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  1. #1
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    Is Webmerge the reason why Google dropped datafeed sites?

    I have mixed feeling about starting this thread. Webmerge is an excellent tool (which I am using) and the support is good. But there is a big problem now. Webmerge itself isn’t the problem off course, but the easy way of creating large amount of pages. I think it fails now because of his success. (Sorry Richard.)

    Last year I start using Webmerge and was very happy with it. After some puzzling I created my first datafeed site. Visitors started to come and I made some money. Because I saw the possibilities, I created more sites. Why stop with a successful formula. It was easy and datafeeds became popular so keep on building. Then my big drop came in March for all my datafeed sites and haven’t recovered yet. Until recently I didn’t understand it because I didn’t loose pagerank, so I wasn’t punished.

    But now I understand Google and I can’t blame him. Because it is so easy to create datafeed sites and datafeed are available everywhere, Google is overwhelmed with datafeed pages. I am sure there are over 1 million datafeed pages in Google’s index. Probably it will be over 10 million. Try to imagine this.

    Everyday more affiliates are using Webmerge and each of them are using it more and more. If it is easy and one is making money, it will be a huge item which cannot be stopped. The next step would be 100 million pages and more. If nobody is stopping this train, datafeed sites will be dominating the search engines. Nobody can create 10,000 pages by hand in one day.

    Yahoo and MSN will pull the plug also one day. And if there is a trick to mislead Google, he will find it one day because the SERPs are overwhelmed with datafeed pages again and he will take his steps.

    I think the future for affiliate marketing is the old fashioned way again, because Google and probably the others will keep banning datafeed sites. This is a big problem for me by the way, because I have no experience with this at all. I started with datafeed sites. So I have to start all over again probably.

    If you want to respond, please stick to the subject. If you want to talk about Webmerge technical issues or complaining about Google has dropped you, start a new thread please. It’s free. This is one of the disadvantages of ABW, we are very good at getting off topic and ending nowhere.

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador Andy's Avatar
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    I agree that Webmerge is an excellent product, but too much of a good thing spoils it for everyone, and that's what is happening with datafeed sites. You have to add something unique, something that sets your datafeed site apart from the rest, if you want to have any hope of getting good SE listings in the future.

    Throwing up a stock datafeed won't do it for much longer, I hear the few sites that still remain will be getting whacked during the next two updates.

    You have to have unique content to be a contender going forward. Just having links and a merchant datafeed will not do it.

    I know there are some here who will cringe at the very suggestion of content making the difference, but it is a fact. And strangely, my content sites are now beginning to perform quite well, perhaps because all of those useless datafeed sites have been hit recently.

    I don't like the fact that affiliates are suffering because of this, as I understand this is a living for many, so it's a bad deal. But I blame the affiliates who have thrown up totally useless sites that never seem to do anything except clog up the SERPs and infuriate searchers.

    Going forward, you have to have something to offer that others don't, or you have to offer the same thing as others but do it in a unique way that sets your site apart from the rest.

    Andy

  3. #3
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> I think the future for affiliate marketing is the old fashioned way again, because Google and probably the others will keep banning datafeed sites. This is a big problem for me by the way, because I have no experience with this at all. I started with datafeed sites. So I have to start all over again probably. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I stopped using webmerge a while back for exactly that reason. Moreover, I'm going through now and "repairing" those pages - most of which are still ranked ok in Google right now. Which is, of course, a real chore.

    The problem with datafeed sites, whether they be dynamic ones or built via webmerge or a commonly used script, is that, ultimately, they product pages that are generally similar to each other. After all, the content is the same from the datafeed. So unless the datafeed is cutomized or the page itself somehow tweaked, you do indeed risk being marginalized in G's rankings due to duplicate content.

    Going back and doing it the old way is a pain. But, I feel by doing it this way I'm adding value to my visitors. Why? Instead of trying to turn my site into a "mini store" for merchant X, I'm instead pulling out selected products I like or want to promote, write up my own descriptions and reviews, and categorize things differently. G likes it and my visitors like it. Result - the pages rank well and make money.

    Ultimately, after trying the webmerge shortcut and not liking the results, I've gone back to the theory that every page on your site should provide some value to a visitor - not just exist to grab keyword searches off the SE. If the pages does not provide value to your visitor, then the page is SE spam and will likely sooner or later disappear from Google and the other SERPS.

