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Thursday, February 12th, 2004

AdSense Nonsense

In today’s feature article, we alluded to a scandal brewing around Google and, like most things Google, this is a big one. Google is having problems surrounding its AdSense program. AdSense is one of the most interesting distribution methods and those problems may brew over into a fraud investigation by the Federal Trade Commission! There is a lot of information to share about this story, more than we have room for in this section. Here’s the information directly from the (US) National Anti-Spam Registry website: Read more…

Spam makes lots of people angry. Lots of spam makes certain people too angry to control themselves as was found by a Victoria company earlier this week. Douglas Mackay, president of DM Contact Management was repeatedly threatened by a man in southern California who had received one too many penis enlargement spam emails, and mistakenly targeted DM Contact Management as the senders. Since the spring time, Douglas Mackay has received strange and threatening emails from Charles Booher, a 44 year old computer programmer in Sunnyvale California. Booher was frustrated by the same level of spam we are all frustrated by except Booher foolishly decided to try to scare Mackay’s company into making the spam stop. Problem is, Mackay’s company never sent the offending emails in the first place. Booher said he would, torture Mackay with an ice pick, deliver an envelope full of anthrax spores to his office and disable him with a bullet to the knee-caps. He was arrested earlier this week and could face up to five years in jail and a $250,000 fine. According to the Globe and Mail newspaper, “…News accounts say that Mr. Booker is a survivor of testicular cancer, and therefore found repeated messages dealing with penile extension ‘frustrating.'”.

Tuesday, November 25th, 2003

Goading us into Google-Bashing

Ross just received a call from another SEO asking why we haven’t publically bashed Google for their most recent ranking weirdness. In reality, I think we’ve taken it to Google several times in the past year and rightly so. Google has a tremendous impact on the world of search and the availability of information to the general public. On a business persective, companies can be made and broken based on their Google ranking. This is important and we can’t forget that every business has an impact on real people’s lives. I think Google has a responsibility to live up to but I have no idea exactly how they should live up to it. More warning perhaps.

I think I will start taking pot-shots in print at Google’s expense and here’s the first. Google’s rankings were thrown totally out of whack last week with the oddest update we’ve ever seen. SPAM and totally unrelated sites ending up with the top rankings under specific keyword phrases. Sites that had been placing in the Top10 for months or even years suddenly gone from the listings… ARG. This update has been named the Florida update and, in a strange way, that figures. We’ve suspected the math in Florida to be sort of whacky for a couple of years now… :)

Wednesday, November 19th, 2003

Google's Listings Gone Buggy

Something big is happening at Google but we’re not sure what it is. What we do know is that since a major update of Google’s database started on Friday night, the search returns have been extremely buggy with long-term Top10 pages dropping from existence, recorded back links decreasing or disappearing for many sites, and more than the usual amount of spam appearing in the Top10. We have also noted the disapperence of one their major servers (

Google has been delivering questionable returns for several months now with spam and duplicate listings often making it into the Top10. The last time their listings have been this upset was in October 2002 when Google tried introducing Blog entries and news releases into its general listings. Within two weeks, the listings had been restored to a shakey state of “normal” but that marked the beginning of strange and often spammy entries into the Top10. This month’s update is being referred to in the SEO community as the “Florida Update” and has a lot of SEO practicioners scratching their heads. Our current advise is to wait it out for at least two weeks and see what Google does next.

Wednesday, November 12th, 2003

Much A-Google About Spamming

Recently we have received a great deal of mail on the subject of SEO Spam, especially as it relates to Google. It seems lots of folk are complaining about the quality of the SERPs (search engine returns pages) at Google and the fact that many (not all) of the Top10 found at Google seem to have gotten there by using Spam tactics. We are getting a number of inquiries asking what a webmaster should do when they find their site(s) pushed out of the Top20 by sites using Spam and if SEOs should start using Spammy techniques on their client’s websites. These questions have raised a number of important ethical and practical discussions amongst the staff here and has generated more than one debate at our quarterly staff/client parties. At the risk of generating even more email, here are some of my thoughts on the issue. Read more…

For the past six months, Google has been rewarding several websites using techniques that are considered spamming. We constantly see hidden text, keyword stuffing, cloaking and false-link networks used as ranking tools by websites that really shouldn’t be ranking in the Top10. Read more…

Wednesday, October 1st, 2003

PageRank is Sick… Is Google Broken?

For the past six months we have been telling clients that something very strange is happening with Google. From the way they have measured back links to the amount of SPAM that has appeared in the Top10, Google has not performed to its previous standard of excellence for almost a year. Now, with the intensity of public scrutiny surrounding Google heating up, folks are beginning to talk about Google’s problems as well as IPO rumours and its near monopolistic hold on the business of search. Read more…

One of the oldest search tools on the web has recently introduced a sleazy marketing campaign targeting other search engine’s clients. Lycos, owned by Madrid based TerraLycos, is using GATOR advertising to display advertisments for their free email system when users (who’ve either downloaded or been infected with GATOR software) go to competitor’s sites. Read more…