Archive for the ‘Black Hat’ Category

Quality Links and Free Money: So what’s the Catch?

Every now and then you’ll find a service, idea, or product that is so great that you think it will “sell itself”. All you have to do is talk about some of the features and your prospect will just “get it”. No need to sell, it will sell itself – right?

Don’t believe it for a second.

No matter what you’re selling, “your customer needs a ton of rational reasons why this is a great deal, so he can give his wife, his buddies, and himself a good and plausible story supporting his buying decision.” –John Carlton.

Case and point is my recent SEO Poker Tournament announcement. To me, this was such a no-brainer that I thought we’d have a thousand sign-ups by now. To me, the benefits are so overwhelming and self-evident that I believed that everyone who read it would sign up instantly.

Boy was I mistaken.

Here we are more than a week after the announcement and only a handful of people have signed up. Sure, I could chalk it up to the fact that the tourney is not until March 24th, but I think the real failure was in the original pitch.

The benefits were not clearly defined. The pitch was too complicated: the call to action not strong enough.

So let’s have another go at it:

It Cost Nothing to Join!

The SEO poker tournament is basically free to enter. You don’t need any money in your full tilt poker account. There are no hidden costs. All you have to do is agree to link to the winner for year from your page rank 4 or higher site. If you have a Page Rank 6 site, that link can be one off the homepage like in your “about”, “contact”, or “fun stuff” page.

Extra $5000 thrown in for Free!

Maybe you don’t care about getting hundreds of backlinks from quality sites. Maybe you actually believe what rose water said:

“Tons of links with the same anchor text is worthless.”

Sure it is pal. That guy couldn’t even spell “SEO” with a 2-letter head start.

But let’s say you actually buy his “talking out of my ass with no testing to back up my claim” bullshit. You could still win your share of $5000 for placing in SEO Poker tournament. That’s 5000 FREE reasons to join. But if you still need convincing:

Rank for a Profitable Search Term!

You’re Page rank 4 or higher site already has some quality backlinks. Throwing an extra few hundred quality backlinks at your site has the potential to help you rank for something that can make you money – lots of money. Now, you can sit back and let this opportunity pass you by, or you can have some fun on a Saturday with the potential to help you put lots of money in the bank by signing up for the tournament. The decision is as close to a no-brainer as they come.

The SEO Poker Tournament Will Be FUN

No limit Texas Hold’em is fun. Playing poker with other SEOs and webmasters is a way for you kick back, talk trash, have fun and network with other successful webmasters.

Overcoming Objections

You probably dreamed up some kind of reason not to “do it fucking now” and sign up for the SEO poker tournament. So let’s walk through some of the common objections:

1. “I don’t Want to Link to a bad Neighborhood. “

Answer: The Winner Will Have a Quality Site.

Sure, page rank isn’t perfect – far from it. But the winner of the tournament will have at least a page rank 4. It’s not like you’re going to be linking into the dark and shady corners of the Internet; the winning site is not banned from Google. Google trusts the site enough to award it at least a page rank 4.

Plus, it’s unlikely that anyone would win the tournament only to point the links to a spam site; the life cycle of those sites is too short. The smart move is to throw those links at a white hat project and rake in the cash over the long haul. A link to a site like that out of all your quality outbound links is a drop in the bucket; but those drops could add up to something HUGE for the winner.

2. What if people don’t link to the Winner?

Answer: I doubt very many people would be stupid enough to welsh on a bet like this.

In Business, your biggest asset is your word, your credibility: your trust. If people don’t trust you, good luck making any business contacts or becoming successful. Why would anyone want to risk all that over a silly link?

3. “I suck at Poker”

Answer: Get a Ringer!

OK, you may not be that good at No limit Texas Hold’em. It’s a complicated game. But are you really telling me that you don’t have any friends that could play with you?!? We’re talking about potentially ranking for the search term of your choice or your share of $5000. Get a ringer!

Get someone who knows poker to come over your house to help you on every hand. If I didn’t know poker, it’s what I would do.