    This route is a pain, that is for sure. However, I still believe in the theory that quality beats quantity everytime. And a painfully made page that has unique information/reviews is likely to garner more $$$ in the end game than a 10,000 page datafeed site that has no useful purpose beyond just filling up the SERPS.

    Anyways, just my thoughts from someone who is a BIG believer in content sites.

  4. #4
    More Cheesier Than Ever Cheesehead's Avatar
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    My (rookie!) theory on datafeed driven sites:

    If you use a datafeed the way it was originally intended (a way to quickly find a wide variety of products on your site) rather than as a page generation tool, you will not be "punished". After all, a good comprehensive well functioning site is "content" in itself. I have one datafeed driven portion of one site that did take a hit in the last update but I am still making money (not quite as much) since the feed pages were more of a compliment to a site that already had traffic.
    This World is Not My Home
    We're gonna go inside, we're gonna go outside, inside and outside. . . And then we're gonna go go go and we're not gonna stop til we get across that goalline! Quotes from the movie Rudy, 1993

  5. #5
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    Google "dropped" "datafeed sites"?

    WHen did this happen? Which ones?

  6. #6
    More Cheesier Than Ever Cheesehead's Avatar
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    I don't think "sites" were dropped, individual pages disappeared from results or were not displayed.
    This World is Not My Home
    We're gonna go inside, we're gonna go outside, inside and outside. . . And then we're gonna go go go and we're not gonna stop til we get across that goalline! Quotes from the movie Rudy, 1993

  7. #7
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    There have been discussions in some SEO forums where some people tend to think that Google has tightened their duplicate content filters.

  8. #8
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Passing out Datafeeds and I've harped for 2 years now, when you remove excuses, were passed out by each AM and network to simplify SE spamming. Each AM chose this to compliment the majority of mass traffic trick affiliates who were using e-mail spam lists -coupons or other incentive based traffic- as it didn't stink of the same moves done by the domainless BHO's with browser spamming.

    Two years of feed me -feed me -feed me mantra has come to roost as the SE spam tool of choice, doorway page cookie tricksters and the blind redirect crowd ruined it all for the legit datafeed affiliates.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

    "What have you done today to put real value into a referral click...from a shoppers viewpoint!"

  9. #9
    ABW Ambassador buy_online's Avatar
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    Remember, it isn't only WebMerge built sites that can build duplicate content. There are probably more sites using scripts of one kind or another to generate datafeed based content than WebMerge. But that's skirting the issue, isn't it?

    Duplicate content is the real problem (challenge). If you're simply taking what the merchant sends out, and not "enhancing" it, or adding some other value to your page, you run the risk of a much lower ranking at the big G (IMHO).

    I too started out simply putting up what the merchant sent out, but that has changed, and has worked for me. Those sites I initially put up have all been re-worked. Some of the sites didn't need to be re-worked and remain highly ranked.

    It sounds like I giving the thumbs-down on datafeed sites, I'm not. Just remember, you can build something with a datafeed that is of value, you'll just have to be a little more imaginative with it. It might come in the form of additional c*ntent, or a very thorough enhancement of what the merchant has sent out. I've been able to make what I have work, sorry to those of you who have not.

    As for datafeed sites completely going away in the next couple of g**gle updates - baloney. That's been the prediction for many months now. I do, however believe that if you have content that is identical to that which the merchant has sent out, SE's duplicate content filters will rank you lower - or worse. Also, if you have a datafeed site with data shared by 10,000 affiliates, you're going to be worse off than one with 30 affiliates (duh?). &lt;&lt; hint

    Fred

  10. #10
    Web Ho - Design B!tch ~Michelle's Avatar
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    I use datafeeds and I use WebMerge.

    I do not use the feeds as they are delivered to me though. I go through and hand pick the items I want, and create a new feed with that.

    I then process the feed through WebMerge, then hand place the resulting data throughout my pages, intermingled with some of my own content.

    I agree that using a datafeed right out of the 'box' is not the way to go.
    ~Michelle
    "All I ask is a chance to prove that money can't make me happy."
    "Work to become, not to acquire." -- Confucius

  11. #11
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Passing out Datafeeds and I've harped for 2 years now, when you remove excuses, were passed out by each AM and network to simplify SE spamming. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    And for two years it worked.

