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The beginning of the end for AS spam publishers..?
Encouraging comments & support from GG
Freedom




msg:1341520
 11:42 am on Jun 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

In the following thread, [webmasterworld.com...]

I posed the following question:

Can anyone else at Google convince the Adsense department to tighten up their quality control standards on the type of websites they accept and/or keep in the program? Junk sites and scrapers are being massed produced just for adsense, alienating advertisers looking for conversions from quality sites and casting a bad image on real content publishers. Besides the url mess, I think it's the second biggest problem Google has.

From this, I received this encouraging answer from GG:

Freedom, fair points--I hate spam pages that use AdSense. I'm talking to some people on that side of the company about how to get spam out of AdSense. It may be that we can designate a keyword to use (like "spamreport") in the "Ads by Goooogle" feedback link. A few weeks ago, that form didn't send back the publisher id as well, or at least not in the database that I saw. I think that they were going to add that though. Once that's working, it would provide a simple way to report a spam page with AdSense right from that page.
Ask folks about this more in New Orleans too, but I'm working on it. In the meantime, use the Campaign Negative Sites feature of AdWords to specify any sites that you don't want your ads to show on. That's an indirect signal of feedback as well.

and

abbeyvet, gotcha covered with Freedom's points. I would emphasize this to engineers in New Orleans, b/c there will both quality engineers and engineers from the ads side of things there.

Marketing Guy asked a follow up question asking for a more pro-active position from AS. [webmasterworld.com...]

GG responded

partial quote....So I do have hope that as AdSense matures, your (and mine) concerns will be addressed. I think there are lots of ways to potentially make sure that AdSense is useful for everyone except for people that want to make spammy or autogenerated sites.

The NOLA conference represents an excellent chance for publishers and advertisers to press this point home with Google reps. With enough questions about improving the quality control of AS, this issue can rise to the top issues talked about, written about, blogged about and committed to resolving after the conference.

Personally speaking, there is not a better opportunity or time then at that conference to drive another nail into the coffin of scraper sites and tighten up the quality control standards of Adsense.

The campaign negative move was a nice start, but limiting it to only 25 was daft.

EFV and myself have discussed here and agree that within Google there are different camps with different priorities and the left hand doesn't always know what the right hand is doing. GG's comments confirmed my suspicion that there are plenty of folks at Google that would like to see the AdSense dept. tighten up on not only the initial site they accept, but other sites that publishers add on later.

Unfortunately, I won't be at the NOLA conference but encourage those who are going to take this message/question with them.

Freedom

Back story: I used to work in NOLA on boats, fueling up ships/sea tugs/pushboats on the river, most of the time right across from the river walk under the G&O bridges, (on the Gretna side of the river). The skyscraper lights of NOLA from the clarity of the river are absolutely magnificent.

 

robsynnott




msg:1341521
 11:46 am on Jun 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

Death to the spammers :)

Mauricio




msg:1341522
 11:53 am on Jun 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

I think it's just a pretty response from a company's speaker.

Facts go in the opposite way.

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:1341523
 12:35 pm on Jun 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

... scraper lights of NOLA from the clarity of the river are absolutely magnificent. :o)

Marketing Guy




msg:1341524
 12:44 pm on Jun 2, 2005 (gmt 0)


I think it's just a pretty response from a company's speaker.

To some extent I agree, but GG was pretty forthcoming and in a lot of threads recently has confirmed stuff that although most of us knew and implemented, it was never confirmed "officially" before.

I wouldn't expect Google to come back and respond to the AS questions with "Oh yeh we're gonna do this, that and the next". Spammers would just adjust and we would be right back where we are now. I think it's better all round that some counter measures are taking place behind closed doors.

That said, it's good to know that the issue is being addressed. It's a bit of a slap in the face for Google to publicly support Brett's 26 step guide (the underlying theme of which is "write good content") then for them to pay spammers and content theives via Adsense. So any indication that they are working on improving AS network quality is good, even if they don't give us full details.

MG

fearlessrick




msg:1341525
 12:53 pm on Jun 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

I found GG's comments to be fairly fluffy, but what do I know? I only spent most of my adult life as a reporter/editor/publisher/public relations exec.

Actions speak louder than words and I haven't seen ANY action to limit spam by Google. They prattle on and do little.

Sure, maybe I'm impatient, but if they're supposed to be so high-tech and glitzy, how come we're 14 days into this update and the SERPs still suck wind. Having the GG tell us to back off and take it easy is no consolation when it's obvious that major components of Google's vaunted system have broken down.

Listen and hope if you like, but two weeks is more than I can handle of this garf.

Marketing Guy




msg:1341526
 1:22 pm on Jun 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

I think you're in the wrong game then! ;)

What would you like? Google to come to the forums and say, "this month we have banned the following sites for spam....etc"?

I've seen huge scrapper sites booted over the past few months - 450k+ Adsense pages hidden in subdirectories or tiny sites, all optimised (and ranking reasonably well) for hundreds of thousands of keywords. And that's just the tiny little part of the web I happen to look at.

