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In other words, if the SE's are making a public claim that the results are based on relevance, are they not saying to the world that my page is less relevant then another page. Well if someone is cheating how do I know? And more importantly, if the search engine does not really say what cheating is then I am left with just a blind faith assumption that the SE is ranking my page "fairly" (whatever that means) and openly to the world.
An "uncloaking" portal would not have to reveal the algo, just show you what the SE's current bot sees. Or maybe even just what the previous version of the bot sees. I mean one thing that really sucks about spam cloaking is it favors those who can afford it and those who will abuse it or those who have little to loose. The average honest guy seems kinda like the viktim with no tools to protect himself. But maybe it has to be that way.
JMHO Any thoughts?
And since they have such a huge database, if you really want to spend your time looking for 'cloakers' instead of making your business do better - Google has already provided you with just that: a way to see through their bots eyes.
Of course, cloaking is something that even Google, MSN, AOL, and many other huge corporations do now.
At this point, I wouldn't be worried about someobody else's cloaking -
I'd be wondering, can this technology help me make my business grow. It's a tool, like any other.
Consider a hammer, or a chainsaw. Used properly, they are wonderful.
Used the wrong way, and a hammer (or chainsaw) can lead to an aweful mess, with much pain and suffering.
Now, considering that cloaking is like this hammer or chainsaw, and given that some of the largest internet companies in the world are cloaking their sites why would you be worried if somebody else is using a hammer?
It beats grabbing a rock, and trying to do it the 'old fashioned way', and since a hammer can save you time & energy that might be better spent on doing something more productive, I'd recommend honestly, learing to use that hammer yourself.
More knowledge is almost always beneficial - ignorance, however, may prove to be very costly indeed.
Your post equates cloaking to spam (it CAN be abused but that usually gets you busted soon enough) and to cheating (many of us use this board to get better rankings, the SEs may call THAT cheating). You hint that cloaking confers an unfair advantage to those that can afford it. You can afford it too [kloakit.com]. ;)
Cloaking offers two major advantages:
1. You have more freedom when building cloaked pages, they need not be pleasing to look at or user friendly
2. You can keep your "secrets to success" better hidden
It's a tool, but you still need to "crack the algo" for it to be a valuable tool.
If cloaking represented a major source of irrelavent results in the SERPs, it would affect the SEs income and "bottom line" and they would have discouraged it years ago instead of doing lip service in their webmaster dos and don'ts pages.
IP-cloaking however is a different thing. I'm in London & have heard its doable but most of the people willing to do it aren't very keen. Something about being illegal - Unfortunately. That said, I'm still looking into getting it done so as I can pretend to be Google.
However, for Gbot, its really off page factors that matter especially linkpop & pagerank. For my own site, I don't cloak for Google but do for every other SE. Best of both worlds! Having looked at various SE algos, & even though I do it myself on various spam-keyword.co.uk domains, I'm not sure that its absolutely necessary for Google - even in competitive sectors. Just get the linkpop going well...