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Last post Author Topic: Google? Spam? Ads? No... No Conflict of Interest Here...  (Read 13006 times)

Renegade

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Google? Spam? Ads? No... No Conflict of Interest Here...
« on: January 22, 2011, 05:36:38 AM »
Ahem...

http://googleblog.bl...rch-engine-spam.html

Quote
January brought a spate of stories about Google’s search quality. Reading through some of these recent articles, you might ask whether our search quality has gotten worse. The short answer is that according to the evaluation metrics that we’ve refined over more than a decade, Google’s search quality is better than it has ever been in terms of relevance, freshness and comprehensiveness. Today, English-language spam in Google’s results is less than half what it was five years ago, and spam in most other languages is even lower than in English. However, we have seen a slight uptick of spam in recent months, and while we’ve already made progress, we have new efforts underway to continue to improve our search quality.

,,,

One misconception that we’ve seen in the last few weeks is the idea that Google doesn’t take as strong action on spammy content in our index if those sites are serving Google ads. To be crystal clear:

    * Google absolutely takes action on sites that violate our quality guidelines regardless of whether they have ads powered by Google;
    * Displaying Google ads does not help a site’s rankings in Google; and
    * Buying Google ads does not increase a site’s rankings in Google’s search results.

These principles have always applied, but it’s important to affirm they still hold true.

WHAT? Ahem... B^!!$#!+~!

I cannot count the spam I get from Google. They regularly rank sites in the top 10 that are nothing more than ripping content from other sites. This is particularly bad for tech topics in programming where there are TONS of sites that do exactly that.

They all serve Google Ads as well. What is anyone supposed to think?

If they are being genuine, they're not doing what they say they do very well then. Spam is worse than ever.

But it's not "low-quality" content. It's STOLEN content. To me, that seems like spam.
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Deozaan

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Re: Google? Spam? Ads? No... No Conflict of Interest Here...
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2011, 05:44:49 AM »
But it's not "low-quality" content. It's STOLEN content. To me, that seems like spam.

I disagree. If I understand your description of these sites that rip content from other sites, the content is still relevant to your search terms. You just don't like (and I agree with you!) that these thieves are getting ad revenue instead of you being linked to the original source.

It's not spam, it's plagiarism. Or copyright violation or something. But not spam.


Renegade

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Re: Google? Spam? Ads? No... No Conflict of Interest Here...
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2011, 06:18:01 AM »
But it's not "low-quality" content. It's STOLEN content. To me, that seems like spam.

I disagree. If I understand your description of these sites that rip content from other sites, the content is still relevant to your search terms. You just don't like (and I agree with you!) that these thieves are getting ad revenue instead of you being linked to the original source.

It's not spam, it's plagiarism. Or copyright violation or something. But not spam.

You're right. It's not "spam". I meant "spam" in the derogatory sense.

But still, in a way it is. It's simply meant to get rankings for ad revenue. They're just not using "crap" content. They're using good content to get the rankings.

Dunno... Email spam as BCE is pretty clear. What search engine spam is doesn't fit that model.
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Bamse

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Re: Google? Spam? Ads? No... No Conflict of Interest Here...
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2011, 06:48:51 AM »
Quote
And we’re evaluating multiple changes that should help drive spam levels even lower, including one change that primarily affects sites that copy others’ content and sites with low levels of original content.

Not like they don't know or are stupid ;) Be happy they make these posts so you have something to hold against them should they fail.

Why not report those sites? https://www.google.c...port?hl=en&pli=1

Carol Haynes

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Re: Google? Spam? Ads? No... No Conflict of Interest Here...
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2011, 07:48:58 AM »
One of the things I need to find is technical info on various laptops.

Try find a manual or upgrade information for a Dell or Toshiba laptop (or any other laptop manufacturer).

I chose those two because they both publish information about their computers beyond the usual user manual (including service manuals).

The results of any search you make in Google ALWAYS come up with the same websites trying to sell freely available stolen information - and often they don't actually have the information you need on the page you are looking at - it is just spam filler to get a result from the search engine.

Conspicuous by their absence are the manufacturer's websites.

Why is that google NEVER EVER points you at a manufacturer's web site in the top ten results even when you put that manufacturer's name as the first search item - and doesn't even do a particuarly good job when you use site:.... to sepcify the site to search manually.

I think advertising and incompetence are rapidly making google's results unusable.

