August 26, 2007

Stupid in America

John Stossel did a 20/20 special called Stupid in America (link goes to Google Video). If you have kids in public school, watch it, and pay attention to your child's education.

May 16, 2007


I really hate the iGoogle page. It's ugly, it looks like a portal and the name sucks beyond belief.

Google, your clean look is good. Stick with it. Yahoo!'s look has always sucked... don't emulate it.

July 21, 2006

Matt Cutts Detects Cloakers

Matt says you can detect cloaked pages by using Google's translation proxy. can use the translation proxy to check for cloaking...

I say you can only do that if the cloaker is a BIG FAT IDIOT. Anybody who includes any translation proxies in their list of search engine spider IP addresses is a moron.

July 13, 2006

Microsoft's Strider Search Defender

Microsoft is throwing their hat into the ring in the spam detection/elimination game. They have come up with a system of automated spam detection based on crunching through various popular open blogs, guestbooks and other spam honeypots.

They have a program that uses an actual browser to load web pages, in an effort to detect obfuscated JavaScript redirections. They use redirection as a spamminess indicator. A second indicator, which they call cloaking (although it doesn't meet even a loose definition of search engine cloaking), is also evaluated. Their definition of cloaking is more akin to using JavaScript to rewrite the contents of a page, or possibly using hidden divs, etc.

It's a nice effort, Microsoft, but I'd say you have a ways to go to catch truly sophisticated spammers. I do like the domain/link relationship analysis you are doing, though. That is a step in the right direction. Check out this analysis:
Case Study #2: Analysis of Blog4ever Spammers

Given 5,505 blog4ever URLs collected by the spam hunter, the URL Tracer identified 5,363 of them that fetched Google AdSense ads from All of them included the client ID "ca-pub-6785940031399100" in the ads-fetching URLs and are most likely owned by the same spammer.

Can you imagine setting up over 5 thousand splogs and using the same Adsense ID for all of them? That's hilarious. That guy deserves to get caught.

This comment sort of peeves me off, though:
Similarly, advertisement syndicators can detect potential spammers by monitoring those customers who serve ads on a huge number of different URLs through a single account because it is highly unlikely that anyone can generate quality content at that scale.

That is an invalid assumption. There are plenty of Web 2.0 startups that are running huge numbers of URLs with Adsense and other advertisement syndication services that fit that profile.

July 3, 2006

Do Some Evil

Dr. EvilJaimie Sirovich expounds about Google's headhunting practices in Google Does Evil. It's nice to know that I'm not the only SEO frustrated with Google's various "do no evil" hyprocracies.

June 30, 2006

Is Google News Crazy?

I was a bit bored this afternoon so I decided to check Google News to see what was going on in the world. Have I been surrepticiously transported to an alternate universe? The headlines are a bit weird and some of the sources leave something to be desired:
Singing Japan PM tours Graceland

Humanitarian crisis looms in Gaza
Tehran Times - 1 hour ago

Google News is Crazy

So we have a rockabilly PM and islamo-fascist propaganda as the main stories on Google News. I need a drink.

June 17, 2006

What's Good For the NYT is Good for the Gander

So the New York Times is cloaking. And that's OK with Google.

But when Joe Schmoe wants to cloak, and Googlebot finds out, then it's ban time, baby!

Matt Cutts says IP Cloaking is fine, but just don't do anything special for Googlebot:
So IP delivery is fine, but don't do anything special for Googlebot. Just treat it like a typical user visiting the site.

To be fair, Matt was talking about geolocation techniques there (that wasn't mentioned at the Search Engine Roundtable article and it should have been.

However, I'd like to have Matt Cutts' explanation as to why the New York Times can treat Googlebot as a paid subscriber (and not just any user). Did Googlebot buy a subscription? They are obviously cloaking their content there... cloaking content which is "optimized for the paying subscriber".

May 20, 2006

Nasty Rumors

Randfish is relating some nasty rumors that Yahoo! is penalizing sites that run Adsense ads.

Frankly, I think this would be a good way for Yahoo! to reduce the spam in their index.

April 25, 2006

Don't Be Evil

Thanks to Google Blogoscoped for pointing out Don't Be Evil, which is a site devoted to outing evil business practices -- particularly Google's, it seems.

There is even a graphically-oriented protest being made here decrying Google's censorship policies in China. They have some anti-Google-censorship signs and you can submit your own.

April 12, 2006

Google Angers SEMs With 1000% Increases in Adwords Minimum Bids

A very long thread over at tells the story about search engine marketers upset about huge increases in minimum bid amounts for Adwords keywords.

The culprit appears to be an algo change in the way the quality score of the landing page is handled in figuring the minimum bid price. SEMs are reporting increases such as $0.05 keyword going up to $5.00 an $0.10 going to $10.00. Their keywords are being disabled until they raise their bid prices.

Meanwhile, Adsense publishers are not reporting significant increases in the amounts they are being paid.

It seems to me that this is an orchestrated attempt to put the Adsense Arbitrage strategy out of business. Unfortunately, it may also have the effect of putting many campaigns out of the reach of the average business person.

As a side note, some people are theorizing that Google Analytics is playing a role in the increase. Perhaps Google is calculating the the profit made from each conversion and increasing the ad rates in order to take a bigger slice of the pie.

One can only wonder if the same keyword minimum bid prices are being passed on to advertisers like EBay and Amazon. I must add that the landing pages for EBay and Amazon Adwords ads are mostly irrelevent to the vast majority of the keywords for which they appear, and therefore deserve very low quality scores.