Of course GG is going to choose his words carefully - forums like these are notorious for the member base twisting each and every word to suit them, particularly on sensitive subjects where opinions are hugely varied. I would have thought someone from a PR background could appreciate that. ;)

MG

mzanzig




msg:1341527
 1:23 pm on Jun 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

EFV and myself have discussed here and agree that within Google there are different camps with different priorities and the left hand doesn't always know what the right hand is doing. GG's comments confirmed my suspicion that there are plenty of folks at Google that would like to see the AdSense dept. tighten up on not only the initial site they accept, but other sites that publishers add on later.

I think it's not necessarily that the left hand does not KNOW what the right hand is doing. G managed to get so many things done right, that it would be surprising if they did that one wrong.

No - my gut feeling is that they need to improve their bottom line short term, and that need is currently driving the company. They cannot risk to loose their status at the stock market, because then they'll be toast. At a P/E ratio of 113 (!) GOOG is already highly speculative, and if they should not fulfill the expectations, investors WILL pull out. This reminds me to the first Internet bubble that burst in 2000.

Compare this to YHOO's (also hefty) P/E of 60 - this appears to be much more secure than GOOG, while being still quite high. And compare that to MSFT and TWX who are doing well at P/E 25, and you know what is going on at G right now! There simply is no room for giving away a single cent.

-- Mark

alika




msg:1341528
 1:33 pm on Jun 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

I think it's not necessarily that the left hand does not KNOW what the right hand is doing.

It's called bureaucracy, and an organization with Google's growth often suffers from this. It is highly likely that the Adsense team's objective of bringing in fat revenues for G has created (possibly unintentionally) the scrapers that are now giving the SE team at G headaches. So the more pressure for the Adsense team to clean up these sites and provide more stringent standards, then the better for all of us (well, except the scrapers).

diamondgrl




msg:1341529
 3:01 pm on Jun 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

I think GG's response is a terrific sign that Google understands how corrosive spam sites can be and that maximizing short-term revenues is not in the medium-term interest of Google.

Red_Eagle




msg:1341530
 4:06 pm on Jun 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

I don't like spam sites, but I think there are two sides to this.

I'm guessing that by using Adsense on spam pages Google is getting lots of data that they wouldn't otherwise have -- data that could give them an advantage in combating spam sites.

Its a double edged sword, cutting a check to people who are decreasing the quality of your SE and the image of your ad program (and in the long run possibly click through rates.)

This may explain why Google hasn't cut off spam sites yet.

morphisb




msg:1341531
 5:15 pm on Jun 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

Well I think I have what could be a rather simple solution to fix the problem but similar to what Red_Eagle stated, is Google afraid to cut down the spam sites because it might reduce income?

Ultimately, I think they realize they have to fix the adsense spam problem. My guess is, if they don't address the problem, more and more Adwords participants will opt out of content advertising. I myself opt of content advertising.

Here is my rather simple solution, curious to here what people think:

1. They have to make it more difficult to get sites approved to participate in AdSense, it's way to easy right now. I think all new sites (not users) need to be approved before someone can use Adsense. Right now, all you have to is create a new web site and through the adsense code in your pages and viola!

2. Now that Google is a slave to their shareholders this idea may not fly. Pay current Adsense participants money each time they report a true spam site. Doesn't have to be a lot of money but I think it would be extremely effective. Attach to that idea a trust factor, kind of like Ebay. Each time you report a site and it's found to be spam you get a point. However, if all you do is report non-spam sites you lose a point each time, say after five times, your banned from participating in the spam reporting program.

jim_w




msg:1341532
 5:49 pm on Jun 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

I know one thing. Everyday that (G) takes to fix the problem, it will cost them more money. Everyday the problem grows by leaps and bounds. Their database of adsense sites will have to be weeded out. And you know what they say about databases, garbage-in-garbage-out. So the more bad sites that are in the database, the harder it will be for them to totally fix the problem. If they had enforced their own TOS from the beginning, the problem would be much smaller and much, much easier and cheaper to solve.

The growth of the problem, at least as I measure it from my data, grows by 2x every 10 days or so. Itís a growth that is exponential in nature, not logarithmic.

bbkid




msg:1341533
 6:24 pm on Jun 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

Does anybody care to explain whats going on in New Orleans?

sholtodhr




msg:1341534
 6:38 pm on Jun 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

The pressure on the adsense team is probably a good way to look at it. With the market expecting stellar numbers from Google, the pressure is to deliver the numbers on earnings rather than meet the demands of the SE community.

I rather think that this is where google will head longterm.

hyperkik




msg:1341535
 6:43 pm on Jun 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

I feel like I'm looking at an orobouros.... It is simultaneously alleged that scams and scrapers are costing Google money each day they are not eliminated from the AdSense program, but that they make Google too much money for Google to toss them out. It really can't be both.

jim_w




msg:1341536
 6:59 pm on Jun 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

>>It really can't be both

Your right, at least not both at the same time. There are long term and short term results.

Andreals




msg:1341537
 8:10 pm on Jun 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

Compromising the integrity of the brand for a quick buck this quarter is something businesses have been doing for as long as there have been brands and books.

Only time will tell how long Google will allow this to happen. My guess is that it will be scaled back gradually only when reports of the problem begin to surface in the mainstream (like CNBC etc.).

A.

Rodney




msg:1341538
 8:30 pm on Jun 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

Does anybody care to explain whats going on in New Orleans?

[webmasterworld.com...]

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