Matt Cutts Criticizes Deceptive Ads, Doesn’t Realize Google Is The One Serving Them

Yesterday over on Daggle.com Danny Sullivan published a post titled, Of Misleading Acai Berry Ads & Fake Editorial Sites. In the article Danny discuses a rising trend of deceptive marketing practices involving fake news sites, the way they rip people off with products they are selling, and the fact that authority sites such as the LA Times are the ones carrying these ads, lending them some credibility in the public eye. Danny states in the post that the ads showing are being served by Zedo, and that he wishes the ad network should raise it’s standards and not allow such blatantly misleading advertising:

Personally, I’d like to see Zedo up its standards for the type of ads it will accept. This type of junk shouldn’t be allowed. – Danny Sullivan

He’s right, too, the ad networks should be policing this type of deception, by all means. Matt Cutts, Google’s head of the web spam team, agrees. He tweeted about the story, and also

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Google Censors Torrent Sites – Except For The Pirate Bay

Yesterday Search Engine Land reported about Google removing piracy-related terms from it’s Instant Search, which includes the word torrents, names of torrent sites, names of torrent clients, and other file sharing sites such as RapidShare and Megaupload. This does raise some concerns, seeing as how, as SELand’s Matt McGee mentions, torrents and file sharing sites in and of themselves are not inherently illegal. Of course, neither is porn, but Google seems to have seen fit to remove that genre from it’s Instant Search as well.

Does this mean that Google really hates torrent sites? Well, not all of them, apparently. The Pirate Bay, world’s largest bittorrent tracker,

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Evolution of a Book Meme

Books!Today I was tagged 3 different times in a Facebook meme targeted to “nerds”. The premise is that there is a list of 100 books, and “The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed here.”

Apparently, I really am a nerd. I know how these things go, and was fairly certain that this would turn out to not be the original list. For one thing, it included series of books and counted them as a single book, and then overlapped them with individual books in the series (ie. the list included both The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe individually as well as The Chronicles of Narnia), and there appeared to be no common theme whatsoever in the list (classics mixed with pop culture mixed with some rather obscure titles). Also, it was quite obvious that it wasn’t a list of “must reads”, since

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Hacked on GoDaddy? I’ll Migrate You To Hostgator For Free

Yet again, I am seeing a rising number of sites that are reporting getting hacked at GoDaddy. It is also no surprise to me that people are getting limited responses from them when they try and find out what is going on. The GoDaddy blog mentions nothing recently aside from when they were hacked 2 weeks ago on Halloween (an attack that looks like it stemmed from GoDaddy not acting on a security advisory for 11 days). The thing is, I know from personal experience that they are aware of it, because I have seen cases where they are cleaning clients sites now automatically as a form of damage control, before the clients even know they were hacked, in an attempt to keep the buzz down about it. So they obviously know it is happening yet they are still keeping tight lipped about it, and being reactive instead of proactive, which is of course par for the course when it comes to getting hacked on GoDaddy.

Since this is an established pattern with them as a web host, and even though I still highly recommend them as registrars for domain names,

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*Proof* That The New SEOmoz Tool Is At Least Half Accurate

There has been quite of bit of controversy over the past few days arising from the new LDA based tool recently released by SEOmoz. While there may have been some very well thought out, compelling arguments against giving this tool any credit whatsoever, I have to tell you that in my opinion no argument, no matter how well worded, is going to win over a good old fashioned demonstration.

I am a big one for testing, and test this tool I did. Now, I know, I may have voiced some opinions in the past as to my doubt of the sincerity of Rand Fishkin and the folks who run things over at SEOmoz, but regardless of what I said before, for me seeing is definitely believing. I plugged both the url for the post introducing the tool itself, along with the phrase

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Breaking News: Google Borks the Earth

Want to explore the entire planet from your computer? Normally all anyone wanting to do so would have to do would be to trot on over to Google Earth, download and install their application, and off globe trotting they could go. Today, unfortunately, those who do not already have the program installed are apparently out of luck. It looks like today one of the brighter Google engineers working for one of the world’s leading tech companies has somehow broken not just one of the download links for the application, but all of them.

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I Finally Figured Out Who Jason Calacanis Reminds Me Of

In all of the discussions and posts about Jason Calacanis, whenever and wherever he replied to people calling him on his bullshit, it always had the same tired familiar ring to it. His statements have that tone that all scam artists and con men have utilized throughout the ages, professing their innocence despite the preponderance of evidence against them. Finally it hit me who it is that he sounds like when he is trying to defend his spammy sites…

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zOMG! Jason Calacanis Lied Again?? Shocker!

Last Thursday, in response to Matt Cutts stating that he needed more than “arbitrary inurl searches” to sway him (which was in turn in response to a Hacker News submission about Mahalo and the plethora of keyword rich domains they were apparently building out) I wrote a post explaining in some detail how the latest Mahalo spam is in fact spam. I demonstrated in the post how Jason had developed a linkfarm which was being used as a link source back to Mahalo.com. It wasn’t just that the individual sites were all linking back to the mother site, which would in fact be normal, but also that the pages were linking back to specific pages within the main site, pages that in many cases had few, if any, links going to them aside from the ones from this linkfarm.

Each time it happens Matt’s defense of Mahalo spamming Google just gets more perplexing. In this latest round he started by saying that his job was not to have knee jerk reactions, as if Mahalo hadn’t already established a pattern of spamming over a long period of time, and that Matt is pretending he hadn’t already had a talk with Jason and told him that if he didn’t raise the bar with his site that Google would take action on Mahalo. From there it got even weirder – Matt looked at the linkfarm and basically told me that a) he didn’t care as long as it wasn’t passing link juice, and b) he’s the only one who could tell if that was the case.

I could have sworn that it was if you were caught trying to spam you were penalized, and you couldn’t get the penalty removed unless you promised not to do it again. Now, where did I get such a crazy and wild idea? Oh yeah, I remember now…

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Need Help Understanding The Latest Mahalo Spam?

On Tuesday of this week someone posted the following question to the Hacker News website: How long has Mahalo been using keyword domains like this? The link in the story points to a search in Google, [inurl:tip_guidelines mahalo]. The results of this query show a list of somewhere between 180 and 270 sites (Google doesn’t show all of them, just the first 184 or so) all belonging to Mahalo.com, all keyword rich domains, all using the Mahalo Answers platform, and all covering material that Mahalo.com already covers. I am sure most of you are familiar with that fact that Google labels sites that have little or no content and are designed to drive affiliate conversions as Thin Affiliate sites:

These sites usually have no original content and may be cookie-cutter sites or templates with no unique content. – Google Webmasters Tools Help, on sites Google does not like

These sites that Mahalo has started churning out, all that were apparently created just this year, would appear to be the AdSense version of the classic “thin affiliate” website.

I showed Matt Cutts the link to the search itself, and asked if he thought that the list of sites

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