Scraper sites and content farms. And who’s the biggest farmer of all???
Why Google Places, of course!
(Jump to bottom to read my rant about Google Places – the ultimate scraper and their damned duplicates OR just read on to to see how bad InsiderPages, Merchant Circle and other local sites were hit.)

This week every time I read about the Farmer update I kept noticing how many of the companies that topped the Sistrix list compete with one of Google’s services. Malhalo which launched as a search engine, but then turned into more of an answer site; quite a few shopping aggregator sites (Google shopping); Technorati (Reader); Docstoc (Google Docs).

So I decided to try to find out how many sites that compete with Google Places got hit by this update. I found the entire list of sites Sistrix researched, not just the short list others have highlighted on their blogs, to see how many local or business directory sites were affected and to see how bad they got hit.

These sites are either geo local directories, business directories, review sites or a combo, but they all feature business listings, like Google Places does. Google scrapes reviews and citations from some of these sites too.

I only pulled 2 fields. Website & Keywords Percentage Loss

citytowninfo.com

86%

business.com

78%

insiderpages.com

70%

merchantcircle.com

63%

allbusiness.com

63%

americantowns.com

62%

thomasnet.com

52%

manta.com

48%

For more insights on the topic of local sites and the Farmer update, see Andrew Shotland’s post below. Although from what I see his traffic graphs don’t go far enough to show the impact from Farmer update, so I was a little confused by it.

How Did The Top Local Sites Do In Google’s Farmer Update?

MY RANT ABOUT the ULTIMATE SCRAPER (FARMER) – GOOGLE PLACES

I could go on a big long diatribe here, but I’ll try to hold back and keep it short. Not only does Google Places scrape data from tons of other sites. They take a company’s Place page and advertise 10 of that company’s competitors on the page. (4 are paid ads they make per click revenue on. The other 6 lead you to more Place pages with more paid ads). Then too, Google often creates 1 – 3 duplicates of that Place page, so guess what? For most of my clients Google uses THEIR business data to advertise 30 of their competitors – capitalizing on their good name!

OK I’m done. Knew I should not have started talking about scraping and duplicates – the bane of my business! 🙁

Note: I’ve been trying to finish this post all week, so it’s a little late and I normally don’t like to publish on Fridays. But I decided better late than never.

So what do you think? Inquiring minds want to know!
Please weigh in below.