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This 103 message thread spans 4 pages: 103 ( [1] 2 3 4 > >     
Lobby group to challenge search engine practices
I dont think they will get far

 10:37 am on Jun 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

The group will represent individuals' complaints, but the main aim is to campaign on general issues. According to Bolger, these include the 'spiralling cost of pay-per-click' listings, search engines' 'refusal' to deal with queries from sites about listings disappearing, and their allegedly removing sites' algorithmic listings then asking them to buy paid-for listings.


Is the spiralling cost simply the real world. If it was not then surely we could all afford prime time TV ads. Demand drives the price. It is not a charity!


Marketing Guy

 10:58 am on Jun 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

The SEO behind it is probably just trying to get links and free advertising from news agency websites. :/

Im pretty sure that a Marketing company could have more than one use for a list of 100k SME's as well....

I agree with UKgimp though - business is business and no pressure group is going to change that. Had it been simply a few small fish getting together to fight to be treated fairly, then I would say fair play to them.

A search for the SEO company provides a couple of nice items that I wont post due to ToS. Also, have a peek at the source of their homepage....

My final thought: an attempt from the SEO company to market themselves - free links, free publicity and free SME mailing list. Perhaps also an attempt to have a go at major search engines for some reason.

Zero interest in helping SME's or advocating a fair pricing policy amongst SE's.

My 2c. :)


 11:16 am on Jun 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

Well - he's certainly a tryer!

I've always had to admire the tenacity.


 11:19 am on Jun 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

I think you are both correct > a bit of whistle blowing for publicity a very good idea, if they get serious about it, they will become a heavy contender, with strong media exposure for the uniqueness of the stance.


 11:31 am on Jun 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

If they are willing to step into the strike zone on something like this (seo suicide), they deserve every ounce of publicity they get. Where do I sign up at?


 11:36 am on Jun 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

He believes the engines, seeking higher revenue, are increasingly giving unfair prominence to larger advertisers in listings

No, really?! Why would they do something like that? I think he needs to review his understanding of how business works...


 11:42 am on Jun 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

have a peek at the source of their homepage....

May explain why they don't even rank for their company name!

Marketing Guy

 11:45 am on Jun 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

It also questioned why, when joining the group through the theirwebsite.com site, SMEs were asked to consent to receiving emails from 'sponsors'.

From here [newmediazero.com], posted in This thread [webmasterworld.com].

Zero interest in the issues claimed - publicity, advertising and information rule.


URL removed - Scott

[edited by: Marketing_Guy at 11:46 am (utc) on June 26, 2003]


 11:39 am on Jun 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

I'm still trying to think of an analogy for this one but it has me stumped. All my research over the past few years has pointed to the simple fact that search engines are the means by which people navigate the web.

The PPC and PFI aspect I can understand but when traveling, you get on a bus and you are going to see adverts. Businesses pay to have their advertisement seen and PFI or sponsored links are the most efficient way of this. People are not going to see a the advertising on a website if the customers do not go to it therefore PFI and PPC are are ways of getting customers in the door, so to speak.

A US court held recently that Google's PR was effectively an opinion. This puts it in a completely different league to anything else. However there is no onus on any search engine operator to include any website, initially or perpetually. Most search engines depend on robots.txt to tell them what to include and yet many websites do not have that simple little file. Other search engines will remove copyrighted material on request, though often the process of getting them to do this is unclear and tedious.

The motivation of the pressure group sounds noble. However I can see the whole search engine business moving to an advertising free subscription model eventually if the dilution of results continues to take place. But then the whole business of search engines (and it is one that I actually work in as a search engine operator) is migratory. People tend to choose the search engine that gives them the best results and often care little about advertising appearing on the results pages. Their motivation is the result. People will migrate to more efficient search engines - this has been the case with Yahoo, Altavista, Google. Perhaps in a year's time it will be a migration from Google to MSN.

In the end search engines are simply publications like a phone directory - the phone directories, like Yellow Pages are riddled with advertising. Is this new organisation the National Viewers' and Listeners' Association for the web?



 11:48 am on Jun 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

Rumour has it, Top Pile had a load of their sites banned by Google recently.

Now, I wonder why Paddy is lobbying the search engines?!?


 11:48 am on Jun 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

have a peek at the source of their homepage....

Beat me to it.
It took me two minutes to totally discredit this guy in my mind.

100,000 SMEs - please - give me a break. Let me start writing press releases.