One simple innovation would be to have a thumbs up and a thumbs down link in the search results page for each link so that rubbish can easily be reported*. Bad sites could quickly be identified - and maybe they could then ban those people from the Google Ads system too - oh but that would affect the bottom line so there is no chance of that happening!

* Yes I know this could be abused but there could be safeguards introduced.

Bamse

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Re: Google? Spam? Ads? No... No Conflict of Interest Here...
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2011, 08:08:23 AM »
They already have that, is called Google SearchWiki http://en.wikipedia....ki/Google_SearchWiki Oh they used to have that, now discontinued or melted in with Chrome. I am not surprised, most people can't be bothered and just click, click among top hits.

Their launch post SearchWiki: make search your own
« Last Edit: January 22, 2011, 08:16:08 AM by Bamse »

40hz

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Re: Google? Spam? Ads? No... No Conflict of Interest Here...
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2011, 08:30:43 AM »
Interesting. According to Google:

Quote
These principles have always applied, but it’s important to affirm they still hold true.

It would be good if Google could demonstrate with specific data how true that affirmation is.

Because:

Announcing something isn't the same thing as accomplishing it. And saying that something is so doesn't automatically make it so. Nor does repetition create truth.

Affirmations are statements of intended action, not the action itself. Can Google offer proof it's principles are more than empty lip service?



Bamse

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Re: Google? Spam? Ads? No... No Conflict of Interest Here...
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2011, 08:35:41 AM »
One way to find out would be to report a site which without a doubt piss all over their own rules and tons of advices on good behavior. Start the clock and see what happens. Do they let a bot give link to bing.com or will you get a human response with argumentation for why and why not.

mahesh2k

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Re: Google? Spam? Ads? No... No Conflict of Interest Here...
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2011, 08:51:48 AM »
Quote
Why not report those sites?

Reporting never works. Because competitor will report each other for some random reasons and that way tons of requests are piling up. I have never seen google taking action against those people.

There is new trick(called autoblogs) that thieves use to increase the garbage, using your (okay our) content. They copy our content and give linkback at the bottom or within content to save their backside from legal hassles. And using backlinks and other SEO they rank over you and google simply ditches you. This technique is called as autoblogs and with affiliate ads and CPM ads people are earning lots of bucks with it. Some are even copying software .exe and creating lots of subdomains to rank on google for the soft download.

Now before google write the blog post like that to announce their algorithm's inability to detect thieves, i think they need to work on beating this tactic from thieves before claiming - do this or that to combat spam. They're doing nothing as far as i can see on the example, i mentioned here.

Quote
One simple innovation would be to have a thumbs up and a thumbs down link in the search results page for each link so that rubbish can easily be reported*.
There is a way to get around this, if someone codes a bot to thumbs up their own site across multiple IP's ? Trust me, google can't even detect autblogs, let alone catch multiple IP's.

It really worries me when forums like blackhat this-or-that comes to crack google's algorithm in their favor and do succeed in that. We assume google is too powerful but in reality it's just another algorithm made by humans so there is going to be a pattern in a way humans think, so the flaws.

mahesh2k

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Re: Google? Spam? Ads? No... No Conflict of Interest Here...
« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2011, 08:57:41 AM »
Only way i can see things improving the search quality of any search engine is by - educating users. Give links to linkworthy sites, if we link to garbage we attract garbage. Never link to clothes site from developers forum or other non-niche site. For on-niche site, never link to low quality site(as in spam,plagiarized content). This type of activity if taken in religious point of view could create small content-rich chains (like DMOZ) which will help google or any search engine to improve results. It's also very hard to beat for those black-hatters because they prefer to automate things and expect minimum hardwork, which you rarely get from small content-rich sites hence easily gets tracked by google.

Carol Haynes

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Re: Google? Spam? Ads? No... No Conflict of Interest Here...
« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2011, 10:22:37 AM »
Quote
One simple innovation would be to have a thumbs up and a thumbs down link in the search results page for each link so that rubbish can easily be reported*.
There is a way to get around this, if someone codes a bot to thumbs up their own site across multiple IP's ? Trust me, google can't even detect autblogs, let alone catch multiple IP's.

Simple make sure that only signed in and verified users see the voting system and take well publicised action against abusers of the system.

In an interesting development I was helping a client set up a gmail account and they now require a real mobile phone number to complete verification.

This raised a problem because the client didn't own a mobile phone and they wouldn't accept a landline number.

