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Old 05-11-2006   #1
traian
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What Do You Think Of Google Co-op? Future Spam Central?

Well, I was wondering when that will become available for large usage: http://www.google.com/coop

After the private public release of the information about the Google's programm related to "quality control" of the search results,"tweaked" by human users, now it's time for all of us to "improve" the search results provided by Google.

What's all about?

You create an account on Google Co-Op and then you can share your thoughts about the website you love or hate. Will Google search results be influenced by these human factors? Will see...

What is sure is one way the spammers will start playing with this new tool is to create a great number of google account and then start giving BADs for the competitor(maybe you) and GOODs for their websites. UUuuuu, scarry, isn't it?

Take care all of you,
T
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Old 05-11-2006   #2
kieranhawe
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In theory co-op search is a good idea - an even better idea for a separate Google SE. I have the same concerns and reservations about how people could manipulate results.
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Old 05-11-2006   #3
traian
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kieranhawe
... how people could manipulate results.
And they will do that. Spammer don't waste time, 'cause finally this method won't work for a long time, so they already begun

Let the snowball roll...

T

Last edited by Marcia : 05-11-2006 at 11:31 PM. Reason: Edited out reference to a different topical emphasis.
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Old 05-11-2006   #4
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Agreed that it might sound good in theory, but I can't believe Google would be serious about something that's so open to corruption, manipulation, revenge, envy (the list goes on) and various types of kiddie pranks, not to mention competitive sabotage.
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Old 05-12-2006   #5
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I think that this is an experiment and that Google wants to study what happens.

From the Google Co-Op page...
Quote:
This is a work in progress, but even in its early stages, Google Co-op has the potential to let you contribute your expertise to the overall goal of making information more discoverable for everyone.
Google obviously knows it's likely to be spammed. Here's a place for them to try out reputation systems and the like to see what works to prevent it.
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Old 05-12-2006   #6
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Originally Posted by Robert_Charlton
I think that this is an experiment and that Google wants to study what happen.
Exactly what I was thinking, Robert. This is like a spammers' sandbox. "Now everyone come over here and play together like good little boys and girls."
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Old 05-12-2006   #7
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Great, Google. Another tool for self-promotion. Even the sample profile given is about me, me, me, me ....

I've suscribed and so far during the process of looking at and climbing the learning curve, a voice in the background is still asking "How could I use this gizmo to MY benefit?"

I see this type of toys useful within an academic, gov or science research environment and as a spacelab. On the commercial Web... come on, Google, don't lose credibility and devaluate relevancy.

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Old 05-12-2006   #8
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I see the point that Google is trying to make, but I am also VERY concerned with the credibilty of the whole thing. I too suspect that spammers and competitors may use this to there advantage.
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Old 05-12-2006   #9
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I had a look at it earlier, and I think it's a good idea in some respects - particularly for people who often want information on the same subject. Don't forget that the only people who will see the extra links at the top of the organic results are those who have taken the trouble to join a particular topic that is encompassed by the searchterm. It's up to the contributors to get people to join their topic, and anyone who doesn't join a contributor's topic, won't see the contributor's extras. That's how I read it, anyway.

I haven't yet understood how the XML file affects the rankings though. I played with the Destination Guides demo and did a search on 'uk holidays'. I got the regular rankings with the extras at the top. My site is ranked #8 (but it's on page 2 because of some inserts in page 1). Then I clicked 'Lodging guides' in the extras, and my site appeared at #1. Whoever created that topic caused that, but I haven't understood how, except that it's to do with the XML file.

The point is that, if nobody joins that particular topic, nobody will see my site at #1 for that search. And if other topics are created on the same subject, only the people who have joined that specific topic will see my site at #1 - and only if they click 'Lodging guides'.

So it's not open season on the serps. If I want to influence the results, I have to create a topic, and I have to encourage people to join it. If *I* don't get people to join my topic, nobody will see my influenced results. I am sure that Google will offer a great many pages of contributors' topics, so a contributor might get the odd few people joining his/her topic, but for most contributors it won't be many people, and the onus is on the contributors to get people to join.

To respond to what's been said in the thread so far, you can't hurt a competitor unless you get people to join your topic. How many people will you be able to get? You might just as well put an anti-competitor notice on your own site, in the place where you'd put the encouragement to join your topic.

Addition
I've read a bit further, and I now realise that we can add to existing topics, although I don't know if I can add to your topic or not. What I haven't found is whether or not the topic's creator can control what is added, or if it's automatic, but I imagine that it's under the creator's control.

