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Can you BAN a competitor?

Discussion in 'Yahoo' started by SEOGuru, Jun 24, 2005.

  1. schlottke

    schlottke Peon

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    #101
    Whether or not it is coop related (which I doubt it is) Yahoo! certainly did drop a lot of quality sites. Many of which were in the coop.. Is it all coincidence, probably.
    SEMrush
     
    schlottke, Jul 12, 2005 IP
    SEMrush
  2. SEOGuru

    SEOGuru Peon

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    #102
    I don't think it is the coop exactly. Meaning.. not everyone in the coop got banned. So I don't believe Yahoo targeted the DP coop. But, having a LOT of weight in the coop puts a site in a position where they can acquire thousands (or in my case over 1.5 million) links in a very short time frame. THAT is what I believe got these sites banned; massive links very quickly.

    In all honestly, it DOES look suspicious and un-natural, but as many people pointed out there are lots of ways you can legitimately get a lot of links very quickly. (though coop links also disappear virtually immediately after they are indexed so that is probably even MORE suspicious)

    I'm not here to tell Yahoo how to rank sites on their search engine. I just think banning a site is too harsh of a punishment. They are opening pandora's box because you can take out your competitors. Completely innocent sites can get nailed.

    Look at the SEO industry over the last 4 years. It has exploded. As soon as people started to realize that PageRank and links mattered in rankings, a whole sub-culture emerged to sell links from high PR sites to manipulate the rankings. Yahoo can't assume that everyone will play fairly. We all know that isn't true. Google learned their lesson which is why they devalue links but will virtually never BAN a site for someone else linking to it.

    If Yahoo does not correct this issue, companies will emerge as sort of "Internet Assassins" that you could hire as hitmen on other sites. I'm not sure Yahoo really thought about what they were doing or maybe they thought that few people would have the time, resources, knowledge, or desire to actually carry out such an act.

    Again, all I have is a theory but the data seems to be very compelling. I hope to prove it soon but they need to hurry up and do another update. lol
     
    SEOGuru, Jul 12, 2005 IP
  3. Web Gazelle

    Web Gazelle Well-Known Member

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    #103
    That is the reason I am spreading my weight over several sites and gradually increasing it on the main site that I want to show well and bring in good revenue.
     
    Web Gazelle, Jul 13, 2005 IP
  4. rjhere

    rjhere Banned

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    #104
    coopguy, how is this experiment coming along?
     
    rjhere, Jul 18, 2005 IP
  5. SEOGuru

    SEOGuru Peon

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    #105
    Sorry for the delay. I have been really busy and haven't logged in to the forums recently.

    Here is the experiment update.

    First I managed to take my competitor's links from 44k to 400k. So about 9 times what they had. But I had a problem. Yahoo themselves are also in the industry I am in. In fact it is one of their biggest money makers.

    They have frozen the top 10 rankings (including my competitor's). I have proof of this and this is actually a whole different ethical and legal issue that my lawyers will be bringing up to Yahoo.

    Rather than explaining the exact keyword on a public message board, i'll give you an hypothetical example in another industry.

    Let's say you were trying to get ranked in "TRAVEL". That would be one of the most competitive keywords on the Internet, right? Now, lets say you somehow got to #1, but Yahoo also had a Travel company (or division). Basically you would have been outranking Yahoo on their own search engine.

    Now assume that after the Charlie update at the end of June, you were magically "banned" and Yahoo was now #1. Though this might upset you, you probably wouldn't question Yahoo being ranked first since they are a large company and probably have a lot of links.

    But then a month goes by with many more updates or (ranking shifts). The ENTIRE top 10 has not changed.

    Let me elaborate. I'm not talking about the top 10 being the same except for little shifts between them. I'm saying, since the Charlie update it has been the same Top 10, IN THE SAME ORDER.

    Ok, so then you take a step back that think to yourself:
    "Well, it is odd because every other keyword shifts around a little but, but I guess it is possible for the same 10 to be left in the same order."

    So then you check a variation of the term. You search for "FREE TRAVEL". It is the EXACT same 10 in the EXACT same order. That is IMPOSSIBLE.

    Even if you searched on Google, MSN, or Yahoo for "gift card" and "gift cards" you would get different results. Even if some of the same sites showed up, they would be in a different order. And that was only 1 LETTER off. In this case I have added a whole word and the EXACT same results appeared in the EXACT same order. Then you realize that Yahoo offers "FREE TRAVEL" so you try something else. You search for "WINTER TRAVEL" and the entire top 10 change.

    So why those two searches? Why lock them down? It is impossible (mathematically) for the algorithm to have the exact same results for two completely different searches, especially when you can easily prove that just the plural of a search generates different results. And we aren't talking about some small keyword no one searches for. This is one of the top 50 most searched words on the entire Internet.

