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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Angry Unethical Blackhat SEO Blog
    Was just directed to this site during an argument over blackhat vs whitehat. There was an especially interesting article about the expenses and potential earnings of mass producing scraper sites and link spamming:

    slightlyshadyseo.com/?p=150

    Looking at the Alexa ranking it seems this site is doing quite well. I really don't know what can be done about it or if it should even be mentioned here, but I just think this person is the epitome of an unethical affiliate.

    - Scott
    Last edited by loxly; January 15th, 2008 at 12:06 PM. Reason: unlinked the url
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  2. #2
    http and a telephoto
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    Alexa rankings are easy to manipulate using black hat tactics. Not a surprise that it ranks well.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by loxly
    Alexa rankings are easy to manipulate using black hat tactics. Not a surprise that it ranks well.
    Maybe so, but all the positive comments and Sphinns are very alarming.

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

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador
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    So what makes that site so unique ?

    Search Black Hat SEO on G
    There are all kinds of sites

    Some are there just to P off Matt

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Ward
    So what makes that site so unique ?

    Search Black Hat SEO on G
    There are all kinds of sites

    Some are there just to P off Matt
    Guess I've just been oblivious to them. What bothers me most is all the encouragement and newbie-blackhats going around spreading this train of thought. They've been in the ABW chat and are even going around Facebook encouraging it.

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

  6. #6
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    This is one of the reasons I have drastically reduced my PPC advertising budget over the past 6 months. I ramped up cross-site promotion & have worked very hard on natural SERP. It's also VERY disappointing that the FTC opted to stay out of internet advertising (another topic for another day!)

    While I have a love/hate relationship with Google (my own search rankings), to be honest, I have noticed a lot less scraper sites in search results. It means the search engines are trying to address the problem...

    But it comes down to one thing: if advertisers spend less on PPC, these sites won't be attractive anymore as the revenue pool will dry up.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snib
    Maybe so, but all the positive comments and Sphinns are very alarming.

    - Scott
    I'm sure he manipulates those too. lol

  8. #8
    Troll Killer and best Snooper!
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    If more people want to get into the affiliate marketing space I think I'd rather have them going about it the wrong way (fast, dirty money) because I believe they present far less of a threat to straight-arrow types like me.

    These black hatters spend a lot of time and a lot of money investing in schemes that the SEs have devoted even more time and more money to defeat. When the black hatters get slammed by the SEs they have to retool and find new ways to try to beat the SEs. More time, more money invested and the cycle begins again. I don't have to do a thing. The pendulum swings a bit in their favor and then it swings back to my favor again.

    Here's the kicker.

    If all these black hatters were competing with me on my terms -- organic, white hat, value added, unique content -- I would almost certainly earn less than I currently do. So while I abhor their methods and values (some people are constitutionally incapable of playing it straight), I'm glad they're not competing with me on my terms. And my terms will never be devalued by a SE.

    But then I don't do PPC so I can't know how these clowns are affecting those of you who do.

  9. #9
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    There was an especially interesting article about the expenses and potential earnings of mass producing scraper sites and link spamming:
    It was a good idea to unlink that url, I think we don't need to make it that easy for newbies to learn all that bad stuff from a link from here.

    I took a look at that site and just read that page, but I would no do any of that stuff, not even if someone pay me $100k cash in advance, just to do it for them.

    I rather buy just one domain, and do one of those old "SendMeADollar" site, that way it would be like begging for money, but not stealing it from others. :-)

  10. #10
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by teezone
    But it comes down to one thing: if advertisers spend less on PPC, these sites won't be attractive anymore as the revenue pool will dry up.
    I don't think advertisers will stop advertising to injure (or reduce the efffectiveness of) cheaters, but they certainly will stop spending on areas where there's no return. In that regard, G has come a long way towards policing their content network (and giving advertisers more feedback and control over where their ads are distributed), though I do think it's obvious that they still need to continue to improve. But there was a time when I stopped using the G content network, as it's ROI had degraded so badly and in that case, while I did have a positive return, I chose to stop because I knew a large percentage of my spend was funding bad actors (so ethics, not earnings, drove my decision).

    This said, Y and M are moving backwards - they're so focused on growing volume that they put quality way down their priority ladder. Y is especially bad now and lacks the ability for individual efforts, based both on great knowledge / diligence and an intense desire to control where ads show, to stem the bad spending.