If they are willing to step into the strike zone on something like this (seo suicide), they deserve every ounce of publicity they get. Where do I sign up at?

Does that mean bad publicity too -- I am restraining my self - must stop typing....


 11:49 am on Jun 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

If they are willing to step into the strike zone on something like this (seo suicide), they deserve every ounce of publicity they get. Where do I sign up at?

Love your thought process Brett! :)

One look at print media costs in comparison - they got a long way to go.

Sounds more like an SEO that just got suckered punched by old tactics.

Defintiely doesn't sound like this company - 4 months ago.

www.ispaawards.org.uk/pressreleases/Top-Pile.doc - Press Release

excerpt ....a search engine traffic company with offices in London and New York. It currently has over 2,000 direct clients and a further 3,000 through a network of 500 resellers worldwide. ******* SALSA product is currently delivering over 50 million visitors per annum to clients’ web sites through in excess of 250,000 first page positions achieved for clients in all the major search engines.

Huh? These SME's don't sound like they're doing too bad.


 12:07 pm on Jun 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

Ah ha! salsa... now i get it... ;)

seriously, blodger is doing little more than people try to to do on WebmasterWorld every day...

now what politican is going to be "pressured" by a group who are protecting their interest to run a business based on manipulating free search rankings to their advantage? :) <-note


 12:23 pm on Jun 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

The first task of any campaign is awareness.

...don't shoot the messenger.


 12:27 pm on Jun 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

Their press release is very similar to their business model:


end of story in my book.



 12:28 pm on Jun 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

I think he may yet regret bringing attention to the services he offers.


 1:42 pm on Jun 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

Should at least get rid of the useless frame with "search engine registration search engine optimisation optimization submission top ranking" repeated SEVEN times in a row.

And the hidden text <tr bgcolor="#CCCCFF"> <font color="#CCCCFF"> of a client with hidden link to your site (which isn't in google - no matter who well you guarantee stuff) with the same anchor text and url repeated 39 times (no joke) in a row.

Of course you don't get there - until you get the redirect - after showing the hidden graphic with his company's url. Plus a whole bunch of other urls.

And wait - this is a first - putting keywords in the "FONT COLOR" tag - I swear - that deserves an award. I am sure they weight that highly.

Then if that doesn't work - use <font size="1" color="#FFFFFF"> with "cctv" repeated 110 times and interchanged with other keywords repeated just about as often.

Then to make it even better - several hundred if not thousands of keywords that will help even more in tiny text at the bottom.

Oh wait - don't forget the non invisible spaces which are <font color="#FF0000" size="3"> </font> with more anchor text after it repeated over and over - with some <h6> tags around it for good meaure.

And - well from if that doesn't convince....


 1:49 pm on Jun 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

Chris_R - I'm sure people pay good money for SE appraisals like that! ;)


 2:10 pm on Jun 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

those of you criticizing bolgers source code should bear in mind he has been FORCED into using spam tricks like these to get ranked and listed - like many others on this board say - due to the unreliability, broken nature of the search engines and that spam obviously still is the only way to get good rankings. ..As well as the cost of PPC of course. Heh you cant blame him, and it proves his point.



 2:14 pm on Jun 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

>>If they are willing to step into the strike zone on something like this

What strike zone? They aren't even in the batters box. They got dropped from the index and suddenly developed principles? Now that there's no risk of getting dropped any lower they decided it's time to fight for all those beleaguered SEOs. Puhlease. Time for some bean ball pitches.

I'm sure that signup line is a short one, and right next to the one where you can shoot yourself in the foot for a quarter. ;)


 2:17 pm on Jun 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

Sounds like an "old school" SEO that never grew with the times. Using techniques that Google began identifying as spam years ago and then complaining about being dropped and making up crackpot conspiracy theories is pretty sad.

Sounds like sour grapes that the free ride ended when the internet graduated into a real advertising arena and GASP companies started charging. Imagine that, people trying to make a living by earning money. And then the cost of services are rising because more people demand them! My God, those people are just out to raise capital to grow their businesses further! Those, those... capitalists!


 2:18 pm on Jun 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

Even if this is just a clever PR effort, the idea of gov't and legal regulation in the field is distrubing. The entire SE field is so in flux and relatively new, I'd hate to see lawmakers unfamiliar with the technology making copyright or regulatory decisions. I'd rather stay on my toes in this little dance with the search engines than have the entire thing regulated. Doesn't a forum like this provide some degree of organic regulation so that the SEs can grow and innovate with the balancing force of educated webmasters?