4. “I don’t want to link to 10s or 100s of sites.”

Answer: You only have to link to the 1 winner of the tournament

It’s not like we are anteing a link for every round of betting – that would get out of control very quickly. All you’re doing is anteing once to get into the tournament. Once you’re in, you stay in till you lose your all your chips, or you win the tournament and all the links.

5. “I’m lazy, What do I have to do to Sign up again?”

Answer: It’s simple, this is what you need to do:

1st: Just do a simple blog post and link to poker.seoblackhat.com saying you’re gonna play. Cut and paste this if you like:

I will be playing in the SEO <a href="http://poker.seoblackhat.com">Poker Tournament</a> on March 24th at 9:00 pm GMT.

It will take you at most 2 minutes; do it right now before you forget.

(no, really. Do it now.)

2nd Download the free full tilt poker software and sign up for an account. It’s 100% Free. I don’t care if you use my affiliate link or not; just get the poker client so you can play.

3rd Fill out the form at the bottom of this page.

It really is that simple.

For Sale: SEO Black Hat

I missed the boat on the Internet Bubble in the ’90s and don’t want to miss out again this time. So let’s do a quick comparison between MyBlogLog and SEO Black Hat:

MyBlogLog sold to Yahoo for $10 Million.

Yahoo has acquired MyBlogLog reportedly for $10 million. Does anyone stop to do the math on these things? MyBlogLog started business in July…just 6 months ago, and they have 5 employees. They reportedly serve 45,000 blogs, have 33,000 registered users, and zero revenue.

MyBlogLog did actually have some revenue for the real time stats – $25 per year per user that bought the upsell. But it is dwarfed by the $23,000 per month that SEO Black Hat makes in subscription revenue.

MyBlogLog is fad widget that will be destroyed once spammers attack it in full force. SEO Black Hat is the most recognized brand in black hat that will continue to grow as more people understand the value of spamming, algorithm and social network manipulation.

MyBlogLog has a bunch of “look at my boobs” icons and no real community. SEO black hat has the attention and discussions of the most successful, clever and affluent web entrepreneurs in the world.

But MyblogLog had the “right people” and the “right money” involved. They were great at playing the Venture capital Ponzi Scheme.

A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment operation that involves paying abnormally high returns (“profits”) to investors out of the money paid in by subsequent investors, rather than from net revenues generated by any real business, named after Charles Ponzi.

About 9 months ago I asked a very prominent Venture Capitalist what they would pay for a network of 5,000 sites that generated a profit of $1,000,000 per year. The reply I got was:

“That would not be the type of deal we would be interested in getting involved with”

Why? Because Internet Venture Capitalists are not interested in revenue or profits. All they care about is finding that greater fool who will pay more for the crap widget or network than they paid.

So yes, SEO Black Hat is for Sale. It’s definitely worth more than MyBlogLog – but I’m not too greedy. I’d be willing to part with it for just $1 more than the $10 million MyBlogLog pricetag.

Unfortunately, it’s not a clever Ponzi Scheme that fits into the greater fool theory that governs Internet Venture Capital Investing today. So I suspect that SEO Black Hat will stay under its current management unless we experience a paradigm shift that brings Internet investing and business in the Venture Capital Space back to what’s really important:

Profits.

Do Yourself a Favor . . .

and read this.

Phrase Based Indexing and Retrieval Spam Detection

Via the Mad Hat, here’s the interesting part from a PaIR system article:

The process takes place both at indexing and retrieval. In essence the document gets its spam score at indexation and then upon retrieval, should that page be included in the results, weighting is then removed and the page is devalued during the ranking process for previously calculated Spam threshold scoring/weighting.

According to the folks that drafted it, a normal related, topical phrase occurrence (or related phrases) is in the order of 8-20 whereas the typical Spam document would contain between 100-1000 related phrases. So by looking for statistical deviations in related phrase occurrences the system can flag an item as Spam. Once again it is mostly for the high end, but a low deviation count can also be used as a flag for a low occurrences (which could be compared to the link profile for link spam)

Two things to digest there.

