Thursday, December 14th, 2017

In any market where the leader has a monopolistic marketshare it is a great idea to encourage innovation elsewhere and promote further competition. In the past Blekko was a great SEO data source but I couldn’t use it as a default search service because…

You Must Disclose, or Else…
Matt Cutts has long stated that machine-readable disclosure of paid links is required to be within Google’s guidelines.
The idea behind such Cassandra calls is that the web should be graded based on merit, rather than who …

“I am just like a robot – following only what I have been told.” – Katutu, Google toolbar testimonial

As long as end users get their Angry Birds they really don’t care how it comes to them. But they should!
Right now, an aggregated link to this entry…

A Copy, of a Copy, of a Copy
There are many approaches to online navigation & discovery. On the surface many of them look exceptionally different, but when you look a bit deeper many of them are playing the same game with the same game plan. The ma…

Dr. Pete shared examples of the marketing funnel, highlighting how we must overcome hurdles (or break through barriers to conversion) in order to make a sale.

Why People Buy Premium Domain Names
The idea of an exact match domain (EMD) is that you are …

This Shouldn’t Hurt Too Bad

One of the more perverse things about online markets is that since things are not done in person a lot of people are willing to work in the gray area. That allows people like Vitaly Borker to torture his customers as a marketing strategy. ;)

When Stanley Milgram did his famous study on if people were willing to torture others (so long as they thought it was part of a scientific experiment), he found out that the more distance they put between the torturer and torturee the more brutally they would behave. People would dial the voltage up to x if they were holding the hand of the person getting shocked, a bit more if the person was on the other side of a glass wall, and a bit more if they were behind a brick wall.

Fleecing Newbs

Many online economic innovations are ultimately scams, where the cost is hidden, with the scammers operating one step ahead of the legal system. Swoopo was basically a semi-legal form of gambling that took advantage of people’s ignorance of math. As soon as it started working dozens of companies followed suit. The rage was so popular that people would buy overpriced “credits” to spend their “credits” to bid on the ability to get more “credits” at a slightly discounted rate. :D

OMG I Just Lost 3,000 Pounds!

The fake blog (flog) strategy where a woman writes about how she lost 40 pounds in a month due to Açaí & colon cleanse was an economic “innovation” where affiliates could rope a person into 2 fraudulent reverse billing scams at the same time.

Public relations hacks were quick to adopt the fake blog “innovation” for their corporate clients & such gems like Walmarting Across America & Working Families for Wal-Mart were born.

In Other “News”

Affiliates who needed to differentiate from all the other affiliates needed a new round of “innovation.” So they would take the items or categories or topics they were selling something similar to & add a “as seen in” section on their websites highlighting how something tangently related to what they are selling was once mentioned in the media in some way.

From there it was a quick jump to fake celebrity endorsements & fake news sites offering “a special report on how you can get rich overnight” as a millionaire who wants to give back naively shares everything they know for $4 shipping in an anyone-can-do automated wealth generation blueprint, while losing 50 pounds in 1 month. :)

Step by Step

Ultimately sales is not an event, but a process. Which is why the above mentioned reverse billing scams only charged shipping off the start, so the perceived risk was lower than the actual risk (much like bad faith insurance companies that take your money until you need what you paid for, and then manage to disappear).

Everyone Pays for Fraud

The scammers eat off the plates of everyone honest in the marketplace. Multiple times a month I get refund requests from people who bought something totally unrelated to us from Clickbank, demanding I give them their money back for something that is in no way related to us. I highlight that refunds at clickbank.com is where they need to send their emails, but for every person who manages to get their money back there are likely 5 or 10 more people who are disillusioned & less trusting of online markets & online marketers.

Google Polices Scams *Everyday*

Circling back to the SEO & PPC niche, Google has to deal with the scams & scammers every day. In certain cases where it is exceptionally profitable (say illegal prescription drugs, knock off goods, Obama mortgage modification) Google may choose to look the other way / have lax policy enforcement, but at some point looking the other way creates financial risks & a risk of brand damage.

