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Recently, checking out our competition on the web we placed some orders with our competition disguising our identity to see how things stacked up since in our industry we have had some customers complaining they cant get good service when ordering off the web.
Well.. we went straight to this one guys site.. every month or two we come accross mirror sites of his.. he has even resorted to doing domains like www.for-your-christmas-unique-gifts-fatherday-graduation-easter-july-fourth.com (this is a slight variation of his domain) I mean really tacky stuff ESPECIALLY since this has NOTHING to do with his products. I was shocked when I saw our order number was 81,000 and that number cannot be changed.
So anotherwords in two years, well close to two years this guy did 80,000 orders which is 80 web orders a day? Not bad! Especially since his site looks absolutely repulsive. Last count this guy had three mirrors in google and others, I do see new domain names showing up like every month or two and have not kept track if all of them dissapear as fast but I think as they dissapear he comes up with a new tacky mirror site and spam!
You be the judge.. is it worth it? it ALMOST seems tempting... Almost! I think for now well hold on using his styles but cant say it dosent sound tempting.... Ill take the 30 room house and loaded porche...
Think of it as a hit counter and you'll see what I mean :D
That said, it's pretty clear that spam does pay off for some people. They stay in business and keep spamming... Whether they do more business in the long run than the straight man who does things the honest way and builds a good reputation is still up for debate.
I too see my competitors spamming big time - with massive cross linking schemes, multiple domains, duplicate content, etc.
I have also been very tempted to follow cos its so darn easy. We all can do it very easily.
But last month some of them got SMACKED right where it hurts and I believe jutice has been done although many of the spammers still go untouched. For how long - who knows?
Trouble is - NON spammers have also been randomly smacked and thats the worry.
So who knows - perhaps these spam attempts are protective methods. "One site gets penalised - well who cares cos I have a backup or 2 or 3 or 20"
I dont spam and have ONE site - if this site gets penalties then I am really in deep SH....!
So - to spam or not to spam that is the question....
To avoid leaking information, order numbers (confirmation numbers, returns, credit notes etc etc) just have to be random for any ecommerce application.
Not saying they are in this case, but it's crazy not to. Try, for example, doing two Fexex orders a minute apart to gauge the volume of their business. You can't tell from the numbers -- they are random.
If your ecommerce software generates sequential numbers, get it changed or bin it.
Nervous.. I totally hear you.. I have one website to and got smacked alittle with an unexplained situation of no backlinks showing.. several people have and their no explanation as of yet... PR dropped alittle bit.. Ill be in deep**** too if anything happens with the website... but after last month started thinking.. spam and get 80 orders a month or play it clean like i have been and get 20. Hmm... ALMOST is tempting.. something to think about down the road maybe...
An additional domain or two is becoming the norm. I have several domains that target specific niches and the content is carefully written to be helpful to those niches. If I had just one "general" site, many of my niche customers would have a tough time finding what they are looking for on my site. There are just too many categories and products to logically present on one site. In addition, an extra domain is insurance in case there ever was a problem with one of the sites.
And it's so easy financially these days. Get a reseller hosting account for $20/month. Put as many domains as you like on the account. Domains only cost about $8/year. So you can host 20 sites for $20/month plus $160/year for the domain names.
Here is an example of a structure that I feel would not be penalized (I made these up):
coloradooutdoorsupplies.com - for store locations in Colorado
wyomingoutdoorsupplies.com - for store locations in Wyoming
fishingandtackle.com - to target the niche
jansportcanada.ca - to target the jansport brand name as the authorized distributor for canada
If I were to add another 50 domains for the same company and crosslink all of them, I think there would be plenty of reason to be nervous. But having a handful of domain names is not a crime IMHO--it's insurance.
in the case I pointed above though..this guy is just mirroring sites.. he does have a second domain which he leaves on its own.. this one domain though he mirrors and puts up a million doorway pages to ..blah blah blah.. he pulls every trick he can.. and ya know what.. to pull in 80 orders a day from the one site...he aint doing to bad I might say...
Rather than emulating him, DrD, I'd suggest making your additional domains more unique in focus and content - they'll serve you better in the long run, and won't get you banned.