1. The indexing method applies a spam score both on indexing and retrieval and
2. Standard Deviation on both the high end and low end could count as a spam flag.

Of course, the only reason spammy docs sometimes have up to 100 times the related phrase density of a non spammy page is because this behavior continues to be rewarded in the SERPs. Even if the spam flag is raised and the site eventually banned, classic keyword and relate phrase stuffing continues to rank in the SERPs.

Google Torpedoes Navy: You Sunk my Battleship!

You sunk my battleship

This is the story of Bill the Navy Guy. Bill learned a battle plan that worked like a charm:

(computer spun content) + (aged domains) + (Adsense) = $ Money in the Bank $

Bill worked his way up where he was purchasing hundreds of domains per day and was hosting thousands of domains across more than 65 dedicated servers. He was pulling in more than $60,000 per month from Google Adsense.

$60,000+ per Month . . . on 1 Adsense account.

Here’s the kicker: All his content across his entire Network of thousands of sites was spun from a total of about 45 sentences. So you could Google one of his sentence fragments and find his entire Network.

What could possibly go wrong here?

The curator of a Western art museum commissioned a local artist to paint a mural-sized painting of Custer’s Last Thought. The artist was told to make it highly symbolic of Custer’s mindset during the debacle at the Little Bighorn. Deep in thought, the artist went to his studio. After many false starts, he proceeded to paint an enormous oil painting.

Finally, after months of work, the opening of the exhibit drew a crowd of people for the unveiling of this, the centerpiece of the exhibit. The canopy came off revealing the artist’s large painting:

In the foreground was a beautiful crystalline blue lake with a single fish leaping. Around the fish’s head is a halo. In the background, the hills and meadows are covered with naked Native American couples copulating.

The curator was both disgusted and baffled by what he saw. In a rage he turned to the artist and asked, “What the hell has this got to do with Custer’s Last Thought?”

The artist replied, “It’s simple. Custer’s last thought must have been, ‘Holy Mackerel! … Where did all these fucking Indians come from?'”

Unlike General Custer to the Indians, Google had an answer to Bill the Navy Guy and Torpedoed the Admiral’s lone Adsense account: $60,000+ a month revenue to $0. Overnight.

Google Battle Lessons

War Buffs and Search Engine Spammers alike will want to learn from Bill the Navy Guy’s critical mistakes. Here are some of the lessons we can glean from Bill’s defeat:

1. Diversify and protect your supply lines. Redundancy is the law of the military; you never want a single point of failure. In fact, that’s why the DoD invented the Internet. Even if you love Adsense, you should never have all your sites under the same Adsense code. Multiple Adsense Accounts + other PPC Engines + Affiliate Revenue makes it so that a hit to any one of your supply lines does not cause a total system failure.

2. Troop Diversification. Did Alexander the Great have just light cavalry? Did William Wallace have only pikemen? Does the US Navy have only submarines? No! By spinning all his content from the same 45 sentences, Bill the Navy Guy went into battle with all the same type of troops. Don’t make that same mistake; build your sites from multiple content sources.

3. Never give the enemy your battle plans or the locations of your troops. You think the landing at Normandy would have been as successful had we sent Hitler the battle plan and troop locations 2 weeks before the invasion? By using the same Adsense account and leaving such huge footprints, Bill the Navy guy might as well have sent Google this email every day:

To: Google Spam Team
From: Bill The Navy Guy
Subject: Please Ban Me

Dear Google,

I am spamming your index and using Adsense to monitize. Please ban my sites and Adsense account at your earliest convenience. Here is the complete list:

[list of every site]

-Bill the Navy Guy

PS: Don’t Give up the Ship

Even if you’re not an SEO Black Hat, there’s a good reason not to use the same Adsense account across your network of sites. Let’s say you want to interlink sites in your 300 site network. With all your sites on the same Adsense account, Google can and will discount the value of intra network links. Instead of a potential 299 quality backlinks, you’re probably looking at a value closer to several on site links (closer to Navigation links).

