted 12:42 pm on Jul 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

*..the demage from 27 June..*

I read that thread but couldn't ID anything to distinguish it from the general post BD "cull".

Despite the pain I've been reading both here and elsewhere, the damage still strikes me as a fairly limited if the post BD linkage/indexing formula was fully rolled out and implemented...

Thought DM might be preparing the press/public to hear the wailing of webmasters ;-)

Staffa

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 35053 posted 12:43 pm on Jul 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

"Sometimes the problem is figuring out what the users mean not what the user said," he (Mr Merrill) added.

Don't try to second-guess the users, give them what they ask and if it's not the right answer they can then try again.

whitenight

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 35053 posted 12:59 pm on Jul 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

Don't try to second-guess the users, give them what they ask and if it's not the right answer they can then try again.

I heard a stand-up comedian remarking on this particular hubris of G.

You know it's an issue when it makes it into mainstream commentary.

frakilk

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 35053 posted 1:00 pm on Jul 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

IMO Google concentrate too much on fighting spam. As in life if you concentrate too much on something negative guess what happens. You get more of it.

soapystar

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 35053 posted 1:03 pm on Jul 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

they have not addressed the issue of why linkspam is filtered less post bd then before it...the message they have been giving out is that bd recognises quality links..the truth is every site i am seeing rise above the surface for money terms post bd hasdone so by spamming low quality and or networked links..put simply non-organic links..this isnt new spam..this is spam they had a handle on before bd and now is..as far as i can tell..the one sure way to obtian top ranks on money searches..dont get me wrong..im not saying every site doing well is spamming..im saying all the "NEW" kids on the blocks that i have tracked have huge numbers of spammed links...

[edited by: soapystar at 1:06 pm (utc) on July 3, 2006]

ScottYardley

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 35053 posted 1:03 pm on Jul 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

whitenight,

What are you talking about?
As far as Im concerned, Google is protecting my interest. I worked hard to build my content which has move me to the top position I have with Google. Spammers out there with deeper pockets would knock me down from the list and replace my site with a website that do not give the customer what they are searching for.

And if Google does not control the listing, who does? A competitor? I prefer having an impartial refereer calling the shots when competiting.

drall

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 35053 posted 1:28 pm on Jul 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

As long as humans exist on the content creation side it will take humans to defeat spam on the search engine side.

Algo it until your blue in the face, you cannot stop it via automated means and no matter which combo of filtering, aging, link schemas you weigh, as long as 2 eyeballs are not seeing it you will have large quantities of spam.

whitenight

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 35053 posted 1:29 pm on Jul 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

Scott,

Soapystar's answer is well put. :)

And indeed, if YOUR site is the best site on the subject then I want you at the top as well. ;)

But from what I can see, "spammers" with deep pockets DO rank well in G, and always have.

Some are Fortune 500 companies. Some are "Internet Fortune 500" companies with well placed "bought" links from "legitimate" sources. ("Spammers" come in all shapes and sizes, known and unknown)

Many of them are NOT the authority on a given subject.

And those webmasters/companies with either the time or money will continue to figure out the "main" components of the ranking algo and exploit it.

G can maintain their "we know all" attitude and lose the battle or work with the ENTIRE internet community to improve their viability as a company.

-------

Edited to add - Drall is spot on!

europeforvisitors



 
Msg#: 35053 posted 1:31 pm on Jul 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

IMO Google concentrate too much on fighting spam. As in life if you concentrate too much on something negative guess what happens. You get more of it.

Are you suggesting that, if Google turned off its spam filters, all those guys who are trying to get the #1 spot for "Viagra" or "Widgetville real estate" would just create organic sites and accept whatever rankings they got?

Quadrille

WebmasterWorld Senior Member quadrille us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 35053 posted 1:40 pm on Jul 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

whitenight said:
How long will it take G to figure out that no matter how smart they are or they "think" they are, there are hundreds and thousands of equally smart webmasters of various hat colors de facto working against them. ... No computer program will ever "out think" a single dedicated webmaster, let alone thousands of them.

frakilk said:
As in life if you concentrate too much on something negative guess what happens. You get more of it.

Google really don't have a choice; they have to fight spam or lose out to rivals.

It may surprise you to know that Google's algo was actually built by intelligent human beings, and is tweaked by them, too. And they are assisted by many, many, many webmasters who have no wish to see cheats prosper - you know who you are ;)

And all the evidence says that Google is actually doing better now than this time last year - and part of that is the increasing investment in spam control.

