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Does se spam pay?

There are some sites making $1000s from spam

     
12:09 am on Aug 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Most messages from SEO's state that spam doesn't pay in the long run. However, I have found dozens of top 10 ranking sites that are spamming in one form or another ... and are probably making a lot of money from it.

For example, the guy who owns the no 1 ranked site for <snip> When you do a backward link seach, you find out that he also owns the top ten ranking sites for <snip>, and lots of other keyword combinations. When you search for <snip> for example, he has 2 top 10 ranking sites. Plus for other keyword phrases he has up to 4 top 10 ranking sites. These rankings are probably worth $100k per month or more in profits. Is this spam? I would have thought it is link spam. For example, the way he sets it up is to have pages specifically linked to every other page in another website. He will have one page on a high page rank site that will link to every page on another high page rank site ... all on the same theme ... and does this for all his pages.

Of course, these are areas that are prone to lots of spamming, because they are no exactly areas where there are high moral standards :) ... but they are highly profitable areas for the spammer.

Personally I do believe that this sort of thing won't work for the long term ... google will eventually catch on, and penalize these pages. However, in the mean time, these guys are making millions, literally. Perhaps from google's point of view they probably don't care about this because only a small percentage of people are searching for these things, and they are trying to get quality results for the majority of people who are searching for normal topics. What do you think?

[edited by: Marcia at 3:38 am (utc) on Aug. 30, 2002]
[edit reason] specifics removed, TOS and charter [/edit]

12:37 am on Aug 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Oilman said it best when he said if you want to play the spam/affiliate game you have to be prepared to throw away a domain. Once you realize this, you can make money in the affilate/spam market.
12:44 am on Aug 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Hi profitpuppy and welcome to WebmasterWorld.

Did you look at the sites in question?

Does the listing actually have information and products surrounding the topic.

The same for the other - is it about the topic?

Spam is a very broad term that is loosely defined as:

The submission of pages that are intended to rank artificially high by various unethical techniques. These can include submitting hundreds of slightly different pages designed to rank high, small invisible text, or word scrambled pages. Most of these techniques are flagged by search engines as spam.

The lack of qualified content is a good indication that the listings success is derrived from spam.

You really can't infer "spam" just by the fact the 100 different types of products or services are owned by one company or 100 differwent domains. NASA itself has over 200 unique domain and I would not consider any of them "Spam".

In the world outside of search engines Amazon.com is "books" and "videos" but they also have millions on other products.

[edited by: Marcia at 4:37 am (utc) on Aug. 30, 2002]
[edit reason] typo corrected per member request [/edit]

12:51 am on Aug 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

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We have had many discussions regarding what is spam and what isn't, and it is never resolved as everyone has a different viewpoint. It is the same as talking about SEO ethics.

Back to the original question in the title:

>>>>>Does spam pay - the truth now

If you are good! ;)

1:11 am on Aug 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Does spam pay - the truth now.

I personally say no.

Spam, is a Scam, and a scam is fraud.

Does credit card fraud pay... in the same context, as long as you don't get caught, I suppose. But I don't believe in either case you have much of a future.

1:25 am on Aug 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Sorry - have to jump in here, even though I don't have a dog in the fight. I know what puppy is talking about. I started looking at some sites in order to find out what to do to get high rankings in my unrelated business area. I saw the sites he is referring to, that quickly lead to them. It is very easy to see what this individual is doing; he (she?) simply uses CSS manipulation to hide text and links behind same color graphics. The links connect a neighborhood of sites that distribute the Page Rank. At first I wondered why in the world he felt compelled to hide the links; surely Google would immediately discover these antics and remove him. Just put the links out in the open, for goodness sake.
But guess what?
These sites remain in the top thirty (about ten of them at last count, including several in the top ten, along with a similiar set of sites that have a different set of hidden links, which probably belong to the same person, meaning that about two thirds of the top thirty belong to him) for many months now.
Shoot, if I put a link to my main site from an interior page I get banned (jk)! This person breaks every rule in the book, and makes a million bucks. It ain't fair, I tells ya...
R2R

