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  1. #1
    Newbie OfferDepotAlan's Avatar
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    A Black Hat Seo ?
    Are affiliates opposed to using black hat techniques like cloaking?

    As a network as long as it is not illegal or a merchant has directed us not to do--we don't really have strong feelings for or against.

    We have been approached by one of our black hat affiliates and told that they would be willing to participate in a LIMITED experiment to show that their techniques add value and anyone could learn this.

    On the surface it seems like a good idea because we (as a lot of networks) have a lot of affiliates that donít generate real volume even though their sites are good.

    So what does the Black Hat affiliate get? They get a fee for helping set up the first site.

    Which may not seem like much but if there are 500 affiliates on our network who are not producing for us then it makes sense to help them and ourselves along.

    Now I would like to hear an affiliates point of view.

  2. #2
    The "other" left wing davidh's Avatar
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    I couldn't care less what techniques others use to gain SE rankings.

    But if a click is forced upon page load, then he's going to have a lot more than just the competing affiliates after his hide.

  3. #3
    Newbie OfferDepotAlan's Avatar
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    I TOTALLY agree with that. Those types of "affiliates" are worse than any scum out their. They're criminals that hide behind a keyboard.

  4. #4
    Influencer Marketing GravityFed's Avatar
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    Don't Agree...
    Hi Alan, Many times black hat techniques result in nothing but search engine spam. It's my honest opinion that black hat techniques help to damage an otherwise legitimate marketing space. Everyone should strive to create valuable web properties that naturally rank well in SEs...not by figuring our ways to cheat to the top.

    Networks should not be encouraging black hat SEO...

    Black hats are just a couple steps below cookie stuffer 'scum'.

    There's my two cents I'm out..

    Gary M

  5. #5
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    We have been approached by one of our black hat affiliates and told that they would be willing to participate in a LIMITED experiment to show that their techniques add value and anyone could learn this.
    Did they approach you to sell you services? Yah, anyone can learn to do it by buying or writing a cloaking script, but it takes a really, really GOOD cloaker to not get caught, and there's a snowball's chance in hell that they'd need to be soliciting you for business for a one-off deal on sites.

    On the surface it seems like a good idea because we (as a lot of networks) have a lot of affiliates that donít generate real volume even though their sites are good.
    It is not a good idea for YOUR sites, especially the one where branding is important, and particularly if any "black hat" domains can be traced back to being owned by you.

    So what does the Black Hat affiliate get? They get a fee for helping set up the first site.
    Ummmm.... have they been sending you lots and lots of sales from their own cloaked sites? Have all of their sites that have been sending you traffic been around in the engines for a good period of time?

    IMHO a professional black hat cloaker with a good business plan would be more likely to set up sites for themselves on their own nickel, and just charge you for sending you traffic.

  6. #6
    Yup, Sure ... now let me check ... Cagles Mill's Avatar
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    Why do you think they call it "black hat "?
    Why do you think the search engines ban any site caught using black hat techniques?

    Personally, I would not trust any black hatter or anyone associated with them. You might as well be selling used cars or vacuum cleaners.
    Rick M.
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  7. #7
    Newbie OfferDepotAlan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cagles Mill
    Why do you think they call it "black hat "?
    Why do you think the search engines ban any site caught using black hat techniques?

    Personally, I would not trust any black hatter or anyone associated with them. You might as well be selling used cars or vacuum cleaners.
    So basically you agree to let google or whoever have complete control over any traffic you get from search?

    From a merchants point of view it seems a little myopic and doesn't make alot of sense. What they are doing is perfectly legal and as long as it doesn't harm the merchant site....what's is the problem?

    i don't think that networks should be the arbiter of what an affiliate does on the internet...As long as it is legal.

    let me ask you this..
    if an affiliate had a good quality site that was on page 1000 (so basically no one sees it) used cloaking to get on the first page would that be bad. If it was the BEST quality or better in quality than what is already there.

  8. #8
    Newbie OfferDepotAlan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by webworker
    Did they approach you to sell you services? Yah, anyone can learn to do it by buying or writing a cloaking script, but it takes a really, really GOOD cloaker to not get caught, and there's a snowball's chance in hell that they'd need to be soliciting you for business for a one-off deal on sites.

    It is not a good idea for YOUR sites, especially the one where branding is important, and particularly if any "black hat" domains can be traced back to being owned by you.

    Ummmm.... have they been sending you lots and lots of sales from their own cloaked sites? Have all of their sites that have been sending you traffic been around in the engines for a good period of time?

