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Why Automated Internet Marketing Systems, Tools, Software, & Link Building Networks & Schemes, etc are all Garbage

20 November 2005

The Perfect Automated Internet Marketing Systems:

Imagine you have a system that is entirely automated and profitable.

For it to work, someone somewhere is creating value with how they interact with the system.

  • It may be a search engine which is indexing rubbish content and place ads next to it
  • It may be a person uneducated about the value of links buying links on ultra low quality sites or paying to join a network to swap worthless links
  • It may be site users that end up creating your content and value for you

As your marketing ideas & system spread, the value of it goes up so long as you control it. If you share the underlying foundation with others you create competitors against yourself. If your system is exploiting another then you lower your profits by selling it.

How likely would you be to share the underlying technology that drove your profits, if it was easily entirely automated & profitable?

Sharing Marketing Scams Lowers Their Value:

As people see your system or techniques over and over again they become less effective. Just think of how we ignore things that we see or hear over and over again:

  • telemarketers - illegal if you are on the do not call list
  • spam e-mail marketing - now illegal
  • junk mail - the credit card offers I recently received were double wrapped in big envelopes so they would not look like credit card offers
  • pop unders - X10 anyone?
  • banner ads - what is the typical CTR?

If you were only interested in profits by any means possible and your system was automated then you would just continue to replicate it over and over again, sharing the tools with nobody or only a few select friends.

Why would any greedy marketer focused exclusively on profits share their automated system? The quicker it spreads the quicker it loses value.

Market Saturation:

Many people research the search results, and most people using automated systems do not have the creativity to go for hidden markets. Most of them put up sites about mesothelioma and other keywords that they think are worth killer money.

  • They saturate the market with garbage content.
  • Demand stays approximately constant (ie: more low quality content is not going to cause more lung cancer)
  • Thus the value for everyone plummets

Automated Deceptive Systems:

Now to be fair, some systems create more value as they are shared and expand.

  • As the web graph grows search algorithms have more data to base their relevancy on
  • As more transactions occur eBay gets better user feedback
  • As people buy more stuff and leave more feedback Amazon gets more free content and a better recommending engine

Most internet marketing tools do not aim to create any honest value (except for the huckster who created the tool or system). The systems are based in deception, either deceiving people into buying garbage or trying to get money from surfers by stuffing the engines full of search spam.

Fool the engines with this killer software that guarantees a #1 ranking and piles of cash while you sleep. Sometimes it may work, but you can guarantee not for long.

But Their Site Ranks High:

Some people who create spam or shoddy marketing software & tools do it AFTER they are already successful. Sometimes they use their sites as showcases for how to be successful and do well in the search results. In many cases if some of their sites rank they do well in spite of, not because their launch of the latest search spam generator.

If you look through the link profiles or content of the sites that are doing well almost 100% of them have done extensive work outside of their networks and automated promotional systems.

Also sometimes search engines may leave the main spam generator sites in the index because using the software or service creates easily identifiable patterns which makes it easy for search engines to clean all the partner spam sites out of the index.

If you were Google wouldn't you leave a few shady software tools or networks in your index if they were easy to detect?

Stealing User Data:

If a system seems to good to be true it probably is.

Some systems may offer service cheap or free because they want to collect market research data to extend their own network. Recently TurboSM (turbo site maker) was created, and it uses a central database. It allows you to create a network of sites with a push of a button.

Why would anyone give away software to spam the hell out of search engines unless they were using the data their users generate for research on how to expand their own network?

If people no longer trust search engines then everybody loses.

Weather or not the allegations are true, some automated search spam systems in the past were accused of stealing user data.

Search Engines are Just Like People:

Search engines are just sophisticated (or in some cases, not so sophisticated) users. Sure they are def and blind, but they are taught to reject stupid tricks and schemes.

By the time a software or network based on automation and scheming become public it's days as a useful and viable product are numbered.

Most people are too lazy to do a legitimate job of creating value, so once the word gets out on these software products they spread like a weed. Most of the spam-your-way-to-the-top software that is openly shared is made by amateurs who leave footprints.

A while ago a friend of mine spent 15 minutes writing a quick script that fished out most of a certain spam software products out of the search results. Surely it is just as easy for the engines to do it, and sometimes they may leave them in the index and just not rank them if it means that people desiring to spam them are continuing to use a worthless product that is easy to detect.