    So I checked across thousands of keywords to see if I can duplicate this phenomenon. NOPE. Yahoo not only banned my site (who was outranking them) but has actually frozen the results with themselves at #1 because it is an industry where they make a LOT of money in.

    Granted, the industry is not "TRAVEL". I used it as an example. Private message me if you want the exact searches I'm referring to. This brings up a whole different issue with them that my lawyers are pursuing with other media organizations.

    OK, so the problem with my experiment of trying to get a competitor banned is that they were in the frozen results at #8. They haven't budged one spot (up or down) since the Charlie update over a month ago even though I've increased their links 9 times.

    So, the experiment with the competitor was tainted.

    NEW EXPERIMENT

    I needed a clean control variable and since people seem to be flipping out about me going after competitors I decided to use one of my brand new sites. I have thousands now so I wasn't really worried about losing one.

    I pointed a lot of my co-op weight to this new site. It had the keyword in the Domain Name. And I used the keyword as the anchor text and didn't really even optimized the page for the keyword. (I didn't want any other factors to influence the results) The site had already been indexed with a couple hundred pages but it didn't have any links.

    This was about 3 weeks ago.

    I took it from 0 links, to 224,000 links. I started tracking the results and the site started to rise in the rankings.

    RESULTS:
    After 2 days it was ranked 245th
    After 7 days it was ranked 60th
    After 10 days it was ranked 43rd
    After 15 days it was ranked 17th
    On day 16: BANNED

    (it has not come back since - has been nearly a week)​

    However, that new site is top 5 on MSN and top 30 on Google in a very competitive term.

    CONCLUSION:
    So there you have it. A new site, no other links or other factors. From nothing to top 20 then banned in Yahoo in 16 days. All I used was the co-op with about 80,000 weight.

    Take it for what it's worth. You can believe it or not but other people have experienced the same results. As for me, I'm convinced that at least for right now, you can ban a site (in yahoo) just by forcing an abnormally high amount of links to the site in a short period of time. This would include a competitor. Keep in mind that if a competitor already had a lot of links, you would need even more to make the increase look abnormal.

    I think Yahoo needs to rethink this whole thing. Though they are trying to weed out sites that they believe damage the relevancy of their results, these factors might not be controled by the site that gets banned. They are ASSUMING that the site actively went out and got all of these links (and maybe some of them do). They failed to realize (or simply ignored) the fact that you can actually destroy your competition using the same method.

    However, you also have to be willing to accept that you may actually help your competition in MSN and/or Google. If they are already doing well in MSN/Google then it may be worth it because you couldn't help them that much. That is up to you to decide.

    One thing is for sure, this is a slippery slope that Yahoo has created.
     
    SEOGuru, Aug 3, 2005 IP
  6. GuyFromChicago

    GuyFromChicago Permanent Peon

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    #106
    Interesting update. One thing about the above comment though...since when is any search engine obligated to include/freeze/unfreeze/exclude....whatever, any site from their organic listings?

    It's no one's "right" to be listed. They can do whatever they want, including freezing results or exclusing sites.

    Ethical? Maybe not.

    Basis of a valid lawsuit? Highly, highly unlikely.
     
    GuyFromChicago, Aug 3, 2005 IP
  7. SEOGuru

    SEOGuru Peon

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    #107
    You have a good point. And maybe it will go nowhere. But I will make sure they know that I know. And I'll get other media organizations involved. There is more than one way to apply pressure than in the courtroom.
     
    SEOGuru, Aug 3, 2005 IP
    GuyFromChicago likes this.
  8. chachi

    chachi The other Jason

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    #108
    Thanks for the update. Although, this new experiment is hardly what the original one was. The idea was to see if you could boot a site from the index and you were not successful...whatever you think the reasons are. Maybe you can boot one of your other compeititors out of the rankings as with thousands of websites you must have more than one competitor. :)
     
    chachi, Aug 3, 2005 IP
  9. SEOGuru

    SEOGuru Peon

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    #109
    I actually was successful in booting a site from the index, just not my competitor. The site I got booted was indexed and was ranked, now it is banned.

    Yes i could go after a different competitor, but if I run that experiment, I'll have to do it on my own because some people got pissed off that I was going after my competition and I didn't want to start another firestorm on here. lol
     
    SEOGuru, Aug 3, 2005 IP
  10. chachi

    chachi The other Jason

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    #110
    ok, so I am not following you. Maybe you just have too many experiments that I can't keep up with. :) I think it might be interesting to PM someone a website that is currently top ranking in Y! Search. That person can then verify that it looks legit. Then you use your magical powers to boot them. That would be a little more of a credible experiment to me. :)
     
    chachi, Aug 3, 2005 IP
  11. SEOGuru

    SEOGuru Peon

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    #111
    Ok, but does anyone want to put up a site to get banned when they are top ranked on yahoo?
     