    IMHO a professional black hat cloaker with a good business plan would be more likely to set up sites for themselves on their own nickel, and just charge you for sending you traffic.

    We actually asked them "what's your secret?". Hoping we could glean some info to share with our non producing affiliates. And that's how we found out what they were doing.

    Well look at it this way. We have hundreds of affiliates that don't generate any sales and they work their fingers to the bone. And they do not have the kind of money to do real media buying.

    So from our standpoint if we could offer this "service" to affiliates that want to do it....that would help both of us.

    As far as the black hatters go ..this service would only be available to our affiliates so as not to dilute the technique.

    And yes as a group they are the second highest producers...just behind email guys.

    Let the comments come

  9. #9
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    So basically you agree to let google or whoever have complete control over any traffic you get from search?
    How about optimizing YOUR site to rank? And Google WILL have complete control over traffic if they ban a site, in which case there will be no Google traffic at all.

    From a merchants point of view it seems a little myopic and doesn't make alot of sense. What they are doing is perfectly legal and as long as it doesn't harm the merchant site....what's is the problem?
    Affiliates cloak all the time, which is their business. BUT the problem is that any decent "black hat cloaker" worth their salt would NEVER approach a potential "client" for flat fee creation.

    let me ask you this..
    if an affiliate had a good quality site that was on page 1000 (so basically no one sees it) used cloaking to get on the first page would that be bad. If it was the BEST quality or better in quality than what is already there.
    Ummm.. then why are they proposing to charge you to create their affiliate sites? Why don't they already have 10 sites of their own in the top ten?

    And let me ask you this - two things, actually:

    Are they proposing to do User Agent cloaking, or IP cloaking for you?

    If it's IP based, is unlimited, indefinite monitoring and updating the IP list included in just the one-off flat fee they want to create YOUR cloaked sites for you?

  10. #10
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    >>>...and there's a snowball's chance in hell that they'd need to be soliciting you for business for a one-off deal on sites.

    THEY WOULD JOIN & JUST DO IT. Then demand more $
    500 affiliates?
    How many can be on page ONE

  11. #11
    Life is Supposed to be Fun! Rexanne's Avatar
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    Man am I confused ...
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  12. #12
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    Man am I confused ...
    With user agent cloaking (SOoooo 1990s), there's a script that sniffs for the visitor's user agent / browser, and depending on which they detect, they serve a custom page, which will be different for people than what they're serving to user agents that appear to be search engines.

    IP delivery: The IP number that's accessing the page is identified as either belonging to one of the search engines or as a regular visitor; and then, depending on which it is, the script serves up the page that's meant either for one or the other.

    With IP based cloaking, a completely up to the minute, constantly updated IP list has to be maintained.

  13. #13
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OfferDepotAlan
    So basically you agree to let google or whoever have complete control over any traffic you get from search?

    From a merchants point of view it seems a little myopic and doesn't make alot of sense. What they are doing is perfectly legal and as long as it doesn't harm the merchant site....what's is the problem?
    Google owns their site - which affords them the right to make the rules for beng listed there. It may not break any laws, but the stuff you're snuggling up with, knowingly breaks Google's rules.

    Once you show that you'll encourage disregarding website owners rights just because it benefits you (and your promoters), it opens the door to many other things that may not be illegal, but are definitely wrong.

    So the myopic view (the nearsighted one), in my opinion, is the one that doesn't look beyond your own interests.

  14. #14
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    Sounds like you're desperate:

    http://www.google.com/webmasters/guidelines.html

    "Make pages for users, not for search engines. Don't deceive your users or present different content to search engines than you display to users, which is commonly referred to as "cloaking."

    I would keep stuff straight. And now that you put it out in public, some might be on the lookout and drop Google a line if you do this and I'm sure they'll be happy to zap that site and yours for going along with it.

  15. #15
    Newbie OfferDepotAlan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by webworker
    How about optimizing YOUR site to rank? And Google WILL have complete control over traffic if they ban a site, in which case there will be no Google traffic at all.

    Affiliates cloak all the time, which is their business. BUT the problem is that any decent "black hat cloaker" worth their salt would NEVER approach a potential "client" for flat fee creation.

    Ummm.. then why are they proposing to charge you to create their affiliate sites? Why don't they already have 10 sites of their own in the top ten?

    And let me ask you this - two things, actually:

    Are they proposing to do User Agent cloaking, or IP cloaking for you?

    If it's IP based, is unlimited, indefinite monitoring and updating the IP list included in just the one-off flat fee they want to create YOUR cloaked sites for you?

    It's Ip based..

