There is a thread at Search Engine Watch Forums named What Do You Think Of Google Co-op? Future Spam Central? The thread is asking others, is the Google Coop easy to spam? It is a bit upsetting to read the thread, there is a ton of misconception about what the Google Coop is. I blame mostly Google for the misconception. They placed two very different services under one label, "Google Coop." The thing is, the Google Coop has two distinct services within it. The first is Topics which enables webmasters to "annotate" their pages, (i.e. tag their content), with "labels" - labels identified here. The second is Subscribed Links which is what I have been doing here. It enables you to tell your reader to subscribe to this site as a trusted source, and enable me to define queries that I want my content to match on, and provide you results back when you do a Google search. You can test it out by subscribing to my site, keep in mind, you can always remove it, after you subscribe, search on "SER" or "Yahoo" or "SEO", etc. I have added 100+ keywords, with 30 or so result sets tailored to that queries, that I feel you would find relevant to this site.
So is it spammable? Well, I have not fully implemented the "topics" version. But all I can say about that is that the result sets for topics results are very poor. When I first tested out those results sets, I was like, wow that is bad. So I figured I play with the Subscribed links service first.
First thing first. Google has not yet tied either of these services to how Google will rank a site in the pure organic results. For example, if I have 150 subscribers to my site and SEW has 200 subscribers, Google did not decide based on that, to rank SEW in pure organic results, higher than this site. Not yet. The same applied to topics, those with more labels on a specific topic, does not currently get higher rankings because of it. Will this change? I cannot say - it depends.
Once Google says that they will use the data from the Google Coop to determine site topic or popularity, then it will be abused. On the subscribed links side, if I knew that the more subscribers the higher my rankings are for a search performed by a non-logged in Google user, then I can possibly spam it. I would be able to create bots to create Google accounts, then automatically subscribe to my site, until I have thousands of fake subscribers.
Interesting discussion as long as we break out both topics and subscribed links. And if you trust me, then feel free to subscribe.
Forum discussion at Search Engine Watch Forums.