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FYI, Matt Cutts wrote an extensive post about that article yesterday - quite a detailed analysis of the situation that offers a bit of a close-up that we don't always get:
From Matt: I did find a spam report where someone forwarded an email that appeared to be from example.com.
Hehehe, people are sending those link exchange request emails via the Google Spam Report. That's too funny!
Reciprocal links by themselves aren't automatically bad, but we've communicated before that there is such a thing as excessive reciprocal linking.
Personally I don’t see anything “supplemental” about it. Why not just a continuum of results, based upon relevance?
From here; [google.com...]
You get this;
“What's a "supplemental result?"
“A supplemental result is just like a regular web result, except that it's pulled from our supplemental index. We're able to place fewer restraints on sites that we crawl for this supplemental index than we do on sites that are crawled for our main index. For example, the number of parameters in a URL might exclude a site from being crawled for inclusion in our main index; however, it could still be crawled and added to our supplemental index.”
That definition doesn't answer the question for me (their using the very term to define it, it’s supplemental because its in the supplemental index?)
If it weren’t for the little “Supplemental Result” tag displayed in the results there is no way you could identify it as supplemental.
I get the correlation to low Page Rank, I get the comment about the parameters in the URL, but none of that answers why they have, or need this thing.
It’s certainly something users don't need or could care less about, and its certainly something webmasters don't want; so why did they create it?
Is it just Google’s junk drawer?
Did you ever wonder if part of the link exchange and paid links sites that are out there are actually owned by Google? May be Google sets up sites like these to catch spammers? May be even give a "link exchange" site high PR, good search engine rankings and even has adwords ads pointed towards them?
Very interesting indeed..... I could see Google doing this to catch the spammers....
I've said it before in these WebmasterWorld forums.. nothing wrong with link exchange when you maintain EDITORIAL DISCRETION which means make linking decisions for your end users. If you do use a software to manage link exchange or link development, use on that is EDITOR BASED.
1. Understanding Google Hell.
2. Staying out of Google Hell.
3. Getting out of Google Hell.
He should also set up a revival tent for those truly committed to reforming their evil SEO ways. Lastly, there should be an intensive, in patient 28 hour supplemental rehab program.
I realize Matt Cutts says it's not that big a problem, but I suspect he's in denial too, and probably could use rehab himself.
I blogged about this and Matt said no.
"If Google is weighing in on these email reports, did they just admit that they're looking at email?"
Nope, that's not the case. I probably didn't explain it very clearly; what happened is someone outside of Google received that unsolicited email. Then they took that email and did a spam report to Google with the content of the email."
< see linking policy in Charter >
[edited by: tedster at 6:31 pm (utc) on May 2, 2007]
I have long suspected that the spam team is looking at gmail spam and associating it with websites and using the information for scoring purposes. Not necessarily reading people private emails, but I can see google looking at the hundreds of thousands of emails in a generic way that goes right into the gmail bulk spam box.
"Google's computers process the information in your messages for various purposes, including formatting and displaying the information to you, delivering advertisements and related links, preventing unsolicited bulk email (spam), backing up your messages, and other purposes relating to offering you Gmail"
The moral of the story: if you want to get Google's attention, don't beach on this board or email Google; find a reporter. And even if the reporter is partially illiterate, technically speaking, it will still get G's attention.
To strengthen that argument, there's no indication at all that these emails were even being sent on a Gmail server. Read his blog post and the snippets of the email. Look at the headers. No gmail there.
But back at my original point: I used to be the sole system administrator of a number of mailservers. SpamAssassin was running in the background to do what it was intended to do. It's a separate application designated to filter out spam based on an algorithm, and that didn't mean that I was sitting there reading people's email. I don't think it's fair to say that the Gmail spam team is reviewing the websites; Google has the ability to build software that does that.
From Wikipedia: "A Google bomb (also referred to as a 'link bomb') is Internet slang for a certain kind of attempt to influence the ranking of a given page in results returned by the Google search engine, often with humorous or political intentions."
In other words, search for "Greatest Living American" and the #1 result is Stephen Colbert.
Perhaps I'm misunderstanding you though. I just don't see how this fits here.
trinorthlighting: We can hold every single ISP accountable for using its computers to get information on spammers, then. Google is not above anyone in that respect. I can't say I know what spam detection system they have in place, but I bet it's not much different than others.
I know you're not saying Google is violating any privacy laws. But I don't think they are any different than mail systems that detect and combat spam, and even so, this didn't even happen on a Gmail server so Google would not have had access to it unless someone sent it off to someone at Google, which appears to have been the case.
Should Google really be so ignorant and use these as spam indicator then good night and hello. The colateral damage would be massive. The spam detection in hosted gmail is also miserable compared to the real Gmail one.
From me they have sitemaps analytic adsense, google video search data and gmail data.. so they know everything -- besides i use skype the big brother thing got to stop somewhere and I have 2 clean browsers without toolbar and so on. I also keep away from Google desktop stuff ... and Google underpants ...
Did anyone notices that Google has acted upon that spam report mentioned by MC?
As of this morning the site in question lost most of its ranking juice in Google!
I guess this is how Google disciplines its flock.
I think by now the VP of SEM must be seriously regretting giving that interview to Forbes…
I am going to invite him to my next poker game.