Re: Notes on a Phorm sales pitch
Indeed, well worth reading.
What follows is a very simple explanation.
That 302 redirect explains a lot. I have been looking for something like that for the last few months - since about December - and not been able to find it.
The big question is: is that how all the profilers that have already been installed by the IPSs around the world work? If it is, then it explains one of the most confusing gremlins seen.
I don't know how many webmasters read these pages. My guess is a few. Many webmasters have been noticing that their home page has disappeared from the Google SERPs for a fews days or longer, then reappeared. A true yo-yo effect. In part this has been blamed on the decreasing PR effect from link pages / link farms. It has also been blamed on the data centers updating cycles: wait a few days and it will all come right.
Problem is, the home pages disappear again a fews days / weeks later, then come back again.
A 302 redirect will kill home pages.
Why? - a search engine bot should not be seeing the redirect because they do not use the ISPs when crawling for data.
Wrong assumption. Google uses the Google Toolbar. As everyone knows, that is Google's little bit of spyware that tracks your every move. People who know about this disabled the toolbar years ago. But there are millions of people still using the toolbar.
With over 10% of the US internet users already being profiled, that is a lot of users who may have the Google Toolbar. How many UK hotspot users have the toolbar? That is a lot of users supplying Google with the 302 redirect information for every page that they visit.
What is the effect of the 302 redirect? Unfortunately one of the gremlins is that a 302 redirect is treated as a 301 redirect.
Net effect is the PR of the URL requested is transferred to the 302 redirect URL. Also, the original URL is removed from the database and the toolbar now requests that googlebot goes out to crawl the 302 redirect URL so that it can include the new content in the database. Unfortunately, what it finds there has nothing to do with your site - it may even be blocked to all crawlers.
Meanwhile, one of the other googlebots has discovered a link to the orignal URL and goes off to crawl that. A few days after the crawl, the original URL is added to the database and again appears in the SERPs.
One day the URL is in the SERPs, next day out.
Every profiler sells itself as a means of earning some of the advertising dollars currently enjoyed by the search engines. What better way than by exploiting the 302 gremlin?
As far as market timing goes, it could not be better. Google has improved its page relevance ranking factors and diminished link spamming effects. Most webmasters don't have a clue about how to write a page that will rank, in its own right, as a relevant page and have relied on the PR effect. To keep traffic they have moved into PPC at the time when Google has been charging more for non-relevant landing pages.
Not only have the profilers killed the website in the natural SERPs they are now offering a targeted audience. Which marketing director would not jump at the offer of an improved ROI for the advertising dollar.
I don't care where you as webmasters are in the world, the only way you are going to be able to protect your websites and ensure that they remain in the natural results is to tell everyone that the ISPs are tracking and profiling their every move around the internet.
The more people who have their ISP tracking their surfing, the more that 302 gremlin is going to remove your pages from the SERPs.
What chance that the gremlin will be fixed? Most unlikely. The gremlin has been around since the crawler script was first written and repeated requests have fallen on deaf ears. Why fix something that would decrease revenue?
If you want to see your advertising expense grow by the projected 30% a year, do nothing. Even you you don't advertise, you are paying for that increased advertising overhead every time for buy something which has been advertised. Whichever way, ISPs re taking money directly out of your pocket and putting it into there's.
If you want your business to be found in the natural results displayed by the search engines and use advertising when it makes marketing sense rather than having a gun to your head all the time, then you had better get out there and start campaigning before you do not have a business left.
I think that Sir Tim has a very sound understanding of the effect of interactions on the value of the web. If what I have written makes no sense to you, then ignore what I say.
Sir Tim says that data capturing and profiling is a bad idea. At the very least, listen to him.
Stop ISPs from intercepting and profiling your customers. Or go out of business.