Spam Reports - Google, Yahoo, MSN

Here's a little story about a spam report I submitted in February 2006 to Google, Yahoo and MSN for a competing site. Submitting a Google spam report is common practice these days, but the yahoo spam report and MSN spam reports are less common.

The site in question had the works - orphaned doorway pages, white on white text and massively targeted for a single phrase per page, with no useful content.
The only visible thing on the page was their logo linking back to the homepage - all the SEO content was invisible unless you pressed CTRL-A. They had even used a white image for the background instead of color="#FFFFFF" to make it really hard for the engines to spot. Spam in anyone's book, no question.

MSN responded within a day or so to my spam report with a personalised reply - yes, written by a person. I wish I could find the response they emailed me and post it, but basically it said this...

Dear Mr Kane,
We understand that you don't want to have to compete with other sites. bla bla bla. However, just because you don't like a particular website doesn't mean we should remove the site from our index. bla bla. We care about quality results bla bla and we don't go deleting sites just because you don't like them. bla bla etc etc.

I recall myself scratching my head and wondering if the 5 minutes they spent writing me a personal reply wouldn't have been better actually following the link and having a look at the site I sent them. I would have been quite happy with no reply and some action. I did appreciate the personal response, as you always do when dealing with behemoth companies like Microsoft.

Interestingly enough, Yahoo did absolutely nothing with my spam report. Google did nothing for 3 months, despite Matt Cutts asking for more spam reports (and deleting my blog comment when I very politely asked him to please deal with the spam reports we have already submitted before asking for more).
Finally Google deleted the site from the index. A few days later, the site had cleaned up their act, and about 3 weeks later they were back in the index with a PR0 instead of a PR4. Now they seem to be ranking well again, but not nearly as well as they did with the doorway pages.

The moral of the story?

I just want a fair playing field - SEO is hard enough without having to compete with ugly spam sites jam packed full of text that no person will ever see. Frankly, I'm pretty disappointed with all 3 engines for the lax response, and It doesn't offer much incentive to those that want to run clean sites.
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Tags: msnspamyahoomsn spam yahoo