John Andrews is a Competitive Webmaster and Search Engine Optimization Consultant in Seattle, Washington. This is John Andrews blog on issues of interest to the SEO community and competitive webmasters. Want to know more?

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April 26th, 2009 by john andrews

Getting some Google Love…dot com.

Google recently proclaimed that the Internet had become “a cesspool” and that Big Brands were the answer to cleaning up that Internet cesspool. We’ve since then seen the Google search engine favor brands over other sites, even when the branded sites didn’t appear to qualify for top rankings. Google apparently promotes them because they are big brands, and because Google thinks those brands represent the quality crap in the cesspool.

Now America Online, a Big Brand, is taking advantage of that favoritism, by publishing tons of junk on love.com that Google is indexing and presenting in the search results. And AOL is not the only one.. there are others doing the same thing — publishing page after page of junk results in an apparent attempt to simply grab search market share for advertising (Google ads, no doubt).

Take a look at what Google CEO Eric Schmidt seems to think is quality content worthy of being indexed by Google, and served up in search results:

  • search Google for site:love.com
  • see list of thousands of subdomains on every topic imaginable (including outrageous content on hamster-sex, dog-sex, etc)
  • click thru to see page after page of simple excerpts of other content, patchd together to make new pages

AOL has apparently massively spammed Google, taking advantage of the leniency Google has granted them as a “trusted brand”. They have obviously created their rehashed content along SEO guidelines, keeping just enough uniqueness to qualify according to the Google algorithm. Page titles are all “XXX.love.com | All Things XXX” and the page content is nothing but a mashup of content published elsewhere on the web. According to Techcrunch, the content is all from an automated generation system: “All of this is automated and requires very little human involvement.

There is no way Google can  accept this, but what else can they do in the short term? I can only imagine how miserable it must feel to be a Google employee for the next few weeks while everyone looks at this junk and no one does anything about it because of the Google-Brand politics.

I’m sure it will take some time for Google and AOL to discuss the matter and reach some consensus, since they are trusted partners and all. If it were a small outfit doing this, Google would just drop them from the index. This has got to hurt morale in the Googleplex… I know how bad I would feel if my CEO started allowing spammy junk like this with an excuse that it was trusted branded content, safer and better for users.

I wonder what excuse we’ll ultimately here from AOL. It was an error? It was a rogue SEO they didn’t know about? Or maybe it’s “in beta” and quality will improve over time?

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April 25th, 2009 by john andrews

Guilty! Reverse Domain Name Hijacking… only $5,000 ?

According to DomainNameNews today, a company has been found guilty of a Reverse Domain Name Hijack attempt, which carries a fine of $5,000. The report says this is the first time a company has been found guilty of that charge, which I find remarkable. More remarkable, however, is the mere $5,000 fine! The legal fees for defending against claims and attacks like these has got to be that much, if not more.

In this case, someone held ForSale.ca back in 2000. Globe Media registered the trademark “www.ForSale.ca” which was awarded in 2006, and Globe subsequently sought control of the domain. Since the original registration preceeded the trademark, they were denied rights to the domain.

But Globe Media watched carefully and tried again after the domain dropped in 2009 and an employee of a domain registrar picked it up. That employee was Tom Brown, of BareMetal.com. Glove offered him $5,000 but he instead sold it to another company 9 days later for $29,000. Globe went after that owner, again claiming trademark rights.

DomainNameNews  shows how someone uncovered that Globe had previously registred “numerous trademark infringing domains including Ducati.ca, Labatts.ca, Mentos.ca, Zantac.ca” etc. and the Canadian arbitration panel decided to find Globe guilty of bad faith actions which led to the finding and the fine.

Takeaways:

  • notice how an employee of a registrar picked up a quality name that dropped and sold it 9 days later for $29000
  • notice how the trademark game appears to be alive and well, with companies playing both sides
  • notice how small the fine is ($5,000) for abusing the system for $30,000 gains
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April 16th, 2009 by john andrews

Paul Mockapetris at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Silicon Valley

The upcoming Traffic Internet conference in Santa Clara later this month will feature Dr. Paul Mockapetris at the podium. Dr. Mockapetris and Jon Postel invented the “domain name system” (DNS), the core domain name to IP number lookup system powering the world wide web since it began.

If you operate a business website, you are currently betting your business on the reliability of the DNS system. If you have built a brand around a domain name, you have invested in the future of the DNS system.
I can’t think of a more relevant speaker for a domain industry conference… I hope we get to hear about where DNS is going or is likely to go in the future, as that insight must be amazingly valuable for everyone holding a premium domain name or a valuable Internet brand.
T.R.A.F.F.I.C. is April 27-30 see TargetedTraffic.com

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John Andrews is a mobile web professional and competitive search engine optimzer (SEO). He's been quietly earning top rank for websites since 1997. About John

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