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Google PFI

Do they owe it to webmasters?

     
6:08 pm on Oct 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Because of the large market share Google now controls it is my opinion, as well as many on this board, they owe it to webmasters to provide some sort of fee based submission/review process. Before I get the "Google reports the web how they see fit" and "Google is free so they don't owe anything to webmasters" replies, please let me explain.

In November of this year, our largest site was struck by a PR0 penalty for reasons still unknown. I wrote Google for months and nothing was done or explained. I was finally able to contact a Google rep at the SES conference in Aug of this year and finally after a review the penalty was removed! (thanks again to the Google Rep)

In my business, my sales reflect my rankings. When the Google PR penalty was in place, times were tough. During that time my Yahoo presence is the only thing that saved me. If not for SE diversity, my business would have surely gone under. Google has just made it harder to diversify.

AOL, Yahoo (before the switch) and Google (before the latest algo change) accounted for 75% of our traffic and online sales. If I were assessed the same unjust, unexplained, unexpected and devastating PR0 penalty today, I would lose my business. With such a large market share, Google has to be accountable to webmasters when assessing penalties.

What do you think? Should Google offer a fee based review process? What about a PFI? I for one would pay for this service, anyone who suffered through the pain of PR0 would pay. It wouldn't compromise the results or give away any secrets. I don't see the problem with it.

6:16 pm on Oct 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Well, guess what - I agree! There has to be some sort of fee-based support system in place. GoogleGuy is brilliant, but he cannot help everyone. With almost total global domination (hehe) it would be kinda helpful if Web site operators could get answers as to why their sites may or may not of been squirted out of the index - be it just a glitch or a real penalty.

Nobody is allowed to say "My 2 Cents" in this thread. Thank you!

6:17 pm on Oct 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I strongly believe it will happen (despite denials). Why should proficient SEOs make money out of Google without giving something back? No wonder Google warns people off using us!

A trusted 'relationship' sounds good (IMHO) - serve up a bad user experience - you are history. Pay and get spidered often.

We have a shared business arena - I pay Google money already on a PPC basis for Adwords and have paid them several $K to date. I'm happy to pay the same again for frequent spidering.

I know this is all an anathema to the average site owner - but I'm in this for the cash (for me and my clients). I feel very uncomfortable with a search engine giving me something for nothing! I want to pay my supplier!

GoogleGuy - this not an invitation to PR0 or ban me again to up my AdWords spend (please) - but if I pay INK $.5K per week on average - how much do you think I would pay you guys? And INK have hit me with a penalty on a site or 2 because I pushed it - and it cost me a couple of grand - but it hasn't put me off using INK - you learn lessons fast when you are paying :)

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6:23 pm on Oct 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Do they owe it to you? no.

Would it be a good thing to do? possibly.

Would it help clear some innocent sites? yes.

Will it cause any less whining on Webmasterworld? I doubt it.

I expect that we would start hearing about the "PR0 moneymaking algo" after the next update, and this very well could open them up to lawsuits that they really don't want.

With all the people talking about chargebacks on yahoo, would you be willing to send them a bank check and wait for it to clear before getting your service?

If you appeal and lose, would you accept an even harsher penalty for wasting their time?

Obviously, Google makes mistakes. The question is how they can fix it without spending piles of money or having a major PR headache. If you can come up with a way to do this without making more problems for them, you just might be able to convince them.

<added>I'm just talking about a review process. Going PFI is the one thing that would very quickly kill their business, they know it, and you should not even waste your time suggesting it.</added>

[edited by: Sasquatch at 6:31 pm (utc) on Oct. 10, 2002]

6:24 pm on Oct 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Can you imagine the to and fro-ing? Google does not want (for good reasons) to give away too much on what causes a penalty. And it disadvantages informational sites and sites from low currency countries who just cant afford such an expenditure. One major reason why Google is the current accepted leader in the industry is that it is free. As soon as people pay for any service provided by Google that advantages those who pay you run into the Pay for Indexing problem that caused Y!'s directory to degrade and Looksmart's commercially oriented SERPS. And Google does offer a reliable alternative for maintaining exposure (Adwords) for people who can afford it, and for those whose business "relies" on search engine exposure.

I would think that offering such a service will leave to a degradation in Google's relevancy, and the usefulness of their SERPS for people searching for non-commercial information.

