The last couple of days have been full with controversy, discussion and a lot of blog posts to read regarding the great piece of thinking Aaron Wall put on his blog regarding a possible update Google has made to their algorithm. Read: Google's New Search Engine Rankings Place Heavy Emphasis on Branding. Parts of this great thinking evolves around how Google itself is responsible for the Cesspool created by Adsense, the easy way of monetizing content on a website.
The interesting part of being in the Internet Marketing world for the last 7 years, is that I’ve seen it evolve and learned how to play within the space. But what is more important, is that the Internet marketing does have a lot of snake oil salesmen as their parasites and big companies ruin their own business. One of these big businesses is; Google!
Google become big because of their way of providing an unique service to their users. A service which was so superior from other search engines, Google gained market share very quickly. To be able to pay for the increased server costs, money had to be made from this superior search engine. Google Adwords & Adsense were the answer to that! And here our story really begins.
Adsense as Parasite of the Internet
Anybody who could setup a website could make some quick bucks with Adsense. Just make sure you got traffic, monetize with Google Adsense, and you can see the checks rolling in. In the early days, it was so easy to make money with Adsense, that a couple of high flyers became very rich over night. Just publish some content, make this content rank in the search engines, and make money on the ads around the content.
As soon there is money to be made, the smart people jump on it, and make sure they understand exactly how to game the system. Buying links was a reasonable effective way to make a site rank fast for competitive, high cpc keywords. This meant you could start your own website, write some bullshit about “Mesothelioma lawyers” and ask your friends to click on the ads around this content from home. At $50 per click for these keywords, you would only need a couple of clicks a day to have a full income. These days are long gone already. Click fraud is one of the major focuses of the search engines, and the paid link issue has been well documented on other blogs.
Still I think Google is carrying a great deal of responsibility of today's Cesspool on the internet, and I’ve been a victim!
Adsense is the vehicle
All in all, Google is making a killing with Adsense, so whatever happens to one of my sites, or this blogpost, I don’t think i can ever change the way the Internet works. There is simply too much money at stake for the companies who should police their own systems to walk the walk, the way they talk the talk.
I have a couple of websites, and I have complied with the webmaster guidelines; make a website for your users not for search engines. I’m only talking about my white hat sites here. Honesty, I don’t have any grey or black hat sites 🙂
On these websites I create the content, and it is all written out of our own experience, so we make sure it’s unique. Sometimes I take a recommendation for a restaurant from a different website, but i always make sure that the content I write is completely written out of my own experience and is unique.
Like I said, Google Adsense is the main driver of the Cesspool on the internet. Much of the uniquely written content, falling under copyright, is simply rewritten, posted on a quickly assembled website, monetized with Adsense. And trust me, I have experience dealing with webmasters who simply deny the charges of copying your content, while they have been so dumb that they copied spellings mistakes with it!
Google's own CEO Eric Schmidt has called the internet a Cesspool, where big brands should play a role in cleaning up the garbage that is being created day by day. "According to Google CEO Eric Schmidt, the Internet is a "cesspool" where false information thrives."
The cesspool is one of the byproducts of the Internet. With no barriers to entry and nearly frictionless production and distribution, it's easy for false information, lies, doctored images, and other forms of deception to infiltrate the Internet. Web crawlers aren't particularly good at making judgments about the truthiness of digital matter, and the wisdom of the crowd can't keep up with the river of data streaming online.
Newest trend in the Cesspool
One of the newest trends in the cesspool is playing very well against this economy; you’ve got a bunch of people sitting around at home, who don’t have a lot of knowledge of the Internet or webdesign, but do have a lot of free time, and maybe also some experience on some topic or expertise.
I’ve come across a couple of websites that provide the opportunity to people to make some extra money with writing content articles for these websites in exchange of a percentage of the advertisement revenue of the pageviews on their articles. What usually happens is that for 75% of the page views the authors Adsense ads are being shown, for the remaining 25% of the impressions the site owners adsense are being shown.
this situation creates a perfect triangle for making money; Google is making money on the ads that are shown on 100% of the page views; The website owner is making some money for the efforts of setting up the site and paying for hosting and domain registration. they might even do some SEO to accelerate the growth; the writer can spend as much time creating unique content to draw more visitors to their articles, and get paid, without learning how to set up a website or doing SEO.
And what better idea is it to just copy existing articles, but rewrite these in your own words, so that these become unique in the eyes of Google again. This way, if you are unemployed, you can create a great number of articles around different topics, and just watch the money rolling in as the sites are growing. Nobody will stop you, because it’s in all stakeholders interest to grow the revenue coming out of these scams.
I recently had a content provider copying all my content and republishing it on a website. When I found out, I contacted the owner of the site, pointing out the 100% copied content. They denied off course, and said the content was unique. As they copied a spelling mistake which is not commonly found anywhere on the Internet, and I’ve been looking for it, I know they have copied my content.
But what can you do! The author makes some money, the site owner makes money… And Google gets its cut!
Google Pays Copy Mafia
The only reason why this is happening, is because people can make some money with it. Not a whole lot, but imagine you can copy 10 articles a day, and you are unemployed anyway, at least you can make some money, which is growing by the day, and keeps on giving until the end of times (?)
The only reason why this is happening, is because the Google Adsense program is so low barrier to enter, anybody can start with pasting the Adsense code over their website. And rightly so, but then again, maybe there should be a better reporting feature in Adsense, or at Google, to highlight copied copyrighted materials, which is monetized through Adsense.
It’s interesting to see how fast Google is able to take actions against websites who engage in paying for links to manipulate rankings, but does not take any action towards the websites who have copied content with Adsense around it. Guess why… MONEY!
The real question we should ask, is why Google is so much going after the paid links/ paid posts, while they let these copying happen under their nose. I guess thay want a cut of every money exchange on the Interwebs. If some folks are exchanging money in return of a link, to make blogging interesting, the big G would like to get a cut, or else...
As long as you play within G's guidelines, and pay your protection money, you can count on a steady stream of traffic. Otherwise, you can count on seeing more crime in your neighborhood which makes less atracktive for anybody to pass through and pay some sort of rent!