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Matt Cutts On Having Lots Of Sites! At PubCon

     
4:40 am on Nov 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Hi guys,

Matt Cutts says that he was able to quickly identify all the sites owned by two webmasters - whose sites he was reviewing at PubCon.

For the second site, for which he identified the owned had 50 or so other sites, he said "the owner was using Private WhoIs". How could he identify that the guy was the owner of these 50 sites, in just a few seconds, then?

My question is:

-If i *dont* interlink my sites (which i dont)
-If i do a private domain registration with DomainsByProxy so Google cant see who owns the domain in the WhoIs, and...
-If i don't put my name or company info on the site

....how can Google tell you own the sites? How how! ;-) I didnt think they could. And still don't.

Maybe im missing something

Ideas? Thanks

3:17 am on Dec 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Its a pretty easy thing to identify you just need access to the correct database to verify results
3:25 am on Dec 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I work for a large registrar and we cannot find out who owns a domain if it is a private registration. As someone said, a couple of services will show you all the sites hosted at one IP address. This is not conclusive evidence of common ownership, but an IP address hosting many thousand sites is likely to be a shared hosting service whereas individuals tend to have few sites. Few individuals have the patience to host their sites at different shared hosts.
5:40 am on Dec 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Based on my experience, it does not matter if you have 20 or 50 sites (maybe 2000 might make a difference) if they are content rich, not duplicates, and not spammed. Why would Google care? Does the site provide good information? is it free of black hat optimization techniques? If the answer to those questions are 'yes' and 'no' respectively, then why would any search engine care?

What Cutts mentioned would make sense when applied to spam sites and MFA sites that provide no value. Of course there are MFA sites that have great content, and are very useful.

3:05 pm on Dec 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I think Google is a classified operation working undercover for the CIA. ;o)
3:41 pm on Dec 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I think Google is a classified operation working undercover for the CIA. ;o)

So that's why I keep hearing rumors about search-engine spammers being airlifted to Poland or Romania. :-)

4:41 pm on Dec 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Hi Tedster,

Can you explain what exactly are hyphen

Regards

5:38 pm on Dec 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Id like to question something on this topic.

At pubcon matt was reviewing some guys car related site, and while reviewing matt noted that the guy had some other domain names that were hanging on to PPC landing pages only - so matt says through his crystal ball. Matt said this webmaster should 301 these domains to his main car domain. Ok i understand that if they were all car related, however matt also said for this guy to 301 his long distance related domain to the same car related website. what the heck would that accomplish?

5:49 pm on Dec 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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How to shock a Pubcon attendee (and audience)
  • Whois their main site
  • Reverse IP the main site's IP address
  • Whois a random sample of the 50 or so sites being hosted on the same IP
  • If the sample sites have the same private registration with the same registrar and the same nameservers, announce that the person is running all 50 sites. You'll probably be right.

    Added: whoops, clicked submit before I meant to. Apologies if you caught a glimpse of my first post idea. :)

    [edited by: whoisgregg at 6:01 pm (utc) on Dec. 4, 2006]

  • 5:49 pm on Dec 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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    WebmasterWorld Senior Member jtara is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

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    however matt also said for this guy to 301 his long distance related domain to the same car related website. what the heck would that accomplish?

    That must be for the Autobahn-cruisers.

    6:18 pm on Dec 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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    As Google actively encourages the registration of multiple domains and offers domaineers the domainpark product for the sole purpose of maximizing revenue for domain owners ...I really cannot see what the problem is - the whole place is going to rack & ruin anyway.

    I don't see the difference between what that is all about and what anyone else might do with domains.

    8:09 pm on Dec 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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    TP=100(1-NH/ND)

    tedster you just made me shiver in epiphany. elegant equations give me goosebumps...

    more than one hyphen per domain = penalty. - fact

    8:13 pm on Dec 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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    more than one hyphen per domain = penalty. - fact

    NOT FACT

    8:17 pm on Dec 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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    httpwebwitch, I meant that as a joke, honestly -- but the idea of an "owner profile" may not be so far away from reality. I tend to think of the Google algo these days as a colloection of profiles: owner profile, backlink profile, trust profile, relevance profile, etc. Sort of the big building blocks for the algo.
    8:47 pm on Dec 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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    Can someone please ask Matt to get Google and mac to join up in some manner?
    8:53 pm on Dec 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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    WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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    If the sample sites have the same private registration with the same registrar and the same nameservers, announce that the person is running all 50 sites. You'll probably be right.

    As someone who owns a hosting company and does pretty much extreme hand-holding customer service for our clients, I'm not sure I agree with this one. Course, there's a difference between running, maintaining and owning.

    11:08 pm on Dec 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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    extreme hand-holding customer service

    I understand that exception to the approach I mentioned. If one sees that the 50 domain names are all on widely varying topics (and aren't covering the big affiliate industries), then I wouldn't trust that matching registration data and nameservers as an indicator of common ownership.

    Although, if a hosting company targets a specific niche (say restaurants in a particular city) and puts all those sites on the same IP with the same private registration, nameservers, etc. then I think that hosting company is doing a bit of a disservice to their clients. It would have the scent of a bunch of illegitimate sites. One site triggers a manual check through shady practices and that could, possibly, put the other sites under a microscope.

    11:22 pm on Dec 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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    why do you use the term "illegitimate" sites, is displeasing google or any other search engine now a violation of either US or any other law?
    11:48 pm on Dec 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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    why do you use the term "illegitimate" sites, is displeasing google or any other search engine now a violation of either US or any other law?