Doing What is Easy = Doing What is Best?

Generally when it comes down to it, Google’s revenues are heavily concentrated & no matter how widespread or profitable any individual scam is, they can cut it out of their ad network without being overly concerned. Last September AdAge shared data showing that there are around a couple thousand advertisers spending over $10,000 a month on Google ads. While the longtail concept is widely praised, in the search ecosystem it reflects more on products rather than merchants. Some time ago SEM Rush sent me the following chart highlighting AdWords spend breakdown estimates.

Their numbers are based off of the publicly shared Google keyword estimates (which generally skew toward trying to get advertisers to spend more), and I believe they may count certain AdWords ad management platforms as being 1 advertiser each, but yet again Pareto principal appears in the data & Google could keep roughly 80% of their US search revenues if they only accepted ads from the top 5,000 advertisers (out of more than 300,000). And those estimates were before Google widely launched their CPA product ads, which only further consolidate traffic to a smaller number of websites.

Ultimately Google can try to police an ecosystem of x thousand companies or an ecosystem of x million companies. The latter will have more innovations in it, but also a wider variety of scams & be much more expensive to police. This is a big part of the reason Google has felt the need to become more & more portal-like over time. Their engineering culture assumes that they can do it better internally.

Depending on how your positioned, their anti-innovation “do what is easy” approach to search can either be a boon or a major hindrance. The companies that were worried about maintaining complex search strategies which sorta fell into top rankings on the Google brand +1 obviously benefited. But Panda (and Google’s approach to AdWords) keep raising the bar on smaller businesses.

I thought it would be worth highlighting a few examples:

Google Arbitrage Tax

A friend recently had their AdWords account penalized for running an “arbitrage” business model.

  • the site wasn’t advertising for revenues, but to build links & awareness
  • the ad campaign was inactive
  • the site had since been sold & the buyer added another ad unit to the page

To appreciate how arbitrary the above editorial judgement is against that webmaster, not only were they 0% responsible for the alleged editorial infractions, but 3 hours after the sincere “notification only” email Google did a follow up which said the site was once again approved to advertise, but the ads need to be re-submitted for review.

We live in a world where flagrantly parasitic sites like Mahalo required “an algorithm” (with endless collateral damage) to fix & yet the above sequence is somehow a reasonable way for Google to treat there paying customers.

Much like there is “too big to fail” there is also “too small to matter” but if you look at Google’s numbers you can see how that happens. We are basically expecting them to be better than all other monopolies if we expect a level playing field.

Google Disclosure Tax

Some smaller advertisers may get their AdWords campaigns disabled because they offer a freeware trial, where a person has to buy the full version to unlock all of it’s features. Google suggests that these advertisers lead with the disclaimer that a customer may eventually spend a Dollar if they like what they are trying, but sales is a process rather than an event. Sometimes you first have to show proof of value before people are willing to spend money. The problem is that if you are paying for every click & you have to lead with your disclaimer of potential cost for a full upgrade (and so on) then you are not going to be able to compete with a larger brand that does not need to clearly display disclaimers.

The flip side of the above is that Groupon can put their TOS in a foreign language & it is no big deal.

You can only have a strong conversion-oriented page with message clarity if you are a brand, otherwise you need to LEAD WITH THE DISCLAIMERS, which never works if you are paying by the click in an efficient market if you are taxed x% of conversions upfront. Not only are brands given leeway, but Google also allows their own products & services to routinely violate the terms of service they push onto others. The footer on Google Advisor states “The information displayed here was provided directly from the issuer and/or collected from the issuer’s website. Check the details pages for each offer for the data source and update time. Google is not currently being paid for these listings.”

Note the “NOT CURRENTLY.” So everyone else is required to place the entire info harvesting policy next to the form, but Google can have a “google protects you from spam, Learn more” link which they specifically prohibit just linking to as an AdWords advertiser. Where do you see EXPLICITYLY how you can opt out of communications? Look at the table at the bottom of this page.