    The other day, I shared the incredimail story where G booted them, presumably for click fraud (though nobody's sharing details). So it's clear to me that G is foregoing the short term revenue of fraudsters, both large and small, to maintain quality - as they understand revenue and market share is a long term battle and burning folks with crap isn't in their or their shareholders interests.

    As Y descends into crapdom, watch for their earnings to stagnate or even shrink along with their share - in a time of booming online advertising, with a premier portal like Y has, this just shouldn't happen. Short term thinking and not appreciating their advertisers (by allowing gaming players like are in this article), will injure Y badly. I argue that it has already and the damage is far from over.

    Don't worry too much about these guys spewing details about easy money - their techniques are known and being uncovered and it gets harder by the day to continue to do what they claim they're doing. And when people turn to easy-street technique-revealing guru-ship, it's usually a sign that their tactics are drying up and they see no loss in revealing how to do what they were doing and they also need to make money in other ways, like blogging about it.

    They're motivated and smart, but are looking for easy paths - easy paths don't last long, so they'll be bopping around as the years pass and later realize that building a sustainable business takes time, time they squandered on building card houses.

    Brick by brick people, ignore the background noise, it's life's way of distracting many from doing what's most important.

  11. #11
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhea
    But then I don't do PPC so I can't know how these clowns are affecting those of you who do.
    They are affecting many, but if you learn to monitor different traffic sources that the ppc engines send you, you can discern what's good and what's not. Unfortunately, just because you know, doesn't mean you can segment it out. At Y, you won't be able to stop the shenanigans - notice he said he recommends you don't use AdSense... like a cheap theif telling others don't rip off the shelves at wal-mart... now why would that be? :-)

    If you're using ppc at G, split your searh and content out and treat them as completely separate sources. Use negs and excluded domains to block the shitake you find on the content network. G also uses smart pricing to reduce the ppc cost for poor converting traffic - try and find merchants that will conditionally load your tracking snippet so G can see your conversions in their systems (this is a rare opportunity, most merchants don't yet understand how valuable this is for affs and how simple it can be employed). Don't move on to M until you've got G humming at full speed, max roi. Opt out of the shitake as far as possible at M and watch things closely. If your roi is heavy fat, experiment with Y if you must (a better choice is to build another site in another niche, diversify rather than trying to squeeze right up against the point of diminishing returns asymptote).

    If you're a newb to PPC, work on your site's quality until you're ready to , then work on it a little more. And just use G for traffic, skip G's Content Network and just play with G and G Search traffic. And write tons of ads and aim for high CTRs and leave the content network games completely at all the ppc engines you can to the smartest sharks and soon-to-be-eaten minnows.

  12. #12
    Newbie SlightlyShadySEO's Avatar
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    I figured I'd drop in and chat

    Quote Originally Posted by Snib
    Was just directed to this site during an argument over blackhat vs whitehat. There was an especially interesting article about the expenses and potential earnings of mass producing scraper sites and link spamming:

    slightlyshadyseo.com/?p=150

    Looking at the Alexa ranking it seems this site is doing quite well. I really don't know what can be done about it or if it should even be mentioned here, but I just think this person is the epitome of an unethical affiliate.
    - Scott
    There are much worse than me out there. I don't hack into sites, I don't use cross site scripting, and I don't promote any scammy/dangerous products. That includes clickbank and those POS ebooks.
    Quote Originally Posted by loxly
    Alexa rankings are easy to manipulate using black hat tactics. Not a surprise that it ranks well.
    I don't use any blackhat tactics on my blog. It's important to make sure that people feel comfortable linking there naturally. And beyond that, any blackhat blog(especially a popular one) is under enough scrutiny from people like yourselves that you'd have to be stupid to promote it using BH. Even if 99% of your tricks could pass a manual inspection, that 1% is enough to give the all-to-eager Google an excuse to ban you. I don't even host functional examples of my various scripts there for that reason. My alexa rankings are completely legitimate, completely organic. And were gained in less about 3 months.
    Besides. Manipulating Alexa isn't worth the resources it takes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stroker
    I'm sure he manipulates those too. lol
    Nope. The sphinns and comments are also completely natural. If you take a look at WHO sphunn any given article, you'll see many active Sphinn members. Not bots.

    If more people want to get into the affiliate marketing space I think I'd rather have them going about it the wrong way (fast, dirty money) because I believe they present far less of a threat to straight-arrow types like me.
    This is a reasonable response, and I like it. Long term, we are less threat(unless we consistently target the same niche). Although, I'll have you know that if any BH worth his crap find any substantially profitable niche, he's probably going to start whitehatting it as well.

