Would you rat out a competitor who is doing shady things?

14 replies
If you saw that a competitor was doing shady, blackhat type things in the search engines, would you rat them out?

As an example, let's say that I'm talking about someone that is displaying certain content to Googlebot, but when an actual user views the page, it forwards them through to Amazon. This is not only a massive violation of Google's ToS but of Amazon's as well. Reporting them to Amazon/Google would surely end up with their Amazon account terminated and likely deindexing from Google as well.

To an extent, I'm sure a good majority of people who do SEO are doing things that Google would frown upon. However, an example like the one I gave above is clearly stepping over a few boundaries.

Would you report a competitor that is doing things like this? Is it bad karma? I'm sure that not everything I do is 100% up to snuff, but some things are a little too much.
#competitor #rat #shady #things
  • Profile picture of the author Jon Patrick
    In a word, yes. When I have to abide by certain rules in order to remain in good standing, I will not be competed against by people who do not abide by the rules (not if I have anything to say about it, at least). I'm all for competition, but not unfair competition.
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    • Profile picture of the author kenmichaels
      i would not even consider it, unless everything that you do, in all your ventures, is 100% white hat, and i mean whiter then white.

      What goes around comes around.

      and "over stepping boundaries" is clearly subjective to the offended,
      that in itself may bite you from behind one day.

      let some one else complain, some one will , eventually.
      but you wont have to look over your shoulder.

      Selling Ain't for Sissies!
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  • Profile picture of the author Eric Lancheres
    Honestly it depends,

    If people aren't bothering me... then I have no problem if they do their own thing.

    Heck, sometimes I see sneaky stuff and I think: "Damn... that was a good idea... good for you man"

    In general, I support people being clever.

    However, if you're going after a specific keyword and he's using shady cloaking to beat you... then it does impact you and reporting him would be an option in your arsenal.

    tl;dr There's no use in being the internet police... but if someone is harming your business by doing shady things, then do whatever you can.
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    • Profile picture of the author JRCarson
      I'm kind of in the same boat too...my competitors are breaking Amazon TOS all over the place. I've decided not to do anything. Then some days I wake up thinking, screw it! I'm telling!

      But, yeah, it's Karma I think. No one likes a tattle tail, and neither does Karma.
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  • Profile picture of the author agc
    If I wanted to fairly obtain the ranking that they have unfairly obtained? Absolutely.

    At least in your SPECIFIC example given, which is very blatant violations of two very simple concepts.

    In other examples, I would have to consider the circumstances, and the degree of gray area would have to be considered.
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  • Profile picture of the author travlinguy
    I think such stuff is best left for the Spirit In The Sky to sort out...
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    • Profile picture of the author chemo38
      Originally Posted by travlinguy View Post

      I think such stuff is best left for the Spirit In The Sky to sort out...
      I agree. The Universe will punish the violators at the time it is necessary and use the tools required. Thanks for reminding all of us about a Higher Order.

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  • Profile picture of the author Jon Patrick
    Live and let live is all good and well until it takes food off of your table. If you owned a fashion boutique, and another store opened up next door selling counterfeit items and undercutting your prices, would you just sit back and let them put you out of business?

    We're talking about competition here. Someone is trying to beat you. If they're going to succeed, they should have to do so without cheating.

    If it doesn't directly affect you, on the other hand, then sure.
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  • Profile picture of the author Fraser SellHealth
    Personally i would not. Firstly try and reach out to him/her , theres alot more positives with working with people then there is rating them out , but maybe thats just me. And yes the god of karma is watching you at all times

    Fraser Mackie
    Affiliate Manager

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  • Profile picture of the author TopKat22
    If I felt strongly enough to do something, I would always contact the person first and give them a chance to address the issue themselves. I always like to give people the benefit of the doubt and at least a chance to do the right thing.

    However, in my experience, it generally takes care of itself because what goes around does indeed come around.

    As for offline, it works the same. I had an offline business and some former employees started their own thing in violation of their non-compete agreement and also stole customers from me.

    I thought of many ways to handle it and finally left it to Karma. They were out of business in a few months and all those clients plus more came back to me.
    44 days in and we broke the $10K a month recurring bench mark.

    Guaranteed 60% Opt In Rate Traffic-Real People-Fresh Today-High Quality Biz Opp traffic![/URL]
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    • Profile picture of the author maxrezn
      If you remain anonymous, and it's effective, then do it. Business is war. If your enemy has a weak wall in their fort...use the information to your advantage and break in through that wall. If you want to be a nice guy and let your competitors get away with shady techniques and rank higher than you then feel free.
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  • Profile picture of the author hotlinkz
    Deep question. Personally, I would leave it alone. I would simply improve my own long-term marketing efforts. Most likely, the algorithms will catch up to those who use these type methods.

    Plus, it's not really worth all the effort and negative energy involved in reporting them. I've got a business to run.

    Now if it was something more serious...where life, limb or reputation was put as risk. I would rat 'em out in a minute!
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  • Profile picture of the author Halcyon
    To Rat or not To Rat... that is the question.

    When posed with a similar dilemma, personally, I have to question my motivation. If it is truly altruistic and for the betterment or safety of myself or another, then I will sing like a canary.

    If my motives are from spite, jealousy or anger, then I keep my mouth shut because it's probably going to become a real hornet's nest.

    In your case, I don't think the shareholders of Amazon or Google will miss one meal because of this and you shouldn't lose one night of sleep over it.

    IMHO leave it alone...the other site owner will get his comeuppance in due time.
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  • Profile picture of the author sovereignn
    I actually considered doing what the op said above. Didn't know it was against the amazon ToS though >_<
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