    The smart man, doesn't point at something and say that isn't going to last- he cashes in on it, all the while getting ready for what will be next, knowing this isn't going to last.

    And of course, some will still last through all of this.

    But if you had spent your time learning mysql/php over webmerge, where you could have still done your same sites, you would be head and shoulders above your competition in the flexibility of what you could try now. This is why i have been anti-webmerge for a long time now.

    Chet

  12. #12
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    It doesn't take any kind of "new filter change" to cause near-duplicate sites to settle below slightly differentiated ones in the SERP's.

    I think what we are seeing is a result of a natural bogging-down effect. The SE's don't have to change their algorhythms to make this happen; the introduction of a plethora of cookie cutter pages just shifts the balance. For a term that yields 1 million search results, a 1/10th of 1 percent difference in ranking is the difference between being in the top ten and being buried under 1,000 other results. Pages dropping from top ten to 30's and 40's is no indication of changes to SE algorythms.

  13. #13
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    &gt;I am sure there are over 1 million datafeed
    &gt;pages in Google’s index. Probably it will be
    &gt;over 10 million.

    Low. WAY LOW.

    More like a (US) billion.

  14. #14
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    I am not going to tell everyone my formula for not being dropped by the engines while using data feeds– but data feeds are not the problem. Its how the data feeds are prepared and utilized.

    Like most things discussed here at ABW the poster posses the issue as a singular problem and very few understand or want to discuss the entire issue. Most want to complain about the cookie, a parasite, or whatever is the latest and greatest complaint this month.

    When there are issues concerning affiliate marketing its NEVER singular, there are so many variables. Data feeds are not the problem – but how you use them and market them is.

  15. #15
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    SandraR,

    I agreem with you. If everyone uses the same program than GG and other engines pick up on it. The power is in making your own version, but that is so much work....

  16. #16
    ABW Ambassador buy_online's Avatar
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    "...but that is so much work...."

    No it's not.

    Fred

  17. #17
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    Havn't seen Google dropping my sites using datafeeds and I doubt that webmerge has much to do with anything. From what I understand of Webmerge, it is a process that creates the same thousands of individual webpages that my ASP script does, with the exception being that I have one file & Webmerge users have thousands to deal with. Google, while spidering, treats the results of both processes the same.

    Wayne

  18. #18
    ABW Ambassador buy_online's Avatar
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    Exactly...

  19. #19
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by SandraR:
    I am not going to tell everyone my formula for not being dropped by the engines while using data feeds– but data feeds are not the problem. Its how the data feeds are prepared and utilized.

    Like most things discussed here at ABW the poster posses the issue as a singular problem and very few understand or want to discuss the entire issue. Most want to complain about the cookie, a parasite, or whatever is the latest and greatest complaint this month.

    When there are issues concerning affiliate marketing its NEVER singular, there are so many variables. Data feeds are not the problem – but how you use them and market them is. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    The peanut gallery goes wild!

  20. #20
    ABW Ambassador buy_online's Avatar
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    "I've got that many pages in google myself. "

    Heheheh...

    Fred

  21. #21
    ABW Veteran Student Heyder's Avatar
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    lol I'd hate to think what the true number really is. Anyone else notice google total number of pages indexed "©2004 Google - Searching 4,285,199,774 web pages" doesn't seem to budge?

  22. #22
    ABW Ambassador buy_online's Avatar
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    That's cuz' they're full . . . . . . . of it.

    Fred

  23. #23
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    I don't think there's anything wrong with datafeeds, but WM indeed seems a bit limited for getting around the dup filters.

    As for going back and doing things the old way... ROFL

    I think it's time NOT for the old way, but for something *more* advanced. It's counterintuitive to go back from driving a car to using a horse-and-buggy, when what we're aiming to get into is an airport.
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  24. #24
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Leader:
    I think it's time NOT for the old way, but for something *more* advanced. It's counterintuitive to go back from driving a car to using a horse-and-buggy, when what we're aiming to get into is an airport. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I'm all for that! Now it's time to innovate. This should make for some very interesting websites. I'm already seeing some unique and cool implementations of datafeeds that I'd have never come up with myself. Good stuff!

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  25. #25
    ABW Ambassador buy_online's Avatar
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    "...but WM indeed seems a bit limited for getting around the dup filters."

    Why? I don't see it.

    Fred

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