Don’t lose the War do to tactical mistakes: Get multiple Adsense accounts and diversify your online income to other sources.

Mybloglog – Just BEGGING to be Spammed

Have you seen My Blog Log?

Basically it’s a widget that shows who the recent users of a blog were with a link to a page like this.

This seems like a rehash of the “latest referral” feature that all but killed the b2evolution blogging app.

Funny thing is, I’m in Brazil right now and just went to the b2evolution.net website and got this message:

403 Forbidden
Please stop referer spam.

We have identified that you have been refered here by a known or supposed spammer.

If you feel this is an error, please bypass this message and leave us a comment about the error. We are sorry for the inconvenience.

If you are actually doing referer spam, please note that this website/b2evolution no longer records and publishes referers. Not even legitimate ones! While we understand it was fun for you guys while it lasted, please understand our servers cannot take the load of all this cumulated spam any longer… Thank you.

Also, please note that comment/trackback submitted URLs will be tagged with rel=”nofollow” in order to be ignored by search engines

Interesting considering the referral was from Google!

I’m sure there are some safeguards in place for mybloglog, but my first impression is that the app and people who use it are just begging to be spammed.

Update: MyBlogLog Exploit – Getting Free Keyword Targeted Links

Buying Diggs

Usersubmiter is suppose to be this great way to buy diggs to help get your stoires to the front page. The problem is that when you make a program like this out in the open it becomes a honeypot. A honeypot is a trap set to detect, deflect or in some manner counteract attempts at unauthorized use of information systems.

Ajaydsouza managed to get his IP address banned by using usersubmitter:

I wrote to Digg today about the IP address problem. Seems like I was totally mistaken about the reason I was blocked. The reason I was blocked was because I gave UserSubmitter a shot and after a single set of diggs itself, my Digg account was blocked. Digg was kind enough to let me off this time with a warning.

Lesson learnt. Am posting it out here so that all you folks out there will be careful before using such services like UserSubmitter.

While socialham, (who apparantly never heard of akismet), tried to do a story about the program while buying diggs for said story:

** Update 10pm 10/03/06 – Almost 24 hours later and it appears this story was never promoted. We learned that its not easy to manipulate the Digg system but it is possible. On a side note I was contacted by an anonymous Russian man who let me preview his “digg rigging” system and I must say it was pretty well done. I didn’t actually use it because he would only take payment through www.wmtransfer.com which I am not familiar with.

** Final Update!!!! The next day this story was minus 25 diggs, so I guess there was an audit done at some point or this story was brought to the attention of digg.com.

So yes, safeguards are in place. I mean come on, they have like 60 people working there – they have to do something all day.

No matter how you try to game it, it’s difficult to get stories to the front page that are not sensational. Understand that even though it’s possiable to game Digg, you still need to get passed the editors to make it to the Digg front page. That’s why it’s important to understand the community to get to the Digg front page.

Of course, nothing is guaranteed. Even if you have 300 diggs you may not make it to the front page – even if they are all legit.

If you’ve got the cash, you could try to just appeal to every Apple Fan Boys wet dream by giving away a MacPro with Dual 30″ LCDs as part of some free photoshop contest. That might work.

Google Funding Terrorists

Do you recall when the “funding terrorist” campaign was targeting Marijuana, online gambling and Porn? Almost everyone was happy to stand by and let that bullshit be spread around without questioning it – even many of those who understood that this was nothing but political scare tactics.

Who cares what the ignorant masses believe? It’s not your business – right? No need to stand up for intellectual honesty. That whole “slippery slope” argument has no merit and those same tactics couldn’t be used against a real company – Right?

Well it now appears that those same sheeple are now looking at a new target and for the “Google Funding Terrorists” connection.

So for those of you that haven’t figured it out, the whole “funding terrorist” thing is total bullshit. If you buy into it, you’re a fucktard. When I wrote the Poker Bann Would fund Terrorists post, I did so because Frist is just the kind of asshole that would play the “terrorists funding” card for anything; just like when Gonzales said that illicit businesses (copyright infringement) are used, “quite frankly, to fund terrorism.”

