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While google allows this kind of spamming this site is cleaning up big time, and encourages others to spam also. I have to say the site is fairly useful so it's not like the couldn't rank anyway for that term but come on G, a hit counter!
[edited by: tedster at 3:35 am (utc) on Aug. 10, 2008]
Are there possibly other backlinks that are really doing the job here? Google never said they would penalize widget bait, just devalue it if the links are hidden and off-topic.
Just because we see it, doesn't mean that it's so. Makes this job kind of fun.
And Google does have a track record of leaving spamming looking stuff out there for everybody to see, though in most cases it has already discounted the techniques. That's why the "I see other sites doing it," argument can turn out being highly counter-productive.
[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 7:29 am (utc) on Aug. 14, 2008]
[edit reason] Removed specifics [/edit]
It's very difficult to code SE algos to weed out hit counters?
No. But anything that popular would also get normal good backlinks - think Google search boxes with Google image in them, there are millions of the around and while those might be discounted there are still other good links to Google that more than make up for this discount.
I think in part and parcel detecting these links for Google is like peeling a potato. You want to get rid of all of the skin, and sometimes you dig rather deep and lose some potato in the process, especially when digging out the eyes.
But ultimately, your goal is to keep some potato in the end for the sour cream, so you ultimately decide the 'level' that you want to dig without risking too much potato.
This might explain why some sites simply seem to be off the detection radar altogether, even with more-than-obvious tactics.