Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Big Yahoo Scam the Federal Trade Commission has just Ignored


By: Tom Forrest
Email: tomforrest@htpcompany.com

Yahoo puts in paid sponsored results in with the free merit based non-sponsored results for every search results page. This is why in my opinion Yahoo is misleading and deceiving consumers and is violating Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulations. Please read the background and details below.

I was contacted by some major news organizations about my previous article and they asked me to cut out the nerd talk so they could understand it better. Below is that non-nerd version.

I am angry that the incompetent Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has ignored the biggest Internet advertising scam of all time. It has been perpetrated by Yahoo for many years now.

Some people have reported this Yahoo scam to the FTC. However 99% of the general public do not know and understand what Yahoo is doing. Once people do understand it they think that it is wrong what Yahoo is doing and that the FTC should not allow it.

Do you understand the Yahoo Scam?

Do you know what Yahoo is doing?

I mean at a very basic level, 99% of people do not know and that is why it is so wrong and evil. Yahoo puts in paid sponsored results in with the free merit based non-sponsored results of every search results page. This is why in my opinion Yahoo is misleading and deceiving consumers and is violating FTC regulations. Even though they have separate sponsored (paid) and non-sponsored (free) sections on any search, some percentage of the so called merit based non-sponsored (free) results are really sponsored (paid).

From the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
"Advertising must tell the truth and not mislead consumers."

So if Yahoo does not tell consumers a search result is paid for and Yahoo deceives the consumer and pretends like the paid search result is there based on merit only, then Yahoo advertising is not telling the truth and is misleading the consumers. Then if the consumer makes a bad decision based on Yahoo's deception, isn't that wrong?

Yahoo is deceiving the general public.

The below is from Yahoo's web site:

Where are sponsor results shown on the Search results page?
Sponsor Results: Sponsor Results are sites that pay for placement in search results on keywords that are relevant to their business. These listings participate in the Yahoo! Sponsored Search program and appear on Yahoo! Search results pages and other sections of Yahoo!. You'll see Sponsor Results when they're relevant to the specific search terms you used. For example, if you search for "digital cameras," you'll see Sponsor Results for web sites that provide information about or sell digital cameras. Sponsor Results are separated from other results on Yahoo! Search results pages so you can tell them apart.

Now if the above was always true, then Yahoo would not be deceiving the consumers. However since Yahoo is putting paid sponsored results in the free results section, Yahoo is deceiving consumers and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) needs to fine Yahoo and make them stop this evil dirty trick against the general public. Don't you want to know what search results in Yahoo are being paid for and what results are free?

Furthermore Google and the Microsoft (MSN) search engines do not do a scam like Yahoo does, not because they could not make a lot of money doing it. The reason Google and MSN do not do it is because they know it is evil and wrong and they may have problems with the FTC if they did what Yahoo is doing.

Since Yahoo maybe in violation of the FTC regulations Matt Cutts has been promoting lately, I ask everyone who reads this article to write to Matt Cutts asking him to enforce Google's guidelines and the FTC regulations by completely removing all of Yahoo's web sites and all of Yahoo's web pages from the Google search engine. Yahoo is in my opinion the biggest violator of Google and the FTC guidelines in the world. Also, ask Matt Cutts if the Google and FTC regulations apply to all web sites, or just some web sites?

The other sad part of this is how Yahoo treated small webmasters when they started their paid inclusion scam. This was right after they purchased Inktomi. I think I may still have the email Yahoo sent me. It basically said pay us for every click to be in the non-sponsored natural listings of Yahoo or we will kick you out. So I refused because I knew this was totally evil and perhaps a violation of FTC regulations. One of my web sites is still not in Yahoo because I refused their evil attempts to make me pay. The reason it maybe a violation of FTC regulations and Google guidelines, is that when web surfers see these listings in the natural non-sponsored rankings, they are not marked that they are really paid for. This is deceiving the general public.


Saturday, November 29, 2008

I think Google has made a Big Mistake

First let me give my disclaimer: I own a large amount of Google stock and I want Google to be successful. Furthermore I am a white hat SEO expert and follow similar link building methods that Eric Ward does. These methods have been approved in writing by Matt Cutts of Google. Also if I see companies using dirty black hat SEO tricks I report them to Google and I will even report them directly to Matt Cutts if what they are doing to deceive the general public is really evil and effects millions of people.

I was reading an article that interviewed Matt Cutts and some Yahoo engineer, I forget the Yahoo engineers name because I hate Yahoo and think they will be out of business within a few years, also because of their evil paid inclusion scam that generates over $200,000,000+ per year by perhaps violating the FTC guidelines that Matt Cutts has been promoting lately. If it is not against FTC regulation it definately should be. I am angry that the incompetent FTC has ignored possibly the biggest Internet advertising scam of all time perpetrated by Yahoo for many years now, after many people have reported this Yahoo scam to the FTC.

