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Old 02-07-2006   #41
vayapues
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As for the business model comment. There's no alternative in our case. We are at the top of yahoo, lycos, most search engines, but when google dropped us, no leads. Google is in a dominant market position. There is not a business model out there that we could construct for any money that would solve the problem of depending on google.
Clearly, I am in no position to comment on your personal circumstances, as I don't know you, or your products / services. However, based on my own experience, I have yet to see a product or service that can't be marketed via any other way than Google, or any other way than search for that matter. But perhaps you have a unique service or product, where marketing to end-users via other methods does not work. Perhaps!

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Old 02-07-2006   #42
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Originally Posted by mcanerin
I'm more likely to be lenient when the cloaked or hidden information mirrors the inaccessible information in the CMS.
Very good point Ian. I wonder if Google would take the time to determine if cloaking was done for a legitimate purpose such as your provision for inaccessible information. Chris D originally mentioned the past perception of the big guy getting away with it. As you say, it may be very expensive and time consuming for a company to go through a complete redesign, so they can weigh the risk and go for it. But if they end up banned, I would say that if they are a government entity or a corporate power such as BMW, they might be able to get a pretty quick reinclusion with some good 'splaining. They may even be able to get redindexed without having to give up their cheat source...

Is the "little man" then screwed unless he gives it (the cheat) up?


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Originally Posted by mcanerin
It's different in this case because it didn't. Some of the terms there are only to bring in bulk traffic and make the SEO/web manager look good based on traffic logs - not to bring in qualified visitors by making inaccessible content accessible.
So is an all-out ban from the index deserved if they were only cloaking "used cars" and some others? In some projects we have worked, different parts of the website were under management by different parts of a company (I am sure others have seen this, especially with EU companies with a US division, and visa-versa). Shouldn't Google start by banning a particular directory folder or sub domain instead of the whole site? Wouldn't that be more fair? I think they do this algorithmically because we have seen entire folders get PR-blanked with no major effect on the PR of other areas, yet the overall rankings seem affected.
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Old 02-07-2006   #43
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Chris, you just gave me a very interesting idea.

Imagine this - instead of banning sites, ban keywords for sites.

If company X is spamming badly, then of course they would not show up for any keywords at all - only for their domain name (for that disturbingly large portion of users who can't tell a search bar from an address bar), if that.

If the company is only spamming a particular phrase - stop them from showing up for the phrase. This would be ample and specific punishment, and would also address "googlebombs".

It would also drive certain spammers nuts, because the system would be much harder to figure out.

Basically, it's almost like a negative keyword, but applied to a domain for an organic search listing.

One thing I like about this is that once the functionality is in place, perhaps people can voluntarily provide a list of negative keywords for their sites. There are many companies that don't want to show up for certain phrases because they don't sell/provide it, but because they are well optimized for parts of the phrase, they are presented anyway.

One example of this would be "free" or "cheap" in relation to a luxury auto site, so that "cheap audi" doesn't show up but "audi" would, for example.

The only obvious drawback would, of course be the additional storage space used by this, but I would think that the "Big Daddy" servers could handle it.

This is off the top of my head and on the spur of the moment, so I haven't fully thought it through yet - thoughts?

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Old 02-07-2006   #44
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Ian,

Interesting concept. One drawback I see relating to negative keywords, and more specifically to the ability to offer your own negative keywords, is that if someone really does sell cheap Audi's they could use the system to try and suppress themselves from coming up under bad results that they do actually deserve to come up under. IE, they could keep the consumer from seeing them under the search term "bad cars".

LOL! ok, ok bad example. What end-user would be searching for that term when buying a car.
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Old 02-07-2006   #45
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Originally Posted by vayapues
IE, they could keep the consumer from seeing them under the search term "bad cars".

LOL! ok, ok bad example. What end-user would be searching for that term when buying a car.
haha vayapues, you must not be familiar with the slang for "bad." I may search for a "bad *** corvette" or a "bad GTO"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian
This is off the top of my head and on the spur of the moment, so I haven't fully thought it through yet - thoughts?
Could be another META tag, easily recognized by SE's and in this case would probably get more use than the KW tag at G. I think it sounds like a great idea, because it would indicate to the SE's that the website is proactive about helping them provide accurate results.

Of course, how often would "cheap audi" lead to the corporate site? A search I did for that term shows many people bidding (how many using exact match or even broad with "cheap" is unsure, since many are probably bidding "audi" broad) for the term but no Audiusa.com. Search Audi alone and they are #1. So in essence we can assume that "cheap" doesn't appear on the audiusa.com site, but certainly in the others that are ranking. OK sorry we are getting off topic I think...
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Old 02-07-2006   #46
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While to me at least, there are some similarities, I am in no way whatsoever trying to point to any correlation to this event and another. All I want to do is point out something that I've said before.

It doesn't have to be this way and this discussion never had to take place.

What if this action had little to do with enforcing rules or guidelines? What if it was not about spam, (which I've also said before I don't believe even actually exists)? What if it was about perception and public relations. What if it were about power, how to get it and how to use it?

consider this.

Obviously there was a blog post right? That had to take x amount of time right? How would this discussion have been different if that same amount of time had been spent in sending an email to webmaster@ stating there was some data in the website that conflicted with the acceptable use policies and if not removed within 72 hours they would have no choice but to alter the listing in order to provide a superior product to their user base?

If people are being paid to review sites, why can't the time be spent notifying the webmaster of intent instead of public claiming responsibilities for actions taken and seeming to imply it was beyond their control?