    These black hatters spend a lot of time and a lot of money investing in schemes that the SEs have devoted even more time and more money to defeat. When the black hatters get slammed by the SEs they have to retool and find new ways to try to beat the SEs. More time, more money invested and the cycle begins again. I don't have to do a thing. The pendulum swings a bit in their favor and then it swings back to my favor again.
    This is another decent observation. Although lately, Google has been definitely slacking on picking up BH sites, and leaning more towards going after paid linkers. But that is the pendulum you are talking about I suppose. I have no doubt that quite soon, we're going to be seeing some much more aggressive tactics on the part of the Search Engines. If for no other reason, because they're starting to HIRE blackhats to help with their Search Engines.

    If all these black hatters were competing with me on my terms -- organic, white hat, value added, unique content -- I would almost certainly earn less than I currently do. So while I abhor their methods and values (some people are constitutionally incapable of playing it straight), I'm glad they're not competing with me on my terms. And my terms will never be devalued by a SE.
    Another amen. You would learn less than you do. Everyone complains about losing a lot of traffic to blackhat and they're being "cheated" out of positions they're not actually entitled to in the first place. But for me at least, my most successful ventures have been sites that did NOT rank but rather picked up the longtail scraps. Just lots of them. In probably 30%-50% of cases, we're not even really competing.
    Also, no blackhat can be good at blackhat without being quite good at Whitehat. So if these people WERE competing on your terms, then I'm pretty positive it would affect your income. In the same way, some whitehats(incredibill for example; he's excellent at identifying bots) competing in a blackhat way in our niches would probably affect some of our incomes.

    But then I don't do PPC so I can't know how these clowns are affecting those of you who do.
    Blah blah blah. If someone clicks on an adsense ad, they're interested in the ad. And if you're buying from 7search or something, you'd know what you were getting if you did your research.

    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Ward
    So what makes that site so unique ?

    Search Black Hat SEO on G
    There are all kinds of sites

    Some are there just to P off Matt
    Not many explain tactics in detail like I do. Also, the few others that use detail use solely a BH perspective. Whenever possible, I make articles useful to whitehats and grayhats too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Donuts
    They are affecting many, but if you learn to monitor different traffic sources that the ppc engines send you, you can discern what's good and what's not. Unfortunately, just because you know, doesn't mean you can segment it out. At Y, you won't be able to stop the shenanigans - notice he said he recommends you don't use AdSense...
    I recommend people not use adsense NOT because they'll spot it. I know people who've been making several grand a day with a CTR of above 15% for quite awhile now. I recommend that people not use adsense, because when one site gets banned, they can easily take the whole network with it. Another reason is that many of my readers have whitehat interests, as well as blackhat. And I don't want them to lose a whitehat source of income because of blackhat. There's plenty of PPC programs that accept BH traffic. Some that accept ONLY blackhat traffic.
    And btw, a bulk site ban does NOT equate to an adsense ban...hmm wonder why that is?...



    I'm responding in hopes of a decent debate, and perhaps some mutual understanding. I'm not going to abuse anyone here, and hope that you guys can also do the same.

  13. #13
    Pimp Duck popdawg's Avatar
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    ================================================================
    Been away, now I'm back. Not as much, but I'm back & starting from scratch. Where I was, was fantastic. Where I am now, less so. Things have changed, become harder. So have I. Game ON!!!
    ================================================================

  14. #14
    Newbie SlightlyShadySEO's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by popdawg
    Heh, I feel your sig "Game On!!!" may be especially applicable here.

  15. #15
    ABW Ambassador Daniel M. Clark's Avatar
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    I'm responding in hopes of a decent debate, and perhaps some mutual understanding. I'm not going to abuse anyone here, and hope that you guys can also do the same.
    If you're promoting or teaching or defending black hat tactics, you're not likely to get mutual understanding here.

    This thread is going to get mighty interesting now.
    Daniel M. Clark
    Tech Manager
    Greg Hoffman Consulting

  16. #16
    Newbie SlightlyShadySEO's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HecticDMC
    If you're promoting or teaching or defending black hat tactics, you're not likely to get mutual understanding here.

    This thread is going to get mighty interesting now.
    Haha, believe me, I've done this debate enough times to know that is probably the least likely outcome.
    But I'm okay with that, so long as the line of "abuse" is drawn.

  17. #17
    Life is Supposed to be Fun! Rexanne's Avatar
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    What strikes me like a bolt of lightening is the apparent intelligence and articulate manner of many B/Hers. Damn ... if you guys played it straight, you'd have the world in your hands.