Google should insist on proper verification of user accounts - preferably by post or by landline telephone number - this would stop massive numbers of bogus accounts being created and mutliple accounts from the same number can be grouped for manual checking and deletion if no verification response is made.

PayPal have an effective way of verifying users so I can't really understand why Google can't do it properly. They could charge a small fee to cover any admin costs. It would also provide an effective way of banning abusers.

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Re: Google? Spam? Ads? No... No Conflict of Interest Here...
« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2011, 10:30:32 AM »
One of the things I need to find is technical info on various laptops.

Try find a manual or upgrade information for a Dell or Toshiba laptop (or any other laptop manufacturer).

I chose those two because they both publish information about their computers beyond the usual user manual (including service manuals).

The results of any search you make in Google ALWAYS come up with the same websites trying to sell freely available stolen information - and often they don't actually have the information you need on the page you are looking at - it is just spam filler to get a result from the search engine.

Conspicuous by their absence are the manufacturer's websites.
Many manufacturers (create the problem) hide the true Service Manuals behind certified tech logins (HP/Xerox/Canon/etc.), and only offer (basically useless) User Guides to the public and search engines. Which is why (best I can tell) keyword "Manual" seems to mean "Screw Me" to most search engines.

However... One of our service techs found that many public library websites, do (strangely enough), have many of these manuals available. I have not as yet had the time or need to test his theory, but he seemed awfully proud of himself when telling the story... *Shrug* ...So it could be worth a shot.

Stoic Joker

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Re: Google? Spam? Ads? No... No Conflict of Interest Here...
« Reply #12 on: January 22, 2011, 10:35:49 AM »
In an interesting development I was helping a client set up a gmail account and they now require a real mobile phone number to complete verification.

This raised a problem because the client didn't own a mobile phone and they wouldn't accept a landline number.

Google should insist on proper verification of user accounts - preferably by post or by landline telephone number - this would stop massive numbers of bogus accounts being created and mutliple accounts from the same number can be grouped for manual checking and deletion if no verification response is made.

That turns into a slipery slope quickly, because many people don't have landlines any more (I don't). I have a cell, my wife has a cell, and the dogs aren't going to answer the home phone, so it's basically just a pointless extra expense.

mahesh2k

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Re: Google? Spam? Ads? No... No Conflict of Interest Here...
« Reply #13 on: January 22, 2011, 10:44:23 AM »
Quote
Simple make sure that only signed in and verified users see the voting system and take well publicised action against abusers of the system.

Again this can be gamed, see the result of DMOZ. Many editors added sites of their friends or their own or by taking money from seo firms.

Google don't rank official content over other content found on the web. For example, google plays fair by letting all rank for the first page. You can beat adobe's tutorial as per current google's algorithm. Google need to give more preference to official site to filter rehashed content.

Why my this post makes sense is because i see the result with networks like about.com or infobarrel or hubpages doing the same.

Quote
PayPal have an effective way of verifying users so I can't really understand why Google can't do it properly.

Because of such privacy invasion methods paypal has conflict with many governments. It is also not acceptable in or do business with many countries. If google follows similar approach then google will lose a lot of business instead of getting some good result. For example, some people created ID just to surf on orkut network or to check mail. Why should they verify mobile or landline and then if get hacked drop in trouble ? Gmail ID's are usually get easily hacked by wanna-be hackers on orkut network. So this is very serious issue if anyone verifies their personal detail and gets hacked.

Bamse

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Re: Google? Spam? Ads? No... No Conflict of Interest Here...
« Reply #14 on: January 22, 2011, 11:07:59 AM »
Would also help if those companies who encourage affiliate deals started to police their rules for being accepted as member of that club. I have seen products, like PC Tools, which offer a complete package with templates and all, basically an inviation to spam for those with a mindset to live off affiliate deals, set up useless sites with copy and paste content. Why so many clueless people run in to Spyware Doctor when searching for malware removal - and Google helps by including program in their Google Pack. Such companies will of course have rules for what not to do etc. but they could not care less. At least for indexed tech sites this plays a big role for noise level. Actually it also play a big role for sites with original content and all the best intentions in the world but here it is called using your head to monetize ;)

mahesh2k

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Re: Google? Spam? Ads? No... No Conflict of Interest Here...
« Reply #15 on: January 22, 2011, 11:38:09 AM »
Quote
Would also help if those companies who encourage affiliate deals started to police their rules for being accepted as member of that club.

