Robert Scoble: Aaron Wall is 'gaming the search engines' and that's bad.

26 comments

From Robert Scoble's blog:

Quote:
PayPerPost is a way to game search engines

So PayPerPost, ReviewMe, Blogsvertise, LoudLaunch and others are just a way to screw the search engines? Aaron Wall might (and has) beg to differ on that.

Personally, I certainly hope it's a way to game the SE's. Otherwise I've wasted my money. In other words, I agree - just without the bile undertones that there's something wrong with gaming the search engines.

Also of note in the post is that wordpress is banning anyone in their system who's blogging for PPP and the like.

The comments to the post are also an interesting read:
Full blog post here (sorry for the nofollow, but I don't want to fart around with his rankings).

Comments

Reviews

So it you want to "be cool" with the SE's all you need to do is specify you are being paid for the reviewing process and not the link.

http://www.stonetemple.com/blog/?p=100#comment-2259

paid

> to "be cool" with the SE's all you need to do is specify you are being paid for the reviewing process and not the link.

That's a blunt-but-realistic way of putting it, gw. In all seriousness, I guess the final test would be whether you've ever taken anyone's money and then not approved their link.

>use nofollow, thats a good

>use nofollow, thats a good standard isnt it

Yes, I think it is a good standard. And, as editor/publisher, I use it on paid links on high-vis pages. But its use is generally frowned upon by the TW crowd.

use it on paid links

Hmm. So I can search for nofollow and get a pretty good idea of who is paying for links...

If I were a search engine how would I use that knowledge? Forget about who is selling links. Find the buyers!

> search for nofollow and

> search for nofollow and get a pretty good idea of who is paying for links

Good idea in theory, but I just tested it (G only) on some pages that have had nofollow on them for about a year. It didn't show up even with highly focused kws and this is in a page very highly ranked in a competive serp.

yeah

But what if you had the access and the processing power that the engines do? Patterns are going to appear. What the engines do with those patterns is anyone's guess.

I tried searching for nofollow awhile back and couldn't find anything meaningful but I haven't turnd any spiders loose on it.

Nice linkbait headline there.

Scoble's post is from November 10. It's short and specifically about the Wordpress bans for PPP. I don't see Aaron's name.

>>>PayPerPost is a way to

>>>PayPerPost is a way to game search engines

After reading the Did-It comments about SEO and now this one I think today might be the National Shit Talking day.

As a marketer or business owner with a new product or service you want/need to get your product out into the spotlight. Is the product manager supposed to wait around twiddling their thumbs until the blog owner stumbles across their product or until the day they choose to blog about it, if they ever do?

Their job is to get eyeballs on the product. Blogs, forums, websites, search engines, organic, PPC, email, advertising...you go where your users are. A lot of times these days that involves blogs.

And are we that naive to think that no one pays for a product review in print magazines and newspapers?

Come on now.

I think Payperpost and Reviewme services are great tools for marketers.

Well said agerhart

Exactly.

Clarification: I mentioned Aaron's name simply because he's involved with ReviewMe.com which is somewhat similiar to PPP and he recently suggested here that these services are for the buzz, not primarily SEO.

As for the nofollow tag, is everyone's memory gone blank? Am I the only one that remembers the SE's promoting this as a way to prevent blog spam? They sure don't talk about that anymore, now the intent of the nofollow is for paid links? When did the SEO community let that one get pulled over on them?

In my opinion, all these recent blog posting services have the SE's in a complete frenzy. I don't think they know what to do with them or how to stop them and I think a lot of people are going to get ranked very well for quite a while as a result - and the SE's are at the mercy of them. They're realizing that and the resulting FUD is their response.

everyone's memory gone blank

Nope. I said nofollow was shit when it was introduced. It's still shit.

worked for me

>now the intent of the nofollow is for paid links? When did the SEO community let that one get pulled over on them?

Whether or not someone else uses the nofollow tag has made it marginally harder for me to do organic seo. (I had a neat little trick worked out that would pass editorial review. Oh well, that's the breaks.) But as a publisher and direct ad-seller the nofollow works well in sorting out the traffic buyers from the rank-builders. I want traffic buyers, they're repeat customers.

FUD is their response

They have no choice.

I don't think they know what to do with them or how to stop them

It reminds of a scene from the movie, "The Thomas Crown Affair" where the cameras couldnt track all the decoys in coats and bowlers. Who do they go after?

how long will my post stay up at Scobleizer?

I am curious how long it is going to take Robert to edit my post.... or someone tells me if I am a whore or a pimp!!!

--

Quote:
Am I the only one that remembers the SE's promoting this as a way to prevent blog spam? They sure don't talk about that anymore, now the intent of the nofollow is for paid links? When did the SEO community let that one get pulled over on them?

Not the only one, wheel. It's pretty amusing how they've now twisted it for whatever purpose they want.

I guess the final test would

I guess the final test would be whether you've ever taken anyone's money and then not approved their link.

This is where having ownership in a review network, and being one of the largest review buyers comes in handy. The fact is, that about half of targeted blogs turn me down, so there is quite a bit of people choosing to filter what they are willing to review.

