Revenge of the Killer Spam


The other day I received an urgent e-mail from a client with this in the subject header – PLEASE HELP!!!!. Here’s part of the copy he sent me –

….Now I think I am in trouble.
I have been going happily on my way, using a submission program to submit
pages. I had restricted my submissions to just about ten different
search engines, including AltaVista.
Suddenly I discovered when I did some tests that on AltaVista, ALL OF
MY PAGES HAVE BEEN REMOVED FROM THE INDEX. And when I try to
make any new submissions, I get back the following message:

You have submitted the following URL:
http://www.myurl.com

Too many URL’s at that site have been submitted today. Because of
abuse of this feature by SPAMmers, we limit the number of pages that a
site can submit per day. We apologize for the inconvenience but this is
necessary to protect the index from a minority of very aggressive
people. Limits are reset every day. Please try to submit your URL again
tomorrow.

But it is much worse than that. I have been getting this message now
for about ten days. I have not been able to make ANY submissions and
waiting to the next day does no good. They are obviously punishing me
quite harshly for doing what they consider an abuse of their system. I
had no such intention of abusing their system, indeed all I was doing
was using a submission program to register my various pages.

So my first question is, based on what you know, if there ANYTHING
that can be done about this? This is clearly hurting my business right
where it counts and I have seen a substantial drop-off in visitors to our
web site, presumably since so many of them find us through AltaVista.

Second, are there other search engines that could give me the same
kind of problem? This seems to be yet another serious shortcoming of
the ?????, because it is not able to discriminate between those search
engines that can kick you out, like has been done by AltaVista and
those that do not


As you can see this is a very serious situation for anyone doing business
via the Net. To lose your entire presence in just one of the major
engines is a great loss. You will also note that this client is trying to blame the submission
software for his own lack of basic search engine knowledge. It so
happens that this particular fellow is really quite the gentleman and
anything but a SPAMmer, but the search engine software does not know
that.

My response to this client was rather lengthy, so I have summarized the
main points. Suffice it to say that I have plenty of experience with
search engines and even more with people that SPAM as I run more than
one site that accepts URL’s. Keep these points in mind when acting as
your own site promoter:

  1. It is your responsibility to know the SPAM rules of the search
    engines. This means something that most seem to refuse to do –
    READ AND FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS.
  2. Many entire domains have been banned from all of the major
    engines and many of the smaller ones as well. This has meant
    that some have had to register new domains and go to the
    expense and time required to start over.
  3. SPAM is running rampant and it’s ruining the value of the indexes.
  4. Those that play by the rules and use the engines properly without
    avarice and taking what they do for granted will thrive. As the
    Internet is growing rapidly search engines will become more and
    more sophisticated at blocking SPAM.
  5. There exists a strong possibility that free submissions to the
    engines may become a thing of the past. It is a no nonsense way
    of blocking out SPAMMERS.
  6. The quality of Web pages, as it has for years with Yahoo!, will
    start taking on more and more significance.

Pretty simple stuff right? You bet! Then why are so many Web site
owners so irresponsible about submitting to the engines? There
are many reasons – from laziness to greed to just being plain
spoiled by everything being FREE, that too much has been taken
for granted and that is never good. Unless there is a cleansing of
the ways of using these services the possibility of access to them
becoming restricted should not be discounted.

At Surfers Choice Internet Awards
we have stopped taking on-line
submissions for site reviews. It makes little sense to have
submission rules, if 85% of the people that use the form don’t
comply. It just wastes a whole lot of time for those that, in our
case, volunteer their time. This is no different to what the major
engines are currently doing to block SPAMMERS. The bottom line is
that the people that play by the rules will end up as winners and
rightly so; and those that insist on SPAMming will end up where
they belong -totally banned or in position 14 million on page 1.4
million.

When it comes to search and directory services, it really is a case
of – “It’s not whether you win or lose, but how you play the
game”.

Author: Wally Gross
Copyright Exploit InfoTech Canada and TechnoMax Software and Systems Inc