Of course they won't 'win' - but if they can keep stepping on spammers' heels, that's good enough for me :)

whitenight

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 35053 posted 1:48 pm on Jul 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

Of course they won't 'win'

My point exactly...

In an "arms race" someone eventually loses. They get blown up or simply give up.

That philosophy is a losing philosophy when you have thousands of "enemies" with more flexibility and actual monetary "resources" than you.

It's time for G to figure out a new way of battling spam (whether it's obvious 5 million page sites or stealthy Fortune 500 company websites) than simply "tweaking" and adjusting a group of computers than run on 0s and 1s.

soapystar

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 35053 posted 1:53 pm on Jul 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

And all the evidence says that Google is actually doing better now than this time last year - and part of that is the increasing investment in spam control.

can you elaborate on this? Clearly not
ALL
evidence supports your proposition as mine doesnt for a start.

Quadrille

WebmasterWorld Senior Member quadrille us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 35053 posted 1:55 pm on Jul 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

It's time for G to figure out a new way of battling spam

Why?

Their current approach - tweaking the algo, with measure of human intervention - is doing a little bit more than maintaining the staus quo.

What are the alternatives?

Google is spidering untold millions of web pages ~ there really is no way they physically examine each one, and why would they wish to - they'd be broke in a week.

I've no idea what their current spend is - but you can bet it's many millions.

Don't forget they don't expect to win; just keep spam to an 'acceptable' level.

And, outside of the certain areas, they do just fine.

And if you look at sitemap verification, nofollow and the like, you'll expect to see a more proactive approach gradually take over. It's all good news, isn't it? ;)

Quadrille

WebmasterWorld Senior Member quadrille us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 35053 posted 2:02 pm on Jul 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

can you elaborate on this? Clearly not

Don't ask me, then answer for me :)

I judge the success of Google's anti-spam offensives by the volume of spammer screams.

And ALL the evidence shows QUITE CLEARLY, that the volume has increased a bunch over the last few months, as the era of permanent revolution has taken hold.

Many spam varieties that people though were untouchable have tumbled, including all the most sophisticated link farms. Great eh? ;)

Yes there's a lot of spam about - but don't confuse size with success - most of it is instantly supplementary or nowhere. Spammers' desperation shows in their spaghetti approach (chuck it at the wall and see what sticks) :)

And I think that's my last in this thread - waaaay too much fun!

europeforvisitors



 
Msg#: 35053 posted 2:02 pm on Jul 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

It's time for G to figure out a new way of battling spam

Such as?

whitenight

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 35053 posted 2:11 pm on Jul 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

Such as?

What are the alternatives?

Lol, I already gave one suggestion, but ulimately that's for the "brilliant" minds at G to figure out.

Like I said, G's long-term viability and profitablity as a company depends on delivering not only "relevant" results but the best relevant results...or to develop a product that is not dependant on a computer being able to think and discriminate "like a human"

I can tell you their current arrogance (percieved or real) and mindset will not help them when the next "better" SE/portal/AI comes along and threatens Google's market share.

europeforvisitors



 
Msg#: 35053 posted 2:22 pm on Jul 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

Lol, I already gave one suggestion

Hiring "several teams" of reviewers to rate millions of Web sites (and millions or billions of pages that are being generated day after day)? Somehow I don't think that's workable.

but ulimately that's for the "brilliant" minds at G to figure out.

Sounds like they're damned if they do and damned if they don't. :-)

Gimp

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 35053 posted 2:22 pm on Jul 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

Attack the problem from the adsense side on an after the fact basis. Continually review the biggest adsense accounts and check for spam. Flag those found to be clean for less frequent reviews. With time they will get to the lower level spammers as they flag good accounts.

The problem is adsense. Bad serps are a symptom of the problem. They have to learn how to control adsense abuse and not search engine spam. If they control adsense, there is no, or less reason anyway, reason to spam.

frakilk

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 35053 posted 2:23 pm on Jul 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

Are you suggesting that, if Google turned off its spam filters, all those guys who are trying to get the #1 spot for "Viagra" or "Widgetville real estate" would just create organic sites and accept whatever rankings they got?