[edited by: Marcia at 3:49 am (utc) on Aug. 30, 2002]

1:31 am on Aug 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

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If it's good enough for aol,msn,yahoo, and all the rest with there pop-ups, click here to sign off and all the rest of that crap. For all you rightous seo who say "I would never do that" oh yea, who do you think is doing most of the spamming now? You who say "i would never" then lost your job, could'nt find work and had to make some tough calls: A: move back in with my folks(or better yet,HER folks.
B: starve to death(with your wife and kids).
C: crime.. the moneys good but that jail part, aww no.
D. good old spam, everyone else is doing it(and making damb good money) so why the hell not, after all, your not breaking the law.

Bottom line folks, if you want to make money, play the game and if your going to play the game know this: If your not cheating, your not tring, and its only cheating IF you get cought.

teeceo

[edited by: Marcia at 3:50 am (utc) on Aug. 30, 2002]

1:44 am on Aug 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

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That's honest :) well I there is always going to be some method to reverse engineer the search engine ... even if the 50 google phd's are really smart and make it very difficult to do.

And when you look at some areas ... there is an affiliate bidding $2 for one on overture and $14.73 for another on overture. This means that either:
a. They are stupid.
b. They are making more than $2 and $14.73 respectively per visitor to their website.

This means that any search engine optimization for these keywords is going to be incredibly profitable.

[edited by: Marcia at 3:43 am (utc) on Aug. 30, 2002]

1:58 am on Aug 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

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This means that either:
a. They are stupid.
b. They are making more than $2 and $14.73 respectively per visitor to their website.

This means that any search engine optimization for these keywords is going to be incredibly profitable.

Enron and Worldcom were increditably profitable too! So we and all their investors thought.

Although, "B" is still a possibly, "A" is more likely - it costs relative nothing to run to whole show and most spammers don't do it just for themselves, there are likely many qualified companies paying in the background that don't know a thing about SEOing... good or bad.

2:07 am on Aug 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

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SPAM, unless talking about the mysterious canned meat product - cannot be defined. At least, when it boils down to SEO techniques.

What I have found to be true is this. An "ethical" optimization campaign is one based upon tried and true techniques that never truly push the envelope. That is, they are certainly effective, but they never venture into a world that would make those analyzing the rankings cringe.

What most consider to be SPAMming the engines, is when one uses CSS (or other techniques) as this individual has, to falsify the page's thoroughness and truly push that envelope.

Is that spam? Who knows, and who cares. They're ranking well now, and thats fine. If it were a site that I were representing, I would be scared to be caught - and never would have employed such techniques. If I were treating this as a throw-a-way domain though, trying to make that 1000's per month - I would have done as much as this person has or more.

The question is not what is and what is not spam, but rather boils down to what is effective. if you can afford to lose some domains, then push the envelope early, and often. This individual has, and I'm sure it is paying off. If the domain is an assett though, stick to what is known to work, and work with those guidelines in mind.

Lastly, to boil down to the asnwer. Does spam pay? Yes. It is important to remember though, that it may not pay for that long.

Just my $0.02 though - I know this is a hotly debated topic.

3:58 am on Aug 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

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While we all benefit from a good discussion and study of techniques we see used, we do stay away from any mention of specific sites, categories, products and search terms.

From the Google forum charter:

Off Topic:
Spam reporting issues. If you have spam to report, please report it to Google. We are not the Google spam reporting system or the place to "shop the competition" knowing that Google techs may read it. Posting someone elses url is no different than violating them by posting their name and address. That includes posting of Google search terms.

For that same reason: please No site review requests or site review questions for Google techs.

For spam reporting, use searchquality@google.com. Be very brief in your email with Google. Report both the actual search keywords and explain the problem briefly.

Please remember this forum is frequented by many of the top SEO professionals and is the oldest established Google forum on the internet. Before posting the first time, please take time to read back through some of the threads and get a feel for the level we are at here.

