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Apparently it wasn't enough that Jason kept snubbing his nose at Google with the other forms of Mahalo spam, now he has started selling links from there as well.
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from Skitzzo 1629 Days ago #
Votes: 3

I think Jason's just trying to see how many Google guidelines he can break with one site that still ranks & earns them money.

I must say, he's collected quite a few!



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from Sebastian 1629 Days ago #
Votes: 2

When I launch a huge amount of Webspam, I get banned at Google.

If I decide to clean-up my stuff, then file a reinclusion request, maybe my site will reappear on the SERPs. Perhaps not. Depends.

If so, I better don't max out the guidelines with this site any more, because as a notorious spammer Google won't relist me again, regardless how many reconsideration pleas I submit.

So why is persistent and obviously intentional spam from Mahalo any different from mere mortal spam? I don't get it.








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from NickWilsdon 1628 Days ago #
Votes: 2

Like you said Sebastian, there is definitely special treatment here for Mahalo. I'm guessing it's to do with Google's relationship with the Silicon Valley start-up/VC community. The Silicon Valley community, including Google themselves view themselves as the pioneers of the web (rightly or wrongly, that's another question)

People talk about BMW as a case example, but they are a mainstream business, abeit a very large one. Has there ever been a case of Google punishing one of their peers in the Silicon Valley crowd?



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from mvandemar 1628 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Nick, there have been times it has been speculated about. For instance, how is this for a bit of irony?


http://searchengineland.com/search-spam-fight-mahalo-1-squidoo-0-11671



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from NickWilsdon 1628 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Ah yes I forgot about Squidoo but Seth's from Seattle - plus he's a confessed marketer. As we know, that's like painting a large 'kick me' sign on your back for Google. He's not one of the chosen using the Internet to progress the world - he's concerned with earthly pleasures like profit. ;-)



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from MattCutts 1628 Days ago #
Votes: -1

mvandemar, the site you mention is whatsyourconundrum.com, but that site is hosted on ns1.mahalo.com (the same nameserver as Mahalo). That makes it a cross-link, but what's the evidence that it's a paid link?



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from NickWilsdon 1628 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Much though I hate to defend Mahalo, it looks like Matt is right

Is it safe sign in to http://www.whatsyourconundrum.com/ with my Mahalo username and pasword through thier applicable sign in windows?

Yes it is safe and necessary. The only way to be sure that your Mahalo account and your ConundrumLand accounts are linked is to sign in with your Mahalo account. You need these to be linked so you can get the best answer tip money applied to your Mahalo account if you were to receive a best answer over there in ConundrumLand.

Damn, unless someone finds some more links I'm going to have to put my pitchfork and torch away for the evening...



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from MattCutts 1628 Days ago #
Votes: 0

"Damn, unless someone finds some more links I'm going to have to put my pitchfork and torch away for the evening..."


Pitchforks and torches may be fun, but I try to avoid getting caught up in any fervor.



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from mvandemar 1628 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Here ya go, and if you need more research it will probably have to wait:


http://smackdown.blogsblogsblogs.com/2010/03/13/the-mahalo-paid-link-evidence-trail/


plus he's a confessed marketer. As we know, that's like painting a large 'kick me' sign on your back for Google.


Remember those words as you read the post Nick. :)



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from NickWilsdon 1628 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Pitchforks and torches may be fun, but I try to avoid getting caught up in any fervor.

@Matt

No fervor here - I honestly don't like the Mahalo format. Seriously, when you read their page for shoes (picked randomly) do you get the feeling some valuable and original content is being added to the web? It will be a sad day when Mahalo gains enough authority to pull all this rubbish up in the SERPs.


For all the academic criticism, at least I can respect Wikipedia for their self-imposed editorial standards and effort. Their page on shoes looks like it adds some value to the topic for a user. You don't get that dirty feeling they are making an MFA play.


Mahalo is a poor content/scraping move from the 2003 playbook, I don't understand why it's doing so well in 2010. I thought we'd actually moved on from all that. Mahalo's example shows that there is still plenty of money in churning out low quality junk pages.




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from NickWilsdon 1628 Days ago #
Votes: 0

@mvandemar

Good detective work there Michael. You're right, the post announcing the client deal was a particularly subtle touch on Jason's part.



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from Jill 1627 Days ago #
Votes: 0

@mvandemar...from your article, which Nick linked to above:

Let’s ignore, for the moment anyways, that for absolutely any other website on the internet with the evidence that I presented the process would most likely entail the webmaster proving their innocence rather than the person reporting the paid link proving that they are guilty, and that they would have to do so after they actually got banned.

Really? Do you know first hand of sites being banned for selling paid links? I was under the impression that the worst that happens is that the paid links don't pass PageRank or anchor text.

In which case, if that's true, how do you know that the Mahalo paid links (if they are that) are passing PageRank. Or if they are, they will continue to do so?



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from NickWilsdon 1627 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I was under the impression that the worst that happens is that the paid links don't pass PageRank or anchor text

I was under a different impression, especially after Danny's infamous article, Yes Virginia Google Will Hurt Your Site For Selling Links - but I don't have first hand evidence.



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from mvandemar 1627 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I was under the impression that the worst that happens is that the paid links don't pass PageRank or anchor text.

Jill, that is an example of pure speculation that has been repeated often enough that you will find people accept it as fact. Google clarified their position on the issue several years ago:

Buying or selling links that pass PageRank is in violation of Google's webmaster guidelines and can negatively impact a site's ranking in search results.

