Define:SPAM

35 comments

carrying on from the Colgate Thread it seems that not everyone agrees with Danny (and mine, as well as DaveN's) point of view that what they did on their site is SPAM.

Because of this difference of opinion, I thought I would try to resurrect an old sleeping dog and see if we can agree what SPAM is. Personally I'd love to get some official Search Engine views on specifics but I reckon hell may freeze over first. Please prove me wrong though :)

So to kick start the discussion here are a few well known views on what is spam.

I say:

Quote:
I believe that intent is the arbitrar of whether a page/site is SPAM or not.

Do you instinctively

* Place a keyword in your title tag?
* Register a domain name with a keyword?
* Post links to your sites in sig files?
* Look at that little green bar when surfing?

If so you are showing tell tale signs of being a spammer!

Google says:

Quote:
Definitions of search engine spam on the Web:

* Excessive manipulation to influence search engine rankings, often for pages which contain little or no relevant content. Can result in penalization of a web site.
www.positioning-search-engines.com/glossary.htm

* Search Engine Spam are pages created deliberately to trick the search engine into offering inappropriate, redundant, or poor-quality search results. Inappropriate content is content not related to the actual search query. An extreme example is an adult-content site that places the keywords "Disney" and "Barney the Dinosaur" on its pages to trick visitors into coming to the site. ...
www.pro-seo.com/glossary.html

Matt says:

Quote:
Lots and lots of search engine optimization is white-hat and not spam at all. Things like making a site more crawlable, tweaking the words on a site based on what users type in or what you see in your server logs, and gathering links by coming up with creative ideas or services that make people link to you naturally. To me (and Google), spam is search engine optimization that is outside our quality guidelines--things like hidden text, hidden links, doorway pages filled with gibberish words that do a sneaky JavaScript redirect, and so on.

Doug infers:

Quote:
Everything that everyone does, other than his mates is spam

But what do YOU think is the true definition of Search Engine Spam

Comments

Wikipedia says

Wikipedia definition

Don't think they quite know

Quote:
Spamdexing or search engine spamming is the practice of deliberately creating web pages which will be indexed by search engines in order to increase the chance of a website or page being placed close to the beginning of search engine results, or to influence the category to which the page is assigned. Many designers of web pages try to get a good ranking in search engines and design their pages accordingly. The word is a portmanteau of spamming and indexing.

Spamdexing refers exclusively to practices that are dishonest and mislead search and indexing programs to give a page a ranking it does not deserve. "White hat" techniques for making a website indexable by search engines, without misleading the indexation process, are known as search engine optimization (SEO). SEO techniques do not involve deceit.

ehh define:portmanteau

ehh define:portmanteau :D

That's one of the reasons WP aint so great. Big words alone don't make a great resource!

Spam isn't spam till it's removed

It's entirely subjective: Spam is content the search engine/s index, then decide they don't want in their search results.

Same with blog spam and spamming forums or whatever else. The system allows it to start with. But it's only spam when it gets deleted by the blog or forum owner who doesn't want it there / believes it's spam.

So: do something once and have it judged as spam and removed... do the same thing again knowing it's not wanted... spamming.

i'm with dominic

spam is whatever a search engine decides it to be. they'll give guidelines, and we can use them to a limited degree to avoid trouble, if that's what we want to do. but they can and do pull stuff for things not listed as spam, while they also allow some things that are technically spam to go through. in short, it's not spam until the fat search engine sings that it is by pulling you. That's also why different search engines may have different definitions of spam, while it's also why those of us outside search engines might entirely disgree that something is spam. But while we can argue, we don't get to be judge and jury as the search engines do.

Spam

Spam is when you use your brain.

"SPAM" is the practice of

"SPAM" is the practice of sending massive amounts of e-mail promotions or advertisements (and scams) to people that have not asked for it.

"SPAM" in reference to SEO was a PR exercise created by the popular search engine of early 21st century, Google Inc.

post dated: 13th April 2010

Oh, just for the record. I

Oh, just for the record. I am a spammer by my definition (and probably everyone else's as well)

Oh, just for the record. I

Oh, just for the record. I am a spammer by my definition

http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=define%3Agiven

an assumption that is taken for granted

Spam isn't spam till it's removed

Hmmmm .. So google has no spam in it then ... sweet they don't need all those spam reports that Matt keeps asking for ??

