Lets face it folks..while email spam is still a problem, and a growing one, spammers know that it is all about economics. If they can’t make money off of the exploit, then it is time to move on. Secondarily, if the space gets crowded enough, with spammer and anti-spammer alike, then it is time to try something else. If the attention (and the cash) is focusing on other channels in cyberspace, then maybe some ingenuitive folks can get the jump on the rest, and the payoff, before that scam gets overrun.
Lets sit back and watch, as they take the search engines bait..
Right now, the attention is all over search engines. Keywords, ad space, search engine optimization, and other buzzwords cover the press. There are some holes in the way some search engines work and money is pouring into the sector right now, so scammers and simple cheats alike are running to it as well.
Link farming, ad click fraud, and keyword hiding are popular and effective ways of gaming results and their revenue end-sources, but these are short-term plays. Now we even have software and services specifically to sculpt keyword efficient content (see www.hotnacho.com).
I think it is all stupid, and here’s why:
The focus of gaming is short term. Search engines frequently remove “gamed” pages from search results, so cheats are constantly chasing their tails (this is true of link farms and keyword optimized pages). Second, the guys that run the search engines (particularly the big ones like Google and Yahoo) are not dumb. In fact, many are EXTREMELY smart. And they are aware of the problems with their own systems, and I doubt they are just sitting around with their thumbs up their butts, waiting for the problem to die on its own. They have a vested interest in fixing the problems, or a crashing revenue line and shareholder lawsuits are eventually going to rear their ugly heads. Last but not least, good content will prevail – if you want a steady stream of revenue, you know the kind that builds enterprise value, then you have to develop a core viewer base.
Now you may think some of the above thoughts are a little naive. Maybe they are. But they also reflect simple common sense business principals. Simple and common sense is the mean that everything in the natural world migrates towards. Simple is the shared pot for those who add real value to the online world. That shared pot is gargantuan, and gargantuan means there is plenty to go around. The trickery is the tail of the distribution curve, and I don’t think it is very fat.
You can read a little more about search engine spam in The Spamming Of Web Search, or type a popular keyword like diabetes, mesothelioma, or even SEO into your favorite search engine and see for yourself how irrelevant some of the top results are. But be quick about it, because I think they are going to disappear just as fast.