Spamming Google Surveillance Search ResultsBy John Honovich, Published Aug 27, 2013, 12:00am EDT
Crappy CCTV stores ruin searches for common surveillance terms, making it comically hard to find real information. Google is, unfortunately, deeply gamed. Online stores spend a lot of time and effort ensuring that. Even worse, users go to the stores buying second rate (or worse) products for a premium price.
This is a behind the scenes story of what goes on and how this nonsense works, hurting the rest of us.
Yesterday, I received a message from an AOL email address asking:
"What what's the price for a text-link ad (a sentence or two with one or two hyperlinks included)"
He then gave an example of a 2011 article where we surveyed on-line surveillance retailers. Obviously, this person is fairly dense given the fact that there are no advertisements on the site and repeated messages on our home and about page that we do no accept advertisements. But what he is doing is unfortunately all too common.
He then explained that he wanted to buy a link to his crap cctv store - 123cctv - and there you go - a link but I am giving it for free.
It's one of these ridiculous sites that sell analog kits, but bizarrely market them with an 'HD ready' logo, not because you can record at HD, but because you can attach an HD monitor and display your 4CIF cameras side by side. Moreover, he bills his analog cameras as "top of the line ... with an unheard of 700TVL." Even worse, this US online store with an aol address claims to "manufacturer much of the security cameras and equipment [they] sell" (another phony manufacturer).
Text link advertisements screw up search rankings and are against the rules (link schemes). Engines typically count links as 'votes' presuming that the site linking is doing so 'naturally' because they find the site to be useful. By contrast, buying links messes this up as it tricks engines into thinking that an otherwise unworthy site (like 123-cctv) is useful.
Unfortunately, lots of video surveillance retailers do this. For instance, videosurveillance.com gets a link from the University of Colorado's volleyball club. Do these ladies just really like video surveillance or have they been paid? I'd bet the later. As you can see in this excerpt from their site, it's a bunch of links to random sites:
[link no longer available]
These online retailers are trying to get sites with strong reputations (universities, news sites, etc.) to trick search engines by paying for a link.
Unfortunately, all of us are screwed. And for what? 123-cctv offered $100 to have a link added to a 2 year old IPVM article. Alas, I revealed to him that I asked these questions just to get information to write a post and report his actions.
He was upset but not deterred, retorting, "I'm not worried about Google" and warning me that "You're not the only one who can speak out and has a voice."
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