I do agree there are some poor affiliate products, networks and marketers which are misguiding the traffic. But hey, that's what business is and it is taken from offline world tactics now to online. Nothing new about it.

affiliate marketing drops in gray area of online/offline marketing. No matter how much rule you impose there will be a way out. Take case of amazon for example, it makes more money as marketers are literally spamming amazon links on personal blogs and sites/forum. If amazon starts to decline affiliates for quality or some random rules of marketing way, then they'll not profit from it. Want example ? target.com is good example of this case. Many non-US affiliates promote products which are purchased by US customers on amazon, if target.com denies non-us affiliates then they risk for less profit. If you add affiliate marketing to equation, things become gray hat, PPC which is also a gray hat technique gets added into it. As per rule you can't use amazon url or direct merchant URL in PPC but many do that and are profiting from it.

What we want today is - any site with quality content, enough social vote (backlinks,tweets) and fair amount of ads or affiliate links on that site(to let that site pay bills). These type of sites have no threat to quality of search rankings. But if you start to automate content with spinner, backlinks with spam and profile creation, slap affiliate only pages and if this type of site ranks higher over the previous one then we have a garbage in google search result.  :down:

Bamse

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Re: Google? Spam? Ads? No... No Conflict of Interest Here...
« Reply #16 on: January 22, 2011, 12:07:24 PM »
Goal should probably not be set higher than "less garbage" because cat and mouse game will continue regardless of Google hiring 500 more people to clean up.

PC Tools is not hiding anything because there is full acceptance of the method http://www.pctools.c...partners/affiliates/ FAQ is even worse. No mention of providing user any info what is going on, of course not because as soon as people become aware they start to think. Doubts are a risk. Does not mean affiliate logic is wrong or should be avoided but when arrangement is so automated it stinks.

Quote
Q: What sort of assistance do you provide to your Affiliates?
A: We can provide copy and content for your site, images, banner ads, links, testimonials, reviews, articles, HTML emails and more. You will also have a dedicated Account Manager who will provide you assistance and advice to ensure you get the most success out of partnering with us.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2011, 12:10:22 PM by Bamse »

mahesh2k

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Re: Google? Spam? Ads? No... No Conflict of Interest Here...
« Reply #17 on: January 22, 2011, 12:35:50 PM »
Quote
but when arrangement is so automated it stinks.


Exactly. 

By the way do check out tools like XRummer, scrapebox and similar tools that build backlinks for users at cost of 50$ or so. These tools are adding garbage to any random blog or forum. And there are affiliate networks or brands that support those methods (indirectly).

JavaJones

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Re: Google? Spam? Ads? No... No Conflict of Interest Here...
« Reply #18 on: January 22, 2011, 01:02:37 PM »
One of the things I need to find is technical info on various laptops.

Try find a manual or upgrade information for a Dell or Toshiba laptop (or any other laptop manufacturer).

I chose those two because they both publish information about their computers beyond the usual user manual (including service manuals).

The results of any search you make in Google ALWAYS come up with the same websites trying to sell freely available stolen information - and often they don't actually have the information you need on the page you are looking at - it is just spam filler to get a result from the search engine.

Conspicuous by their absence are the manufacturer's websites.

Why is that google NEVER EVER points you at a manufacturer's web site in the top ten results even when you put that manufacturer's name as the first search item - and doesn't even do a particuarly good job when you use site:.... to sepcify the site to search manually.

I think advertising and incompetence are rapidly making google's results unusable.

One simple innovation would be to have a thumbs up and a thumbs down link in the search results page for each link so that rubbish can easily be reported*. Bad sites could quickly be identified - and maybe they could then ban those people from the Google Ads system too - oh but that would affect the bottom line so there is no chance of that happening!

* Yes I know this could be abused but there could be safeguards introduced.

I'm curious if you have any better luck with Bing, or even Yippy, DuckDuckGo or other alternative search engines. I guess my question would be, is this a problem unique to Google, or is it a problem of modern search systems on the Internet as a whole?

As for Paypal-like authentication schemes, it becomes a question of privacy and anonymity online. This is a subject I am somewhat no the fence about because spam, malware, etc. do a lot of harm and a fully authenticated and known-identity Internet system would solve a lot of that, but at the same time the Internet is a tremendous tool for the oppressed to gain a voice, and that can only happen when anonymity is possible. Granted Google don't have to be the ones providing it, but it should be available I think. It's a hard question, but I don't think stronger authentication for Google account signup is necessarily the answer. Maybe one could sign up for a Gmail account free, but then using more services like search engine result tuning (that would be incorporated into their rankings, as you say) would require further authentication. That way people can sign up for Gmail accounts easily, but not as easily game the results.

