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  1. #1
    RacingJim is offline Public Member
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    Default Black Hat SEO - Against the rules?

    I was wondering is doing Black Hat SEO against the rules of the affiliate programs? i.e. could someone have their account ended for this?

    I play by all the rules and yet there is one guy in my niche black hatting very heavily and it just seems a little unfair.

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    F-L-C is offline Private Member
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    -Shay- is offline Public Member
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    Define "Black Hat SEO"? The term black hat seo is entirely too vague to give a definite yes/no answer. For example, scraping/copying/republishing someone else's content is against most reputable program's terms. However, blasting links to create the illusion that your generic website is a popular brand would probably not be against program terms.

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    What is it that he is doing exactly? Without seeing the sites in question or what niche it is, all I can really say is that you be patient. If he is Black Hat SEO'ing like you say, he will eventually get punished in the serps. Just concentrate on your site! Produce quality content, and make sure site structure is perfect you will get rewarded eventually.

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    I doubt they care, as long as they are getting customers.

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    justbookies is offline Private Member
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    We are not in the playground where everyone has to stick to "rules". I did see a thread the other month where one member exposed a rival site for buying links which was possibly the worst thing I have seen written on this forum ever. Whose rules are they anyway? The god google. Take the sensible advice above and look after your own websites rather than contemplating attacking a rival.

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    RacingJim is offline Public Member
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    In this case, definition of black hat would be, a one-page low quality website based around one keyword search term, blasting about 10k black-hat links at it within a week or two of launch. (By black-hat I mean, these are clearly black hat link farms, spun content, almost gobbledigook articles, on random subject matters but linking to gambling keywords).

    He does this for same keyword times 4-5 times, i.e. creates multiple 1 page sites for the same keyword, basically he's trying to dominate the top 4-5 searches for each keyword with 4-5 of these 1 page websites and he's being quite successful at it. God knows how Google is letting this pass, but it seems unethical from both a Google point of view and from an affiliates point of view.

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    justbookies is offline Private Member
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    It could be he is testing google out or it could be a deliberate ploy to get the sites banned (either for a test or other ulterior motives).
    There is always the school of thought, if you cant beat them . . .

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    RacingJim is offline Public Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by justbookies View Post
    It could be he is testing google out or it could be a deliberate ploy to get the sites banned (either for a test or other ulterior motives).
    There is always the school of thought, if you cant beat them . . .
    It's definitely gone through my head to just go black hat. Sad that it would come to such a thing though, I've never seen such a sustained attempt at black-hatting like this before. I actually think it's my own fault, I bought a few links off somebody using certain decent keywords that aren't overly competitive and I think he's come in and smashed it to bits. Lesson learnt.

    I guess if it's open season then the gloves are off!

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    justbookies is offline Private Member
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    To be honest, I cant see how his success can be anything other than short-lived as he is doing everything google claims to punish. But maybe that is his business plan. All's fair in love and war.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RacingJim View Post
    In this case, definition of black hat would be, a one-page low quality website based around one keyword search term, blasting about 10k black-hat links at it within a week or two of launch. (By black-hat I mean, these are clearly black hat link farms, spun content, almost gobbledigook articles, on random subject matters but linking to gambling keywords).

    He does this for same keyword times 4-5 times, i.e. creates multiple 1 page sites for the same keyword, basically he's trying to dominate the top 4-5 searches for each keyword with 4-5 of these 1 page websites and he's being quite successful at it. God knows how Google is letting this pass, but it seems unethical from both a Google point of view and from an affiliates point of view.
    have you got an example of one of these sites or keywords they target?

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    -Shay- is offline Public Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by RacingJim View Post
    It's definitely gone through my head to just go black hat. Sad that it would come to such a thing though, I've never seen such a sustained attempt at black-hatting like this before. I actually think it's my own fault, I bought a few links off somebody using certain decent keywords that aren't overly competitive and I think he's come in and smashed it to bits. Lesson learnt.

    I guess if it's open season then the gloves are off!
    Yet another reason why buying links is a bad idea.

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    I dont think that it is breaking the rules, there was never anything in the TOS of affilate programs. At the same time the people doing blackhat SEO will get crushed, they may be on top for a week or two but they will get hit hard.

