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Another Paid Links Service Disguised As Hit Counter  (View post)

Michael Martinez [PersonRank 5]

Wednesday, February 6, 2008
12 years ago3,496 views

Users are getting lower quality results in Google because Google is practicing Web Apartheid. Pages in Google's Supplemental Results Index that are more relevant to user queries are shown BELOW pages in Google's Main Web Index that are less relevant to user queries.

Paid links are not the problem with Google.

Google's refusal to show the most relevant results first is the problem with Google.

Henning [PersonRank 3]

12 years ago #

Domain-Redirectors do that, too: For example
- smartdots .com
- cydots .com
- joynic .com
- duonic .com
(They all look remarkably similar, so I suspect the same people behind them)
integrate links to their own services into the pages used for domain cloaking.

I set up an example: blogoscoped.com.au.ms – below the 100% iframe there are links that clearly are against Googles webmaster guidelines (invisible to the normal user)...

Henning [PersonRank 3]

12 years ago #

Doh! I'm 4 minutes late. "do that" in the first sentence refers to the original blog post of course, not to the comment above.

Armageddon [PersonRank 0]

12 years ago #

Was wondering how widespread the problem is (or, put another way, how much money is at stake with a scam like this). I'm curious about the loudness of the thud if and when these guys hit the turf, but really more curious about what's at stake in general, and how widespread and successful this technique might be.

Turns out that in addition to the bogus text links, the counter's "handy installation code" also includes links back to amazingcounters.com. I'm assuming that most of the links to amazingcounters.com are, in fact, attributable to instances of their free counter on unwitting sites.

Yahoo reports 247,000 links to amazingcounters.com. Checking about 20 of them at random, most indeed include both the link to amazingcounters.com, and a spam text link. Hardly a complete statistical analysis, but I'm betting that the sample I took is pretty representative, and that these guys are responsible for well over 200K spam links (unless, for some odd reason, Yahoo is preferring these links over some other "more legitmate" links; which seems doubtful)..

I'm hardly a spam expert, but 200K doesn't really seem like a huge number. However, in looking at the 20 examples, a large percentage of them seemed to go to these coupon sites – which appear to be a whole network of related sites. So the effect is pretty concentrated.

When you look at the beneficiaries of these links, they don't seem to have any real advantages, on the surface, to their competitors. In fact, in many ways, they seem inferior to sites that rank well below them. I doubt they'd rank anywhere near the top if a group of users were asked to rank them based on features, function, and aesthetics. Yet in many cases, multiple related sites from this network occupy many of the top 10 spots.

So it does seem that this technique, as obvious and dated as it sounds, can in fact still succeed in dominating a profitable niche.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

> I'm hardly a spam expert, but 200K doesn't really
> seem like a huge number.

I think that depends on how widespread the 200K backlinks are. If it's only one domain or a very limited set of domains containing the backlinks, it may be more easily ignored by search engines – but if it's a widespread link network of seemingly or actual unrelated domains, I suppose it's harder to automatically identify as it looks more natural.

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