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Forum Moderators: open
Your moderator is Air_. He has been a software author and is extremely knowledgable about all issues surrounding Cloaking from the technologies involved to ethical debates. (Thanks Air)
As you said, this seems to be a tricky category to keep alive. There are a number of boards out there with a cloaking forum that invariably get ground to a halt for one reason or another. In the end that serves no one.
So my challenge to all of you is to make this the definitive place to go when we want answers and discussion on cloaking. With thoughtful observations, insight, and questions from the experienced to the curious. We can all contribute to making a success out of something that many others have failed in. Are you game? - let's do it :)
Let me declare myself as an anti-cloaker, the reasons?
Well first off I don't know how to do it myself. I feel that it removes the control I have of the placement of my clients sites into the hands of a third party. If "your" cloaking program becomes out of date I am lost and my clients site could potentially be banned for life from specific search engines.
"If we find out 'your' page is cloaked we will ban your URL and
sites for life."
The search engines don't like it. It would be so easy to detect if the search engines wanted to try.
"Some other people submit pages that present our spider with content that differs from what users will see. We strongly discourage these practices."
It removes focus from what SEO should be striving to achieve, long term sticky "theme" optimised content, not short term and risky tricks to gain better placement.
Now to the debate:
"Well first off I don't know how to do it myself. I feel that it removes the control I have of the placement of my clients sites into the hands of a third party."
You could gain greater control over this technology either by self education or by hiring someone in-house who already has the knowledge. A side note - two and a half years ago I had 0 knowledge about anything having to do with computers so
this type of system doesn't take a CompSci degree to develop.
"The search engines don't like it. It would be so easy to detect if the search engines wanted to try."
Totally true, but think of the ramification. It is not cheap to do a secondary (shadow) spider, so the sensible thing for the SEs to do is be selective about who they check out. This is what most are doing at this point.
"It removes focus from what SEO should be striving to achieve, long term sticky "theme" optimized content, not short term and risky tricks to gain better placement. "
This doesn't have to be the case, and it shouldn't be! In fact, a well thought out strategy could work very well with a delivery system.
I like your opening line NFFC, "Let me declare myself as an anti-cloaker ...."
We'd probably get on great if we met, I like it when people are upfront.
I would say that for anyone not comfortable with cloaking, don't do it, it'll just add one more thing to worry about. I would never try to convince anyone that they should try it, but if you want to know how to do it, or just want to know more about it, then we're here to answer any questions you might have.
This is hefty load your taking on, I hope you have luck with it.
You'll see my name pop up in here quite often being as how I am caught between my paycheck and a corporate hard place.
I'm not a great advocate of cloaking, but I see its uses. I don't mind that people do so, because I understand that they are entertain the risks involved.
I work for a small IPP which does SEO, and inturn, use cloaking, or our prehistoric, almost ineffective version of it. I am forced to brush up and find ways to make it work and they won't have it any other way. I have alot of questions, be prepared.
This may sound odd, but, expect me to haunt you when I die.
To quote the movie the Sixth Sense "I am ready to communicate with you now, I see dead cloakers", ok not an exact quote ....
Yeah it maybe a load, but fortunately there are a lot of knowledgeable posters and lurkers (I am sure) that can help. Given your current situation you may have as many answers as questions.
Fire away we'll do our best ...
Edited by: Air