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Wednesday, July 02, 2003

Must....roll...rock...up...hill... again...

Why is it that so many supposedly reputable web services companies, search engine destinations, etc., are so fast and loose with their affiliate deals? In particular, I'm talking about the kind of thing where a company like Topica, which deals with a lot of newsletter publishers (therefore, a lot of companies with websites), recommends some stupid "automated website submission and keyword optimization tool" such as this horrible service that claims to submit to 200 search engines, etc.?

I mean, come on, Topica!

Then again, I long ago stopped being surprised by this. Unfortunately, many of the ad dollars that are out there come from these kinds of misleading services. There are hundreds if not thousands of them, and they're relentlessly hungry for exposure. It's tough to turn down the opportunity to charge them for that exposure (as you may from time to time see in our automated Google Adsense deployment on the left hand margin of this very site).

Over the years, search engines like AltaVista and Metacrawler have consistently promoted these half-assed "site submission services." In AV's case, I recall the delicious juxtaposition of reading their detailed guidelines for webmasters ("don't use an automated service, yadda yadda") and then after submitting a legitimate URL, seeing several of these very same services being promoted.

I can name at least one search engine company that has never played both sides of the fence in this manner. I'm sure you can guess which one I'm thinking of.

It seems that the poor search engine marketing consultant - finally hired after these bogus services fail to deliver results - is so often placed in the position of undoing the mistakes created by automated services of one sort or another. Problem is, undoing such mistakes can be next to impossible, since search engines take spam very seriously, and a penalty is a penalty. It can take six months to a year to get such a penalty lifted.

People: once and for all... no automated submission services, no keyword density templates, no link farms, no "link farms that claim they're not link farms," no cloaking, no "cloaking that isn't really the bad kind of cloaking," no keyword stuffing, no "reciprocal linking clubs".... no, no, no!

If someone really reputable like Danny, or Jill, or Detlev, or good old yours truly tells you to steer clear, shouldn't you listen, rather than taking the word of the purveyors of these often-very-lucrative gizmos at face value?

Posted by Andrew Goodman




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