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Professional Webmaster Business Issues Forum

Chinese company taking over SERPs
Should I sellout?

 3:08 am on Jan 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

Over the last 2 years we have watched as each of our competitors have been bought out by a company operated out of China.

As this company aquires our competitors they purposely hide information from Google and setup the websites to look as if they are ran out of the US but they infact are owned and operated by a single Chinese company.

At my last count they have bought out over 300 of our competitors.

What is really crazy is they now pretty much own the serps page 1-10 for millions of keywords/phrases because of the deception they are playing with Google by keeping the sites siloed.

I did some quantcast research and we are talking about 50-100 million visitors a month spread across these properties so I am sure Google is aware of this but given how much they are making with them I am not to sure they are going to do anything about it.

They have approached us several times to sellout and each time we have declined but as time goes on it is becoming clear that out of hundreds of sites like ours we are just about the last American holdout.

We cant scale to the cheap labor they employ and they churn out content at a pace that is blinding. It's a strange feeling watching sites that have been competitors of ours for over a decade fall one at a time.

What would you folks do if every competitor of yours in google was basically bought out by a single chinese company?



 3:31 am on Jan 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

You were competing against 300 websites before and you are still competing against 300 websites now. Is it cheating to have more than one website competing in the SERPs? Every site has to stand or fall according to the quality and quantity of their links and to a lesser extent, their content. That hasn't changed, they still have to compete.

At first glance it certainly appears greedy to buy out so many sites. But looked at in a different angle, is McDonalds greedy to have a restaurant in virtually every neighborhood of every city in the U.S.A.? Is it necessary for a company to underutilize their resources?

Some of my sites are up against larger entities with more resources. Some of them are rewriting my content and ranking in the SERPs against me. What can I do? If Starbucks moves into a neighborhood does that mean the local cafe is in trouble? Not necessarily.

This is an interesting discussion issue you've brought up. I don't think the issues are as black and white as they might appear to be.


 3:53 pm on Jan 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

drall I have a question. How do you know the sites have been taken over by the same company?


 4:58 pm on Jan 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

What would you folks do if every competitor of yours in google was basically bought out by a single chinese company?

(To open up this thread a bit, maybe we should specify that all of ones competitors have been bought up by one company, and not refer to the company's country of origin?)
Since it's just one company you're competing with instead of 300, it almost makes your job easier, depending on whether they have just bought the companies and absorbed them or taken over ownership of the companies and letting them continue to run as before. In your case, it sounds like you are going up against a Borg-like company. :)

In this case, all you need to do is figure out how to differentiate yourself against *1* competitor, instead of 300 competitors. It will depend on your industry, but there are almost always certainly ways it can be done.


 1:05 am on Jan 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

bwnbwn, after tracking down content thieves for years I became pretty good at investigating people trying to hide true ownership details. Every one of these sites are owned by one company.

LifeinAsia, you hit the nail on the head. What they have done is the later of your choices, they have purchased the existing companies and let them run as before and with minimal changes to design except to take the strongest features of one site and include it in a slightly warped way on all of the other sites.

Martinibuster they also crosslink the sites carefully and load them with anchor text and the like. They are just a monster now and the main site they own is in the alexa 200 range. From a seo standpoint this is a nightmare to compete against.

To me it seems like I am just about the last man standing that hasnt given in.

I have spent thousands of hours trying to figure out how we can make us substantially different but the problem is they own so many unique variations of the same basic theme that they have just about every angle covered.

We simply cannot take them head on, just a matter of diminishing returns and scalability. I think we need to produce something not easilly reproducable that trumps anything they have in any of these sites. Just easier said then done ;)


 2:46 am on Jan 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

Drall if you have solid proof these sites are the same company and they are manipulating the serps by interlinking with anchor text this is exactly what all the SE's don't want to happen. It is one thing to own the site and work each one as a stand alone site. This takes resources and lots of it, but it is another to own these same site and use them in this manner.

A well written documated letter showing proof of what your stating to the right person will work wonders. The documated proof has to be good with examples, serp examples, screen shots, and a step by step documated trail of your findings will be needed in the email or letter.

I know first hand what your talking about.


 3:59 am on Jan 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

There are many network monsters out there, like the zdnet chain of sites, Yahoo, AOL, etc. I compete against some heavy hitting sites whose breadth I could never match so I make up for it by taking their weaknesses and making those my strengths.

Small can mean

  • easy to navigate,
  • personal service,
  • fast feedback,
  • faster decision-making window,
  • lower maintenance costs,
  • and can be closer in touch with user base.

Larger can mean the opposite.

  • Layers of drill down navigation
  • Impersonal, hard to talk to a real person
  • Slower to provide feedback
  • Astronomical maintenance costs that can overwhelm a company if the beast can't be fed
  • Has a hard time keeping in touch with it's user base
  • Employees who don't care


 9:19 pm on Feb 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

I agree with martinibuster. We compete against some real monsters and quite a few of them own multiple domains. It's not just how you rank in the serps that gets you customers, but how you treat your customers will impact the word of mouth aspect of marketing.


 12:39 am on Feb 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

# Astronomical maintenance costs that can overwhelm a company if the beast can't be fed

Ahh, the BEAST. This recession has caused lots of them to starve.


 5:47 am on Feb 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

I would LOVE to find myself in this scenario - I'd take having one competitor over 300 any day. I'm currently competing against, and demolishing, one such company who has purchased the exact match domain name for many primary keywords and uses them to boost their main site.

The amount of work they are putting in to try and gain an edge is astounding but they can't match my knowledge of this niche or my attention to every part of every page I publish. Heck, they have to have meetings before making minor changes and more meetings to make sure they all agree on why a change is needed. lol.

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