Brett and Chiyo are right on, all many lawmakers will need to see is how many visits they can get by being prominent in the SEs. Maybe this is what gets the ball rolling.


 2:22 pm on Jun 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

Salsa - thats the macromedia flash cloaking stuff isn't it.

I read that article this morning and was nearly tempted into sending a real roasting to new media age. I thought that their publication was pretty good until this ruined their reputation.


 2:28 pm on Jun 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

I think Google should just lay down the old, "you are included in the free listings at our discression" bit and remove his site from there database and vito any action taken on them.

This is a publicity stunt at its best and quite frankly I hope it turns out that he is shooting himself in the foot.


 2:34 pm on Jun 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hello gentlemen,
i kindly ask some help.
Our portal normally email UPS labels to our suppliers for drop shipping. Copy/paste the label on the email. This worked fine for years but this morning every time we try to do that the pasted label appear as a broken image on the email and also on Word. This is appening on 3 comp. on our network. Yesterday it was working fine.
Any suggestion is appreciated.

thank u



 3:31 pm on Jun 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

Welcome to Webmasterworld Devilfear!

You might find that your answer probably doesn't lie in this thread, but rather over in the new to web development forum, over here: [webmasterworld.com...]

Perhaps, though, someone has moved or deleted the image on your server. Ask the geeks. :)


 4:31 pm on Jun 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hi Guys, you have been busy while I was away! There are a lot of posts that I would love to reply to individually, but I think I should just concentrate on the big issue.

1. The Search Engine Lobby Group has nothing whatsoever to do with top-pile. I am CEO of top-pile but that is by the by. My being immersed in the search engine business for the last 7 years makes me well qualified to speak on SMEs behalf and to seek to protect their interests.

2. We still do very well in the search engines. I am not concerned about today. I am concerned about tomorrow and next year.

3. If all of the search engines decide to list all the pay per click results instead of just 3, I've got news for you - we are all out of a job and SMEs can pack up and go home and forget about search engine traffic.

4. If the above happens I can assure you that the Web as we know and love it will cease to exist.

I like search engines, I like my business. But I think that there are very real threats from the increasing power of the search engines and there is a need for a corresponding force that represents small and medium sized business on the web and actively lobbies to make sure that they get a fair slice of the pie.

Why are they entitled to a fair slice of the pie? Because it is their copyrighted content that search engines carry and that is making search engines successful in the first place. Without them the search engines would be nothing.

It is most certainly not like Yellow Pages. With Yellow Pages they compile the information themselves of all companies and their contact numbers. We are talking here about search engines going into web sites and pulling all the copyrighted content into their database WITHOUT PERMISSION (and please don't mention robots.txt) and reproducing it on their site and selling it to third parties.

Don't get me wrong - I have no problem with search engines doing this because it is in our interests for them to do it. But if what we are really seeing is that they are doing it to build up their popularity and then next month, next year, whatever, they decide that they have had enough use of the cannon fodder and can now rely on just listing corporates who will pay the largest sums, then I have a very big problem with it and I don't think anyone should hang around waiting for it to happen and then complain, we should be doing something about it now.

What can we do?

Lobby government for anti-trust investigations of certain search engines
Perhaps actively support search engines that have a greater focus on listing all businesses by merit
Attempt to influence search engine' direction by lobbying them on members' behalf
SPEAK when important issues arise and speak with authority to convey businesses' view of the issues

I am not in this for the money. I am running this in my private capacity. Yes when you sign up you agree to receive emails from sponsors. The fact is that we don't have any sponsors because we don't need any yet. But if we get 100,000 members and are acting on their behalf we will need money from somewhere and that is where sponsors will come in - money and resources.

I have a final general comment to make guys, and please don't take this the wrong way. One thing that is very wrong with the SEO industry is the fact that people in it spend more time attacking each other instead of working together. I believe this is an important issue, I believe that we need to protect what is there at the moment and that means being pro-active, not reactive.


Paddy Bolger


 4:40 pm on Jun 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

those of you criticizing bolgers source code

I have no problem with people using whatever legal techniques they want to promote their product. Use as many size one invisible keywords you want - it doesn't bother me a bit.

Just seems a little like a crack dealer showing up at a pharmaceutical convention and yelling about how ritalin is addictive.