[edited by: chiyo at 6:28 pm (utc) on Oct. 10, 2002]

6:24 pm on Oct 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Be careful what you wish for!

All we need is for google to start pulling Inktomi-like shananagins. Imagine a PFI system that controls 90% of the web, then imagine what happens if the tweak the algo so that PFI sites have more rank than the free listings.

Now, imagine that they start restricting inclusion of the non-paying sites.

6:29 pm on Oct 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

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IMHO...

In come PFI out goes relevance.

6:38 pm on Oct 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

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>then imagine what happens if the tweak the algo so that PFI sites have more rank than the free listings....

Oh goodness - the perfect ( I started to write a word beginning with 'w') dream :)

6:44 pm on Oct 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Google makes mistakes
I can tell you Google's 'mistakes' cost people thier jobs. With such a large market share thier 'mistakes' can be devasting, trust me, I know first hand.

it disadvantages informational sites
The fee would only offer frequent spidering or give you an answer on a question regarding a penalty. It would not bar quality sites from being included. Google would still be free to everyone. If you choose you can opt to pay for such services. It wouldn't change the quality of the rankings in any way.

All we need is for google to start pulling Inktomi-like shananagins
I think I have a little more faith in Google than Inktomi. :)

In come PFI out goes relevance
I have to disagree. If they did it right (unlike INK), PFI would not change the algo.

The main reason I think they should do it is to clear up the penalties assinged to innocent sites. Unless they would like to start responding to emails for free...

6:57 pm on Oct 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I think that if google was to offer a 'speak to google guy' service at $100/month then many would pay it.

I for one would be happy to pay to have a point of contact at google that could answer my questions and help if, and when i had problems.

We all get a lot from google for free, paying for support would not be a problem.

7:00 pm on Oct 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

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This argument is based on the perception that Google is some sort of public sector service.

It isnt. Its a commercial venture.

All google does is search the web and find web pages. Then it indexes them. Then it does the best it can to rank them in the order they think it will answer their customer's queries.

Offering some sort of paid webmaster service like this will open up an amazing can of worms, claims and counter claims.

If losing a Google listing will be devastating to your business, for goodness sake make sure you are reliably listed in other avenues by Adwords, Overture, Looksmart, Lycos, or have sponsored listings and ads elsewhere. Google and SE referrals are transitory and no basis for running a business. We should have learned that by now.

We all get a lot from google for free, paying for support would not be a problem.

Yes it would work if everbody paid. But many people would have a problem. Hence they will be disadvantaged and basically we have a form of Pay for Inclusion. We saw what that does to the quality of SERPS.

Google also gets a lot back from us! We provide the raw content for their service

7:07 pm on Oct 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

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So because it's a commercial venture there is no right to reply or even right for support? I don't think so ;)
7:09 pm on Oct 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

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first it looked like a good idea for me but then - paying for inclusion doesnt mean you cant get pr 0! if you do some of their "dont do " things then you get penalized.imagine paying for inclusion and then next day you get shining new pr 0!

second thecaptain, idea looks good also but with google having total domination of the web this can start gtting wrong. imagigine thatyou have to pay to get help. well, how to get more people pay for help? well, one way is to make strcit rules and penalize sites. imagine someone deciding to abuse and penalize some sites then getting 100$ and to turn the switch back on!

i am NOT saying this will happen but with power there comes abuse. sooner or later.jsut look microsoft. once you are small you cant affor to do this but once you are THE ONE you are "allowed " to do everything.

simple and "smart" ideas like this look nice at first sight but need a LOT of thinking before they are "good" to implement.

be careful what you wish :)

7:17 pm on Oct 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I didn't mean paying for inclusion... bad idea... i use google because it finds what i want, fast. Period.

I think the format staying the same would be ideal, but providing a paid service for support and advice. We can find answers to our questions here, but i for one would like to pay google to get answers quickly, and have issues looked into.

PFI, no thank you, support if you have a question, yes please.

7:17 pm on Oct 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

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"Why should proficient SEOs make money out of Google without giving something back? No wonder Google warns people off using us!"

Google chose to get into the search engine business, fundamentally unless a SE sells out they are not going to reap a huge share of the commerce $ generated from traffic - thats the nature of the game - heck the whole google thing started out as a school project.

It's a catch22 - to maintain relevant results they need to remain impartial, if they end up not doing that - then a new engine will surface & consumers will migrate to it.

