said 1 year, 4 months ago:
This year, Google, Facebook and others promise to rev up efforts in trying to put an end to all forms of discoverable spamming, gaming systems, and black hat ways or any other way that systematically and fraudulently siphons money from their ad clients and others.
The Justice Department also has taken a keen interest because of mounting advertiser complaints that these big companies have been deliberately letting illegal activities inflate ad bids and ultimate prices for advertisers in order for the big boys to profit, too.
The Sherman Act, anti-trust, and RICO (Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) are words used during these investigations. Under RICO, anyone associated with or profiting from a RICO enterprise can be prosecuted and all profits and associated property may be confiscated in ad rem proceedings. The confiscation laws make it quite possible for the government to take your property and ask questions later, as long as that property or money or profits are reasonably and adequately tied to some “enterprise” they’re indicting.
In addition, Google’s tired of sharing Adsense money on websites that fraudulently steal their revenue in this way and has said so explicitly. If you are earning Adsense revenue on your site and you have participated in a mass link exchange with unrelated sites, you put you and your business squarely within the sites of the big boys and federal justice investigators if one of your link partners has stepped over the line, dragging you with them. Advertisers are paying ad rates based on targeted viewers. Link exchanges often help inflate the numbers, netting you additional profits for Adsense shares and losses to advertisers who were misled by your deliberate solicitation of untargeted viewers to your site.
Ask yourself what an advertiser asks. Is a visitor to my site there because of the relevant keywords that led them here or for some other reason? Any other reason is probably misleading.
Any site that demonstrates a pattern of soliciting visitors to visit other sites for any reason other than related to relevant keywords can also be suspect to the Justice Department or the big boys. So link exchanges should cause instant alarm for any site. Still, many sites ignore the dangers and allow and/or even promote the practice.
Investigators can easily follow breadcrumbs from one fraudster to the next. Even if you’re innocent or have no fraudulent intent, the legal fees in defending yourself could shut you, your website, and business down. As a prevention measure, Google or other big boys could just shut you down themselves with no warning and without access to appeal. Poof, overnight you’re business and entire means of income could just vanish!
My opinion? I’m not ever going to be leaving any suspicious non-keyword-related bread crumbs that lead back to my sites. Not if I can help it. Link exchanges always look suspicious. It seems the Justice Department and Google might finally have caught on to this.