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Can't believe people are still submitting to auto approve directories

Discussion in 'Directories' started by dvduval, Dec 3, 2013.

  1. #1
    About 3-4 years ago I started an experiment. I created a directory that allowed links automatically if they had a google pagerank of 1 or higher. I left it for dead, but nearly 4 years later the directory as 30,000 links in it and received 10 new links so far today.

    I'm willing to take a little flack for taking part in this madness, but I just wanted to understand firsthand what this is all about. I don't have google adsense on the site or sell links, so I am not profitting. It is pretty much FFA (free for all), except Google had to put their stamp of approval on the sites by giving them a PR 1 or higher. I suppose now Google even allows one to disallow links from this directory.

    But let me take this a little further....

    What if there were ways to parse this data, and remove the junk better? What if there were ways to classify types of submissions automatically?

    Obviously, this is what a search engine like Google does. They create methods to separate the low quality out, and keep the good stuff.
    dvduval, Dec 3, 2013 IP
  2. tornado!

    tornado! Member

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    #2
    You should take a lot of flack. These auto approve directories are mostly running your software. You still sell the software with a huge footprint for spammers to track (Powered By: PHP Link Directory) and you have been very critical of others without first thinking how your directory software has helped to make this all possible.

    I know that being the most popular directory software may make things difficult for you because spammers want to spam directories running it. But, if you really care about the future of directories, you should take action where you can. Since "Powered By: PHP Link Directory" is a footprint used in most directory spam software, removing it from directory footers would be a great place to start and would help protect your customers. That is, if you really care and are not just blowing smoke.
    tornado!, Dec 3, 2013 IP
    Nima, averyz and ryan_uk like this.
  3. sarahk

    sarahk iTamer Staff

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    #3
    I'd just hook the directory submissions into Akismet and see if that filters out the spam.
    sarahk, Dec 3, 2013 IP
  4. LakeCountry

    LakeCountry Active Member

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    #4
    I really don't understand what you are trying to say. I removed the big ugly H from my Sonata but even after debadging it, it is still a Hyundai. If David removed the "powered by" would that make phpld something different or somehow reduce spam?
    LakeCountry, Dec 3, 2013 IP
  5. sarahk

    sarahk iTamer Staff

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    #5
    I was pondering this before and you have a great backend for a new plugin - if phpLD uses them

    good directory A uses plugin X
    site owner submits a link to directory A
    plugin X checks to see if the link/domain has been submitted to bad directory B
    - Yes, the submission is declined
    - No, the submission goes through to the next moderation stage

    when a site owner logs into directory A the plugin will get all the links that have been submitted to bad directory B since the site owner last logged in. If any of those match existing links in good directory A then they are listed on the dashboard, thrown back into moderation etc.
    sarahk, Dec 3, 2013 IP
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  6. YMC

    YMC Well-Known Member

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    #6
    A good first step would have been to remove the auto-approve functionality from the directory scripts years ago. I realize people wanted that functionality but it has obviously not done the industry any favors. It should never have been included in the first place.

    To allow a truly automated auto-approve directory and maintain quality, you would have to basically build a knowledge base full of if-then-else statements. I would think it would be crazy expensive to build.

    You would have to check the descriptions for things like:

    - if the same word appears more than x number of times

    - if it included a pair of words from the following groups (flowers, florist, etc) and (india, dubai, etc.)

    - if it didn't pass a basic grammar checker

    - if it included URLs or other HTML

    - etc.