"He's aiming to sign up 100,000 SMEs by the end of the year."

Yeah - one for every keyword on his page.

"...'refusal' to deal with queries from sites about listings disappearing..."

They were to busy laughing - you can't HONESTLY tell me ANYONE would put out a press release like that without at least cleaning up their site. Too late to hide the links from ATW.

Sounds like an "old school" SEO that never grew with the times.

That is putting it nicely :)

Anyone that uses font color="keyword" +redirects + invisible text .... on sites and then complains they didn't get answers as to why they got banned has some set. And GUARANTEES rankings.

All is fair in love, war, and SEO. Sure - no one likes getting shot at, but you don't hear soldiers yelling "What - you are shooting at me!?"


 4:52 pm on Jun 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

If all you can focus on is, "Oh this guy is just a spammer", then you are missing the bigger issue.

When are we ever going to get sick of calling each other a spammer? What one of us is not guilty of doing something that someone could shout spammer about? Hows that bible thing go? Let them without sin cast the first stone?

When are we all, as a group, going to wake up and realize that the vast majority of us aren't bad people. We don't want to SPAM anyone. We just want to succeed. We want to build a good business and pay our bills. We raise our kids, we go to church, we donate to charity and deserve as much respect as any other business person. Yes, EVEN Google.

When are we all going to realize that what makes a spammer is NOT what you put on your site, it's the search engines themselves that make spammers.

Like it or not, this guy has a point. One point is that as long as we all keep accusing each other of,"everyone is a spammer but me and you and I got my doubts about you"; no one is going to demand that search engines decide up front whether they are subjective or objective. No one is ever going to demand that content providers recieve a little more respect than a mysterious percentage of click thrus IF you agree to only do what the search engine wants you to do.

Search engines should be held to the same high standards we all seem so quick to hold each other too and right now it seems they think they can do anything they want anytime they want for any reason they want. While we all scour the source codes of our competitors, results suffer, pages go missing, businesses go out of business and Google sells more ads and makes more money. If all of us can't see that, God help us all.

What is it going to take to get all of us so-called professional SEO's to stand up for ourselves instead of just accusing the next girl of doing the exact same thing we are doing ourselves?

Want to argue the point? Post a site of yours that you are absolutely convinced is spam free. We hear that term so often surely some of you self-appoiinted spam cops know what that means. Let us all go and give it a look. I'm betting there will be a whole list of things to fight about. The upside of course, is if we really can't find anything, then we will have a real, honest-to-goodness, spam free site we can all emulate. It could be the dawn of a new, better day in SEO/SE relations.

So, anyone got the balls to take the chicken test? It's easy to accuse someone else when you don't have to take the stand. I say, put up or shut up. Prove to us all that you really do exist on a higher plane or come off the, "holier-than-thou, I'm an ethical SEO but your a spammer", garbage.

Now, I think I'll go see if there is something I can do to help that guy willing to have his sites scrutinized to demand some accountability of search engines.

Marketing Guy

 5:01 pm on Jun 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hi Paddy

Im sure everyone will agree its good of you to drop in and put forward your views in such a diplomatic and well written manner. :)

Im afraid I dont agree with what you have said though, even with your additional input.

The Internet we know will still be around in years to come - search engines going commercial will not change that because there will always be people prepared to offer free searchs that benefit SME's.

And just like web designers didnt go out of a job when everyone got their own website, SEO's will adapt when the market becomes saturated and move on to the next thing.

What you are suggesting here is that the "power" of the search engines be placed under the scrutiny and to some extent, the control of your group.

You intend to put pressure on search engines that have fallen out of your favour and support those who will no doubt jump at a chance of supporting an independent group to take pop shots at the competition.

My main concern though is that I am not convinced that your intentions are as honourable as you would have us believe.

>You run a well established SEO company, known to use what can be generally acknowledged as being spammy techniques.

>The press release of your group was a clearly well planned event.

>The information you will accumulate through membership of your group has a clear and highly significant marketing value.

>The position you have elected yourself to, if successful, will give both your personal and professional reputation a boost, no doubt increasing your business.

Basically, you have lauched a fairly large and long term marketing campaign that if successful, would give your business access to info on 100k SMEs, destroy SE's that dont comply with you and effectively dictate rules to those that do. It has already succeded in providing some press coverage.

And yet you claim that that you are not in this for the money?

Nope, sorry - I don't buy it.


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