If you are creative enough you can say that disclosure doesn’t have to kill conversions, but the problem is that sometimes it does. And when it does, it is not like there are many other avenues for you to compete online. In some markets Google owns over 95% of the search marketshare.

The brands always have the flexibility of setting up a mini-site to test if unbranded works better, but the non-branded smaller advertiser doesn’t have the option of using similar textual formatting to their larger competitors.

Google Data Harvesting Tax

Online self-regulation of ad networks is going slow because ad networks prefer to focus on arbitrary technical limitations (that they can later worm around) rather than focusing on the real world impacts of how people are profiled.

Part of the reason Google & Facebook are willing to invest into smearing each other publicly is they are trying to damage each other’s brands so the other is trusted less, so that they may build an asymmetrical information advantage.

The big issue with data harvesting is that one company’s sales funnel or cross-marketing campaign is another’s data harvesting scheme. Just like the tax on disclaimers, this is another area where larger businesses of scale get an economic advantage by being able to get more benefit of the doubt on their approach

Google’s I am Duplicate Content Tax

In the past I highlighted how some webmasters have trouble ranking for their own content due to duplication & how it could even impact their ability to buy ads. Ultimately this leads to some level of fear & indecisiveness amongst many small business owners who may become afraid to have duplicate content anywhere on their sites.

While these businesses are told they don’t add enough value, the biggest players grow through acquisition & duplication:

  • Google runs a product search engine, Boutiques.com & Like.com.
  • Google runs Google video search, Youtube & Vevo.
  • Bankrate runs Bankrate.com, CreditCardGuide.com, CreditCardSearchEngine.com, Interest.com, CreditCards.com, and NationwideCardServices.
  • Expedia runs Expedia.com, Hotwire.com, Hotels.com, TripAdvisor.com, & tons of smaller niche websites

Google Link Buying Penalty Tax

The Panda update made it so that certain businesses did not need to build (m)any links to compete, while some other businesses were required to build many more links to stay competitive.

Around Mother’s Day there was a hit piece in the NYT about how some online flower sites were buying links. Google’s official take was that they did not care about the link buying since those brand rankings (allegedly) did not impact the search results. Today those same link buyers rank #’s 1-4 in Google

Brands rank because Google puts weight on brand-like signals (and they can get away with link buying which smaller competitors would get torched for). Then Google claims that the link buying is irrelevant because it doesn’t influence the search results.

With that sort of circular logic why does Google even care about paid links at all? Why do they arbitrarily police one segment of the web?

On the flip side, there is a suspicion of smaller webmasters which is core to how Google operates (even if the site they are passing judgement on ranks right at the top of the search results for core industry keywords & is linked to organically from top newspapers). Sometimes it is a “shoot first, ask questions later” approach.

Google recently started sending out “unnatural link profile” notification emails. Well if they can detect that the link profile is unnatural then why can’t they automatically discount it? (Didn’t they just say they do that?)

Why, in this instance, do they suggest they can identify the problems & that a business owner should first be penalized for it, then need to fix it before reconsideration, all the while some larger businesses do the same exact things but Google looks the other way because they claim to have already detected it?

Why does one form of detection require penalization while the other doesn’t?

Unstable Business Tax

During the Panda update many small businesses (which did nothing wrong other than participating on the same Internet that the likes of eHow abuses) got torched. They were given abstract qualities where they need to improve on. Over 3 months later they are still in the dark hoping the penalty clock hits zero before the bankruptcy clock does.

When traffic heads south & becomes unreliable a business not only loses that income, but it also loses negotiating leverage with suppliers.

The uncertainty not only retards investment, but may lead to physical, emotional, social & mental health issues. People make better life decisions when they are driven by love than when they are driven by fear.

Localization

The one big counter-trend to the move away from small businesses is Google’s increased emphasis on localization, which allows some small local businesses to participate in search markets that they were simply priced out of in years past.