    Oh and you'd be reaping better karma. ;-)
    Peace,

    Rexanne

    Rexanne.com
    Loving Everyone's Child Creates Magic


  18. #18
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    Rexanne:

    Of the BHers I know 25% went straight in 2007

  19. #19
    Life is Supposed to be Fun! Rexanne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Ward
    Rexanne:

    Of the BHers I know 25% went straight in 2007
    No wonder I lost business last year! LOL
    Peace,

    Rexanne

    Rexanne.com
    Loving Everyone's Child Creates Magic


  20. #20
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    XMCP-I was being facetious. (You know me as XLS)

    Rexanne-Most blackhats, especially the successful ones, are highly intelligent. You need to be if you are on the cutting edge.

  21. #21
    Life is Supposed to be Fun! Rexanne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stroker

    Rexanne-Most blackhats, especially the successful ones, are highly intelligent. You need to be if you are on the cutting edge.
    Cutting edge of what ... a guillotine?
    Peace,

    Rexanne

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    Loving Everyone's Child Creates Magic


  22. #22
    Newbie SlightlyShadySEO's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rexanne
    What strikes me like a bolt of lightening is the apparent intelligence and articulate manner of many B/Hers. Damn ... if you guys played it straight, you'd have the world in your hands.

    Oh and you'd be reaping better karma. ;-)
    Thank you very much :-) I appreciate the compliment. You guys seem much better tempered than the last couple places this discussion has taken hold.

    The karma thing does worry me from time to time(although I try and play as nicely as I can). I don't have any issue with tricking Google. As far as I'm concerned, they're just as bad as me. They're the same concept. It's having a start point(work written by other people), and having your software and scripts turn it into something monetizable. In either case, there is no opt-in. No one asks permission. It just kind of happens.
    A long time ago, this was recognized. Search engines were looked at with a lot of ethical scrutiny.
    My karma worry, is that I really dislike link spamming. My goal with it has from the start been to find locations that are abandoned, not visited by humans or moderated. I respect IP bans(I have many IPs available, but do not shuffle them). I do my best to check to see if posts stuck, or were deleted(deletion meaning moderation). I never hit one resource too much. A combination of those seems to help with the karma argument in my head.

    As for the "world in your hands" arguement I believe it's important to realize there aren't too many blackhats that don't maintain a whitehat site or two. For me, blackhat is largely about paying for schooling/living expenses short term(although eventually, the residual income alone is quite high; after a Google ban, I often accidentally rank top 5 in Yahoo/MSN for the keywords). Whitehat projects are designed to be a base, reliable income as they mature. They're just not fast enough for the time being.
    Also, Blackhat is honestly the best whitehat crash course I could've ever hoped for. Compared to many, I have not been doing SEO very long. However, using blackhat creates a hyperbole of the rules. Anything wrong is magnified by a lot. So it taught me the rules of the Search Engine(for whitehat) better than any e-book could've.

    Perhaps someday I'll come towards the light, just not yet.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rexanne
    No wonder I lost business last year! LOL
    hehehe

    It's true some blackhats did disappear this year. But many more new ones are surfacing. And many are making absolutely ungodly amounts of money(honestly, more than myself by a long shot in many cases. And I don't do badly)

  23. #23
    Newbie SlightlyShadySEO's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rexanne
    Cutting edge of what ... a guillotine?
    I would say the guillotine is what you're on the edge of if you AREN'T intelligent, and on the "cutting edge" of search technology. Any update, tweak, or modification could be one meant to knock out your network. So you have to be ahead of the game. Not reacting to what the search engines have done, but rather to what they might do next

  24. #24
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    Everyone is playing nice, so I'll try to go with the flow.

    You won't earn a dime from my original, fresh & unique content.

    We can call it something fancy ie. "blackhat", but I'm sorry, at the end of the day, it's nothing more than theft & copyright infringement.

    "having a start point (work written by other people)" : why not photocopy magazine articles, and sell ad space on the copies? It's exactly the same.

    Sorry folks, I"m cutting out of this topic.

  25. #25
    Troll Killer and best Snooper!
    I decide when the pigs fly!
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    I'm curious as to why people chose BH over WH. They each have rewards but being a mainstream webmaster I guess the allure and appeal of BH are lost on me. I don't entirely buy the argument that BH is all about making big bucks fast. I suspect it has a lot to do with ego. Hubby says that all games men play are, at heart, a variant form of the game archetype, AKA "kill the guy with the ball."

    Which guy are you trying to kill and whose ball is it, anyway?

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