So, trusted relationships, pay for spidering etc - all the others do that & look at them - they are dying. But, google could provide an interface with "calm the nerves" type info for a fee. It could be quite a money spinner for them, without compromising their business model. The moment they start selling "close relationship" they are in a death spiral.

Their revenue stream will never be crazy huge unless they sell out & that would be a certain flame out, but they can make a very nice income from adwords, services & technology & who knows what else as the web develops.

7:19 pm on Oct 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

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oh my psot is little unclear- upon sumbission they could reject of course if your site is not within rules. but what about next month? if you change the pages? and spam? or do some not good linking. etc. then you get pr 0.you cant expect that once they let you in they dont check you like with dmoz. people would star abusing this. and once they check you let say everymonths then why pay for inclusion? you can get in for free now.
7:22 pm on Oct 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

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thecaptain, i was answering kris for PFI.at least i hope pfi stands for pay for inclsuion. to you i was answering the other part - about paying for help.
7:56 pm on Oct 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

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PFI only implies that your site will be spidered. It does not say that, you are immune to penalties for spamming. If your site is in a PFI program and you spam your site will be subject to the same fate as free sites that spam.

I like thecaptain's idea, "paid service for support and advice ... the ability to have issues looked into".

What about a PFR (pay for review)? If your site is PR0'd you can answers as to why. Did I break the rules? Is it a glitch? What can I do to fix it? They can answer these questions without giving away the farm.

If losing a Google listing will be devastating to your business, for goodness sake make sure you are reliably listed in other avenues by Adwords, Overture, Looksmart, Lycos
We have and are. Google now controls 3 of the top 4 SEs on the web. Yahoo, Google and AOL. Even with all the diversity in the world, you will still be doomed by PR0. There is know denying it. Google owns the basket. And anyone who operates an internet business is forced to put most, (if not all) thier eggs in it.

With that much control over the internet, and PR0 penalties flying around left and right, it's a bit reckless not to have a support system in place. There is too much at stake for too many people, for us not to get answers as to why ...

Again they can answer these questions without:
Changing the quality of the results
Harming non comercial sites that can't afford it
Giving away any google secrets

9:14 pm on Oct 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I dont think "Pay for Service" would generate that much revenue for google to care. People with only PR 0 will pay for it .And hey how many people are there that have a PR 0?

"Pay for inclusion" is also not that much good idea ...true it will generate good money but it will slowly kill their image as the "Honest Search Engine"

People in Google are smart , they will play the game by their image ...

9:43 pm on Oct 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

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>>>If losing a Google listing will be devastating to your business, for goodness sake make sure you are reliably listed in other avenues by Adwords, Overture, Looksmart, Lycos <<<

How many small companies have an advertising budget that can spend hundreds if not thousands a month to be listed in the top 3 of overture. I currently use adwords for 1 keyword and I just got billed $300 for September. I had to reduce my cpc because I am not getting enough ROI to justify that. I also have used Overture and the average cpc for the 5 best keywords is $1.15! So again you eliminate the small and medium size companies completely!
Also, now that Google controls a large share of the market how can you not agree that it would be very devastating to be punished by Google?

Sasquatch

10:46 pm on Oct 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I don't remember anyone suggesting that it isn't devastating to be punished by google. But google doesn't owe you anything.

Before the web became popular, where idi you get your free advertising?

Press releases - Up to the publication to decide if it was important.
Coverage in the press - usually following the buzz, or hopint to cause the buzz.
Word of mouth - best source of consistant, quality customers, but generally not high volume. Often this is the buzz that the press will follow.

The directories publish the press releases, google is the press, and links are the word of mouth.

Back in the old days you had to pay for ads, and you still do. And there is a long history of having to deal with one major source for a specific type of advertising. Yellow pages, local newspaper, etc.

11:09 pm on Oct 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Google and PFI are like oil and water. Google doesn't want anyone saying "this is important, look at me". The whole concept of Google is determining for itself what is, and isn't important, based soley on content and links pointing to the particular site. They don't want anyone telling them how to run their search engine.
11:22 pm on Oct 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

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sasquatch,

Where do you get the impession that I think Google owes me something? I don't agree with Kris regarding this particular point, but I do wish that Google was a little more responsive in handling email.
Also, Chiyo mentions that if losing Google would be devastating make sure you are listed elsewhere. (adwords,overture,looksmart etc) My point was that most small companies don't have the advertising budget to compete in the ppc arena. And since Google now controls most of the internet search results you better not piss them off or you are toast!

