Starting this month Google will begin to use a version of the Bush Doctrine to fight web spam. Google will preemptively penalize sites.
Google Bush Doctrine
The main tenant of the Bush Doctrine surrounded the idea of preemptive war. Google has decided to adopt this philosophy in dealing with the rampant manipulation of trust and authority via the link graph. Instead of reacting to increases in paid links, splog networks and other schemes, Google is going on the offensive and will penalize sites preemptively.
Perhaps this is a reaction to the revelations about J.C. Penney, Forbes and Overstock, as well as the surveys and polls that indicate that most sites engage in black hat techniques and that paid links are still viable.
It seems as if an analysis of reconsideration requests helped lead Google to this new policy. A source on the Google web spam team says:
We learn a lot from reconsideration requests. In that environment, sites are willing to admit to and stop bad behavior. Analyzing the profile of these sites before and after has been of growing interest to the team.
Sure enough, the text surrounding reconsideration requests makes it clear that coming clean is important.
Admission and corrective action is required to get out of Google’s dog house.
Preemptive Google Penalties
Preemptive penalties will force sites to divulge and cease black hat techniques. Why? Because you’re simply not going to know what Google does and doesn’t know. If you are not forthcoming (if you hold something back) and Google finds out, it will make it even tougher to get out of the dog house.
Do you feel lucky, punk? Well … do ya?
Penalty Selection and Length
It remains to be seen how Google will select sites for preemptive penalties. Is it random or will it be initiated by members on the web spam team? Will all sites be eligible for preemptive penalties, or will some be white listed?
The length of the preemptive penalty is also unknown. Will it be lifted if the offending site doesn’t file a reconsideration request or is reconsideration required? It will be interesting to see if anyone simply tries to ride out the penalty without engaging Google directly.
And how long will Google pursue this strategy? One would hope that the data gleaned from these preemptive penalties might (quickly) help Google refine their detection efforts, allowing them to scrap this policy.
What do you make of Google’s Bush Doctrine and how will you handle a preemptive penalty?