Google, Blekko Battle Spammers

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2011-03-19 Print this article Print

But search experts have no doubt Blekko is pushing Google to push the antispam envelope. Search Engine Land Editor Danny Sullivan told eWEEK Blekko is capitalizing on Google's spam-filled results to get more attention:

"I think Blekko is definitely spurring Google on, getting them to perhaps move faster or roll things out that they might have spent longer doing.

Blekko isn't siphoning Google searchers by the millions, but it is raising awareness to an important issue in today's large search engines. But a Google spokesperson said the company has been working on this issue since its inception.

"At Google, we've been working to fight spam for more than a decade and have refined algorithms over the years designed identify sites that violate our webmaster guidelines. We've also experimented with a variety of ways to give people direct control over the kinds of sites they find in search, going back to experiments from 2001... Thanks in part to these efforts, Google's search quality is better than it has ever been in terms of relevance, freshness and comprehensiveness."

Google's search quality may be better, but spam dispersers are becoming more sophisticated. Blekko founder and CEO Rich Skrenta told eWEEK that there has been a recent surge in the quantity and sophistication of the spam being generated. While machine-generated spam used to rule the roots, human-engineered spam is being hosted on reputable-looking sites, waiting to catch users.

Moreover, Skrenta said the spam problem is going to get much worse because the cost to create a new page on the Web is nearly zero.

Sprinkle in the numerous self-service ad networks and "spammers can essentially print money. This will lead to a nearly endless amount of spam taking over the Web, much more than we have today." 

Skrenta doesn't think Google's treatment of adjusting its ranking algorithm is the answer, as some sites went down a few positions in the search results and others, including, rose. 

"When it comes to content farms and spammers, we prefer to completely remove the sites from our index, not just demote them," Skrenta explained. "We don't want to see a site that has failed our editorial process showing up for any query."

Skrenta noted that while Blekko has taken flak from companies it has excluded from its index, he believes it's important to articulate a very clear editorial position on spam. Ultimately, Blekko wants to include only the best content in its index.



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