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Has anyone else noticed the SPAM that is being allowed in Google?

8:06 am on Jan 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Has anyone else noticed all the extremely spammy sites that Google is allowing to fill the SERPs for certain keywords and phrases. Thousands of sites using all kinds of black hat SEO tricks and schemes to rank highly. The sites are so obvious a child could pick them out yet Google has allowed these sites to maintain their positions and dominate SERPs for over two years.

I say "ALLOW" because there really is no other explanation. I have been watching certain keyword phrases and the sites that show up for them for TWO YEARS. I have reported hundreds of these sites to Google dozens of times and they still maintain their positions. I thought during all the "Pandamonium" that the sites would get the boot... but with every passing Panda update they still managed to maintain their positions regardless of how spammy their sites were... if their sites made any sense at all... or what black hat seo techniques they were using.

The one thing these sites have in common... they all sell counterfeit goods and originate in China.

I thought for awhile that Google may be allowing these sites to stay active so as not to TIP them off that the authorities were on their way to cuff and stuff these guys... but that isn't the case either. It has been two years and even a "Barney Fife" type CyberCop would have found them and put them behind bars by now.

These sites target brands like <snip> and a few more... and it's pretty maddening if that happens to be your niche.

There are numerous postings in the Google forums regarding these sites dating back to 2009 and if you search hard enough you can find a lot of posts ranting about these spammers clogging up the SERPs, yet nothing has been done about it.

A lot of the Google contributors in the forums always say that "Google is not the internet police" and that is not the point... the point is these sites are not using some new technology that is beyond Google's ability to detect and remove. They are using spammy back links and blogs with automated posts that are just plain gibberish with a few back links dispersed throughout the text.. basically cirque 1998 spam techniques. Most of their domains contain obvious trademark infringements and things that a legitimate merchant would never use to promote a brand name... like the word CHEAP.


It isn't only Google either... Yahoo and BING are just as bad and I know they don't get the attention that Google does but they should be catching these sites too..


So I ask again.... WHY...?

Does anyone have any theories?

[edited by: goodroi at 2:31 pm (utc) on Jan 25, 2012]
[edit reason] Please no specifics [/edit]

3:02 pm on Jan 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Why does it happen?
Because it is very profitable. There are armies of independent and organized spammers that seek out any and every possible exploit in the mathematical ranking formula. When you have that many people trying to exploit something, it is not surprising that some of them will be very smart and successful. Really good spammers like to utilize multiple spam techniques so when one exploit is blocked they still get traffic from the others.

Why can't Google stop it?
Google has stopped countless different schemes and strategies. It is impossible and not realistic to expect any search engine to stop all spam without inflicting massive amounts of collateral damage on the innocent websites. Imagine trying to kill all the spiders in your neighborhood. A nuclear bomb would do it but you would also incinerate your neighborhood. Not a good idea :(

What can you do?
Learn from the spammers. Look at what the spammers are doing to better understand different strategies. Unless you are a genius with a PhD in computer science you probably do not know everything you would like to know about the Google ranking algorithm. Pay attention to how the more successful spammers tend to emulate legitimate marketing strategies to make their sites mimic the quality signals search engines seek. This makes it extremely hard to create a filter or penalty that impacts those spammers without sacrificing large volumes of innocent websites.

If you need to outrank spammers...
White hat sites can outrank spammers in many different ways. Launch multiple sites to flood the serps for your branded serps. Make sure each site provides unique value (contest site, repair site, ecommerce site, etc). Also encourage your loyal customers to help you by holding contests and other creative ways to generate massive amounts of user generated content. You can also develop links from your customers' blogs & sites. Posting a coupon on your site would likely cause your core audience to link to you alot. With creativity and a bit of internet marketing know-how you can outrank spammers for your brand name. Depending on your situation you can also use DMCA to delete certain sites from your serps so you don't even need to outrank them. Also you can file with WIPO to takeover domains that are legally infringing.
(If you still aren't able to outrank spammers think about hiring a seo professional who can)
7:47 pm on Jan 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

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It's now more than three years since I first noticed that more than 800 of 1000 results for a certain luxury goods brand name are for sites selling fake and counterfeit goods. Google also runs adsense ads for these same sites across countless thousands of other (legitimite) sites across the web. Until recently there were huge amounts of adwords ads running too.

Google cannot be unaware of the situation, because they have already had to remove more than 1000 sites from the same organic search results after being served countless DMCA requests. There's between one and fifteen DMCA removals noted on each of the 100 pages of that search result. Even after those removals the SERP is still more than 80% spam.
8:08 pm on Jan 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I guess I didn't make my point as well as I thought. The SPAM that is being seen in Google is pretty obvious SPAM using techniques cirque 1998 and Google already has the algorithm to catch and remove these sites. Like I said... if it was an affiliate site that was using these techniques they would get banned for life immediately... yet Google allows these sites to do exactly what they want.

Yes Google is allowing this spam to rank and show in the SERPs. There is no other explanation period.