    SEOGuru, Aug 3, 2005 IP
  12. chachi

    chachi The other Jason

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    #112
    Did your competitor ask you to try and knock him/her out of Y! before you started this experiment?
     
    chachi, Aug 3, 2005 IP
  13. SEOGuru

    SEOGuru Peon

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    #113
    I think I misunderstood you. I thought you wanted someone else to put up a site that was highly ranked to get banned. What you really want is just someone else to verify it because you think I'm lying and I just made all of this up, right?

    Not sure what that would accomplish. I'm interested in the results just like everyone else. I want to make sense of this whole thing because I can't believe that Yahoo would ban a site for links. Google just devalues links and makes them worthless if they detect something like massive links (that is out of the norm) but they don't ban you for something you can't control.
     
    SEOGuru, Aug 3, 2005 IP
  14. chachi

    chachi The other Jason

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    #114
    heh, I wasn't calling you a liar. I just think that it is tough to believe what you read on forums. Most is opinion. Surely, you cannot know anything as fact, it would just lend more credibility if there were some other people that could observe things from the get go. That is all I am trying to say.
     
    chachi, Aug 3, 2005 IP
  15. maha

    maha Well-Known Member

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    #115
    Hey CoopGuy,

    Thanks for the update on your experiment. The results are very interesting. Like you said, co-op does help the rankings in Google & MSN. So... the benefits outweigh the "ban" from Yahoo (I think?).

    Did the site that was added to the Y! Directory for $299 come back in the Yahoo rankings or still banned?
     
    maha, Aug 4, 2005 IP
  16. SEOGuru

    SEOGuru Peon

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    #116
    It is still banned. But it is #1 in MSN. I love the fact that the Yahoo Search team tells you that you can submit your site for a "RE-REVIEW" but only once. After that, you are just screwed forever. And they wont tell you WHAT it was that they didn't like about your site to begin with. How the heck are you suppose to fix something if you don't know what to fix?

    Oh it gets better. When you submit your site for re-review, they wont tell you if you were reincluded into the search index or not. I guess you are just suppose to wait and if in a few months you still aren't in, then you just have to assume you were not approved.

    Yahoo can bite me. My partners and I have contacts with several reporters at ABC News, 60 minutes, L.A. Times, N.Y. Times, and the Chicago Tribune. Once we have all of our ducks in a row I'm going to love to see the PR backtredding that Yahoo is going to be doing as they explain to their shareholders how they fixed the rankings for their own benefit.

    As some other people pointed out, Yahoo can do anything they want with their search engine. But, we will also be lobbying the FTC to require them to place a disclaimer on their site that the results are NOT a result of the algorithm and are in fact fixed for their own benefit. It is a violation of public trust.

    Whether or not they actually have to do this is not the point. I want to create a media feeding frenzy that causes just as much if not more damage to these assholes.
     
    SEOGuru, Aug 4, 2005 IP
  17. maha

    maha Well-Known Member

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    #117
    I agree with you. The only way for them to change their policy is public awareness and media attention. fixing organic search results is not cool. It's very deceving to the public making them think they're getting non-bias search results.
     
    maha, Aug 4, 2005 IP
  18. GuyFromChicago

    GuyFromChicago Permanent Peon

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    #118
    Playing devils advocate - where's the announcement that Yahoo made stating that organic results aren't biased? I don't know that it's Yahoo's fault that people assume those results aren't biased. To take that one step further I highly doubt that anyone besides webmasters trying to get their sites ranked really cares.
     
    GuyFromChicago, Aug 4, 2005 IP
  19. SEOGuru

    SEOGuru Peon

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    #119
    I disagree. If they are fixing results, then they have decieved the trusting public because for the past 10 years (even before they had their own search engine) they have told the public and their users that their results are based on an algorithmic formula. The public is not "assuming". They have been told and it has been documented that Yahoo IS a search engine that used mathematical equations to generate what they deem to be relevant results.

    You are correct that it is their search engine and they can rank sites how they want. BUT that doesn't mean a company isn't also held accountable. I'm not making this up either. The FTC has already asked search engines to disclose this type of information:

    http://searchenginewatch.com/sereport/article.php/2164891

    It can be argued that FIXED results without a disclosure is even more of Deceptive Advertising than paid content because the public thinks the results ARE unbiased. THAT is the trust that has been established between the search engines and those that use the service.

    The FTC will virtually always lean to protect the consumer over big business.
     
    SEOGuru, Aug 4, 2005 IP
  20. GuyFromChicago

    GuyFromChicago Permanent Peon

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    #120
    Still being the devils advocate - point me to something in which Yahoo states that the organic results are exclusively arrived at using equations.
     
    GuyFromChicago, Aug 4, 2005 IP