So now that we have all of that out of the way, here is the big mistake Google has made:
The Yahoo engineer said it is a better approach to ignore any enforcement of paid link violations and just let the Internet run wild. At first most people would think that is crazy, however if you think about it I believe you will decide it is a much smarter strategy. If you do not worry about trying to enforce paid link violations it makes it very easy to filter and block any link juice from passing. Please think about it, if I put two outbound links on this page and collected money for one of them and the other was merit based how would Google or anyone know which one was a paid link and which one was merit based. It is impossible even for the great Google to know. It is absolutely 100% impossible for anyone to know.

I would appreciate anyone to email me and prove me wrong, my email address is tomforrest@htpcompany.com , if I am wrong I would be happy because of all the Google stock I own.

Before Google started to enforce this paid link policy is was easy for them. Webmasters put the words Sponsored Links on their page, and had a link to Text Link Ad companies promoting the paid links they were trying to sell. The footprint was clear and obvious and a piece of cake for Google to detect and filter. Now it will become impossible for Google to tell what links are paid and what links are not paid, and I have already seen Google penalizing innocent sites and guilty sites getting off free and clear.

I think what caused Google to make this bad mistake is all the pressure of the white hat webmasters telling Google enforce your guidelines or we will just think you are full of shit Google, and we will also start buying links. So Google was in a bad spot, however it would have been better for Google to have suffered though that then to be in the impossible position they are in now.

I just saw the funniest thing I have seen all year and it is related to this article. A webmaster that put a section on his site called "PAID LINKS SECTION" the only link in it is to Matt Cutts Blog. I wonder if other webmasters will also start doing that?

Also since Yahoo maybe in violation of the FTC regulations Matt Cutts has been promoting lately, I ask everyone who reads this article to write to Matt Cutts asking him to enforce Google's guidelines and FTC regulations and completely remove all of Yahoo's web sites and all of Yahoo's web pages from the Google search engine. Since Yahoo maybe the biggest violator of Google and the FTC guidelines in the world. Also ask him if the Google and FTC regulations apply to all web sites, or just some web sites?

The other sad part of this is how Yahoo treated small webmasters when they started their paid inclusion scam. This is right after they purchased Inktomi, I think I may still have the email Yahoo sent me, it basically said pay us for every click to be in the non sponsored natural listings of Yahoo or we will kick you out. So I refused because I knew this was totally evil and perhaps a violation of FTC regulations. One of my web sites is still not in Yahoo because I refused their evil attempts to make me pay. The reason I beleive it maybe a violation of FTC regulations and Google guidelines, is that when web surfers see these listings in the natural non sponsored rankings they are not marked that they are really paid for and this is deceiving the general public.

If deceiving the general public in this manner is not a violation of FTC regulations, the this is further evidence that the FTC is not doing their job properly. I have never show what Yahoo is doing to anyone who did not reply with a comment like: That's just not right, the government should not allow them to do that.

Also Yahoo in my opinion falsely claims that paid inclusion does not affect rankings and virtually all SEO experts know from direct experience using the paid inclusion program offered by Yahoo that this is a total lie by Yahoo. Furthermore they earn in my opinion over $200,000,000 per year from this scam against the general public and I may be dramatically underestimating how much Yahoo is earning from their scam, this is another reason why we need a FTC investigation. To think this is just random luck that these listings appear at the top of Yahoo's natural rankings is laughable. Sure a company that is losing market share and money every day would just by random luck have the paid inclusion listings at the top of so many searches and not marked as paid is ridiculous. This is why I am so angry at the FTC, why has the FTC not investigated this? I would love to be a fly on the wall if and when the FTC does investigate Yahoo for this scam against the general public. I would like to hear how the Yahoo engineers would answer these charges. Generally engineers do not like to lie and are very bad liars, so in my opinion this would be a very easy case to prove. In total this scam against the general public most likely has brought in over a billion dollars in revenue for Yahoo. FTC if you ever read this article I suggest five billion dollars in fines for Yahoo, if indeed they are found guilty after a full and fair investigation by the US government.

Also why has Google and MSN not created a paid inclusion program like Yahoo has?

It is not because they do not like making money.

Furthermore I do not think it is fair as Matt Cutts in my opinion seems to want, to try to apply the same standards and regulations to a small time webmaster. That however is for another article that I may write in the future.

When Yahoo started their paid inclusion program several years ago, it was back in the days where it was important to be in Yahoo. It really harmed millions of small webmasters. Today Yahoo is a joke and I do not care what they do with my web sites in their search engine. Since I believe in Karma I think Yahoo is getting what they deserve, and hopefully more if the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) ever goes after them.

