A bunch of folks are giving me virtual high-fives over Squidoo reportedly getting dinged hard by Google for their massive spam problem. For the record I had *nothing* to do with Google’s actions, I’ve never talked to Google about the issue, and I never reported them. What I did do is blog about the massive amount of spam and porn being posted to Squidoo, and of course the spammers and blackhat SEOs who have been using it as a clearing house.
Here are some other points:
- Squidoo brought this upon themselves by leaving their system open for the past year, even when folks were pointing out that their platform was being used a spammer safe house.
- Squidoo ignored the problem and only addressed it in the past 10 days.
- This is not, as Seth Godin’s blogged, a new problem. This didn’t just happen in the past week, this has been going on for a loooooong time.
- Squidoo has another huge problem I fear: the lack of transparency and labeling of what’s an advertisement. This will be the next big reason why they get dinged by Google–or is this the real reason!? Maybe Google is not dinging them because of the spam, maybe it’s all the paid links that look like editorial. Hmmm…..
- As many people have pointed out Seth Godin wouldn’t join the discussion about the problems that have taken place over the past six months.
- Mahalo is NOT a competitor to Squidoo. Squidoo is an open platform where people can publish their own guides to the web, Mahalo is a search service where we create *one* page for each term. If you go to Squidoo and type in iPod or Paris Hotels and compare that to Mahalo you’ll understand this instantly. Squidoo is a publishing platform like blogger or Geocities, we are search service/directory (I’ve stopped calling it a search engine since we do editorial). We have guidelines for each page and a very specific editorial process–Squidoo is a platform company. Ugh.
- I give all spammers, blackhat SEOs, and deceptive marketing companies a hard time. I have done this for a loooooooong time. I did it when Gawker bloggers took junkets where their subjects paid for their bloggers travel. I did it when PayPerPost was launched, and when Vibrant Media came out. I’ve come out against blackhat SEOs forever. I am NOT pointing out Squidoo’s problems to take down a competitor because they are not a competitor–this is my passion. Anyone who read this blog knows I hate deceptive marketing, spam, and blackhat SEO.
- In fact, I like the concept of personal publishing and I like Seth Godin.
- I really do hope that Squidoo solves their problem quickly and that Google restores their rank.
- Squidoo did this to themselves. They knew about the problem and ignored it for a loooooooong time. They could have addressed this months ago and they didn’t.
- I salute Google if they did in fact take action to protect users. That being said, I hope they respond quickly if Squidoo solves the problem.
- I think Google should warn folks if they are going to do this, and I’m wondering if they did or not. Matt care to comment?
Anyway, there is not much more to say here. Spammers should be blocked and all startups should take steps to do it. If Mahalo gets infected with spam I HOPE people call me out on it. In fact, if you find a spam link in Mahalo I’ll buy you a beer…. post it to your blog, twitter me, IM me, call me, email me. I’m available to personal remove any spam form projects I work on. I will not stick my head in the sand to make a quick buck/get some cheap page views.
Note: As I mentioned above Mahalo is a search service NOT a search engine. I’ve realized that calling it a search engine is causing a massive rift in terms or perception about the service and I don’t want to be intellectually dishonest. We are not an “engine,” we’re a service. We write editorial and as such we are move like About.com, the Yahoo Directory, and Wikipedia. Fine, let’s close that issue out. I’ll stop calling it a search engine, folks can stop telling me it’s not: it’s all academic anyway.