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Consumer Finance

Google recently unveiled Google Advisor, which ties together the concept of Google Comparison Ads with a better looking interface.

“With Google Advisor, you enter information about what you’re looking for in a mortgage, credit card, CD, or checking and savings account.”

And unlike Google comparison ads, Google is caching these pages

When you add in BeatThatQuote, AdWords, Google affiliate network, Google ads that filter content clicks through to search ads, and AdSense there are at least 6 different ways for Google to sniff data on & monetize the consumer financial product market. And that is if you don’t count branded display ads on YouTube as another option.

Fashion

If you go into the fashion market Google has AdWords, Product Ads, AdSense, the Google affiliate network, Boutiques.com & branded Youtube ads. Like.com, which Google purchased in part to build Boutiques.com, also remains a live website & yet another way for Google to taste the fashion market.

Videos / Movies

While Youtube was originally against displaying ads before videos, now that they have huge marketshare they are going to push front-loaded ads harder. Youtube offers a movie store & provides links to MP3s near music.

Books

In books Google has Product ads, AdWords, AdSense, and their ebook marketplace. As soon as Google opened up their ebook store they began ranking their books highly in the “organic” search results

In addition to ranking those ebook pages well in the organic search results, Google also offers a vertical book filter

Travel

With flight search Google has ran tests where it looked like they were putting affiliate links directly in the “organic” search results. Their most recent flight search result test has an extended option which puts the organic results below the fold.

Google is monetizing the “organic” results on the hotel front, offering hotel price ads, coupons, and suggesting that at some point they might price ads in a cost per booking affiliate model.

Mobile/Local

In any vertical Google can offer local refinement to get a taste of more of the end user data.

On mobile phones Google can leverage click to call, their local “offers” in addition to using geotargeted AdWords ads. They can even use a person looking up directions as a relevancy signal!

According to Google insiders, mobile operating systems can be used to club “partners” over the head with compatibility requirements. And Google has taken advantage of that opportunity well enough that telecoms are complaining about net neutrality issues amongst the software platforms. As the saying goes, bundling is evil, unless it is Google bundling. ;)

General Commerce Integration

In addition to AdWords, AdSense, Product Ads, product search, merchant reviews & their general web index, Google is trying to pull in information from the offline world. They are set to announce a mobile payment system with the ability to include coupons:

For Google, the system could help boost its digital advertising business. The planned payment system would allow Google to offer retailers more data about their customers and help the retailers target ads and discount offers to mobile-device users near their stores, these people said. Google, which hopes to sell ads and discount offers to the local merchants, isn’t expected to get a cut of the transaction fees.

In addition to receiving targeted ads or discount offers, users could manage credit-card accounts and track spending, loyalty points and other things through applications on their smartphones.

Google also invests in technologies that blend ads in content, like VigLink:

tools will allow publishers that opt-in to insert new links automatically into their content, rather them finding the links themselves.

Roup said one of the biggest misconceptions that marketers have begins with Google’s disapproval of the affiliate marketing model. Google does not have an issue with affiliate marketing, but rather, with marketers trying to buy page rank — or links that are paid but try to fool the consumer and appear as unpaid, Roup explains. “Our links are financially motivated, so they don’t convert page rank, but neither do any other affiliate links,” he said.

Google, which claims that you need to disclose any form of paid links in human & machine readable formats now invests in automated paid links, with blurred & inconsistent levels of disclosure. See for yourself.

Other Vertical Projects

Google can make minor design tweaks to their productivity suite and then launch it under any label they like, from project management to wedding planning.

Monetizing Dirty Markets

Google set aside a half-billion Dollars to settle an issue with the US Department of Justice over selling bogus online prescription drug ads. Google was repeatedly warned over the practice, but rode it until they got caught in a sting operation. Likewise, their general “AdWords advertisers selling counterfeit products” was over 50,000 strong by the time Google finally shut them down. And the whole time Google was recommending searchers search for things like “warez” & “serials,” a practice which they finally stopped based on regulatory pressure.