- Oshyan

Carol Haynes

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Re: Google? Spam? Ads? No... No Conflict of Interest Here...
« Reply #19 on: January 22, 2011, 02:18:58 PM »
The account system would only used for people who choose to use services - not the search engine. Giving reactions to bad search results could be restricted to confirmed registered users - that way any abuse of the reporting system could be followed up.

Bamse

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Re: Google? Spam? Ads? No... No Conflict of Interest Here...
« Reply #20 on: January 23, 2011, 01:47:03 AM »
I would rather not check out those tools mahesh2k but have run across similar stuff over the years. They just change name. I think the point with my PC-Tool hate is that directly or indirectly screwing up search results is more accepted than what I think Renegade refer to in first post. Everyone wants to be at the top. I can understand Googles trouble with how to draw the line. They should fear "Google is useless" campaigns but also "Google is censoring the internet".

Here is a long thread about the question of what is what, what should be penalized or not http://www.google.co...;hl=en&start=120 He starts off somewhat convincingly but goes downhill fast though he also have a good point by saying similar sites do not have same problems. People disagree of both his site and claims of being penalized unfairly, personally I would not trust him for a second and went YES when a person noted that 1 posters somehow seem to enjoy his site and support his case ;) How old and naive! And after all that chitchat a Google Employee make the last post saying almost nothing other than stating the obvious. I don't think they know what to do with questions like how much original content is enough to cover up affiliate links, what is original btw!

I was more interested in checking how Google handle complaints by suggesting to report a site, preferably one that cannot be debated. How long does it take to get a reply?, is it worth anything?
« Last Edit: January 23, 2011, 01:49:48 AM by Bamse »

mahesh2k

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Re: Google? Spam? Ads? No... No Conflict of Interest Here...
« Reply #21 on: January 23, 2011, 01:57:40 AM »
Quote
How long does it take to get a reply?, is it worth anything?


Google webmaster team organizes 'webmaster chat' atleast once every year. That is the only place where it is worth to get answer. Otherwise rest of the answers are either posted by elites in forum or by some people who make their opinion by reading in-between google's guidelines.

Bamse

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Re: Google? Spam? Ads? No... No Conflict of Interest Here...
« Reply #22 on: January 23, 2011, 02:07:56 AM »
Hmm, well so this page https://www.google.c...port?hl=en&pli=1 which is identical to what the better security companies have will not trigger a reply? If I spend 1 hour diagnosing a site, suggesting it should be penalized I would be very annoyed if reply was not of some quality. They can disagree but I want a reply. They encourage you to help them so what choices to they have? Seems to me most Google complaints are hard to understand, when not in anti-Google mood, but if someone were to test this complaint system and prove it useless that would be cool to see in a headline ;)


mahesh2k

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Re: Google? Spam? Ads? No... No Conflict of Interest Here...
« Reply #23 on: January 23, 2011, 02:25:41 AM »
Quote
Hmm, well so this page https://www.google.c...port?hl=en&pli=1 which is identical to what the better security companies have will not trigger a reply?


Try it. Find one autoblog like (birdcagesforsale. net) which copies content from other sites and report it. For more accurate deceptive techniques of that blog you can let them know about this page (birdcagesforsale. net/where-can-i-find-a-good-bird-cage - where they just copied comments from other site as content)

Let me know if google takes down this 1st result term site. ;)

Bamse

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Re: Google? Spam? Ads? No... No Conflict of Interest Here...
« Reply #24 on: January 23, 2011, 03:23:59 AM »
Seems like grabbing Youtube videos including comments is a favorite. At bottom it says "Powered by Yahoo Answers" though. Search term only give them no. 27 place here. Not too perfect that auto thingy, some articles are out of context like birdcagesforsale. net/help-me-arrange-my-new-living-room which is identical to another crap site livingroomideas. net/?p=831 where it is more fitting. Yahoo Answers I assume.

If bored one day I will try but are you stating the obvious by saying it is waste of time? Is it a known fact? Got any links?

No they won't take anything down just like that, only "In especially egregious cases".
« Last Edit: January 23, 2011, 04:42:58 AM by Bamse »