Hey Matt... Well done your cleaned your index ..

DaveN

Spam is email

Gerbot is right on.

If you're not blasting emails out, you're not a real spammer IMO. Creative link building doesn't make someone a spammer, or a bad character.

I drop links in forums and blogs whenever I get the opportunity. I embed them within a 300 word on topic post. I've never had one deleted yet. And I get to pick my choice of juicy anchor text - whatever I like, and it gets left. Am I a spammer? Forum owners and blog owners everywhere would disagree since they leave my posts alone even after reviewing them.

If someone's automating that same process, it doesn't make them a spammer. It makes them (IMO) a Crappy Link Builder (CLB). CLB's are the idiots who post poker links to my insurance book review blog, 10 times a day, posts that never see the light of day and never have. What did that gain them? Nada. In other words, automation doesn't make you a 'spammer'. Depending on what you're automating it makes you either a year ahead of the pack, or two years behind that's all.

I don't think there'll ever be a definition of spam that

... everyone agrees on. Many people consider SEO (even white hat seo) spam. I agree that spam is determined by the search engine that defines it... but if the day ever comes that an engine defines the way a link should look (so it conforms to their spam guidelines), designers will revolt.

Let me add to what Danny

Let me add to what Danny mentioned above.

If garnering search referalls was a sport.
It would be a sport that had a rule book only the referee knew about.
It would have within that rule book a rule that stated "The rule book may be ammended at any time by the holders of the rule book and we may or may not advice the players of the sport that the book has changed"
The players would never know what the full ruleset is.
The players would never know what team they are on.
The referrees would be allowed to favour some players and/or teams over others.
The referees would be allowed to send whole countries to the sin bin for no apparent reason.
The players would fight within themselves looking for a clue to what the rules may or may not be.
Some players may well sit on the bench for a year or 2, eager to show their worth and quality.
Other players would say "Screw this, I'm gonna go play a different game"
Many of those same players would be tempted back by an offering of promotion to the playing fields.
Fear would be spread by the referre by inferring that something may or may not break the rules of the game.
Occasionally players would appear to be in once place, when they are really in another.
Sometimes lpayers would send out a professional foul
Sometimes a team will make it look like another team was full of foulers
Other players would call "foul" when no obvious (or non obvious) attempt at damage was meant nor sent
Some clever players would pick up the goal and set guards around it, so only they can shoot at it, bypassing the rule book completely.
Sometimes there would be competing organisations start up, offering an open and honest rule book for all to play by.
The referrees would close those organisations down by sabotage, purchasing them or simply saying they are rubbish.

this can all happen in the magical sport of Search cos a democracy it aint and there is no public rule book and I doubt there ever will be. Personally I like search the way it is but hope for the business as a whole that the search engines, although are probably never going to open their rule book fully will let us all know what will lead to a sending off and enforce that rule fairly, openly and honestly.

Oops, sorry. A flying pig just shat on me as it went over my head!

human nature

I notice that Jason's Sport analogy is very, very close to the sport of human relationships. That is what makes this all so "interesting". is it also the reason why dating sites have been so successful? And maybe it's related to why Google is now getting into Dating sites? OMFG Jason... you may have discovered the Grand Unifying Theory of SEO!

Following is Jason's post with a swap of referee with nature, and player with single, as in single person out there in the social world. Amazing correlation.

If dating was a sport.
It would be a sport that had a rule book only the nature knew about.
It would have within that rule book a rule that stated "The rule book may be ammended at any time by nature and we may or may not advise singles that the book has changed"
Singles would never know what the full ruleset is.
Singles would never know what team they are on.
Nature would be allowed to favour some singles and/or teams over others.
Nature would be allowed to send whole countries to the sin bin for no apparent reason.
Singles would fight within themselves looking for a clue to what the rules may or may not be.
Some singles may well sit on the bench for a year or 2, eager to show their worth and quality.
Other singles would say "Screw this, I'm gonna go play a different game"
Many of those same singles would be tempted back by an offering of promotion to the playing fields.
Fear would be spread by Nature by inferring that something may or may not break the rules of the game.
Occasionally singles would appear to be in once place, when they are really in another.
Sometimes singles would send out a professional foul
Sometimes a team will make it look like another team was full of foulers
Other singles would call "foul" when no obvious (or non obvious) attempt at damage was meant nor sent
Some clever singles would pick up the goal and set guards around it, so only they can shoot at it, bypassing the rule book completely.
Sometimes there would be competing organisations start up, offering an open and honest rule book for all to play by.
Nature would close those organisations down by sabotage, purchasing them or simply saying they are rubbish.

