Sunday, October 5, 2008

Cloaking or Cookie Stuffing or what? Is Google really pure as the driven snow?

It seems everyone knows everything better than I do. What do I know?
Someone commented that the blog about Cookie Stuffing is really about cloaking and that dear Google is innocent of any wrong doing as they are not responsible for content of advertisements. By that logic, Website owners should not be penalized for external broken links, since we can't check each link, and we shouldn't be penalized for backlinks from shady link farms, since we aren't responsible for what other people put on their websites.
But Google DOES hold us responsible for these things and Google IS responsible for the ads they run. They have to be.
And the company that advertises the scripts says it is doing Cookie Stuffing (not cloaking) and says they are doing  Black Hat SEO. Maybe they don't know what they are doing.
By the way, last year Yahoo! was caught cloaking in their automobile ads (see ). If what the search engine spider sees is not what the user sees and what happens is not what the user intended, it is cloaking, not matter how or why it is done.
Cookie Stuffing usally has to include some cloaking mechanism (or call it something else - it does the same thing)  to ensure that the search engine sees an innocent page, but the user gets to the advertiser's page - even if the user doesn't know they got there. 
Ami Isseroff  

Google advertises Black Hat SEO software

Google prides itself on ethical business practices and Google Webmaster guidelines repeatedly warn against unfair  Black Hat SEO practices. But Google allows  AdSense advertisements for  Cookie Stuffing. Here's the ad, collected today Sunday, October 5, 2008, for a search for keyword [cookie stuffing]

Cookie stuffing is an unethical way to earn lots of money from  Affiliate advertisers. A user clicks a  Search Engine listing for (say) a supposed political Web site. But the site that the search engine spider saw is not what the surfer will see. Instead of getting information about Sarah Palin or Joe Biden, the page clicks on an affiliate firm's advertisement, and shows (for example) a page for purchasing a book about Joe Biden or Sarah Palin. The firm boasts that it brought nearly $9000 in affiliate revenue to a site that got 1,000 visitors a day. And - these are cautious folk who only send 10% of the visitors to the affiliate Web site.  A comfortable way to make a living - for Google too.

If Webmasters are not supposed to use Black Hat optimization tricks, should Google be making a living by advertising Black Hat software?

Ami Isseroff