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This 81 message thread spans 3 pages: < < 81 ( 1 2 [3]     
Adsense and low quality "sewer" sites
Inspired by a few threads below.
gethan




msg:1326043
 9:21 am on Jun 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

A <low quality "sewer"> site had the URL posted here about a week ago; since snipped (rightly). Now I reported this site to see what would happen, as I imagine many others did too.

Now:

- adsense still runs on the front page (before on every page)
- the "content" pages now run redirects to other sites - mostly gambling.
- the content is still just a huge pile of computer generated/stolen crap.

I'm very surprised that the front page still has ad's, no response from google to my complaint. I had also hoped that some kind of minimum quality of the site as a whole, would be required from google in order to be part of the adsense program - *sigh* - this doesn't appear to be the case.

I think one fundemental problem with adsense is the use of publisher id's rather than accepting and reviewing domains individually, OK so they avoid the problem of millions of domains to review - but the quality of sites that run adsense now is sometimes so low it's truely unbelievable.

Additionally - this type of site does impact revenue for the better quality sites in the program. The budgets of advertisers are used up on the sewer sites, leading to less money available for the quality sites. How can this be a good thing?

We all have different opinions as to what constitutes quality, some advertisers claim that it doesn't matter in any way except cost per conversion. But adsense on sewer sites will damage the programs longterm reputation - quality sites will move away from adsense to either the competition or to other forms of advertising. Adsense and it's format will become ubiquitous with low quality dross - this will mean lowered returns for those in the program - and so on. Hopefully the long term success of the adsnse program is important to google and they will start to operate more rigorous quality control on the sites in the program now.

Opinions?

[edited by: Jenstar at 5:17 pm (utc) on June 15, 2004]
[edit reason] corrected keyword [/edit]

 

Macro




msg:1326103
 2:50 pm on Jun 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

I think it's in the best interests of the SEs and end users for the scraper sites to be filtered or handled via an algorithm

That assumes that it can be done via an algo. I, for one, don't have any doubts that it can. The question is: will it happen? Search engines need some motivation to change their algos. The sewer sites may not be severely impacting on the SEs' profitability at present - which is a shame as that would have been a great incentive for the SEs ;). Failing that what would serve as motivation? I think #1 would be advertisers deserting them and #2 searchers abandoning the SE (Or the other way around). Advertisers don't seem to have significant reasons to demand change. They are getting conversions from the traffic sent by sewer sites. And if this traffic ceases to convert then advertisers have the blunt tool of blocking content ads. I can't see them rushing to pull all Adwords ads. That leaves the onus on searchers. This takes a bit longer. People are forgiving when an SE gives them bad results for one or two search terms. If that happens consistently they will switch to something that serves their needs better... but this will take a while.

What about webmasters? Surely we are least important to Google? (OK, Google is nowhere without our collective content... but they don't see our concerns as tops in their priority lists). Unless, unless there is a violation of some law. So, yes, they'll act on DMCAs. And yes, they'll act on Adsense abuse, but it's gotta be abuse. As I've argued elsewhere [webmasterworld.com] - we should complain to Google when we see a scraper site in SERPS that is in clear violation of our copyright (i.e. undeniably outside "fair use"). And we should complain to Adsense when such a scraper site is running Adsense ads. Again, it's got to be a clear violation of either copyright laws or Adsense terms (Hey, even two contextual ad programs on the same page are in violation of Adsense terms). If Google get a few of these complaints they may better see the extent of the problem i.e. they may come to the conclusion that scraper sites are generating a lot of DMCA issues and/or Adsense overheads so we've got to do something about scrapers earlier rather than later.

I would love it if someone had a better and more workable solution.

europeforvisitors




msg:1326104
 3:36 pm on Jun 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

I think Google will deal with the scraper sites by taking one or both of the following steps:

1) Preventing scraper sites from rising to the top in Google Search, and/or...

2) Tightening the AdSense program policies.

It's in Google's own interests to take such steps, because:

- Google can't afford to let "content spam" drive away users of Google Search.

- Google is just throwing money away if it feeds traffic to its competitors (i.e., scraper directories).

Caveat: Google moves slowly, and it prefers algorithms to human intervention, so don't expect sitescrapers to disappear from the SERPs (or even to move down in the SERPs) overnight.

richmondsteve




msg:1326105
 4:43 pm on Jun 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

The majority of the scraper sites I see are running AdSense ads, but not all of them are. Google could flip the AdSense switch, but long-term I think it needs to be dealt with by Google in its SE and by other SEs or the scrapers will just focus on other forms of paid advertising and affiliate sales. And worse, I suspect they'd earn less so they'd likely crank out more scraper sites and scraper pages to make up the difference. Or at least that's my take.

mquarles




msg:1326106
 6:57 pm on Jun 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

richmondsteve hit on the right point. Just eliminating them from AdSense does not solve the problem. There are other ad networks, affiliate programs, and such that will keep scraper sites hanging around unless the change is done on the search engine side.