I didn't personally see any need to replace "player" with anything, because I know what a "player" is in the relationshop world (well.. I've been told anyway).

So don't hate the player, hate the game ;-)

Hmmmm .. So google has no

Quote:
Hmmmm .. So google has no spam in it then ... sweet they don't need all those spam reports that Matt keeps asking for ??
Hey Matt... Well done your cleaned your index ..
DaveN

If Google spiders a page and serves it up in their search results ... the technology in place has determined it as worthy.

My theory goes, ... the system often allows it to start with... (i.e. with blogs and forums and.. SE's)

Then if it is reviewed and is then considered spam, or a technique is identified and that classifies a group of pages as spam... they get removed or demoted etc.

Often the system allows something in the first place and then later decides it's spam either through human review or automated quality control that the determination is made.

Spam could also be something that doesn't make 1st base. The technology looks at it and goes 'nup... bugger off,' or there is a human review between submission and determination.

So Google could be full of spam, based on an individuals opinion, but until Google determines the pages in question / or technique in question is spam *in their opinion*... and acts on it - it remains technology approved search results.

Whatever clever stuff you come up with that gets results and isn't axed... isn't spam imo. Because it's about you submitting something to another entity that looks at it and then either rejects it or uses it. If they use it, it's not spam till they say otherwise imo.

If you know something works 'for a while' but will get toasted as soon as it's found... well then you are spamming I believe.

As far as what Google users believe is spam... that doesn't count, because the only people who file spam reports are website promoters, a *very* small group of users.

Content is so valuable, that as soon as they can get their hands on it Google will index it and use it in their search results, alongside which they serve ads that make them billions.

So until they determine that your content is spam and act on it... where is the problem?

fyi: I know bugger all about black hat stuff, this is just my opinion.

Spam is Spam ONLY if it is detectable :-)

To search engines, spam is search engine optimization that is outside their quality guidelines and which they can detect.

Anything else which isn't detectable by the search engines isn't spam :-)

No-one has mentioned...

..."Site Positioned Above Mine" yet.

Are we - Threadwatch members - above that? Wow.

SPAM vs. Spam

Quote:
"SPAM" is the practice of sending massive amounts of e-mail promotions or advertisements (and scams) to people that have not asked for it.

Agreed, that was the first definition of Spam. Gotta be careful here though, the word SPAM is a registered trademark of Hormel Foods. Notice the ALL CAPS?

Spam = UBE or UCE

Unsolicted Bulk Email or Unsolicted Commercial Email

Everything else is just someone's interpretation and/or misinterpretation of the suggested guidelines. ;)

My SPAM Definition

I always thought the word SPAM meant "Someone Positioned Ahead of Me".

I'm Mostly with Matt

...except that it's not really about the guidelines to me, since they're not sufficiently specific. IMO, spam (search engine spam, that is), is the practice of intentionally deceiving the search engine and/or its user. That's not the same thing as modifying a page to make it more relevant to both the user and the SE. Rather it's an effort to fool one or both of those parties into treating the page as more relevant to a given query than it is.

And Jason, a portmanteu word is a mashup of two words, like motel from motor and hotel, or dramedy from drama and comedy. A portmanteau itself is an archaic name for a suitcase that has two sides which come together when the bag is closed, so it's a sort of visual metaphor for pushing the two words together into one.

cheers qwerty define:sarcasm

cheers qwerty

define:sarcasm :)

Well, it's funny you should ask...

The word "sarcasm" has a fascinating history, and I'd be happy to discuss it with you at length...

OK, I'm sorry. Every time I use the word "portmanteau" I get funny looks, so it was pretty easy to assume you really didn't know it (and didn't bother looking it up). Maybe I'm getting the funny looks all the time, but only notice them when I say "portmanteau".

Was that a sneeze?

Quote:
But only notice them when I say "portmanteau".

Bless you!

SPAM sites are those you

SPAM sites are those you wouldn't show your significant other's parents. I remember Cabbie alluding to that definition awhile back. Well, that is unless you wanted to make an affiliate commission off some sex toys they were interested in; whatever. Ugh, bad image.

