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A competitor of mine has a PR of 5. If I check his site with the google toolbar for backward links, they all are sites that he paid for the domain names and created content for them. He hosts all of these domains( about 50 )under his reseller hosting account so it doesnt cost him alot to do it. It is really obvious he has created these sites to link to his site for PR.
My question is this: This does not seen very ethical; will the Search Engines catch on or is this something that happens alot?
In fact we do it ourselves. We had one corporate site and provided news and articles too. As these folders became too large we "upgraded" then to new domains. These info/news domains became over the years quite independent and (imhumbleopinion) respected for their content and info. We began to accept advertising from other same niche uncompetitive advertisers, and content from many who wanted to get their ideas and articles and name known. We still advertise our own original corporate site on thse now stand alone sites and our main site is now 100% devoted to selling and describing our services. Our best referrals now come from the new stand alone sites, and we work on getting the stand alone sites up the top of SERPS, not the actual selling/coporate site. Its taken a long time, and a lot of money, but its long term, and i cant see this as being unethical at all.
It works for us. Produce domains that have good original content related to your business that stand alone - and then link them (carefully - along with other external links to other info sites in the area) to your corporate/selling domain. It lets people know that you know what you are talking about, provides lots of good free info for people, and keeps everybody happy, expect for competitors who dont have the time to do it. But this is just one strategy. Others use PPC, or SEo just for the selling site, affiliates or whatever. All have advantages and disadvantages.
There are problems with cross-linking, and unless the other domains are not well focused with useful original content i dont think this will work med to long term.
Basically these guys are just putting their money into a different promotion method that PPC or paying for referrals. In most cases their ROE (Return on Effort) may well be poor, unless the other sites stand on their own (become portals or news sites, getting other advertising, increasing their value for selling later).
I see this as a very good way of getting recognition for your core business. Ethics only comes into it, for what its worth, when there is some kind of deception involved.
Maybe Ethical was the wrong word.... What I was wondering is that will get you banned from certain SE's? Will they consider it spam? Will they catch on to 50 2-3 page sites that really do not pertain to web design.
[edited by: heini at 6:14 pm (utc) on Feb. 25, 2003]
[edit reason] removed urls as per TOS [/edit]
When you get into the realm of cranked-out minidomains, you find disagreement. We know that Google has penalized groups of interlinked, commonly owned domains that have little outside linkage. We also know that nearly identical domains, like keyword-alaska.com, keyword-alabama.com, etc. seem to survive.
In the long run, I'd expect Google's algo to not weight the sort of thing you describe heavily. The two-page domains probably have few legitimate links. In the short run, though, your options are limited. You can try reporting them, but whether Google would even be interested would depend on how spammy the other domains were; it does seem like the main purpose of these other domains is to boost PR from what you describe. You can try copying the strategy, but there is always a possibility of some risk. Or, you can try to get some good, independent links to your site to offset the other guy's self-created link collective.
Thank you for your reply Rogerd, you answered my question(s).
I'd love to see my competitors do what your competitor is doing. They would soon be out of business and I would be laughing all the way to the bank.
In fact we DO it in our business. We have very competitive market and as I see 8 of top 10 are just making link farms and have the PR of 6 and 7.
I don't like it at al.And we need "fast" and "not spam" solution. We just have created 20 web sites about 10 - 15 pages each with quality content, which is usefull and which can be attracted to visitor and is related to the topic of our origianl web site. Then we interlink them together and placed links to our site.
Now, 1,5 months after these sites are born - we see a lot of visitors, who leave good comments. We didn't even expect it, and their PRs are from 3 to 5. The PR of our main site is 6, and we see people coming from our these sites. So the idea turns to be wonderfull :)