I was raised to be a stand up guy and to do the right thing, and that it is never too late to choose to take the righteous path in life and I think Matt Cutts was raised that way too.

Definition of righteous:
1: acting in accord with divine or moral law : free from guilt or sin ; morally right or justifiable; arising from an outraged sense of justice or morality.

What about the founders of Google?

I thought they believe to not be evil, and that you can make money without being evil.

So Google should just kick Yahoo out of their search engine, it is just that simple for me.

Feedback and Comments Section:

I will not use any one's name here unless they ask me to:

1. This first one is from an Attorney:
"It makes perfect sense. If Google adheres to its “Don’t Be Evil” policy then it should kick Yahoo off."

Note: I know a famous Internet law expert and I am asking him for his feedback and comments on this article.

2. From an Internet marketing expert:
"Nice article, you should sphinn it."

3. "Well done, I side with your feelings. I’ll see what I can do.
Did Google penalize one of your sites or someone you know? I’m trying to see what inspired
your writing."

4. "very good article.. I would have to copy it to reprint it -- if you want that...and by the way, I have really been thinking about this yahoo scam because I can very easily prove what they are doing"

5. "I really liked your article. Now I understand why you don’t like Yahoo."

6. "What Yahoo is doing is evil and the FTC should punish them for their dirty tricks."

We have received hundreds more like #6 above, it is the most common feedback we have received so far.

Please send your comments to tomforrest@htpcompany.com and let me know if you want me to use your name or not.

Copyright © Tom Forrest 2008
All Rights Reserved.

Pros and Cons of Google Customization

At first I was unhappy when Google started doing this new customization stuff. Below is what I cut and pasted from my FireFox browser.

Search customization details: internet marketing companies

When possible, Google will customize your search results based on location and/or recent search activity. Additionally, when you're signed in to your Google Account, you may see even more relevant, useful results based on your web history.
The following information was used to improve your search results for internet marketing companies:
Recent Searches
You or someone else recently searched for seo company using this browser. Learn more

However I am reconsidering my initial dislike of this, now I am not sure. Please consider the following facts. In my industry location does not generally matter, I can help a client in London, Detroit, or Los Angeles all the same. So if I was #1 on a search for Internet marketing companies in the USA, I would be against customization based on location because it would harm the amount of traffic I receive, if however I was #7 with location customization turned off and #1 with geographic (localization) customization turned on, than this would be good for me. I would only be #1 with it turned on in a limited geographic area, however it would still bring my business more traffic because being #7 with localization turned off would bring me little or no traffic.

Currently I do not know if this will bring my business more traffic or less, and it also may vary based on several factors, and offer different results where for some webmasters this will be a good thing and for some webmasters this will be a bad thing.

If anyone has any useful and good data regarding this please email it to me at: tomforrest@htpcompany.com and let me know if I may publish what you send to me.

I plan on working on this more and trying to figure out if this is a good thing or not. So please check back in a few weeks as this article hopefully will be updated by then.

Also sometimes when I write these articles I smile because most people that read them, e.g the average web site owner newbie trying to learn about search engine optimization and Internet marketing have absolutely know idea what I am talking about, it takes a more experienced webmaster to understand these issues. Also I am not sure why Google is so convinced this localization stuff is such a good thing. Clearly it is not good in all cases, and I am not even sure if it is good even in the majority of cases. Furthermore I think Google should make what I am discussing in this article more clear to the average Joe, and make it easier to turn on and off.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

SEO Lessons Learned, no pain no gain

I was thinking of the old weight lifter saying " no pain, no gain".

SEO is like that in many ways. The following is a case study of a client I have had for 6 years and his web site has achieved great results, at least up until today.

He was attacked by evil hackers and they deleted all his web pages. I found the problem by checking his rankings as I do monthly. I do not check any clients web site as this is their responsibility as I agree to with the thousands of clients we have at HTP Company.

Anyway the client's web site was down for about one week and it took a few days for the hosting company to turn the site back on.

Regarding the SEO effects:

Google took his home page completely out of the Google index. They left a few of his internal pages cached.

Google Local is a separate database from the core Google listings (index). The client's home page stayed in Google Local while it was not in the main Google index. So this was very interesting to see and learn from. His ranking dropped from A to I in Google Local and is interesting to study as for a secondary keyword phrase his Google Local listing was and has been #I. So it appears that this Google Local #A ranking was tried to his home page. It seems to me some strange things happen with Google Local and that the two different databases (indexes) of regular Google and Google Local and how they interact and interface with each other.

Now while painful we have to try to regain all that this client has lost. I wish we could just phone Google and explain the mistake and that Google will put us back where we were today.

So some of the SEO questions are:

1. Will his top rankings just come back by themselves?

2. If yes, how long will it take?

3. If no, why and what SEO lessons can we learn? e.g. why if every thing is back exactly as it was before his site was down, why did Google not rank him back at the top again.