Recent search research has pointed to the fact that web page link profiles generally follow power laws. As referenced on my blog post about Link Spam Detection Based on Mass Estimation

Most web pages have in- and outdegrees that follow a power-law distribution. Occasionally, however, 17 search engines encounter substantially more pages with the exact same in- or outdegrees than what is predicted by the distribution formula. The authors find that the vast majority of such outliers are spam pages.

While reviewing some link profiles that were created using spam techniques senior Google engineer Matt Cutts (see Matt Cutts interview) called some of the linking schemes painfully obvious to any competent search engineer.

Ease of Replication:

If websites or link campaigns are almost entirely automated can quickly be almost entirely automated by your competitors. There is no real value add to the marketing method.

Why would any intelligent business person let the foundation of their business and their competitive advantage heavily rely upon things that people in Jakarta can be paid $1 a day to do? Sometimes the mass link exchange techniques badly backfire by finding a well known search marketer or search engineer.

Legit Sites Don't Usually Link to Garbage:

People who care about their topics usually are not going to link at garbage, and Google is pretty good at scrubbing link quality. If you link out to unrelated stuff just to spam the engines then it makes it harder for legitimate site owners to link your way. If your content is automated then legitimate content owners are not going to link at it.

Increase Risk Profile:

In the past Google removed some of the network sites and / or software products which operated outside of their user guidelines. Recently they have been far more willing to leave many software products and marketing networks in their index which operated outside of their guidelines.

I think a simple reason for some engines to leave certain networks and products in the index is that a large number of people using those products and services may make it easy for search engines to define patterns and weed out that particular type of search spam.

The Sin of Omission & Using Absolutes that Tell Half the Story:

Many marketers tend to over simply and speak in absolutes. A new link exchange network just mentioned this in the sales letter:

"The more websites you can get to link to your website, the higher you will rank in the search engines, guaranteed!"

Bad links can hurt your site and have minimal upside. The reason these people are complaining about reciprocal links is because most of those links are becoming increasingly worthless.

If you are stuck inside an automated link exchange network your odds of coming across those BAD links that waste your time or could get your site banned greatly increases.

If the sites you are exchanging links with seems like they would fit in with sites listed in SpamGoogle then you are screwing up.

Bottom Feeding:

The problem with most link exchange schemes is that quality sites have no reason to participate. As Brett Tabke long ago said:

You must ask yourself why sites would join BL in the first place? Because they couldn't get listed in the search engines. That left us at times 'bottom' feeding.

Selling the Whole Solution a Subscription System:

Subscription is the holy grail of web business models. Many of these low quality networks try to catch you with a low price and then stick you with recurring subscription fees.

I never understand or see a need to join a linking network. I view the whole web as my link exchange network.

If you know your topic and understand people well enough then it should not be hard to create content and ideas that quality sites would want to link at. If your problem is bigger than that then you have big issues outside of SEO and link popularity.

Maybe it Works Right Up Until Someone Who Can Think for Themselves Enters Your Space:

If an automated system was effective, it would not last forever in the search results. If you are heavily exchanging links with sites outside your topic then many marketers would end up running into your topic.

All it takes is 1 or 2 of them to spot your market and be able to create something useful and then you lost that market.

It Gets to be Dishonest:

If you read enough of the sales letters you will realize that most of the automated marketing hucksters make their living writing sales letters for stuff they do not themselves believe in.

Most sales letters will have some of the following examples:

  • My stuff is cutting edge and I have been on vacation for the last year straight... (How can you keep something cutting edge when you never work on it?)
  • I can't believe I am sharing these secrets with you... (Then why are you sharing it?)
  • I still spend thousands of dollars doing this but you don't have to because my software... (If their software is so great than why are they still spending thousands of dollars ?)
  • I still spend hundreds of hours doing this but you don't have to because my software... (If their software is so great than why are they still spending hundreds of hours?)

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

If you can't rank in the results because the search engines are placing emphasis on link quality you need a real solution. In any industry there are examples of ideas that would be easy to spread, you just have to think of what ideas people would want to spread and who would be likely to spread them.

- by Aaron Wall

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