I am generally pretty good at buying relevant advertising, so if half of the bloggers are turning me down, then I know that many of the people are not trying to sell out wholesale. They are actually interested in being paid to review things.

use nofollow

Some people chose to do that. The thing is, if their review is qualiy and they have good reach (like this recent review by Darren Barefoot) then I would still buy reviews. Why?

  • The feedback has value.
  • You are buying a review AND mindshare of a person who is known to be good at spreading ideas.
  • Exposure in trusted active channels leads to mindshare and increasing market share.
  • Mindshare leads to readers, customers, and secondary links. In spite of only recently getting big into buying reviews I have already seen numerous people link to me based on seeing reviews of my stuff.

As far as gaming search engines go...I am sure that if you build many quality signals search engines will rank you better. But the endorsements on trusted channels likely have more value outside of the SEO effect than from any SEO type benefit.

And are we that naive to think that no one pays for a product review in print magazines and newspapers?

Exactly. Great post agerhart.

Mindshare leads to readers, customers, and secondary links.

You mean there's actually other sources of traffic beyond the SEs? LOL

Well I just think the debate

Well I just think the debate of links links links is silly and shortsighted.

Links are just one proxy for value, and to assume that they are all that a review network would be about is silly, and, for some, feeds into the broken (and self destructive) mindset that the search engines have control over our content. They are just one source of traffic.

Give me the choice of a top ranked search result or a recommendation from THE industry expert, and most times in most industries I would chose the latter of the two. ... and, in doing so, in many cases that would help grant the first anyway.

You have to gain mindshare and marketshare somehow, and if you are waiting for search engines to enable you then it is going to be a long time coming, especially because

  • some engines place weight on older sites and sites that have built trust over the years
  • search engines follow and trust the proxies for value created by people.
  • the top ranked competitors are already enjoying any competitive advantages that a top ranking will bring...you can't catch up to them by just following them.

At the risk of being repetitive

I'll reiterate: Search engines are parasites. Period. All they can essentially do is cater to the uninformed by scraping what they were in no position to produce themselves.

Simple as the logic may seem, people tend to ignore and forget (and at their own peril, too) that, way before any search engine came into being, traffic was generated by people via people, for (indeed, sometimes: against) people.

Yes, I fully endorse your take, Aaron: Let's size search engines down to what they really are and always were - low level conduits of disinformation at the worst and greedy one-time matchmakers at the best, nothing less, nothing more.

Who in their right mind would want to build their marriage on the matchmaker staying in bed with them all the time, dictating the rules of the game "'til death do us part"?

Great post,

Great post, fantomaster.

Matt Cutts said something here - http://www.seomoz.org/blogdetail.php?ID=1576&jump_to_comment=13001 - which makes me think these PPP type services should lose the requirement to identify paid posts as such.

Not good for the blogger, and not good for the advertiser, IMHO.

Critical mass

Matt said:

Google wants to do a good job of detecting paid links. Paid links that affect search engines (whether paid text links or a paid review) can cause a site to lose trust in Google.

There will be a point where link acquisition, whether it be paid or reciprocal, reaches critical mass and Google will have to make some interesting choices. Just how large a percentage of sites do they want to devalue?

The Achilles heel of link based algos will always be the links.

FUD

FUD

As far as gaming search

Quote:
As far as gaming search engines go...I am sure that if you build many quality signals search engines will rank you better. But the endorsements on trusted channels likely have more value outside of the SEO effect than from any SEO type benefit.

Countdown to Aaron Wall standing up at a conference and saying SEO is crap (as did Nick Wilson after he launched his web app, and Jason Calcanis after he did his web thing) starting at 500..499...498....497....

You study SEO until you really "get" the competitive web, and then you go and compete with your knowledge, only to find you are "branded" as a cheater and so not "trusted". Of course SEO success is all about trust, so maybe that suggests that you don't quite "get" it yet? Maybe a wee bit more study would help?

SEO Fame is good for many uses, but branding your next big web app is not one of them.

Rebranding what I have

Rebranding what I have generally considered as being part of SEO as being part of the "competitive web" and then saying that you think I will soon call SEO crap is quite naive, IMHO.

What else would you expect

What else would you expect from Ted Leonsis? ;)

Naive... been there before.

Naive... been there before. But I don't see the context here.

I usually countdown from 5, and this time I started at 500 because I wasn't certain. But what I saw was a problem with ReviewMe suffering from an SEO snake oil reputation... as a result of SEOBook. If someone else launched ReviewMe, they might not be questioned so much on intent, and then would also not have to defend ReviewMe from SEO gaming claims.

The basic problem... if SEO is so important, ReviewMe knows that more than most so ReviewMe must be playing an angle. If it's not, how does one defend that? SEO is not so important after all?

Saying SEO is Crap was a hyperbolic exaggeration. Would "downplaying SEO" be more palatable? Oh, and that comment about the girlfriend.... just a joke, ok?

>defend ReviewMe from SEO

>defend ReviewMe from SEO gaming claims

What? If I buy a "post" from ReviewMe or PayPerPost it will be in order to game the search engines, not because I am interested in some blogger's take on my website or service.

Gaming the search engines = SEO = good thing.

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