Last edited by PhilC : 05-12-2006 at 09:42 PM.
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Old 05-13-2006   #10
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After reading the above posts I came across one point that seems to be repeated again and again about "Google Co-op being susceptible to spamming". What I would like to add here is thats not true. Google Co-op wouldn't be hit by spamming. Thats because Google Co-op is a kind of folksonomy tool which is entirely governed by human intelligence (like del.icio.us).
Popularity depends on the number of contributers as well as the number of users in the system. This seems to ward of spammers.

Intelligence
Another point I had in mind was that Google Co-op is a great initiative to tap into the human intelligence (categorization) after all the Search is also implicitly based on human intelligence (creation of links between pages).
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Old 05-13-2006   #11
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new approach to ODP ?

I think, it may be a new approach to ODP.
Sounds strange isnt it?
But think it that way and you will find its on the way.


Just my opinion

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Old 05-13-2006   #12
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Good try, but here we are dealing with the commercial Web, not with a computer lab.


The way I see all these folksonomy platforms on the commercial Web:


1. an invitation to self-promotion (me, me, me, I, I, I)
2. an open invitation to collaboratively (socially) dilute a topic (social spam).


I call it F-SPAM (folksonomy based spam). Here is a sample of "tag poisoning",

or if you want, search in Yahoo and in Google for folksonomy spam.

#1 is quite obvious and #2 is a social phenomenon which can be accomplished by inviting spam peers to coordinate topic dilution attacks.


BTW: How often users click on a search result title they think is relevant to a topic and end in a Technorati, Delicio.us or Flickr page or ,once on a page, is enticed by an anchor text to follow a track with off-topic content and a landing page full of ads?


A spammer does not need to interact at all with the architecture, just with the landing page, in order to benefit.

In this sense, folksonomy-based platforms can be used as mere vehicles to facilitate (a) "me" and "I", (b) traditional spam and (c) social spam.


In addition to F-Spam, folksonomy can lead to another phenomenon equally interesting: a tag community or f-sandbox full of "meme manipulations"


Orion

Last edited by orion : 05-13-2006 at 01:04 PM.
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Old 05-13-2006   #13
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One of us is not quite understanding the way that it works, Orion. I've explained how I understand it works, and how I don't see how it can be used for spam, so would you please explain how you think it can be used for spam?
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Old 05-14-2006   #14
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I'm not going to tutoring how-to's on F-Spam --not yet. , but feel free to shop for ideas and limitations at Corante:


Tags run amok


Social Consequences of Social Tagging


Folksonomies + controlled Vocabularies



Hint. Mispellings and plurals can be used intentionally for a specific purpose. More on this and a scientific study that shows several flaws on tagging is given in An Analysis of the Effectiveness of Tagging in Blogs by Christopher H. Brooks and Nancy Montanez, University of San Francisco.


Tagging for personal consumption is one thing. Tagging to entice others is a different thing. Tagging to grab the attention of others, tagging for self-promotion and tagging for the sake of tagging are here to stay.



BTW, Malicious Tagging as an adversarial practice is also in the list of hot topics of AirWeb 2006, which is chaired by a great colleage (Brian Davison).





Orion

Last edited by orion : 05-14-2006 at 02:40 AM.
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Old 05-14-2006   #15
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It seems that you don't understand Google's co-op system, Orion. The only people who see your influences in the serps are those who specifically join *your* topic, and it's up to you to get people to join your topic. The general public don't see anything of your influence in the seps. You can't use the system to influence the general serps.

Of course you can influence the serps to show your sites at the top to the few people who join your topic, but it's not exactly spamming when only those few people will ever see it.

There is the possibility of influencing other people's topics by adding your data to them, but I'm sure that the topics' authors have control of them, so it would rely on their acceptance. Even then, your influence would only be seen by people who specifically joined those topics, and not by users in general.

In other words, you can't use the co-op system to spam the general serps. You can only spam the serps as seen by a very few people, if any. If you think I'm mistaken about that, please explain how I'm mistaken. "I'm not going to tutoring..." isn't a satisfactory answer. In fact, you haven't yet talked about Google's co-op. You've only addressed folksonomy platforms and malicious tagging in general - and without any explanation of what you mean by them. You seem to have jumped to the conclusion that Google's co-op system is something that it isn't.

Last edited by PhilC : 05-14-2006 at 08:34 AM.
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Old 05-14-2006   #16
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Perhaps it is you who haven't read enough about malicious tagging, tagging for influencing your audience, social dilution or AirWeb.

