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Tuesday August 20, 2002              Issue: #006 ISSN 1539-056X
(c) Copyright2002 - http://flashmarketing.com        Editor: Flash
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                The FlashMarketing Newsletter(tm)
                   ~Simple Steps to Success~
                  Marketing Online Since 1997
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"Obstacles are those frightful things you see when
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- Henry Ford

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                          Contents
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1. Editor's Notes

2. Feature Article - Search Engine Spam Affects Us All

3. Doctor's Advice - People Want Small Business Customer Service

4. Useful Links

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1- Editor's Notes
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Thank you for subscribing to this newsletter. I hope everyone is
enjoying the latter weeks of summer.

Remember the good ole days of free search engine placement? Quite
often I blame the greed of the search engines for the added expense.
After all my pages are their product ... right?

I'd like to share Shari Thurow's view of search engine spam as the
feature article this month. Enjoy!

[ Back to Contents ]

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2- Feature Article
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Search Engine Spam Affects Us All
By Shari Thurow

Last week, I did something I haven't done in seven years:  I took
a vacation.  My husband and I went to New Orleans.  And for the
first time, I had a reason to perform travel-related searches on
the search engines.  I searched for all sorts of vacation-related
information: restaurants, hotels, shopping, alligators, haunted
houses, plantations, airboats, etc.  I eventually found everything
I was searching for, but I was dumbfounded at the amount of spam
pages I had to sort through in the search engines.  Not that I
haven't had to sort through spam before. Mortgage, insurance,
franchises, and tickets are all types of searches that will result
in a considerable amount of spam pages.

Even during my long-awaited vacation, it got me thinking about how
bad search engine spam really is.  Personally, I dislike spam as an
end user, as I am sure most people do.  It can be quite frustrating
to keep seeing the same information over and over again for similar
searches, especially on supposedly different domains.  Then I
wondered, how much has spam cost me as a business owner?  In fact,
how much has spam affected all business owners, especially small
businesses, and how has search engine spam affected the search
engine marketing (SEM) industry?

After much thought (and fine New Orleans cuisine), I came up with
an answer.  One of the reasons that it has become increasingly
difficult and costly to be added to the search engine indices is
the spammers.

Since I've been a speaker at the Search Engine Strategies
Conferences  from the very
beginning, I listened carefully to the search engine representatives,
particularly the Spam Police.  All of the search engine reps stated
that over 90% of submissions to their Add-URL forms are spam pages.
Since the first conference in 1998, all search engine marketers have
witnessed the gradual disappearance of free submission.

Take Inktomi for example.  Remember when Inktomi had a free
Add-URL form on HotBot?  It worked for awhile, but then it took
over 8 weeks for a site to be added, after the spider checked to see
if a site had links to it from Yahoo and other reputable sources.
Then the "hot" Add-URL form for Inktomi was at Canada.com, until
that form eventually disappeared.  Inktomi was the first search
engine to implement a paid-inclusion program.  With free submission,
it could take months for a site to be listed in Inktomi. With the
paid-inclusion program, it only took days.  Granted, a site can still
be listed in Inktomi for free, but the turnaround time is too long
for most business web sites.

AltaVista is another example of a search engine that has slowly
changed their Add-URL form.  According to the AltaVista reps at the
Search Engine Strategies conferences, spam submissions have
significantly decreased since requiring people to type in a
"submission code" in order to submit.  But again, what used to take
a few days now takes a few months.  Many people who use AltaVista's
free Add-URL form might only get one page listed after a month.  Lo
and behold!  AltaVista now has a paid-inclusion program, just like
Inktomi.

It really hit me how bad spam submissions are via the free Add-URL
forms at the Dallas Search Engine Strategies conference.  A search
engine rep asked me what I would do to improve their search engine.
One of my suggestions was to create an Add-URL form.  The rep said
that they would not create one because it would be a "spam magnet."
However, this search engine does have a paid-inclusion program.
Go figure.

So a free Add-URL form equals "spam magnet."

A considerable number of unethical search engine marketing firms
utilize cloaking and doorway pages and submit them via the free
Add-URL forms.  They create hundreds or thousands of
computer-generated pages for a single keyword or keyword phrase.
All of these pages are fed to the free Add-URL forms in the hopes
that one of those pages will appear at the top of the search results.
No wonder the search engine reps call the free Add-URL forms
"spam magnets."

I'm sure there are many reasons for the evolution of paid-
inclusion, paid-submission and paid-placement programs at the
search engines. But after listening to the search engine reps,
I've concluded that one of the reasons that search engine marketing
has become more costly over the years, is unethical marketers
spamming the Add-URL forms.

If you suspect search engine spam, here are the URLs/email
Addresses to report them.  (You can also use these addresses if
you suspect your site has been penalized for spamming, or if you
wish to dispute a spam penalty.)

Google: spamreport@google.com or
 www.google.com/contact/spamreport.html
Inktomi:  spamcrusader@inktomi.com
AlltheWeb.com (FAST Search):  spam@fastsearch.com
AltaVista:  search@support.altavista.com
Teoma/Ask: info@teoma.com
--

Take care,

Shari Thurow
Webmaster/Marketing Director
Grantastic Designs
www.grantasticdesigns.com

[ Back to Contents ]

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3- Doctor's Advice
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People Want Small Business Customer Service
by Kevin Nunley

One hundred years ago almost all businesses were small.
They had to be.

The age of mass production still hadn't arrived for most.
People expected products and services to be custom made
or fitted to their situation.

Old time customers also didn't have credit cards and cash
was often hard to come by.

A small business could know each customer individually,
often arranging special payment for those who needed it.

The latest research shows those days may be returning.
While customers still look for a fair price and good quality,
they crave old time customer service.

If there is one thing consumers hate about big companies,
it is the way many end up treating their customers.

People are tired of getting lost in endless automated
answering loops or sending email that never gets a reply.

Your small business can provide caring, personalized
service that customers want.  It's important these days.

Site not selling?  It's the copy.  Kevin will rewrite, edit,
tweak, and add-to your website copy to pull visitors in and
get them to buy.  Free evaluation.
See www.flashmarketing.com/copy/

[ Back to Contents ]

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4- Useful Links
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WebPosition Gold 2- Submitting your sites does no good if it's not
good enough to be listed on the first couple of pages. Optimize
it with:
http://webposition-gold.com

TrafficSeeker - Mega-Submitter - 799,000+ sites.
http://trafficseeker-platinum.com

MYSS! - The Internet Selling Manual (Bible)
http://flashmarketing.com/myss.htm

Dr. Nunley - Killer Copy - Never Underestimate the Power of Words
http://flashmarketing.com/copy/

ScamFree Zone - "Internet Success Blueprint" - Highly Recommend.
scamfreezone.com

eBook: "How to Write and Publish your own eBook... in as
little as 7 Days"

[ Back to Contents ]

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[ Back to Contents ]

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(c) Copyright 2002 All Rights Reserved
FlashMarketing



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