Um of course not. I'm saying Google is getting so blinkered in their fight against spam that their current algo is concentrating more on what makes a site bad then what makes a site good. Their algo has an itchy trigger finger towards spam and innocents are being taken out in the process.

If they cared 100% about eradicating spam then the first obvious thing they would do is to sort out the MFA sites. My trust for Google has been decimated this year.

whitenight

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 35053 posted 2:28 pm on Jul 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

Sounds like they're damned if they do and damned if they don't

I find it ironic that the same "webmaster community"
that promoted the heck out of G for it's usefulness and helped grow a university project into a multi-billion company, is now the same webmaster community that it needs to "battle against."

Did the webmaster community change or did G change?

Hmm, methinks a billion dollars does strange things to people.

Did I hear someone just mention adsense? ;)

Brett_Tabke

WebmasterWorld Administrator brett_tabke us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 35053 posted 2:35 pm on Jul 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

most important thing in that article:

But according to a recent report on the company's track record of new services, Google had yet to attain market leadership in any of its product areas outside search.

whitenight

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 35053 posted 2:38 pm on Jul 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

Exacly Brett!

(guess I should have made that quote clear in my responses)

G needs a serious overhaul in their philosophy (whatever it is, since they so rarely speak out)if they want to be around 5,10,20 years from now.

G may forget their "history" but I certainly don't.

A) They developed a superior product
B) The webmaster community told everyone and their moms about.

Hmm. So which one of those two parts in missing from the equation with their "new" products?

Gimp

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 35053 posted 2:54 pm on Jul 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

It is time for google to bring in some turn around specialists who will take over management and look at what is going on. That is up to the stockholders to push for.

Current management is stale. They are hanging on and little more than that.

europeforvisitors



 
Msg#: 35053 posted 3:01 pm on Jul 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

most important thing in that article:

Maybe in the GOOG: Google Finance and Business Operations Forum, but not in a forum (and a thread) about Google Search.

The problem is adsense. Bad serps are a symptom of the problem. They have to learn how to control adsense abuse and not search engine spam. If they control adsense, there is no, or less reason anyway, reason to spam.

A couple of years ago, it was affiliate spam. Today it's AdSense spam. In another year or two, it may be something else. So yes, controlling AdSense is a worthy goal, but it won't solve the problem of search-engine spam.

In my opinion, one of the biggest problems right now is machine-generated clutter. In the travel sector, there are a couple of major sites (one owned by a huge Internet travel agency) that spew out millions of computer-generated, keyword-driven "review" pages. Some of those pages have useful information, but many are little more than "post a review" pages that exist solely for the SERPs. The same problem exists in the tech sector, where some big-name, corporate-owned computing sites clutter the SERPs with "review" pages that use licensed duplicate content or--even worse--that have no reviews at all, but are merely placeholders with price-comparison links. If Google wanted to send a message about spam, it could apply a random -20 to -40 penalty to pages from such domains until the owners cleaned up their acts.

Google shouldn't give up on the arms race; if anything, it needs to take off the kid gloves and become more draconian in fighting spam. If collateral damage is a problem, then put review teams in place to quickly handle reinclusion requests based on a simple rule of thumb: "Are users worse off or better off if they can't readily find this site's pages in the search results?"

whitenight

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 35053 posted 3:06 pm on Jul 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

In the travel sector, there are a couple of major sites (one owned by a huge Internet travel agency...The same problem exists in the tech sector, where some big-name, corporate-owned computing sites clutter the SERPs

Omg, so you notice that "well-known" so-called "reputable" companies spam too?!? ;)

then put review teams in place to quickly handle reinclusion requests

Funny EFV, I think we both agree that human intervention is need in some capacity.

Gimp

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 35053 posted 3:16 pm on Jul 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

Solving one problem only creates another. So don't pass off solving the adsense problem because another will follow. That is natural in business.

Management has to decide what the major cause of the bad serps is and make corrections. They will always have to revaluate and corrrect for the new problems that come up.

europeforvisitors



 
Msg#: 35053 posted 3:19 pm on Jul 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

Omg, so you notice that "well-known" so-called "reputable" companies spam too?! ;)

There's nothing new about that. These days, it's just more blatant than it was in the 1990s.

Funny EFV, I think we both agree that human intervention is need in some capacity.

Sure, but human review of reinclusion requests is more scalable than human review of sites or pages.

This 78 message thread spans 3 pages: 78 ( [1] 2 3 > >
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