2:45 am on Oct 11, 2002 (gmt 0)

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My advice to "advertise elsewhere" is because I am genuinely sorry for those who are suddenly hit by a Google downgrading and come here saying their business has been devastated. It doesn't make for pleasant reading. Pragmatically I have felt for some years that to build your business on non paid listings is not a good strategy. Search engines would be less 1) able or 2) unwilling, to list commercial sites without payment.

I still think that if a business cant stay afloat if they suddenly disappear from free options like Google for promotion, the business is long term unviable. Free search listings and now even PFI as in the case of Y! are too unstable and opportunistic to build a business or steady revenue stream on.

If I couldnt compete with others on Adwords or Overture for a commercial site listing for a commercial business, that would send me a clear message. I am in the wrong business - maybe its too competitive - focus into unqiue and creative new areas....

2:57 am on Oct 11, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Googles real value is not in PFI potential. It's in statistics and eyeballs.
3:26 am on Oct 11, 2002 (gmt 0)

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chiyo>>>Offering some sort of paid webmaster service like this will open up an amazing can of worms, claims and counter claims.

They'd essentially be going into the SEO consulting business if they did such a service. It wouldn't only be people with PR0 for unknown reasons who would subscribe, but those who were just doing poorly and didn't know why.

Who would staff such a customer service department? What would the qualifications and pay rate have to be? I can get my apartment cleaned for $10 an hour. $20 an hour is a perfectly reasonable hourly rate for a CSR with nothing more than good phone skills. How intimately acquainted with the algo would the CSRs have to be, and how capable of telling people what factors were causing their sites to not rank well?

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3:37 am on Oct 11, 2002 (gmt 0)

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If I couldnt compete with others on Adwords or Overture for a commercial site listing for a commercial business, that would send me a clear message. I am in the wrong business - maybe its too competitive - focus into unqiue and creative new areas....

One of the better comment's I've read in the last few days!

Though I at least partially disagree with this statement

Pragmatically I have felt for some years that to build your business on non paid listings is not a good strategy.

It is not a good strategy with the various large, generic directories, but there are industry specific directories where you can do quite well.

And I personally think that many of the creative methods of getting links to your site that I recently read about going the the linking forum would improve almost any sites ranking, but unfortunatly, they all seem to require <gasp> work. It seems that many of the people with the best creative suggestions are the ones that happily going about improving their business no matter what G&Y do.

[edited by: Marcia at 3:41 am (utc) on Oct. 11, 2002]
[edit reason] fixed code [/edit]

3:41 am on Oct 11, 2002 (gmt 0)

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how capable of telling people what factors were causing their sites to not rank well?

I think the issue of this thread is not not ranking well, is pr0/greyed-banned.

How intimately acquainted with the algo would the CSRs have to be.

Maybe not at all.
A PC with a GUI connected to a db should be enough. :)

cminblues

Sasquatch

3:41 am on Oct 11, 2002 (gmt 0)

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How intimately acquainted with the algo would the CSRs have to be, and how capable of telling people what factors were causing their sites to not rank well?

And if they were familiar with the algo, and they had some ability to "fix" things, how much would you have to pay them to keep from making consulting money on the side, or taking all out bribes to remove legit PR0s?

[edited by: Marcia at 3:45 am (utc) on Oct. 11, 2002]
[edit reason] fixed code [/edit]

3:44 am on Oct 11, 2002 (gmt 0)

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>>Offering some sort of paid webmaster service

if only...

I'd pay 500 or more a month for that service, what consultant wouldn't? Not that it is likely to happen. Protecting the algo seems to be pretty important to Google, answering specific questions regarding how a site is ranked isn't in the best interests of protecting that algo.

In fact, I'm pretty sure a thread was pulled from this forum because some pretty specific info was written in a thread, a very long thread, that vanished after a few people pointed out that that was as close as GoogleGuy ever got to answering specifics.

It certainly wouldn't take long for a group of professionals to gather up specific info, compare notes and then beat the Google serps to death with the information. :) In fact, isn't that's what all the SEOs that gather here in this forum are doing? Trying to find the holy grail? The data that adds up to the algo determinations? Ya think Google is going to give that up for a fee? ;)

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