In dirty ad markets where illegal goods & services are pushed Google can (and does) monetize them at the general ad network level until they cause public relations issues, allowing Google to capture a large portion of the reward with minimal risk.

Google can get to know you a bit better & monetize literally anything.

While Google claims ad disclosure is important, they can “accidentally” leave it off when convenient. I just recently saw the following ad served by Google’s DoubleClick. I have no idea what it was promoting though, as I was afraid to click on it.

It’s Not Just Google

Obviously I mentioned Google because they are the most successful search company. However, Google is not the only search company monetizing their organic search results & pushing results below the fold.

Ask monetizes their “organic” results via a variety of cross-promotional results.

Yahoo! has custom “organic” ad units & intends to further monetize search with their Search Direct offering.

Bing, which has remained fairly clean, also offers promotional vertical results in their organic search results.

As search engines take big slices out of their search ecosystems, the gap between winners & losers will only grow.

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The New York Times has an interesting article about Cisco’s roll in the Great Firewall of China + more:

Cisco, the maker of Internet routing gear, customized its technology to help China track members of the Falun Gong spiritual movement, according to a federal lawsuit filed last week by members of the movement.

The lawsuit, which relies on internal sales materials, also said that Cisco had tried to market its equipment to the Chinese government by using inflammatory language that stemmed from the Maoist Cultural Revolution.

And that from a company which promotes itself using the label “the human network.”

And how did Cisco react when the above information became public? “When evidence of the company’s activities in China became public in 2008 through a leaked PowerPoint presentation, Cisco disassociated itself from the marketing materials, stating that they were the work of a low-level employee.”

That is what big brands do. The PR team steps in and says “Oops it was a rogue marketer/trader/monkey/employee who was smoking crack at work and they have now been fired. We were ignorant of our actions but we really care about people. We promise to not (get caught) doing it again!” TM

As Google pushes to make the web more corporate, it is worth taking a step back and considering what that means for “the human network.”

Google likes to pretend that something is good just because it is a big brand, but many big brands have big ad budgets *precisely* because their business model contains hidden costs. For instance: bad faith insurance which takes your money as long as you pay & then disappears the minute something goes wrong.

The legal system granted large corporations more rights than human beings. Not because they are any better, but because they are more corrupt. I bet many Google engineers are disappointed to see Google following suit & taking the easy way out. Spy & personalize. And when in doubt, brand, brand, brand. ;)

With the vast potential of the web should we settle for making it as corrupt (or more corrupt) than the real world?

The following song is brought to you by the Facebook “like” spy button. ;)

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Facebook is a Sleazy Organization

Facebook recently hired the PR firm Burson-Marsteller to plant a Google smear campaign in the media:

Somebody, it seems, hired Burson-Marsteller, a top public-relations firm, to pitch anti-Google stories to newspapers, urging them to investigate claims that Google was invading people’s privacy. Burson even offered to help an influential blogger write a Google-bashing op-ed, which it promised it could place in outlets like The Washington Post, Politico, and The Huffington Post.

And why would Facebook run such a campaign?

Confronted with evidence, a Facebook spokesman last night confirmed that Facebook hired Burson, citing two reasons: First, because it believes Google is doing some things in social networking that raise privacy concerns; second, and perhaps more important, because Facebook resents Google’s attempts to use Facebook data in its own social-networking service.

So now Facebook is trying to position itself as an advocate of consumer privacy rights?

Seriously?

Yes. Yes. Yes.

The bottom line is this: Facebook is a sleazy organization.

Google is a Sleazy Organization

The above Facebook complaint sounds like the same complaints that came from the old media powers which Google used high power lawyers to steamroll over.

How can Facebook be surprised with Google entering a new vertical by not respecting the property rights of existing market participants? It has been Google’s approach to virtually everything:

So far Google has only fell flat on their face once: when they challenged the pharmaceutical corporations:

Google Inc. is close to settling a U.S. criminal investigation into allegations it made hundreds of millions of dollars by accepting ads from online pharmacies that break U.S. laws, according to people familiar with the matter.

