How Google Will Likely Handle +1 Scammers

by Matthew Diehl on March 30, 2011

If you haven’t heard already, Google has launched a new social feature integrated into the SERPs called +1. (get out from under your rock already! geesh)

I am not going to bore you with another “what is +1″ post because you can already get that here.

Rather, I would like to explore thoughts on how Google will likely handle sites that it identifies as trying to scam the +1 and manipulate votes.

Monitoring +1

Google is going to be tracking every +1 cast. By this I mean, they will be tracking where the +1 votes come from at many levels like Google Profile, IP, Geo-location and other unique identifiers. Google will likely process all this data and if they notice patterns, like constant votes from specific unique identifiers, they will take action against those +1s.

Types of Actions

Like links, and just because of what it is, +1 will likely be scammed to the dickens. But how will Google combat this?

Profile Removal

If Google thinks that your profile is part of a network of profiles created to inflate +1 votes, I would not put it past them to just shut down your profile.

This shutdown may not happen right away because like a good sting operation they will likely be collecting data on that profile as well as many others to large profile removal processes all at once (ala Twitter style back in the day).

+1 Devaluation

Google can’t always determine the root of all scamming practices so they often go with a devaluation approach. As we are told by Google, this is something that they already do for scammy/spammy links. It is likely that they will adapt this technology to be able to sniff out and devalue +1 scammers.

Bot Captchas

You know when you are flying through the SERPs, entering query after query rather quickly and Google all of sudden says “Hey! We think you are some kinda robot, fill out this captcha to prove to us you are not. Thanks!”. Well, Google could easily take this rapid querying detection tool and again adapt to detect rapid +1 on a given profile or other unique identifier to stop bots.

The Unlikely

It is unlikely that Google will actually serve up penalties to the destination sites of the +1 votes and if they do it will be far and few between. They will need some pretty solid evidence that a site owner is the one really behind the manipulate votes.

A Waste

Like with link spamming tactics that are easily uncovered by Google, +1 scamming and vote inflation will be just be a waste of time and dollars for anyone who thinks that it will help them to achieve better results in the SERPs. It may take time but Google most always gets their guy.

What’d I Miss?

What do you think? Any other ways in which Google will be able to sniff out and squash the scammers? Leave a comment.

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