Performing searches these days seems to be producing a lot of questionable results. Yes the search engines are getting better at returning great sites for our search queries but nestled amongst the sites returned are those pesky scraped sites.
For those of you who do not know what a scraped site is, scraped sites are web sites that exist by stealing the content off of other websites and reposting it to the scraped site. Why is it a bad thing? Well these sites are bad for several reasons that include copyright infringement for starters. These types of sites often displace the content originator’s site from their rightful spot in search returns.
So you may be asking right about now how this is hurtful to the person who entered the search query? Seeing as the material is appearing for a targeted search what is the problem? The scraped site does offer the information requested but is it complete or do they just contain enough material to get them to list in the search engines. My guess is that they only offer enough info to get the results in the search engines so that when the visitors discover that they didn’t find all the info they were looking for, they click on the adsense links targeted for that copy in hopes of finding more information.
When this happens the searcher who originated the search loses their time, the search engine who recommended that site loses a little credibility, and the person/company who originally created the content loses out on a potential member/client/sale. Seems like a lot of loses to take just so some unscrupulous webmaster can make a few pennies.
So what is the answer while we wait for this seemingly victimless crime to get sorted out by the search engines? Well according to Matt Cutts, a Google engineer who is the search engine’s point man on quality assurance, he wants searchers to contact Google. The following is an excerpt taken from his blog.
You see a low-quality site that is running AdSenseIf you run across a site that you consider spammy and it has AdSense on it, click on the “Ads by Goooooogle” link and click “Send Google your thoughts on the ads you just saw”. Enter the words spamreport and jagger1 in the comments field.
The choice is yours to make, do you want the search engines to return quality sites for your search queries? If the answer is yes then follow Matt’s advice and report scraped sites that exist solely to run Adsense campaigns to Google and help the engines figure out the way to prevent this type of fraud.