Matt McGee has in interview, Yahoo Localâ€™s Affiliate Spam: â€˜A Unique Caseâ€™, with Brian Gil, Director of Product Management for Yahoo! Local in which he responds to the recent affiliate spam articles at SearchEngineLand and eClick:
â€œWe havenâ€™t seen what I would categorize as significant abuse issues. Iâ€™m not going to speak specifically to the hotel thing. That one is a unique case. We have been looking into itâ€¦. Weâ€™ll take the appropriate action, but my gut is telling me that itâ€™s not nearly as suspect as what was written up. â€œ
Matt noted that “Brian did explain that there are times when businesses want to use a unique URL in their business listing for tracking purposes, but this didnâ€™t appear to be one of those cases.”
My response: This activity is either is authorized by the hotels or it isn’t.
If it is authorized then I offer my apologies for the wrong assumptions and any problems I may have caused by reporting it. If isn’t authorized by the hotels then it is suspect. In fact it would be more than suspect and my continuing research indicates that the problem is larger than I originally reported at SEL.
Here is the summary of my research across several markets analyzing the % of affiliate populated hotel records using known affiliate urls:
|Market size||Cities searched||Total Yahoo Hotel Listings for City + Hotel in Markets||Number of links Associated with same affiliate||%|
|Large||New York, NY LA, Ca
|Mid||San Antonio, Tx
San Diego, Ca
San Jose, Ca
San Francisco, Ca
Note that particularly in the small market segment, there might be some overlap as they frequently abut the larger markets and it is possible that I counted the same listing twice. However, also note that we are only looking at one affiliate’s urls in one market segment. One assumes that any good blackhat practice doesn’t go unreproduced for long.
As for Brian’s satement: â€œWe havenâ€™t seen what I would categorize as significant abuse issues.” That is like saying “there are 7,540 banks in this country and we only had one robbery last month so it is not a significant problem”. Tell that to the Bank president and tell it to the citizen living down the street.
I suppose that if there are only 862 records out of 16 million that are erroneous it is not in fact a significant problem. But I would also contend that one deceptive record is too many let alone the 862 that showed up in my limited research. I would also contend that Yahoo, Google and the IYP’s need to be more transparent on the issue of mapspam, its reporting and removal.