  16. #16
    Newbie OfferDepotAlan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donuts
    Google owns their site - which affords them the right to make the rules for beng listed there. It may not break any laws, but the stuff you're snuggling up with, knowingly breaks Google's rules.

    Once you show that you'll encourage disregarding website owners rights just because it benefits you (and your promoters), it opens the door to many other things that may not be illegal, but are definitely wrong.

    So the myopic view (the nearsighted one), in my opinion, is the one that doesn't look beyond your own interests.

    This is exactly my point. Google for instance can do what ever they want to maximize profits. Shouldn't a struggling affiliate do the same?

    Everyone agrees that tobacco kills but it's legal. And most people will probably agree that if tobacco were to suddenly disappear we would all be a little better off. But that is not gonna happen. So doesn't it make sense to protect yourself from its effects?

    There are so many affiliates struggling with traffic problems and they are competing against people with deeper pockets, more technology and "grey/Black" hat techniques.

    That is the whole reason I started this thread.

    As far as to whether or not we will make this available to our affiliates is still up in the air.

    But I TRULY appreciate all of the comments.

  17. #17
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    You're going to do something that will get you banned from Google? Now why would you purposely **** yourself?

  18. #18
    Newbie OfferDepotAlan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrustNo1
    Sounds like you're desperate:

    http://www.google.com/webmasters/guidelines.html

    "Make pages for users, not for search engines. Don't deceive your users or present different content to search engines than you display to users, which is commonly referred to as "cloaking."

    I would keep stuff straight. And now that you put it out in public, some might be on the lookout and drop Google a line if you do this and I'm sure they'll be happy to zap that site and yours for going along with it.

    But this goes to my point. Google can at any time drop anyone. That is their right. And as far as our site getting dropped we don't depend on SE for our traffic to our main site. We are a CPA network. Just because we run promotions for Best Buy or Tiger...does that mean that google will drop them also? This is the ONLY reason I am not afraid to bring this topic out in the open.

    To ignore it...Does no one any good

  19. #19
    ABW Ambassador
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    Ah you're a CPA network. That would explain it.

    "But this goes to my point. Google can at any time drop anyone. That is their right."

    Yeah and who do you think they're more likely to drop? Those those break their guidelines or those that follow them? There's nothing special about it, just another spammer.

  20. #20
    Newbie OfferDepotAlan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Merchant Consultant Team
    >>>...and there's a snowball's chance in hell that they'd need to be soliciting you for business for a one-off deal on sites.

    THEY WOULD JOIN & JUST DO IT. Then demand more $
    500 affiliates?
    How many can be on page ONE

    ok 500 affiliates times 50,000 uniques search phrases is ALOT of pages...No matter how you look at it.

  21. #21
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    It's Ip based..
    OK, on to question #2:

    If it's IP based, is unlimited, indefinite monitoring and updating the IP list included in just the one-off flat fee they want to create YOUR cloaked sites for you?
    Is it included? If not, then who will be monitoring the IP list - and updating & maintaining the sites? Will you be doing it for them, or will they each have to do it themselves, and maybe even each buy a subscription and maintain it themselves?

    Search Engine Spider Database

  22. #22
    Life is Supposed to be Fun! Rexanne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by webworker
    With user agent cloaking (SOoooo 1990s), there's a script that sniffs for the visitor's user agent / browser, and depending on which they detect, they serve a custom page, which will be different for people than what they're serving to user agents that appear to be search engines.

    IP delivery: The IP number that's accessing the page is identified as either belonging to one of the search engines or as a regular visitor; and then, depending on which it is, the script serves up the page that's meant either for one or the other.

    With IP based cloaking, a completely up to the minute, constantly updated IP list has to be maintained.
    Thanks for trying to explain it, WW - I'm still rolling my eyeballs - Duh. No clue here. Ignorance is bliss.
    Peace,

    Rexanne

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  23. #23
    Internet Cowboy
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    A CPA network wanting to introduce black hat techniques to "help their affiliates" make money.
    As my dear old Dad used to say, "My aching ass!"

    Alan,
    Thanks for letting us know what your network is really made of.


  24. #24
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cagles Mill
    Why do you think they call it "black hat "?
    Why do you think the search engines ban any site caught using black hat techniques?

    Personally, I would not trust any black hatter or anyone associated with them. You might as well be selling used cars or vacuum cleaners.
    Could anyone please provide an example of a "Black Hat technique?"
    ~Rhia7 -- Remember the 7
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  25. #25
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    If Google was smart they'd tag every CPA network tracking cookie as a red flag for SERP and PPCSE spam testing.
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