Sex toys are not SPAM...

(...although spam can be a sex toy when used correctly LOL).

They are just (sites that sell) sex toys. If these things shock prude people, then those people have a bit of a problem IMHO. Some people might be offended by a website about ...um... pigs. Others are shocked at the sight of a cannabis leaf for a logo. Sheesh.

Leads me to this question though: if you make pages that trick people, not the search engines, are they still considered web spam?

Spam isn't spam till it's removed

That just doesn't make sense.

I put a page of junk up, a week later it is removed therefore it is spam. I put an identical page up, next day it is in the Google SERPs, is it now not spam - at least until it is removed again??

Search engine spam is a

Search engine spam is a nonsense term - it's based solely on a subjective standard of quality. As Danny says, this is something the search engines define themselves.

We may be better off dropping the term "spam" entirely from SEO, and instead simply apply the term "scum" - for those who use automated methods to invade the privacy in individuals and cause distress to them, for financial gain - whether email spamming, comment & referrer spamming, adware popups, trojan installs, etc.

Spam is hard to define...

because spam tries to not be spam. Hence, when we try to seperate spam from non-spam, we are bound to mistake spam as non-spam and non-spam as spam.

Sidenote:
"...for financial gain...": So if I make a million sites of auto generated content every day and I never bother putting ads on it, then these pages are non-spam, right?

Sidenote:

Sidenote:
"...for financial gain...": So if I make a million sites of auto generated content every day and I never bother putting ads on it, then these pages are non-spam, right?

I'm not talking about content or SERPs - read again - I'm referring to the people who send out bots to crawl random websites in volume and comment spam on any kind of form that they find.

Doesn't matter if the site is moderated - doesn't matter if the URL formatting is completely wrong - doesn't matter if the form doesn't even publish to the web - they'll still do it anyway.

It's a nasty untargeted predatory behaviour, done with absolutely no regard for the people hit with it.

IMO this is entirely where people need to focus on anti-spam crusades.

Spam is like porn...

...i.e. hard to describe what it is exactly, but I can recognise it in a split second.

Several wise men/women are using this approach.....

Spahm, ah-hem

Spahm=Adsense

I'm waiting for MSN search to create a simple filter button that says, "Click here to see your results minus any pages that contain adsense."

Cut off the head, and the body will die.

You HEAR ME Steve Ballmer!

keywords: Ballmer, Gates, Paris Hilton, MSN search, mesothelioma attourneys...

it's SPAM ...

until you get it out of the frying pan,

then it's DINNER!

hmm, cupboard's empty again

ps. tinfoil hats are great for keeping SPAM moist and fresh

If dating was a sport ....

only women know the rules,
and they ain't telling.

If we had a clue, it would
just ruin the fun :)

But, I hear diamonds trump spam.
Just a rumour though.

I fooled google into showing

I fooled google into showing a page last week. But you know what, it's so innocuous I doubt they will even notice, even if it gets reported and a low level operator checks it. In fact 99.999% of the population would not notice it was not supposed to be there either.

It earns some money and it's relevant too. But it wouldn't be there if I didn't put it there with blackhat techniques. Some other on-topic page would be instead. Is that spam?

Bad Stuff

Quote:
I'm referring to the people who send out bots to crawl random websites in volume and comment spam on any kind of form that they find.

Doesn't matter if the site is moderated - doesn't matter if the URL formatting is completely wrong - doesn't matter if the form doesn't even publish to the web - they'll still do it anyway.

It's a nasty untargeted predatory behaviour, done with absolutely no regard for the people hit with it.

IMO this is entirely where people need to focus on anti-spam crusades.

I have to agree with this. I have bots that come in waves several times a day and do nothing but attempt to repeatedly post comments in my directory. I then get these nice little notes from my web host saying I'm close to exceeding my bandwidth and threatening to shut me down because of that. Frankly I call that more than just spam, I call it at the minimum vandalism and in reality an outright hostile attack.

I've never cared where my competitors ranked in the serps or how they got there. But when automated bots looking to generate link love start putting me out of business by pounding my hosting account like a DNS attack it becomes something I care about.

Following is Jason's post

Quote:
Following is Jason's post with a swap of referee with nature, and player with single, as in single person out there in the social world. Amazing correlation.

You know what, it seems that another great correlation is apparent. Effective SPAM has to emulate nature.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.