Posts Tagged ‘Internet Advertising’

Web SPAM – Should We All Snitch For Google?

To snitch or not to snitch, that is the question.

Should we report our competition or sites we come across for Web SPAM, or is it Taboo? Does it make you a snitch or a rat? Is it OK to publicly point it out but not in a private report?

I think everyone would have a somewhat different opinion of what the Utopian Web would be like. Ask 100 people the question, “What is Web SPAM?” and see how many answers you get. Some will tell you it’s the ocean of scraper sites that steal data for content so they can run ads. Others say it’s the numerous sites that come up top 10 for unrelated content or that come up top ten but have little or no content, just a big funnel towards AdSense. Just like we won’t all agree on that question we also don’t agree on how to police the web and whose job it is to fight webspam. This is another example of  how SEO and search mirrors politics.

What are SPAM reports?

Matt Cutts recently asked for SPAM reports but what are they? Are they reports that show people buying links? Is Web SPAM really sites that buy or sell links? Maybe indirectly, because people buying links can, in many cases, have their sites rank higher than those that don’t. I’m sure by now you have heard some stories about what kind of links you can buy for the price of a MacBook Air 🙂

SPAM is not just those buying links and in many cases a purchased link should not be considered a bad thing, in my opinion. I’m sure there are a lot of people who paid to be in Best of the Web that don’t actually use the site or expect others to, they just wanted the link.

Should content scraping and 100% pure funnel to AdSense type SPAM sites be included and addressed in SPAM reports too? Is Google’s AdSense partly responsible for creating the Web SPAM they claim they want to get rid of?

Can the community police itself?

If Microsoft’s Bing Team and Google’s Web SPAM team listen then I think so. When the MacBook issue hit TechCrunch the pages that may have benefited were pulled down (as far as I know), and I think this can be credited to the web community and peer pressure, partly. Score one for the community. Now there is a ton of talk about Mahalo and SPAM. Some claim that something is being done, others say no. I like to think that Google has acted as Big Daddy and contacted Mahalo and we are in a holding pattern, just waiting to see the response. This is speculation on my part and many will argue that this isn’t fair because their little $500 per month MFA site would just get burned down without warning if they violated the terms of service. Let’s not be naive, you aren’t Mahalo, you don’t count and the big boys always play by different rules. That said, we do expect after numerous warnings have not been addressed that action will be taken. If not, the community will not be capable of policing itself. Bing and Google must listen and take action for that to work. If they don’t, the top 10 search positions for all but the smallest niche markets will eventually be filled with corporate built, Made-For-Adsense or advertising websites. Don’t get me wrong, not all MFA sites are SPAM. There are some bright people building useful sites and their original intention was to make money from AdSense or other ads; they chose to do it by providing “real” content.

Let me know, should we snitch publicly, privately, or not at all? Tell me what you consider to be the worst type of Web SPAM or at least what your definition is.

—David Blizzard

Online Advertising in 2009

For many industries, things are going to get worse in  the first half of 2009, but that might not be all bad. Companies will have to get leaner and meaner which could mean more competition and subsequently more innovation and maybe some better prices.  Getting leaner means controlling cash flow and one of the areas that will see the largest paradigm shift is advertising. Many business owners that we have met recently are finding it difficult to justify bloated budgets for traditional print, radio, and television advertising in these uncertain economic times.

One of the questions that we get most often is, “How can I get my message to my target as cheaply as possible?”.  We typically have to answer the question by asking a series of questions designed to figure out what they are looking for, who are they targeting, and, of course, what is their budget. The answers to these questions will dictate a plan of action that will most likely involve online advertising. Some form of advertising will always be needed to reach target audiences, but the smart money is advertising online. Why? Because it is rapid, measurable, and affordable. Shifting dollars from traditional ad budgets to online advertising is like taking dollars to Mexico ten years ago; you would have some serious purchasing power.

Does this mean that print, radio, and TV are dead? Far from it, but they are changing. Google has made a foray into traditional advertising by creating the infrastructure for ad creation and campaign management right in your Google Adwords account. Take , for example Google TV ads. Using the same Adwords interface that you use for your pay-per-click campaign you can schedule a TV ad to run literally within minutes. Using the Google Ad Creation marketplace you can request bids on your project from Specialists in Production, Script Writing, Video Editing, and Voiceovers. These are powerful tools that simply were not available to small business owners before, and can be used to reduce advertising costs and make companies more competitive.

Good Luck!

Read Charles Hugh Smith’s article The Web Dismantles Old Media.