We have such a broad audience of professionals that it's not impossible that one of the very people involved may visit and read any thread here. While what's seen in the SERPs is there for all of us to see and study, it's not our place to point fingers or expose specific sites, webmasters or SEOs, even though it may be unintentional. That's between them and Google.

This is a very insightful, interesting discussion, so let's confine ourselves to discussing principles rather than specifics, so that we can all learn, and possibly gain insight into techniques to avoid to keep ourselves out of trouble with Google.

10:08 am on Aug 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Sorry, I shouldn't have mentioned something that can identify a specific site ... won't do it again :)
11:20 am on Aug 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

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>>SPAM, unless talking about the mysterious canned meat product - cannot be defined. At least, when it boils down to SEO techniques.

I a way, we are all spammers.

It just depends from where your looking at it. Dont we all try our best to get on top?

If I was some some search engine guy lurking in here. It would be a session of spying on "the spammers".

What about ethics? I have seen posts declaring that product.company.com is SPAM, so others stating product-blue.com is SPAM. Others see as SPAM the use of <H1> with CSS instead of a beautifull gif title. Some say describing some image with alt is SPAM. Some people say using the <NOFRAMES> tag is SPAM. Finally, some see trading liks as SPAM. Most of us see as SPAM any trick the competition uses, whathever that can be.

I do SEO for clients with irreplacable domain names. We just try our best staying away from the edge. My intentions are to provide my clients better positions. To achieve this, I will need to do more than prayers. Therefore, I am a SE SPAMMER, even if I dont use hidden tricks.

We are all SPAMMERS, let's live with that. :)

12:14 pm on Aug 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I'm 100% with Eric_Lander's view. "May not pay for that long" is a big worry for me; like MacGuru I have irreplacable domain names. In the context of Google it's more like irreplacable links.

If I get penalised and switch domain today, how long will it take to get all those people who linked me over the last 4 years to switch their links?

4:50 pm on Aug 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Interested thread! From what I can deduce, a person's definition of spam is determined by the particular SEO methods he/she utilzes! ;)
Please let me know if the aforementioned techniques would be considered spam by an objectively-minded person or not. To refresh:

1.) Use of CSS to make text (keywords and links)ultra-small
2.) Use of CSS to make text-color the same as the background
3.) Use of layers to hide links (.gif covers hidden links)
4.) Use of the the above for the obvious intent of PR manipulation

I personally don't know if I would use the word spam, but certainly it is manipulation. But again, isn't that what SEO is all about? IMO, there are some silly things that can get your site penalized on Google (checking your rank position, innocent interlinking, etc.) Bottomline, I just wish they would create some sort of subscription service where one could login to see if their site (and no one else's) is being imposed a penalty, and the reasons for it.
R2R

4:59 pm on Aug 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

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>Does spam pay - the truth now ....

Bigtime.

5:08 pm on Aug 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

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"Does spam pay? - the truth now". Of course it does and it works in all SEs and Yahoo.
What you are seeing has been around long before Google. Over the years it has taken many forms, you are just seeing the Google version, Ink was easy, Fast is simple, AV was great fun, Excite really produced.
Take note of the keywords being targeted, this is where the "money" is. You will find high concentrations of this in certain industries. If you are planning an affiliate site, this is part of your research.
There is another level of spam that is virtually undetectable and even if it is detected, nothing can be done about it. The "undetectable" level is probably someone who started with disposable domains and graduated. This is not to say they don't still use the first method because old habits are hard to break :).
Is that what you wanted to know?
5:25 pm on Aug 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

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>another level of spam that is virtually undetectable and even if it is detected, nothing can be done about it.

Content spamming.

5:35 pm on Aug 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

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"Content is king".
Many times I have told people to learn from spam and use it to their advantage. What does spam do for you, the webmaster?
- It shows you where the "money" (Industries and keywords)
- What you can get past editors, yahoo and dmoz.
- Shows you where the "holes" is the algos are.
- If you monitor the site or networks, how long the techniques last.
Anyone what to add to the list?
5:38 pm on Aug 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Thanks RC, I'm getting new business cards printed for PubConference 2002...