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    RacingJim is offline Public Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by -Shay- View Post
    Yet another reason why buying links is a bad idea.
    Agree Shay. You are giving potential competitors your target keywords. Not so much of an issue with generic stuff, but certainly an issue with more niche ones if they are half-decent. Lesson learnt, don't worry I will be carefully guarding any future ideas, even if I have to get really creative with my link-building.

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    He will get caught. It just takes time or someone to do something. Linking for the sake of PR increase is against the terms of Google and I strongly suggest reporting part of his network to the webspam team: Report spam, paid links, malware, and other problems

    In the meantime, yup, he makes tons of money and we, the white hatters suffer.

    Until the semantic web then only the true experts will emerge.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semantic_Web

    "The main purpose of the Semantic Web is driving the evolution of the current Web by enabling users to find, share, and combine information more easily. Humans are capable of using the Web to carry out tasks such as finding the Estonian translation for "twelve months", reserving a library book, and searching for the lowest price for a DVD. However, machines cannot accomplish all of these tasks without human direction, because web pages are designed to be read by people, not machines. The semantic web is a vision of information that can be readily interpreted by machines, so machines can perform more of the tedious work involved in finding, combining, and acting upon information on the web.
    The Semantic Web, as originally envisioned, is a system that enables machines to "understand" and respond to complex human requests based on their meaning. Such an "understanding" requires that the relevant information sources be semantically structured."
    -Wiki

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    Quote Originally Posted by muffincrumbs View Post

    In the meantime, yup, he makes tons of money and we, the white hatters suffer.
    I don't know if I agree with that necessarily, at least in this case. By the albeit little description available of the offending page in question, I am not convinced he will be making huge sums of money necessarily. It doesn't sound like a very well built site, and with little interesting content on it. I'm guessing that the offending page probably has a very high bounce rate. For all we know, a lot of people are landing on this black-hat page, and then immediately leaving to go to RacingJim's website. Although without any knowledge of the websites at hand it is difficult to speculate.

    However, I have seen black-hatters do the same to keywords we were targeting, but I have often found absolutely no loss in traffic. So I presume that people were bouncing off that page and then going for our site instead.

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    -Shay- is offline Public Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by RacingJim View Post
    In this case, definition of black hat would be, a one-page low quality website based around one keyword search term, blasting about 10k black-hat links at it within a week or two of launch. (By black-hat I mean, these are clearly black hat link farms, spun content, almost gobbledigook articles, on random subject matters but linking to gambling keywords).

    He does this for same keyword times 4-5 times, i.e. creates multiple 1 page sites for the same keyword, basically he's trying to dominate the top 4-5 searches for each keyword with 4-5 of these 1 page websites and he's being quite successful at it. God knows how Google is letting this pass, but it seems unethical from both a Google point of view and from an affiliates point of view.
    We have someone like that in our niche. Everytime I stumble on a set of his new sites, I file a spam report with Google.

    Regarding your original question - if he is copying your content (in whole or in part) and spinning it - this is against most affiliate terms and conditions. When this happens, you can contact the site owner, file a DMCA, or contact his affiliate programs. The programs who care about their long-term relationships will help in proven cases. If he's not copying/spinning your content, figure out who's content he is copying and spinning and reach out to them and share your suspicion.

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    justbookies is offline Private Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by -Shay- View Post
    if he is copying your content (in whole or in part) and spinning it - this is against most affiliate terms and conditions. When this happens, you can contact the site owner, file a DMCA, or contact his affiliate programs.
    Good advice, but would like to add: - I have found the quickest and most effective way to get stolen content removed is contact their host company - send a formal DMCA notice to their 'abuse' email and they tend to give the site owner a couple of days notice before suspending their site. Also do a whois search check and if possible ring the website owner on the phone (you would not believe how surprised they are to get a real person on the end of the line because of their online theft - if it is an inexperienced content thief the details will be there or enough so you can google the rest), also plague them on twitter. I have had a couple of thieves who run very "respectable" twitter accounts for their websites.

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    Just report it to Google and to the hosting company. In a week the website will no longer exist.

    When it comes to hackers / blackhatters, it's better to not reveal your name or intentions, otherwise you might be in for retaliation. Lay low.

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