There are plenty of research papers to homework on to see who is misunderstanding.

It is you who seem to have jumped to the conclusion my previous post were just about Google Co-op. These were about folksonomy systems. Spam comes in many shades and has many faces, is not just about serps manipulation.


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Old 05-14-2006   #17
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Your first post in this thread was a direct response to, and referred to, the previous posts, and it was natural to assume that you were talking about the same thing that the previous posts talked about - Google's co-op.

You are right that I haven't read much about malicious tagging, tagging for influencing your audience, social dilution or AirWeb, but this is a forum where we hope that information is passed on, and not just referred to as though everyone understands the terms. Also, this is a thread about Google's co-op, and not about any of those other things.

You've misunderstood Google's co-op. It isn't like the other things that you mentioned, and it can't be used for spamming in the way that you think. If you think otherwise, I'd prefer you to explain, rather than avoid the explanation that I've asked for twice.
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Old 05-14-2006   #18
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I've misunderstood nothing.


Somehow marketers tend to limit their vision to spam as serps manipulations.


Spam or the abuse and misuse of electronic resources has many faces. Folksonomy and malicious tagging is the new playground. In this sense Train's "spam central" was an accerted bigram for this thread title.


TagCamp.org has a nice recap of F-Spam. They refer to it SPAG (spam tag). Here are several quotes on SPAG (emphasis added):


"As tagging gets more and more widespread, the risk of SPAG, or tag spam, grows. But SPAG differs from other forms of spam in several interesting ways: "


"unlike communications-oriented spam (including SPIT and SPIM), it's not targeted to an individual, but is intended to reflect on a particular piece of content (and by extension that content's author). In this sense, it's somewhat similar to blog spam. "


"the creation of a tag, its propagation, and its aggregation, are in places that are generally not controlled by the content author/owners. So unlike blog comment spam, where the owner could delete the offending comments, there's no organized way in which a content owner could remove a tag that was maliciously applied to the content. "


"by influencing how others perceive a particular piece of content, SPAGgers, can actually do harm to content owners. Applying highly trafficed tags to a site, for example, might result in the equivalent of a DOS attack (think of the Slashdot effect but on a wider scale). "


"even if tags are applied in relevant and well-intentioned ways, a huge number of tags applied to a large body of content will quickly make certain tags less useful. Witness the way that META keywords in web pages have become steadily less useful as more and more sites show up with certain key keywords. How long will it be until every politician is tagged with "miserable failure" or "crook"? "


Regarding Technorati and similar F-services mentioned at this thread, check The Dark Side of Technorati Tags


And last, an example of spam with Flickr when looking for "elephant dance". Just follow the example link given by Travis Smith at hopstudios.

As Google Co-op is widespread used, it will be a matter of time to show great examples on the making.

Orion

Last edited by orion : 05-14-2006 at 01:27 PM.
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Old 05-14-2006   #19
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I have been testing this feature out extensively at my site.

This can be spammed, the same way spyware spams out SERPs and AdWords.

But I don't think it can be spammed worse.

A user has to manually click on the "subscribe" button prior to seeing "subscribed links" in his or her results.

A user has to be logged into their Google Account while searching to see "subscribed links."

If a publisher stuffs too many queries into the XML feed, with too many irrelevant result sets, then the user can easily click the "remove" link to make those results vanish.

Personally, I find this concept, the way Google implemented Google Coop, to be extremely brilliant.
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Old 05-14-2006   #20
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Quote:
Somehow marketers tend to limit their vision to spam as serps manipulations.
This is the "Google Web Search" forum, and the thread's title is "What Do You Think Of Google Co-op? Future Spam Central?" Marketers don't limit their vision of spam to serps manipulations, but, since Google's co-op is only about search results, that's what we are discussing in this thread. Discussions of other types of spam are very interesting, but they don't belong in this thread.

The bottom line for this thread's topic is that Google's co-op isn't a means to spam the serps, because the only people who will ever see the spam are those (few or none) who specifically join a spammer's topic. As I said before, there may be the possibility of spamming other people's topics, but the documentation isn't clear about that, and it will need a test to find out one way or the other. My guess is that a topic's author will have control of the topic.

There is no way to spam the regular serps with the co-op system. The only people who can be spammed are those who specifically join the spammer's topic, and how few are those?

Last edited by PhilC : 05-14-2006 at 02:36 PM.
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