What I am saying is Google is allowing this to happen... they are not only allowing the counterfeit sites to rank well but they are allowing them to rank well for doing the exact same thing that would get anyone else BANNED for life with what is ALREADY in place.

The SERPs for some searches are FILLED with obvious spam sites selling counterfeit goods... the pages are obvious and they are numerous... going on to the 10th and 20th pages of results.

You would think that Google with all the garbage they spew about "Quality Results" and "listening to the user" etc... that they would actually want their search results to NOT contain any counterfeit links that may entice a user to buy a fake product (how is that quality)... But they ALLOW IT... IGNORE IT... and make it almost impossible to remove even by the legitimate trademark owners.

If these sites were simply spamming to make affiliate sales they would be GONE...

So again I ask... Why would they allow such activity to take place when they can obviously control what they list in the SERPs...? Any Theories..?

[edited by: goodroi at 8:53 pm (utc) on Jan 25, 2012]
[edit reason] Please no specifics including specific search terms [/edit]

8:40 pm on Jan 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

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The SPAM that is being seen in Google is pretty obvious SPAM using techniques cirque 1998 and Google already has the algorithm to catch and remove these sites.

Exactly what type of spam techniques are they using?
9:28 pm on Jan 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Well every time I explain it or try to get a point across it gets censored...
and I can't make my point
Because of all the

I am not mentioning any brand names or any trademarks I am simply pointing people to Google and their "Quality" search results...

So I can't <snip> make a good point or show anything at all.. so <snip> this doesn't do me or anyone else any good <snip>...


What type of spam techniques are they using... the old obvious techniques that Google has already "conquered" years ago...

White text on white background...
Fake blogs with hundreds of automated posts with scrambled words in english and a few back links dispersed through out the "posts"...
half of the pages I have seen have paragraphs of text that make no sense at all... Automatically posting comments with text links to hundreds of blogs. Some pages keywords are so dense that they are 25% of the entire page text.. while other listings around them in the SERP are kept at or below 7-9%.

All of that is known to Google and they would ban any affiliate for life for using those techniques, but these counterfeiters are allowed to do what they want in order to rank...

If you just look at a listing you can tell it's SPAM...
It's OBVIOUS when they are using terms like "CHEAP" etc...

I could put a link to a GOOGLE SERP that would make your jaw drop to the floor but <snip> unfortunately <snip> it would get <snip> which makes this whole post <snip> worthless <snip>.....

NO one has any balls any more... No wonder things are getting harder to take care of.. when you can't even mention what is WRONG or show others what is WRONG... what is the point..? and THAT makes this whole post worthless which just enables the garbage to continue...

SO THANKS for trying so hard to make the internet a better place...!
9:52 pm on Jan 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

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We can't allow the specifics, happyfuntime - it would quickly turn WebmasterWorld into chaos and allow us to be used as a weapon against other sites. Report specific instances of spam to Google directly; we are not here for that purpose.

An important question that needs to be addressed whenever you see a site ranking that also has some guideline violations is this: Are they ranking BECAUSE of their spam tactics or IN SPITE OF them?

Yes, sometimes spam tactics do seem to slip through and work - that's life in the big world, you know? Others in this thread have already discussed the reasons rather well. But sometimes the site is ranking because it is a good result for other reasons - and yes, if you look at what they are doing you may see spamminess, too, but that isn't why they are ranking.
11:04 pm on Jan 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

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No these sites are ranking BECAUSE of their techniques... no one else links to them and they are spoofing the Google Plus Accounts with links... It's ridiculous and one look would tell you they are garbage counterfeit sites. One look and you would see and so would Google employees... but they are being ignored.

These sites have been reported hundreds of times for YEARS and nothing gets done about them... Yahoo answers is full of people asking about some of these sites and if they will ever receive the merchandise they ordered.

I could show you but <snip> it would get the <snip>.....

The other things I showed were just a page on a trademark owners site that shows a "Counterfeit website Look Up" form and the sites that are CONFIRMED counterfeits are STILL LISTED ON THE FIRST PAGE OF GOOGLE RESULTS FOR THE BRAND... Search Google for the trademark and the first few sites are listed in the trademark owners "Counterfeit website Look Up" form... so like I said Google must make it almost impossible to get anything removed for trademark violations or the site in question wouldn't have to add a "Counterfeit website Look Up" form on their own site.
(why that got the <snip> who knows)

That is a HUGE PROBLEM and one that they could address but won't... They are always screaming "QUALITY" but whose "QUALITY" are they talking about. These counterfeit sites make everyone's jobs harder... and Google knows this... and yet they IGNORE IT so they can make more money on their ADS... or so they can further their own political agenda... or whatever reason they decide makes these garbage counterfeit sites "QUALITY LINKS" to show.