The pharma corporations are powerful & are in bed with the government. In spite of repeated felonious behavior in marketing their drugs for illegal off label use (which has literally murdered millions of people) these companies can have the government step in and protect their property rights, by having the government enforce unto others the same laws that these same pharma corps regularly break (literally killing millions of people).

Maybe Google is Philosophically Opposed to Property Rights?

Yes, but only when convenient!

Everyone *but* Google should be open.

While Google tramples on the property rights of everyone else, the first sniff of someone operating anything like they do drives Google into black-ops mode & they conduct a smear campaign. Google launched Buzz without warning, but when their feared Facebook was collecting more personal information than they could Google went into black ops PR mode warning against security issues in Facebook.

Remember that bogus “Bing is copying our results” stuff Google engineers did earlier this year? Google later rolled out their content farm update & many of the sites which were torched by Google are now getting more traffic from Bing. What does that tell us? If Bing was putting *any* significant weight at all on Google rankings & traffic then why didn’t that carry any weight when Google torched a bunch of websites?

Here is the Google traffic profile for a site that was torched by Panda

And that same website’s Bing traffic

Google traffic fell through the floor, while Bing traffic kept climbing. Some sites that were hit by Panda are getting more visits from Bing or Yahoo! Search than from Google.

Conclusion? Once again Google distorts media to promote itself & its business interests, while bogusly smearing competitors with fabricated trash.

Part of why Microsoft’s search marketshare is less than Google’s is that Microsoft is willing to block sleazy traffic partners, unlike Google. But Google’s treatment of their partners is inconsistent. Using “inside voices” Googlers openly explain in plain English how they treat their partners: “we are using compatibility as a club to make them do things we want” – Google’s Dan Morrill.

Big Companies Hate Honest Market Innovation

Large companies are largely counter to honest innovation in the marketplace. They are comfortable atop the perch and want to lock down innovation to maintain their current dominance.

Sure the big banks welcomed CDOs, MERS, etc. … but those were welcomed precisely because they were part of an elaborate scheme of dishonesty and fraud. But the same society which brings us CDOs built on fraud (that ultimately cost you your job, your house, your retirement savings, the value of the currency, etc.) is also a society where dirty corporate whores push to force smaller market competitors to be entirely transparent.

This stuff is literally everywhere. Consider this: Major Record Labels Forced to Pay $45M USD for Pirating Music. Once again, property rights are only important when they are forcing their own rights, but they are willing to walk on the rights of others. Consider the actions of MarkMonitor, yet another seedy Google partner:

I have for years been telling you even if you have no interest in the new gTLD’s you had to pay close attention to the process as whatever rules come out of that process will be attempted to be applied to all existing TLD’s including .com, .net and .org.

This is especially troubling because as you know the new gTLD process has not even been approved yet since the .Net contract is up for renewal, trademark groups are going to push for this new system to take away domains, be imposed on .net

The very domain name of the front organization that is pushing to remove domain privacy is registered using a private registration. ipconstituency.org uses Domain Discreet!

Read this piece on Google & Skyhook and ask yourself if Google is actually open & is promoting or suppressing market innovation.

Small Businesses Typically Can’t Act Sleazy

Try getting customer service from Google & you will quickly find yourself in a hall of mirrors. Compare that to the customer service you get from a small company. Sure some small companies may decide they have no interest in supporting freetards, but if you are actually a paying customer you will usually be treated well by small companies because word of mouth marketing is the most important lead channel for many small businesses.

When a consumer or small business owner gets caught (acting like a big business, and) doing something illegal they go to jail. When a big business repeatedly commits serious crimes the wost thing that could possibly happen is a shake up of management. A company has no soul. A corporation can’t go to jail.

This is precisely why Google’s corporate-first approach to relevancy is bad.

