Does Google LOVE.COM Spam?

Apr 26th

The bigger you are the harder you can spam. AOL recently soft-launched Love.com

The site has a home directory at love.com, and topic sites are organized under subdomains. Current content on literally anything you can think of (or at least that I could think of) is there: dogs, The Beatles, sex, money, rock and roll. Hamsters. Barack Obama. You get the picture. Search engines love this stuff.

Love.com is a mashup of remixed twitter posts, youtube videos, aggressive 3rd party content snippets, automated cross linking, frame-jacked 3rd party content, pop-ups, automated subdomain spam, all pushed on a purchased domain name that had existing links.

Love.com is so bad that it inspired this quote from noted SEO expert Jeremy Luebke, "This stuff make Mahalo look like the best site on the net."

What did Eric Schmidt say? "brands are how you sort out the cesspool." As soon as Google started dialing up on brand, brand owners got the message, and have reacted quickly.

Counter to Eric Schmidt's claims, any objective viewer of search would note that brands are creating the cesspool.

This is the driving corporate SEO strategy across MANY verticals today: make up for ad declines by polluting Google with recycled garbage. The formula is...

  • recycle/steal content
  • grab from enough sources that it almost looks unique
  • automate it
  • cross link from the network of other sites (as needed)
  • repeat again and again until it no longer increases profits

Most of these companies are typically far spammier than even aggressive SEOs would suggest being, but that is not surprising given the lack of risk. Brand can spam as they see fit.

Google's original strategy with the authority-centric algorithm was a false belief that the emphasis on authority would make the web a deeper and richer experience. New content would need to be better than older established content to outrank it. But as media companies face sharp losses Google is quickly finding out that their authority emphasis is creating a shallower web, where most of the big networks have 2 primary roles: create garbage and recycle garbage.

I hope after Google eats about 50 more crappy sites like Love.com they see the flaw of their ways. Regular searchers (who don't give a damn about brand) already notice it.


Image source: Matt Cutts

Published: April 26, 2009

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Comments

April 26, 2009 - 8:50am

No question that they will fix it up.. But when?!

Google does care, and acts on user feedback.. Which is why they have dominated the search biz.

A few more of this type of posts and... We're back in biz! :)

Keep going at it Aaron.

I wish I had the time to write about Google. God knows there is lots to cover ;)

April 26, 2009 - 12:04pm

David Naylor noticed a while back that "trusted" UK newspapers were putting in sneaky affiliate links on their sites (see here : http://www.davidnaylor.co.uk/uk-press-will-link-for-cash.html).

I see love.com is using their own "love bar" (much like Digg.com), meaning content is frame-jacked.

I see there is also an seobook page there too :-

http://seobook.love.com/

Is that you Aaron or someone else?!

April 26, 2009 - 12:15pm

Those pages are 100% auto-generated. They have pages on some NSFW topics as well.

April 26, 2009 - 5:16pm

I'm using Yahoo for all my searches now. That'll teach 'em.

April 26, 2009 - 11:23pm

This is so bad. Cant believe other "big brands" are not doing this more often.

Google when does this junk stop?

April 27, 2009 - 1:26am

I don't want to accept that Internet is becoming just like the other media: another way to manipulate with big brands and a lot of money. If a small company and a decent guy has really good content on the web, it is totally unfair that it/he can't rank well just because it/he doesn't have money to build a huge brand overnight. But the most awful thing is a big brand doing obvious spam tactics with total impunity.

April 27, 2009 - 2:29pm

Hell Yeah,

I hate to see a good domain name like that get burned, but it's gonna happen.

love.com even violates the first commandment of scraping: "Thou shalt apply a spam filter when you scrape." For many topics I've seen that love.com scrapes content from the worst sort of spam sites: the kind that are generated from 3rd order and 4th order Markov chains.

April 27, 2009 - 4:06pm

If you do a search for their brand name you'll see that their down in around 5th place and even have a WikiHow article outranking them.

I've never even seen Google return one of their pages in a search. Are you sure they aren't getting their traffic from elsewhere?

They don't have the domain authority to make their homepage rank so how do they suppose they will get numerous subdomains with no backlinks to rank?

April 27, 2009 - 5:31pm

On the overall traffic front Alexa ranked Love.com 14,668 yesterday, and Compete.com ranked them 18,884 (estimating 113,633 monthly unique visitors).

Use our competitive research tool and you will see they rank in the top 20 for 1,000+ proper names. Add in long tail keywords that stem from those core name keywords, and they are likely getting a lot of traffic from search.

This hunch is further confirmed by looking that their profile on Compete.com or Alexa.com.

  • Compete estimates that 47% of the site's traffic comes from Google.
  • Alexa estimates 44% of their traffic to come from search.

Granted most of that traffic is low value celebrity traffic, but give it 6 months and they might rank for a lot of commercial keywords as well.

April 27, 2009 - 9:15pm

Are we sure this website wasn't started by Guy Kawasaki?

April 27, 2009 - 10:06pm

hehehe. may have been Brian :)

April 27, 2009 - 10:40pm

How depressing.

Aaron, as I recall you said last year that the brands would take over, and it's happening. Who knew they'd recycle (steal) content from others to do it?

Totally shameless.

April 28, 2009 - 12:51am

Does Google Love.com spam?

Awesome title!

desmondhaynes
June 18, 2009 - 2:27pm

Isnt this exactly what google news also does? So what is wrong if AOL does it?

So you are saying it is okay for Google to steal content because they are the monopoly. When someone uses smart technology to do exactly that to google's serp logic, you cry foul.

lot of BS there!

June 19, 2009 - 2:12am

Not the exact same thing. This steals 3rd party content outright (far beyond any concept of fair use), wraps it in ads, and then ranks it inside the Google search results. And when someone clicks on the link to find ***your content*** they see it on a 3rd party site (rather than going to you) so you are not even getting any web traffic for your content that Love.com stole from you.

When Google engages in similar strategies via their AdSense partnerships which often encourage such behavior I flame Google just as well. Feel free to search our blog archives and you will see many examples of me doing just that.

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