Back when the perception was that it was just an algorithm doing what it was programmed to do, I could see not having the resources to notify someone that their livelihood may be at risk for some action they had taken. BUT, why must there be spam assassins? Why do we see them as kicking your ass if you don't do their way? Why can't we see them as trying to protect by informing and allowing you a choice? If they are going to pay humans for a job, why does that job have to be finding and punishing? Why not finding and offering the opportunity?

I'm not saying anyone has to do anything. I'm just saying it doesn't have to be this way.

I'm also saying it is very possible that we are talking about someone not simply making a mistake and I'm saying it is this way for a reason. This discussion does not involve a bunch of school kids who don't understand that actions have consequences. We are discussing two of the biggest and brightest, (especially in terms of advertising and altering public perception), companies on the planet. I believe, it doesn't have to be this way.
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Old 02-07-2006   #47
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This just in...

Matt says BMW.de's back in.
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Old 02-08-2006   #48
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Now that was a speedy recovery... they must have a great SEO now....
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Old 02-08-2006   #49
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All websites are equal but some websites are more equal than others.

If you were working at a big corporate that had good Google contacts, would you feel threatened by Matt's anti-webspam initiative? Wouldn't you be more inclined to try 'black' tactics and risk Google detection knowing full well that Google can and will re-include you with relative ease?

Bluff and say [insert SEO agency name here] did it. Or it was the handiwork of an employee that has now been fired. Or hire a SEO agency and demand they use any method/technique at their disposal, with scant regard to possible penalization.

In the end Google get what they want: Another news item on their 'fight against evil' and forcing websites to sit up and take notice.

BMW lose some sleep (i.e. brand trust) worrying about something that the regular joe has little or no clue about. Will big sites with a lot of brand trust clean up their sites? Will big sites who don't begin to (if they haven't already) implement all the tricks in the book?

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Old 02-08-2006   #50
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they must have a great SEO now....
More like a sudden change in corporate behavior from:

*nudge* Hey, can you make sure this site gets lots of traffic? *wink*

to:

"The website should be done right, so you'd better fix it!"

It's amazing what can happen when the right people actually change their minds or get involved.

This has been a very interesting example of "Carrot and Stick" influence.

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Old 02-08-2006   #51
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In that regard it certainly worked.

If Google wanted to make sure that uneducated bigwigs understand that 'dodgy' SEO is in fact a 'dodgy' practice, then this was a perfect choice. Matter of fact, I had a pile of emails asking quote "Why were they banned but our sites wont be?"
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Old 02-08-2006   #52
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I agree, shor - I think that's exactly who the intended audience was, and what the intended reaction would be.

After all, they can hardly be focusing on SEO's and webmasters, who have been educated for quite some time, and have made their decisions on the levels of risk and tactics they are willing to use already.

I do note that every skilled blackhat I've ever met will use pure white hat tactics if that's what the client wants. The difference is that they will also use BH tactics if that's what the client wants. It's all about the client, not the guidelines.

Therefore, if you want to change the level of spam in the corporate world, don't go after the SEO's - go after the clients. He who pays the piper names the tune.

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Old 02-08-2006   #53
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I think it was Danny who said earlier that Google can't do without sites like BMW in the index, and I agree with him. Google needs BMW in the serps. What this event shows is that the big companies are free to spam all they want, because if Google did anything about it, the problem would be very short-lived, AND they would gain a lot free publicity. I think that BMW has gained an awful lot through this.

Google may have set out to show that they won't tolerate spam from even the big companies, but, imo, all they've succeeded in showing is that big companies have power over Google. It would be very interesting to see BMW spamming again. What would Google do? Would they dump the site permanently, as they would small sites? I don't think they could do that. I'd like to see BMW doing it again, though
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Old 02-08-2006   #54
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imo, this is bad. Anyone who didn't know the Google "no-nos" now knew them. But after allowing BMW back in so quickly, they will think, if I cheat, then I can also get back in quickly after being caught. But we all know most people do not get back in so quickly.
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Old 02-08-2006   #55
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Exclamation Where's the rest of the story, Matt?

hmmm notice no mention by Matt if BMW told them who suggested the tactic, as allegedly required?
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Old 02-08-2006   #56
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Looks like they are still cloaking, click on the cache link of the first result at http://www.google.de/search?hl=de&q=...le-Suche&meta=

I have screen shots and more info here.
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Old 02-08-2006   #57
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The cache lags behind. I found this recently, but the other way round. I have a page that I've disallowed the caching of for years, but a few weeks ago I wanted to allow it, so I removed the meta tag. Googlebot has fetched the page dozens of times since then, but the "cache" link is still not in the serps. In that case the cache system lags a very long way behind, so I assume that it is lagging way behind for the BMW pages.
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Old 02-08-2006   #58
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When some are more equal than others

Google is bound to get in trouble with their handling of the bmw.de debacle. I just checked and the site is back today! It seems that BMW, who alleges that only 0.44% of their visits originate from google.com is more "equal" than smaller sites who get kicked out for infringement, but rely on google.com for most of their traffic. I do believe that google has opened a pandora box by reinstating the bmw site so fast, although it is their prerogative. There must be thousands of smaller operators out there who got kicked out and did not get such "nice" treatment. To my knowledge, it was the first time google delisting made the headlines in such a fast manner. They have two choices now: delist bmw.de again, and stand by their "beliefs" and policies, or expect a huge class action law suit, that will cost thm millions and share value drop. They tried to do a Martha Stewart with bmw, but this works with government, not private enterprise.
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Old 02-08-2006   #59
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... or expect a huge class action law suit
<yawn> ...... <yawn> ......
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Old 02-08-2006   #60
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Real world

In case you don't know it, there are barracuda lawyers out there just lurking for this type o opportunity
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