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If this program is for the real, honest webmaster, only let real sites in.
Didn't blogger just have an enormous splog problem that had to be shut down? These are the same people running MFAs. They can post a few words on blogger.com, apply for an account and then start building MFAs. I mean, come on G.
Remember how thorough they were in the beginning to get an account? Boy have things changed.
Anyways, Google is probably worried about yahoo publisher and msn coming in the picture and trying to take anything that has a chance of being profitable now or in the future. Or maybe they are just really confident in their fake click filter.
Go ahead and have a conversation with any Internet user outside of our "loop", and I bet you will hear 9 out of 10 of them lament that the Internet has gotten spammy because of these "Google Ads".
Do a search for anything and most likely you will get 10 pages of MFAs. And not only searching in G either. Search in most other search engines, and you'll most likely get 10 pages of MFA crap. It is clear that Google is devaluing the Internet.
It will hit the fan one day and something will happen that will adress this, such as:
1) Either somebody will build a search engine that will not spider pages with Google ads on them.
2) Maybe MSN will release the next version of IE7 and make it block all Google ads by default, or block them in the Hosts file included in the next Windows update/release. Sure, of course I can spell "AntiTrust", but one really wouldn't think that MS cares less about lawsuits, and I wouldnt put this past them. Remember that MS wrote the book in the first place.
3) Another major browser will block all Google ads by default.
In any case, Google has not only killed Blogspot, it is sucessfully killing the Internet, but allowing MFAs, splogs, and scrapers. Enjoy the $$ while you can.
And while it's true that Google's permissive AdSense policies have resulted in a lot of junk sites, we also need to remember that AdSense is the first viable revenue opportunity for small content publishers in thousands of niches. AdSense has turned many "hobby publishers" into professional publishers, and Google deserves credit for that.
Looking at Google and Yahoo searches, it's not too terribly bad at this point. If you want to see a mess, look at MSN for highly competitive keywords.
I've personally never heard average Internet uers complain about Google ads. I HAVE heard people complain about popunders and flashing ads, which are still present on the Internet in significant numbers.
And in the grand scheme of things, auto-installed spyware and malware and scumware of all kinds has had a far more negative impact on the Internet than Google ads....
I'm as cynical about the motives of big businesses like Google as anyone, but I think you're ignoring some more substantial negative forces.
I didn't say the MFA sites were hosted at blogger. I said they write a few words in blogger, then apply for an account, then they start building MFAs. The MFA guys are pros. They have their own domains in general. Blogger is a convenient cover.
Would you be saying this is stupid if Google started allowing Geocities sites in? Or if Yahoo let geocities sites into YPN? Because this is the same thing.
The most ridiculous move Adsense has made ever.
A better analogy would be:
A car rental agency rents cars lots of cars, more than anyone else in its industry. It does this by having the most lax standards in who it chooses to rent cars to. But it also happens that this car company's vehicles are involved at significant levels in traffic accidents.
This obviously hurts/undermines driver confidence in the safety of our roadways, not to mention creating a quality of life issue for everyone on the roads.
Then, the car rental agency refuses crack down and get more stringent with who it rents cars to. This is analogous to Google refusing to crack down on MFAs and also its mindless policy of just reviewing the one initial site to get accepted into the program. The car rental agency, like Google, absolves itself from any further responsibility other than making money. You know that bit about "the ends justifying the means"?
hunderdown, I fully admit that I am bitter, but not because of a bad Adsense experience, more because of what has happened to the Internet, largely, solely because of Google lax policies (not to mention their lax enforcement on MFAs).
I do agree with you that there are other substantial negative forces out their, such as human nature.
EFV, I do agree with you that Google does deserve lots of praise for other things, such as pioneering contextual advertising. I just saddens me that all because of the meddling of myopic bean counters, they create a lot of loopholes for abuse, and then do nothing to deal with it. I agree with you here fully.
My fear is that diligent publishers are also suffering because eventually the consumer might just view all Google ads as spam, if the number of spam MFAs proportionately outweigh the number of legitimate sites. That seems like a cogent assertion to me at least.
MFAs aren't created by Google. People create MFAs.
And Google is the enabler by the fact of not policing their *own system* adequately.
The "Blogger as cover" theory does not hold water.
It does if you acknowledge the fact that no webmaster (whether or not they own their own domain, site, or hosting) has legal ownership of the Adsense code. Google is allowing webmasters to use its property, this code, for a purpose. Then when it comes to their attention that a sizeable portion of the users of their code misuse it, they seem to do nothing about it. This, to me, is enabling.
Does that mean that eBay somehow makes stealing or scamming easier or promotes theft?
This remains to be seen. If they acknowledge that they have a problem and refuse to address it, then yes, they do "makes stealing or scamming easier or promotes theft".
We used to hear complaints that Google was dumping publishers right and left, and now we're hearing complaints that Google isn't dumping enough publishers. The people at the plex are damned if they do and damned if they don't. :-)
Seriously, it's easy to complain that Google isn't policing the network adequately, and I'm inclined to agree. At the same time, we have to remember that spammers, scrapers, etc. are like drug dealers: No matter how many you nab, you'll never eliminate them coupletely. So maybe it makes sense for Google to use smart pricing and/or its compensation formula to make MFA junk sites less profitable--and, in the process, to maintain an adequate pool of cheap clicks (via smart pricing) to serve the largest possible number of advertisers.
Then it becomes a matter of simple economics that the rate of growth of MFAs exponentiate faster than that of legitimate sites, simply because one has to build more of them for there to be any measureable profit.
I don't understand the issue of "Google owns the code."
It is core to my argument: using property owned by someone else for an illegitimate purpose, with the owner of the property having knowledge of that illegitimate usage and failing to do anything within reasonable means to curtail that illegitimate usage, is tantamount to vicarious liability.
The debate here is, or course, what our opinions are as to how far Google is going within reasonable means to curtail that illegitimate usage. Or, even if we consider creating junk websites simply to paste Adsense ads on them, should be considered "illegitimate". If you don't think that this is illegitimate, then we are not on the same page. But Google would agree with me here, as its TOS states (clearly) that MFAs are illegitimate.
Just imagine that tomorrow Google Adsense will kick out every MFA site from Adsense? Will this make all these site go away? NO! They will still exist, albeit without Adsense code. What are you going to say then?
Then I would say, based on my reasoning above, that Google is acting within reasonable means towards its (vicarious) responsibility to the usage of its property. Then I would say, Google deserves credit for increasing the value of its product, and the quality of the Internet at large.
Question: How many quality blogs do you follow? Of those, how many are hosted at Blogger?
I have hundreds in my feed and can't think of any that are blogger.com in any recognizable way. Maybe a few of the google employees are using it, like shellen perhaps.
I'm certainly not a fan of the scraper sites and datafeed sites that have sprung up over the past few years (I'm 100% sure Google isn't either), but in the end there could be an unlimited number of these sites and it wouldn't really matter - because the limiting factor isn't the number of pages you have, it's the amount of traffic you can generate. That's why this is an issue for Google's search engine algos. Shutting down their ability to generate traffic is the only way to remove any incentive for creating them.