MQ

europeforvisitors




msg:1326107
 6:59 pm on Jun 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

Just eliminating them from AdSense does not solve the problem. There are other ad networks, affiliate programs, and such that will keep scraper sites hanging around unless the change is done on the search engine side.

True, and it's reasonable to assume that Google will attack the problem from both sides.

HughMungus




msg:1326108
 8:38 pm on Jun 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

In reality, Google does care where ads run; if it didn't, publishers wouldn't have their sites vetted by AdSense when joining, and the AdSense program policies wouldn't have restrictions on where ads can be used.

But in reality, they're NOT all vetted by the Adsense crew. Once you're in Adsense, you can run Adsense ads on *any* website that meets with their program policies.

And regarding my example, the point is that many companies selling products don't care how/where a sale is made. Otherwise, every advertiser in every affiliate program I join would first review my web pages. They don't.

blaze




msg:1326109
 8:46 pm on Jun 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

Yes, limiting the conversation to "AdSense" is a huge red herring.

Developing contextual technology which utilizes affilate ads, while perhaps not able to get those really obscure keywords, can get a lot of the well known, well branded companies that users are interested in clicking on anyways.

Someone said talking about anything other than AdSense is 'offtopic' here .. I think it's the other way around and that this really belongs in the Copyright forum.

europeforvisitors




msg:1326110
 10:03 pm on Jun 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

But in reality, they're NOT all vetted by the Adsense crew. Once you're in Adsense, you can run Adsense ads on *any* website that meets with their program policies.

Yes, because Google wanted to achieve Amazon-style market share when it launched AdSense. There have been a number of indications that Google is tightening up its standards, if only slightly, and there's certainly no reason to believe that Google will adopt a completely laissez-faire policy on new types of "content" that threaten the marketability of AdSense or the quality of Google's SERPs.

And regarding my example, the point is that many companies selling products don't care how/where a sale is made.

Yes, but many do, just as many companies care where their products or services are advertised. The latter is especially true of large advertising agencies and their corporate clients. (Think about it: If you were a media v.p. at a top 100 advertising agency, would you want to be in the position of explaining why ads for your Fortune 500 client are appearing on ralphs-racy-rants.org or harriets-home-abortion-kits.com?)

Someone said talking about anything other than AdSense is 'offtopic' here .. I think it's the other way around and that this really belongs in the Copyright forum.

Discussions of the copyright issues surrounding "sitescrapers" may belong in the copyright forum. But the topic of this thread is "AdSense and low quality 'sewer' sites," and any posts about copyright are sidebars to the core discussion.

blaze




msg:1326111
 10:10 pm on Jun 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

'sewer site' = copyright infringment. So how is copyright infringment not core to the discussion?

What Gethan is really trying to say in unfortunately imprecise language, is that this about "AdSense and bad fair use".

[edited by: blaze at 10:15 pm (utc) on June 17, 2004]

mquarles




msg:1326112
 10:14 pm on Jun 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

'sewer' = copyright infringment

Actually, most of the sites I have seen would easily fall under fair use, so there is no copyright issue. They have no more than, and often less than, the excerpt size from Google themselves.

MQ

blaze




msg:1326113
 10:17 pm on Jun 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

Yes, well I think that is precisely the point. Google and AdSense (especially with the DCMA) should revolve around the concept of copyright infringement.

Really, their algorithm and their adsense people, should allow websites which fall under fair use .. it's a fair legal definition which has been tested by a lot more people than just one company.

It's quite possible that someone could sue them for unfairly dropping their website if they are not following these strict legal guidelines (or at least not showing an attempt to).

On top of this, robots.txt should be considered a legal device and should be legally respected as I have said before.

Also, as I have shown [webmasterworld.com], this is not necessarily fair use. Depending on how it is done, a judge could easily determine this not to be fair use.

gethan




msg:1326114
 7:16 am on Jun 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

Blaze> Someone said talking about anything other than AdSense is 'offtopic' here .. I think it's the other way around and that this really belongs in the Copyright forum.

I did, feel free to start said discussion in the Copyright Forum - I'll be happy to join in with discussing the more general aspects of this topic.

Blaze> 'sewer site' = copyright infringment. So how is copyright infringment not core to the discussion?