The bottom line is that if I site gets penalized, either in the form of losing rankings, losing PageRank, or disappears from the index altogether (banned),in most cases Google will never tell the webmaster why. The absolute best that 99% of the webmasters can hope for is that they post the issue on Google Groups, the people there take their best shot at guessing what the problem was, the webmaster makes changes based on those guesses, submits a reconsideration request, and prays something happens. Based on that, no, I cannot definitively point to a site that was banned that paid links was the issue. Also, maybe I should have used penalized instead of banned, since that's an option (presumably) for lesser or first time offenders. However...Matt Cutts very specifically considers paid links a rather grievous form of link spam, and spam can and does result in bannings. He even mentions it by name in his latest call for link spam reports:

we’d like to ask for linkspam reports from you. If you’d like to tell us about web sites that appear to be using spammy links (e.g. paid links that pass PageRank, blog spammers, guestbook spammers, etc.)

Obviously we, as mere mortal webmasters, cannot know if Google has decided to pass PageRank through a particular sites links (although we can take educated guesses with sites that are gaining rankings with only internal linkage, such as Mahalo does in many cases). Therefore what Matt must mean is links that omit the nofollow attribute, such as the ones in this discussion.



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from mvandemar 1627 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Btw, I had to play with that comment because the first time I referred to a site getting sp@nked, and got this message:

Using bad language, comment arrested.

C'mon now, that's just silly. :P



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from Jill 1627 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Buying or selling links that pass PageRank is in violation of Google's webmaster guidelines and can negatively impact a site's ranking in search results.

Yes, of course Google says that.

But Michael, you know as well as I know that Google's propaganda doesn't always come with 100% truthiness. Which is why I (and I thought you) always take it with a grain of salt.

I've just never seen any page get banned or penalized--more than the look of a penalty via the fairly useless Google toolbar.

For instance, SearchEngineRoundtable has been (openly) selling links for years and as far as I know, they still show up nicely in Google for their targeted keyword phrases.

So perhaps Google is in fact giving the same treatment to Mahalo as they are to any other page that sells links?  I don't know, of course, I just see a huge leaping to conclusion here.

What Google says it will do and what it in fact does, has never been one and the same, imo.




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from mvandemar 1627 Days ago #
Votes: 0

But Michael, you know as well as I know that Google's propaganda doesn't always come with 100% truthiness. Which is why I (and I thought you) always take it with a grain of salt.

Jill, I have to say, the fact that you appear to be suggesting that, even though Google straight out says they will hurt you for doing what they consider spamming, what you actually believe is that it's untrue, and Google is lying to us in that secretly they are big softies that will let the vast majority of people get away with violating their guidelines, strikes me as a tad bit bizarre to say the least.

Text-link-ads.com got hit with a rather hard penalty, and they didn't even sell text links off of their site, just brokered deals. MasterNewMedia.org is another site that got hit hard, they removed their paid links and submitted a reconsideration request and quickly got their rankings back. When John Chow got penalized it was theorized that it was due to his contests, but he too was selling links, and he now nofollows those links and has improved his rankings. Again, we cannot know 100% what the exact cause was, at least not without a chance leaked internal memo or kidnapping Matt and pumping him full of sodium pentothal (not suggesting, just saying), but it has a decent chance of being related, or at least factored in.



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from Jill 1627 Days ago #
Votes: 2

Jill, I have to say, the fact that you appear to be suggesting that, even though Google straight out says they will hurt you for doing what they consider spamming, what you actually believe is that it's untrue, and Google is lying to us in that secretly they are big softies that will let the vast majority of people get away with violating their guidelines, strikes me as a tad bit bizarre to say the least.


Seriously? I still see so much spam (in the sense that it violates the "guidelines") in Google that has been there for many, many years. Most of which I'm pretty sure has been reported multiple times.

I do, in fact, believe that they Google says one thing, but does another a good portion of the time.

The guidelines are just that, guidelines. They're not rules. They're not laws. You can read them and live by them if you want to, but if you don't, there's a good chance nothing will happen. The Google guidelines are the ideal for Google. If they were a perfect engine, then anything SEO tactics outside of their guidelines wouldn't work.

Fact is they're not a perfect engine, and tons of tactics outside of their guidelines works and will continue to work for  years.

On top of it, they want to automate and not hand edit their results. So when they do find egregious acts of search engine deception, they attempt to build it into their system. But that can take a long time--to--never to happen.

Am I saying people should spam Google? Of course not. If you do, you do it at your own risk which most smart search engine spammers know. But I also know that spam does and can still work for quite awhile.

But paid links are not spam. They're not deceptive, they're simply advertising.

Am I saying people should buy links? Sure if they want to and they think they'll receive a positive ROI for doing so. Just as they should buy Google Adwords if it brings a positive ROI to their business. If Google didn't exist, nobody would be putting the nofollow attribute on their ads, so in my opinion, it's completely unnecessary to add that attribute.

That said, the FTC does have rules about ad disclosure which are in fact laws I believe (as opposed to guidelines). What Mahalo is doing may very well violate those laws. In order not to get in trouble with REAL laws, it is probably a good idea for anyone who is selling links to mark them as "sponsored" for this reason. Then it's up to Google to decide what to do with them from there.

If they actually penalized sites for accepting advertising, surely Google would be in huge trouble with the laws that have to do with restricting trade (or something like that...don't know what they are, but know there are some out there). Which is why they're smart enough to simply not pass any link juice from sponsored links rather than penalize the sites. As an advertising medium themselves, the last thing Google wants to do is tell other that they can't also be an advertising medium. That would be business suicide. But they do have a right to disallow certain websites from their database who use their trademarked property--PageRank--as a measurement for how much a link will cost. I believe that the examples you mentioned in your comment were likely to be doing just that. Selling links based on PageRank.




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