    Basically build an AI system that would do most of the things a half-way decent editor would do. Certainly possible, but then the price you would have to charge would be insane. Plus, as the spammers figured out new ways to outwit your AI, you would have to ensure it could either learn them or you would have to update your program.
    YMC, Dec 4, 2013 IP
  7. dvduval

    dvduval Notable Member

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    #7
    There was a time period where people thought they would be able to reduce spam by not allowing certain keywords, requiring pagerank, a long description and other factors. They thought they could then auto approve the links that go through the filter. At the time it seemed like a legitimate strategy. I still think it is a strategy that could be pursued. For example, maybe no follow everything and make it viewable in search but not the category until the admin or an editor flags they like it. But of course there can be black hat strategies, and I'm not sure I can serve the role of policeman.
    dvduval, Dec 4, 2013 IP
  8. YMC

    YMC Well-Known Member

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    #8
    Long description? So what's to keep folks from just repeating the same description until it meets the threshold?

    I require an extra field. You would be amazed the garbage folks stick in it.
    YMC, Dec 4, 2013 IP
  9. dvduval

    dvduval Notable Member

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    #9
    Absolutely I agree with a more comprehensive submission process. It may take them longer, but the serious people will stay. That still doesn't remove the possibility that people getting paid $2/hour to submit to a bunch of directories won't still be in play.
    dvduval, Dec 4, 2013 IP
  10. sarahk

    sarahk iTamer Staff

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    #10
    From what I've seen here with the dupe accounts to make low value link sales - those players will still be working. A few more steps won't knock them out - unless they just can't understand what is required.

    Getting back to my first post in this thread - have you tried Akismet? Was it worthwhile?
    sarahk, Dec 4, 2013 IP
  11. arrisweb

    arrisweb Well-Known Member

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    #11
    Maybe bad people using bots to crush competitors by sending links to auto approve directories. This is all thanks to google.
    arrisweb, Dec 4, 2013 IP
  12. sarahk

    sarahk iTamer Staff

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    #12
    That's naive, bad people have always looked for ways to hurt their competitors. At the moment they may use Google, but Google have not enticed them or encouraged this behaviour.
    sarahk, Dec 4, 2013 IP
  13. arrisweb

    arrisweb Well-Known Member

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    #13
    I didn't say that bad people are only in 2013.
    arrisweb, Dec 4, 2013 IP
  14. sarahk

    sarahk iTamer Staff

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    #14
    No, but you implied that Google was responsible.
    sarahk, Dec 4, 2013 IP
  15. Nima

    Nima Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    #15
    Google is not responsible but people who sheepishly follow whatever Google dictates them are.
    Nima, Dec 4, 2013 IP
  16. dvduval

    dvduval Notable Member

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    #16
    I would imply that this all has been centered on Google, and they did not handle everything perfectly. Nearly a year after initial reports were sent to them, Google is still showing PageRank 7 on sites that got that pagerank by hacking high profile sites. Google has been great at saying that Pagerank and rankings are not related so therefore pagerank cheaters don't benefit. But the fact is they do benefit because pagerank has a dollar value even today, yet Google does nothing to police this black hat business, or else these sites would have lost their pagerank long ago.
    dvduval, Dec 5, 2013 IP
  17. Nima

    Nima Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    #17
    There hasn't been a Google Toolbar PR update in 8 or 9 months if Im not mistaking
    Nima, Dec 5, 2013 IP
  18. dvduval

    dvduval Notable Member

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    #18
    Yes, that is correct to the best of my knowledge, and I got the impression there won't be one this year, and possibly never again.
    dvduval, Dec 5, 2013 IP
  19. sarahk

    sarahk iTamer Staff

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    #19
    So therefore those PR7s are never going to be downgraded - otherwise that would count as an update.

    How does that impact on your data checking question? except to tell you that PR shouldn't be part of the toolkit?
    sarahk, Dec 5, 2013 IP
  20. YMC

    YMC Well-Known Member

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    #20
    I was under the impression that Google could zero out a site if the PR was deemed fraudulent. Sounds like that would be a manual endeavor while the "updates" are automated. It would seem they are two different things.

    The sick side effect of not updating PR but leaving the old scores visible is only going to make links from those sites even more valuable. Just seems like yet another predicable result that G is doing nothing to avoid having happen.
    YMC, Dec 5, 2013 IP