Soon after the Facebook/Google story broke a friend of mine told me they put “facebook smear of google” in Google & they got:

  • Image result = Globe and Mail
  • Number one result = Huffington Post
  • Number two result = TechCrunch (top websites are both AOL properties)
  • Number three result = Get more results from the past 24 hours
  • Number four result = The Daily Beast – better known as the site that broke the story.
  • All other results are a retelling and mashup of the original.

The big publishers complained that smaller sites were stealing their stories. Google made secret arrangements with the Online Publishers Association & now the big companies get to rank at the top of the search results for stories that they stole from smaller outlets.

While small players are desperately fighting against each other for scraps off the table, the pawns have been driven out of the search ecosystem.

All webmasters are equal but some webmasters brands are more equal than others

Society hierarchy has been restored.

Don’t be evil, just be corporate.

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Hit By Panda

In a recent comment someone shared the fate of Patrick Jordan, owner of justanotheripadblog.com.

Since the Panda update happened, some scraper websites (monetized by Google AdSense) have started outranking Patrick for his own content.

Panda = No AdWords Soup for You

Distraught with the decline in traffic, Patrick turned to AdWords to try to bridge the gap and drive some revenues.

Unfortunately, Google wouldn’t let him do that either:

I asked on what grounds he had decided that my site does not produce original content. His answer was that he had typed a sentence into Google and found it contained at many sites around the web. Seriously, I made a lengthy strong case for my site’s record of having 100% original content and he typed one sentence into a Google search.

I emailed back and asked him to be specific about his search. This was his reply:

“An example of a specific sentence that appears in multiple websites is “a superb app for iPad and iPhone that lets you quickly and easily transfer photos and videos between iOS devices and computers – has been updated this week, to Version 2.3.”

Google Rolls Out the Red Rug (for AdSense Scrapers)

Think about how perverse this is:

  • Google algorithmically penalizes your site
  • Google won’t say why it is penalized, other than some abstract notion of “quality”
  • Google offers no timetable on when things can improve, but suggests you keep spending increasing sums of capital to increase “quality”
  • Google pays scraper sites to steal your content & wrap it in AdSense ads
  • Google ranks the stolen content above your site (so the content has plenty of “quality” but it is just not “quality” on your website)
  • Google ignores your spam reports & DMCA notifications about how they are paying people to steal your content
  • Google tells you that you can’t even buy AdWords ads, because you are now duplicate content for your own content!

Contributory Copyright Infringement

So now we have Google telling advertisers “I won’t even take your money” precisely because Google is paying people to steal their content. Small publishers likely don’t have the capital needed to sue Google, but clearly what Google is doing here *is* flagrant, systematic, abusive, and illegal (contributory copyright infringement).

One of Google’s larger enemies may want to fund some sort of class-action lawsuit. Google deserves far more of a black eye than they have got in the press from the embarrassment that is the Panda update.

Um, Could You Please Help Me Out a Bit Here Google?

Patrick Jordan begged Google for help in March. In response they sent him this:

Yet Another Webmaster Loses Faith (& Trust) in Google

Since Google has ignored him (for months), Patrick felt he had to rebrand & redirect his old website to a new iPad website. Google made (a rather long and egregious series of) mistakes. And he had to pay the price for it, because Google is a monopoly that doesn’t give a crap about how destructive their business is on the ecosystem, so long as it increases their profits.

Again I ask, how long does Google leave this mess in place before publishers broadly take a more adversarial approach to publishing?

Now that Google is aware that the panda fallout is costing THEM money, it will likely get cleared up quickly. I suspect to see an update within the next couple weeks at most. And it would happen even quicker if the press actually did its job. ;)

Update: Matt Cutts stated that the site wasn’t hit by Panda here, so that wasn’t what caused this. However that still means that Google has to work on better highlighting original content sources over the scrapers, stop funding the scrapers via AdSense, and improve the internal policies which state that you can’t buy ads if a scraper outranks you for your own content!

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