As of today his site is back up and Google does not have his home page indexed at all. How long will it take for his home page to be indexed again? His site was PR5 and now it shows greybar.

Some factors to consider are aging of the back links and will Google consider all his high quality natural backlinks as new. Meaning does he lose the benefit of all the years of aging?

I was surprised that Google took his home page out of the Google index after one week. This used to take much longer to happen a few years ago. So this proves at least some of the changes Google has made of the last few years and slows how important it is to check that your web site is working everyday. I suggest to all our clients they assign 1-2+ staff in their company to check that their web site is up and working everyday.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Excellent article by Google VP of Engineering

This is an outstanding article written by the VP of Engineering of Google and explains the reasons why Google is so secretive.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Google Penalty vs. being Blocked and GrayBar

This article was updated on 10-5-08

Google can and does give different types and levels of penalties. This can range from just blocking a site from passing PageRank and or link juice to a more serious (death) penalty of taking the site out of the Google cache and out of the Google index altogether.
Google does not really use the term TrustRank and Matt Cutts has clarified this in the past. Google does however implement this concept of "can a site be trusted" as Google does look at and evaluate the sites you link out to. Who you link to is also important for the SEO concept of co citation of citation theory.

So currently Google can give penalties via automatic filters that look for spam, malware, hidden text links, duplicate content, etc.

Google has a staff of Quality Engineers that review all the submitted SPAM reports and manual penalties can be imposed. Let's look at a specific example of this. Please start at this page:
This is one of the most powerful sites on the Internet, and a PR9 page. Now look at the outbound links at the bottom of the page.

Now this is where I question some of the subjective decisions Google makes and I also question why they come to the conclusions they do. E.g. how can Google be sure that the PR9 page is not showing paid links? Or maybe the form of payment is not in cash, it could be in other things like free trips or organization sponsorships. I do not think this is happening in this particular case, however how would I or anyone know 100% for sure?

Than Google does give a penalty to Accessify.com, when it is not 100% certain they are selling outbound links. Also if you look at other sites the w3.org PR9 page links to, there are questionable items on some of these pages. So in my opinion this can lead to a "witch hunt", and with Google penalizing so many sites for paid links many webmasters are afraid to give out any links at all. I do not think this is what Google intended by giving out all these penalties, however it is a negative side effect. I also think this is a tough problem for Google because they do not want to penalize innocent webmasters, however I have seen several cases of Google incorrectly and unfairly penalizing some web sites.


If you want to read more about if you should buy text links and what the risks are and what the "safe ways" are to perform Google approved link building please read this article:


The way w3.org gives the outbound links is fine with Google and please notice that all of the pages this site links to are PR8 pages except one of them.
http://www.accessify.com/ which is a PR5 page because of outbound links at the bottom of the page Google does not like. So this is a case of a manual penalty being imposed by Google and the accessify site should really be a PR8 and Google has reduced it to a PR5 to discourage future text link sales and penalize the site. Generally when Google does this it also blocks any link power or juice to be passed by accessify and the sites it links out to. This case is also interesting because it shows it takes time for PageRank penalties to propagate though the Internet. E.g. every page that accessify links out to is currently a PR6. I suspect that after the next PR update these will all drop.

Google has had a very long history of blocking sites from passing PageRank and link juice (Link Juice = PageRank + any other factors Google uses to value links).
Another example we can look at is: web-stat.com which should be a PR8 and Google has penalized them to a PR5. This is an interesting case, because this counter site and almost all counter sites have been blocked from passing PageRank for a long time. Recently Google dropped their PR and all the advertisers are now gone. However Google has still kept the web-stat.com site at PR5. Generally Google will keep this penalty on a site until the site requests the penalty be removed and promises Google in writing that they will never do what caused the penalty again. One more example is seroundtable.com that should be a PR7 and Google has reduced seroundtable.com to a PR4, for selling paid "Sponsored Links".

Still adding more to this article. Please check back soon.

Regarding the Google toolbar and what the graybar means. In the past the graybar was the kiss of death. The worst and most serious penality you could receive from Google, even worse than PR0.
Today is not true that graybar (greybar - British spelling) is the worst penalty, any new page one creates even this page shows up as a grey bar on the Google Toolbar at first.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Studying Google Patent Information and what you might Learn

This is an interesting well written article about a Google patent filed in 2003. The author does an excellent job of explaining that this does not mean Google is using this exact patent today. However this article http://www.seobythesea.com/?p=929 will explain several important concepts for search engine optimization and may help you.

I can tell you for sure that Google currently does also look at who you link out to. So to keep it simple one could say if your site links out to only spam crap, then most likely Google will consider your site spam crap. Something to think about when people ask you to put up a link to their web site for them.