You guys know what I am talking about... and you know that it is very obvious. One look at an entire page of search results in the almighty Google search engine and jaws would drop... trademark owners are pulling their hair out.. affiliates are losing sales... and Google is making millions showing their own ads right next to these KNOWN COUNTERFEIT SITES. Yet they hold everyone else online to a QUALITY ALGORITHM targeted at removing affiliate links... which are their MAIN COMPETITION... yes Google is the BIGGEST AFFILIATE in the world... they make their money just like an affiliate does by sending clicks to the sites that sell the merchandise... regardless of how HUGE THEY ARE... they are still affiliates and are breaking anti-trust laws left and right.. and allowing bad things to happen online like these counterfeit sites so they can benefit from it all.

It's ridiculous and it is also ridiculous that it can't be pointed out... and the links get the <snip> that PROVE what I am talking about. There is no more proof needed than the link I posted to the trademark owners COUNTERFEIT SITE FORM and then a link to GOOGLE SERP listing KNOWN COUNTERFEIT SITES... but somehow that is deemed worthy of a <snip> which makes it impossible to make a legitimate point with the information that is readily available to prove it.

WebmasterWorld could be part of the solution by listing the trademark owners own page of KNOWN COUNTERFEIT SITES and then pointing to a GOOGLE SERP showing these KNOWN COUNTERFEIT SITES ranking prominently for that TRADEMARK SEARCH TERM... Which may lead to a discussion of what we should do about it... WE as in the WEBMASTERS of the WORLD who care about the internet and it's future.. But that information gets the <snip> Which makes this entire post 100% worthless.

SO thanks for being part of the problem and not part of the solution.
11:12 pm on Jan 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I've just looked at a search for a well-known luxury trademark name, with the search set to show 100 results per page.

Several pages in, the result is that 92 of the 100 listed items are for sites selling counterfeit goods.

This is a search for a well-known trademark with thousands of news articles, thousands of reviews, and thousands of genuine forum discussions online... and yet, almost none of those are found in the SERP. Instead, the results are dominated by sites selling counterfeit product as if it were the real thing: almost all sites registered in China and almost all using one of three page layout templates, all with faked "security seal" and faked "trust" logos.

This has been going on for years. The trademark owner appears to have served DMCA notice after DMCA notice as there are several notices on EVERY page noting that large numbers of results have already been removed.
11:33 pm on Jan 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

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The trademark/counterfeit issue at Google will (eventually) be addressed as was the foreign Pharma into USA was addressed. It will take just about as long before it happens. Meanwhile (observation, not agreement) the ads will continue to fill coffers to meet the lawsuit when it happens. In the pharma ads settlement it was not the pharmaceutical companies that went after G... it was the government. In the IP/Copyright/Trademark issue it will not be those with IP/Copyright/Trademark that will take on G, it will be the government... or a consortium of trademark/copyright owners with sufficient lobby to "get 'er done". Meanwhile, continue to report, continue to complain, but by all means, continue to do business best way possible... and that might include diversifying into other methods of obtaining traffic. Anyone who depends on Google alone for income has a difficult business plan!
11:43 pm on Jan 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I know what trademark you are talking about LOOK AGAIN.. that is ONE DMCA notice not SEVERAL... There were SEVERAL listings removed for ONE DOMAIN (CHILLING---*.*---.ORG)with ONE DMCA notice... So the trademark owner actually managed to get ONE SINGLE SITE REMOVED out of HUNDREDS... and it probably cost them $30,000 in attorney fees.

Not much of an accomplishment considering they are all over the place in the SERPs.

There is no other explanation... GOOGLE is allowing the counterfeit sites to rank well regardless of how many spam reports they get for the domains or how many trademark infringement notices they receive. Their only response in the Google Webmaster Forums is "Google is not the internet police"... which isn't the point.. the point is Google does have an algorithm to detect garbage just like those sites yet they still RANK WELL when reported hundreds of times to Matt Cutt's SPAM department which is what all that garbage is... and it stays where it is in the SERPs period....

We should be talking more about this because it affects our business and our "webmaster world"... We should be talking about solutions and what senator or congressman to contact... what petitions need to be in place for signatures or what ever will benefit the online industry. It is too hard to get the ball rolling if everything gets the <snip>

If you can't point other webmasters in the same industry to the negative results that are available then the point isn't made and it gets lost in the shuffle. If everyone could SEE IT then maybe they would react to it and understand what a huge problem it is.
11:55 pm on Jan 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

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No. It's more than that.

There are at least several dozen DMCA notices and several hundred different sites removed from that SERP.

The point is that hundreds more identical sites remain listed: having been served a DMCA to remove stuff, they haven't bothered to feed those profiles into their algorithm and let it take care of the vast amount of similar stuff.

They continue to list it and continue to let the same sites use their paid advertising.
10:34 am on Jan 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I don't see this as a fault of Google or one of search engines in general. As long as the DMCA and various proceeding costs are higher than domain names costs, it will continue. So what if Google takes down 100 domains after quite some labor, another 1000 will surface the next day. Domains are so cheap, and as long as they remain cheap, you will see this problem.

Also search engines treat online stores differently than other types of websites. Otherwise you would search for a product and you will get documentation about it. A site that sells counterfeit goods doesn't necessarily need to spam to rank well.
12:10 pm on Jan 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

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SPAM:- search positions above mine.