You know how much it cost to take down the World Trade Center, put a hole in the Pentagon, and take down 4 Commercial Airlines? About $50,000. You know how much Bin Laden had in his personal fortune at the time? About $600,000,000. To put this in perspective, with the personal funding of just that one guy, they have enough funding for 12,000 similar attacks.

The Terrorists don’t Need Funding – They’ve already got it.

Is Google adsense being used to fund terrorists? Yes. All someone has to do is set up a damn adsense account like anyone else and send traffic to it. The argument is just as valid as saying that buying Marijuana or playing poker funds terrorism; it’s not valid at all.

So the next time someone says that pot, poker, Google, or Porn is being used to fund terrorism, knee them in the groin, sweep their legs out and start kicking them in the head until they stop acting like a such fucktard.

Do you Brandverb?

For a long time, we have not had a term for when a company’s brand becomes synonymous with an action. Today we do: brandverb.

The brandverb you will be most familiar with is Google. When someone says “Google it” or “I got the answer by Googling it” they are using Google as a brandverb. As you can see, the brand “Google” is being used to replace verb “search” becoming a brandverb.

Yesterday, I used Jetblue as a brandverb. While contemplating going out to Los Angeles for New Years, I said “Maybe I’ll Jetblue out there.” Once again, the brand replaced a verb (fly) and became a brandverb. Here is how the term brandverb was born:

[23:49] QuadsZilla: my flight to RIO is on the 4th from JFK
[23:50] QuadsZilla: maybe i’ll jetblue out there
[23:50] QuadsZilla: for like 3 days or something
[23:50] QuadsZilla: if that’s cool
[23:50] Jeff Random: I just made up a word based on your word
[23:50] Jeff Random: brandverb
[23:50] Jeff Random: example jetblue out there
[23:50] Jeff Random: aka to google
[23:50] QuadsZilla: nice
[23:50] QuadsZilla: i like it
[23:50] QuadsZilla: i’ll blog it

If you are going to photocopy something and say “I’ll Xerox it” you have used a brandverb. If you want your maid to vacuum your bachelor pad and ask her to “Hoover the place” you have used a brandverb. When you advise your grandmother to get rid of some junk and say “Ebay that crap, some idiot will buy it” – you have brandverbed ebay.

Want an important signed document delivered to finalize a deal? Fedex it over – you sexy brandverber!

By understanding the power of brandverbing you will become a better marketer. If you are thinking in terms of “How can I brandverb my company?”, your marketing will have a longer term impact. Especially if you brand becomes engrained in culture.

Do you brandverb?

Google and “Spammy Requests”

This morning I did a search on Google for:

inurl:.edu photoshop class

The first results included tons of non edu sites that did not have .edu in the URL. Strange. So I figured maybe I needed to troubleshoot a little and after changing the language preferences from portuguese to english and the number of results to 100, I got this crap:

Spammy Request from Google

We’re sorry…

… but your query looks similar to automated requests from a computer virus or spyware application. To protect our users, we can’t process your request right now.

We’ll restore your access as quickly as possible, so try again soon. In the meantime, if you suspect that your computer or network has been infected, you might want to run a virus checker or spyware remover to make sure that your systems are free of viruses and other spurious software.

We apologize for the inconvenience, and hope we’ll see you again on Google.

The thing is, this wasn’t an automated query! It was just me typing on my keyboard and clicking with my mouse. I know, I know – Only an evil black hat spammer could want photoshop classes ONLY from edu sites. Clearly there can be no legitimate use for this query.

Better sound the alarm and tell me that I probably have a virus or spyware!

We know in the past that Google decided to cripple their backlink checker to reduce “spammy requests.” Now they are going to cripple thier inurl command?

I have this feeling that some day I’ll be sitting with my (still-to-be-concieved) son and he’ll turn to me and say:

“Dad, Tell me about back in the day when Google didn’t suck.”