Does Google Give Mahalo A Spam Pass Or Positives Outweigh Negatives?

Jun 17, 2010 • 8:04 am | comments (6) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Search & Web SEO Spam

A Sphinn thread links to a post named Was The Google Mayday Update A Complete Failure Then?. The blog post goes through examples on how even though the May Day update was suppose to really downgrade the rankings of sites like Mahalo, that site just doesn't go away.

Mahalo launched in 2007 by Jason Calacanis, who has been known to go at SEOs. So as you can imagine, SEOs are very critical over Calacanis's property. Aaron Wall called the site out as spamming Google's guidelines. Even Danny Sullivan did a detailed analysis of Mahalo and how they push the line of breaking Google's guidelines.

One would have thought that May Day would have put the site to rest but it has not.

Alan Bleiweiss made an interesting and likely correct comment on the Sphinn thread, he said:

I've said this a few times for similar issues - Matt Cutts would say - there's other signals that outweigh any negative. I say this because that's his response to me when I asked him about sites showing up in top organic position even though they distribute "free page counters" that embed links to their site in the footer of thousands or tens of thousands of trash sites. (free page counters by the way, that they promote through AdWords).

In this case, the premise would be that because Mahalo has millions of pages of content, and all those "valid" other signals of "authority", it justifies Google not slapping them for the crud.

Except I would venture to guess there's a million pages of that crud on their site :-)

So, in this case, do you think it is special Google treatment or is the good outweighing the bad?

Forum discussion at Sphinn.

Previous story: Daily Search Forum Recap: June 16, 2010


Michael VanDeMar

06/17/2010 01:09 pm

Barry, I am curious... what is your hunch on this? I mean, you stated that you think Alan's guess on Matt's likely response is probably correct... do you have any gut feelings (or raw guesses even) as to *why* Matt keeps giving them passes?

Barry Schwartz

06/17/2010 01:29 pm

I personally feel it isn't Matt giving them a pass. I think if the algorithm decides to kill it, it will. I think Matt doesn't want to manually take action.


06/17/2010 02:56 pm

In that case, the fact that the algorithm isn't taking any action against it implicitly gives the thumbs up to sites that want to engage in the same kind of behavior.

Alan Bleiweiss

06/17/2010 03:44 pm

This is where it gets sticky for Google. As Barry points out, I think the issue is, does Matt slap them manually, or let the algorithm ride? Without having access to the algorithm, we can only assume (correctly or otherwise) that the "good outweighs the bad" as being the issue. And yes, Justin, it does inherently give spammers a strong signal that they can do the same. Yet what's the ultimate answer? Personally, I believe it lies in Google's need to give more negative weight to the crud than they appear to be doing. If I take off the tin-foil hat for a moment, I can only trust that Matt and his team really would prefer to do that but the challenge algorithmically is apparently more complex than we armchair Google analysts think or realize.

Jaan Kanellis

06/17/2010 08:12 pm

I wonder how much aAsense revenue comes from all those crud Mahalo pages?????

Jane Cooke

06/18/2010 12:35 pm

I think Jason is out to prove SEO is spam by doing it in an unethical way. It kind of proves his point and also makes him money. It is unfortunate, that Google seems incapable of solving this algorithmically.

blog comments powered by Disqus