    From the oed

    1.a. Not legitimate, not in accordance with or authorized by law; unauthorized, unwarranted; spurious; irregular, improper.

    I believe that that they were implying the "irregular" and "improper" parts which do not necessarily imply "illegal".

    But even when referring to the legality of it, there is a form of "law" involved, which includes the rules that Google sets for inclusion in their search engine. Just go ahead a look up "law" in any dictionary.

    11:54 pm on Dec 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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    With respect, i merely mean to suggest that nothwithstanding the good works of google and nothwithstanding the un doubtable benefits of being in their good books, that web masters might want to remember that we are talking about a business relationship,
    1:11 am on Dec 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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    that web masters might want to remember that we are talking about a business relationship,

    Yes, a relationship where certain activities will be viewed by one of the parties as illegitimate.

    Google has a website. We would all like to be listed on Google's website. Google decides what is listed on their website, and in what order.

    If it was something statutory, there would be the requirement that there be proof of something illegal. But since it is simply "what Google wants" that is of concern, being slightly "illegitimate" in their eyes should be of concern to webmasters.

    If you want to be ranked well in Google, you take care of your business relationship with them by behaving in a way that is agreeable to them.

    1:16 am on Dec 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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    If you want to be ranked well in Google, you take care of your business relationship with them by behaving in a way that is agreeable to them.

    My understanding is any business relationship with google would be through adwords or adsense and this is seperate from serp results. Please tell me different as I understood all sites were equal "but some sites are not as equal as others" was not the case.

    [edited by: Pirates at 1:18 am (utc) on Dec. 5, 2006]

    1:24 am on Dec 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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    Where not TLD and our particular CCTLD does not give out such information. He He He.
    1:40 am on Dec 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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    My understanding is any business relationship with google would be through adwords or adsense and this is seperate from serp results.

    You have a business relationship with Google because you use their search engine as a searcher. You have a relationship with them because you allow them to read your pages and send you traffic.

    AdWords and AdSense users have contractural business relationship that does not overlap the search relationships in any significant way.

    2:04 am on Dec 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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    You have a business relationship with Google because you use their search engine as a searcher

    Nah I am sorry Big Dave much as I love ya thats crap and you know it is. I have only a business relationship with google as an advertiser or a adword partner that I have to agree to terms on. Someone searching or listing on results has no contractual obligation or business relationship on google.

    2:10 am on Dec 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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    My comment was in reflection that I don't need companies like Google knowing my business and what sites I own and operate. And no I don't "Adsense" all our sites, so that's one way they won't be able to.

    If they are using domain name factors in determining there relevance in the terms of there algorithm, it's definately not on an International scale. Feel sorry for the poor sods that may eventually get burned due to such a thing possibly happening at the TLD level.

    If they wanted to know how many sites I own and operate there are ways to go about doing this, but automatically they can not. Which I am quite glad they can't as the rules dictated by our CCTLD protect us.

    [edited by: tedster at 2:22 am (utc) on Dec. 5, 2006]

    2:32 am on Dec 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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    If you want to be ranked well in Google, you take care of your business relationship with them by behaving in a way that is agreeable to them.

    If you read Google's guidelines for webmasters, you'll see they advise to build your sites as if search engines don't exist.

    If search engines didn't exist, I submit we would all be doing a lot more crosslinking, network building, etc.

    People don't do that because of a fear of being penalized for doing something that is not agreeable with Google.

    But their guidelines advise to build as if search engines don't exist.

    And the circle continues.

    FarmBoy

    2:56 am on Dec 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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    more than one hyphen per domain = penalty. - fact

    Not sure if it's a "fact" or not, but it should be. Maybe a fair penalty would be 2 or more hyphens.

    I cannot stand to see sites in the serps that say:

    www.get-your-one-of-a-kind-widgets-here.com
    followed closely by:
    www.get-more-of-your-one-of-a-kind-widgets-here.com

    This kind of results never get a click from me, and quite honestly I have (thankfully) seen fewer and fewer of them lately. They are almost always MFA or some other garbage.

    3:02 am on Dec 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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    Nah I am sorry Big Dave much as I love ya thats crap and you know it is. I have only a business relationship with google as an advertiser or a adword partner that I have to agree to terms on. Someone searching or listing on results has no contractual obligation or business relationship on google.

    Wrongo!

    The word "contractual" means that there is a contract.

    When I go into a store, there is a business relationship between myself, the potential customer, and the salesperson in the store. There is not contract at this point, but it is still a business relationship.

    Many business relationships are also contractual relationships, but that does not mean that all of them are.

    I have a personal relationship with my girlfriend. It does not become a contractual relationship till we are married.

    You use Google's services within their TOS and they use your's within your TOS. That is a business relationship even if there are no signed contracts.

    3:06 am on Dec 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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    Penalties only come from how you use domains, not from the fact that you own them.

    Assuming offcourse there is no "free max dialy SERPs traffic quota per webmaster" filter built into the algo. Which i suspect exist nowdays (kind of an Adwords motivating filter if you want).

    [edited by: Web_speed at 3:13 am (utc) on Dec. 5, 2006]

    3:06 am on Dec 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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    In my tongue-in-cheek equation, I was looking at the total collection of domains, and not just evaluating them one by one. However, I think it takes more than a handful of hyphens to sully your "owner profile" with Google. It mostly takes using those domains to build an algorithm exploit of some kind.
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