'sewer site' is a site created for the sole purpose of encouraging clicks to affiliates or ad programs, it may or may not involve copyright infringement, site scraping, auto generated keyword content etc. The key thing is that there is no value to a visitor other than that found in the adverts.

This thread was intended to discuss if there is value to google and advertisers in having these sites in the Adsense program. Discuss what steps google might/will/could take to eliminate them, and what impact (if any) does it have on publishers running non-'sewer sites'.

blaze




msg:1326115
 10:33 am on Jun 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

Ah, I see the confusion. Someone had defined sewer sites in a different way and I was assuming a certain degree of consistency.

Well, you know what they say about assuming..

Anyways, if that's the discussion .. just read the TOS. Obviously if there is no content of any value then it doesn't pass Google's quality guidelines:


Quality Guidelines - Basic principles:

Make pages for users, not for search engines. Don't deceive your users, or present different content to search engines than you display to users.

Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings. A good rule of thumb is whether you'd feel comfortable explaining what you've done to a website that competes with you. Another useful test is to ask, "Does this help my users? Would I do this if search engines didn't exist?"

Don't participate in link schemes designed to increase your site's ranking or PageRank. In particular, avoid links to web spammers or "bad neighborhoods" on the web as your own ranking may be affected adversely by those links.

Especially: "Does this help my users? Would I do this if search engines didn't exist?"

With regards to Macro's 'sewer sites', I would say possibly yes. With regards to your sewer sites, I would say no.

Macro




msg:1326116
 11:14 am on Jun 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

created for the sole purpose of encouraging clicks to affiliates or ad programs, it may or may not involve copyright infringement, site scraping, auto generated keyword content etc

IMHO, it would be difficult to create a site "for the sole purpose of encouraging clicks to affiliates or ad programs" without "involving copyright infringement, site scraping, autogenerated keyword content etc" unless, of course, the site was providing some form of unique and useful content. Or am I missing something?

mquarles




msg:1326117
 1:15 pm on Jun 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

IMHO, it would be difficult to create a site "for the sole purpose of encouraging clicks to affiliates or ad programs" without "involving copyright infringement, site scraping, autogenerated keyword content etc" unless, of course, the site was providing some form of unique and useful content. Or am I missing something?

Actually, as I read it, even if it was the most unique and useful content on the web, if you created it for the purpose of carrying AdSense, you would be in violation of the AdSense terms "No AdWords ad may be placed on pages published specifically for the purpose of showing ads, whether or not the page content is relevant."

MQ

gethan




msg:1326118
 1:18 pm on Jun 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

> Or am I missing something?

Could equally could be hand written rubbish.

> IMHO, it would be difficult to create a site

Agreed.

I meant the statement to mean involve one or more of the following - ite scrapping doesn't necessarily mean it is auto-generating the content, and vice versa.

Any one have a better definition?

europeforvisitors




msg:1326119
 2:02 pm on Jun 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

Re the copyright issue: JenStar's excellent "Breakdown of the new AdSense Terms, FAQ, Policies" post includes the statement:

Site Content

Now included is that site may not include "Any other content that promotes illegal activity or infringes on the legal rights of others."


HughMungus




msg:1326120
 9:07 pm on Jun 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

Yes, but many do, just as many companies care where their products or services are advertised.

Yes, we're in agreement. When I filled out my Adwords questionnaire today, I mentioned that they should allow advertisers to ban certain sites and/or types of sites (as determined by theme).

HughMungus




msg:1326121
 9:10 pm on Jun 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

"No AdWords ad may be placed on pages published specifically for the purpose of showing ads, whether or not the page content is relevant."

I never have understood this, either. What were they trying to prevent here? Maybe preventing pages that are a bunch of keywords with the only outbound links being adsense links.

oldskool79




msg:1326122
 10:52 pm on Jun 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

IMHO, it would be difficult to create a site "for the sole purpose of encouraging clicks to affiliates or ad programs" without "involving copyright infringement, site scraping, autogenerated keyword content etc" unless, of course, the site was providing some form of unique and useful content. Or am I missing something?

It's very easy to create sites like this without violating copyright content. Think DMOZ, or other search feeds.

Actually, come to think of it....isn't Google a "sewer site" itself?

Google scrapes content from other sites, displays it on their site along with ads with the hope that users will click on them. Maybe someone should report them ;-)

Macro




msg:1326123
 8:47 am on Jun 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

oldskool, this has come up before and the differences have been discussed extensively touching on points like respect for robots.txt etc. My message #18 here [webmasterworld.com] is just one the posts covering the differences between sewer and SE.

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