Calum I Mac Leod
Content Spammer

Google has inadvertantly encouraged businesses to produce interesting and informative Web sites. That must be a good thing.

5:49 pm on Aug 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Let's leave "interesting and informative" out of the equation, Calum. Certainly, it's better if that's the case (the backlinks come easier), but it's not a real requirement for the pros.
6:15 pm on Aug 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

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ready to roll, there have been a couple of recent threads on this topic and the conclusion has been that google has no automated way to detect/filter hidden links (using css tricks or 1 pixel gifs) or hidden text.

on my keywords i am seeing spammier serps with the above tricks and the old www.keyword1_keyword2_keyword1.com urls. it used to cost $70 for a 2 year registration with network solutions. now you can get a 1 year deal for what $10? no wonder people can afford these ridiculous throwaway domains.

6:28 pm on Aug 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

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> not a real requirement for the pros

Definitely, but for a majority of small business sites who have no input from a pro, it can help a lot. Good content, research into the vocabulary used by people who may be interested, and robot accessible page design would be enough to increase the return of many sites hugely. No spam, just good Web building.

If you want to cut corners in the Web building and/or raise the site's search engine profile more quickly than would be natural, then you need to know about SEO and maybe take a few calculated risks.

You can get from A to B without speeding, but it just takes a little longer and some people get bored within the margins.

6:33 pm on Aug 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

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>You can get from A to B without speeding, but it just takes a little longer and some people get bored within the margins.

You can also get from A to B by speeding, then clean up your act.

6:54 pm on Aug 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

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"No spam, just good Web building"
Once someone learns exactly what "spam" and "good Web building" actually is, they realize that they are the same thing.
6:58 pm on Aug 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

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You can also get from A to B by speeding, then clean up your act.

Unless you're pulled over by the Google traffic police and your Pagerank driving licence is stamped ;)

7:12 pm on Aug 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Good one, Startup.

I'm starting to feel silly for using the 'clean' tactics all these months (since the 'Google as a Black Box' posting). Let's face it; what's the worst that can happen if you manipulate (I don't want to use the word 'spam') on Google? You get caught (after making mucho moneda), then penalized, possibly removed.

What's the worst that can happen if you don't manipulate? Nothing. No, really, nothing; no sales, no revenue stream, no more self employment. If you're selling a competitive product on the Internet, and are not in the top 30, you may as well not be relying on the Internet for income.

I'm not evil, but as an experiment I will be going to the dark side for a while; I've learned a lot by rev. eng-ing the 'Las Vegas' type sites; I'll report the results in a few months.

R2R

<BTW, sorry for the typo in my previous posting; meant to say interesting thread, not interested thread>

7:41 pm on Aug 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

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>the guy who owns the no 1 ranked site for <snip>
Has anyone noticed that the <snip> no longer ranks number one for the original keyphrase in this post. The site in question now ranks #22 (20 on www2/3) and has maintained his PR.

It is quite obvious to me that there has been some manual tweeking of the SERP for the <original key phrase in this post>.

Same thing happened to a #1 site in April:
[webmasterworld.com...]

If you want to know how to report spam to Google -> Post a hint on webmasterworld.

7:56 pm on Aug 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

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The Url should never have been posted. And, yes this has happened before. The moderators are volunteers and some people don't read the rules.
Side note:
The site owner knew the rules of the game.
8:20 pm on Aug 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

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>The site owner knew the rules of the game.

Everyone knows the rules of the game. And for every top 5 there are probably 50 buried more than ready to email searchquality, whether the accusations are correct or not.

>I'm starting to feel silly for using the 'clean' tactics
I'm sure many can identify with the feeling, R2R. ;)

This is what I wonder, though. Does it take whatever being a "spammer" is for people to be a pro and others who don't are non-pro? Is that what separates the men from the boys?

This 34 message thread spans 2 pages: 34