This post is the last in a series of 15 articles I started back in January designed to provide a better understanding of the ActiveRain Community Guidelines. With so many new real estate professionals joining our numbers, it's a good idea to review these guidelines regularly, and to ensure that there is a firm grasp on what the expectations are for members who participate in this valuable community.
Please know that your participation on ActiveRain isn't about a list of 'Do's and Don'ts.' So much of what is offered here is meant to empower you, and enable you to enjoy greater success in your business. These guidelines were put in place to establish a common level of expectation, promote respect among our community, and help maintain civility in the midst of spirited discourse.
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The final guideline for consideration reads as follows:
"Do not attempt to selfishly manipulate search engine results through blackhat SEO techniques, such as Keyword Stuffing, or by posting endless copied sections of your local MLS. Violation of this guideline may result in an immediate termination of your ActiveRain account/profile."
Most people aren't aware of all the hard work and effort that has gone into making this network what it is today. Over the past several years, the founders and support staff of this platform have expended massive amounts of effort, time, and passion to develop this platform into an effective tool that directly benefits and positively impacts those members who actively participate/contribute.
A few weeks ago, I was engaged in a really excellent conversation on another member's blog post, when someone added this comment:
"And I don't think there has been proper acknowledgment of what "original content" has done to create this successful forum. There seems to be a lot of focus on the fact it is free to the users, but the other side of the equation is not given equal focus (from my perspective)."
I've said it many times before, but I will say it again. In the truest sense, ActiveRain is a mutually collaborative/cooperative effort between the Makers and the Members. The Makers (Founders & Support Staff) provide the platform, and the Members provide the valued content. Neither can succeed without the other. They are intimately co-dependent.
As such, it is highly disappointing when someone comes along who takes advantage of this network, and uses it for their own selfish purposes, with little or no regard for contributing value to the community. Their actions detract from the overall value of this platform, and throws off the cooperative balance of what others are giving.
Fortunately, we haven't seen a lot of instances here on ActiveRain where members have actually resorted to black hat techniques, but we've seen many similar attempts to manipulate or skew search engine results. The following post is one recent example:
Jonesville apartments for rent, Jonesville apartment rentals, Jonesville high rise apartment rentals, Jonesville hi rise apartment rentals, Jonesville uptown apartment rentals, Jonesville uptown apartments for rent (edit/delete)
John Jones Top Jonesville Real Estate Agent ~ Featured Top Realtor Nationwide
JonesvilleAgent@Jonesville.com * Top Jonesville Real Estate Agent Team
Jonesville homes for sale, Over 2,000 Jonesville home foreclosures, Jonesville homes for rent, Jonesville apartments
Jonesville Real Estate Website: JonesvilleRealEstate.com
Jonesville real estate office: 555-123-1234
Jonesville apartments for lease, Jonesville apartment rentals, Jonesville apartments for rent
|Posted by John Jones Top Jonesville Real Estate Agent on 08/27/2008 11:57 PM||Comments (0)||jonesville apartments for rent, jonesville apartment rentals, jonesville high rise apartment rentals, jonesville hi rise apartment rentals, jonesville uptown apartments||Edit||Delete|
As you can see, there is very little in the way of meaningful or substantive consumer content here. It's simply stuffing a post full of keywords to achieve a selfish result. This person has taken advantage of all the hard work and collective quality content & google juice that our other members have generated, and is exploiting it for their own use, without giving anything back.
Here's another example, of copying large portions of the MLS:
|Listing Type||List Price||Street||City||Listing No.
|RES||$859,900||12008 BROWN RD||JONESVILLE||28391451||CRESTHAVEN|
||1310 BLACKBERRY CT||JONESVILLE||29533853||OAKWOOD|
|RES||$1,195,000|| 12107 APPLETREE LN
|VL||$1,800||7308 BROWN RD||JONESVILLE||29304854||JONESVILLE MANORS|
|RES||$469,900||0 CREEKSIDE DR||JONESVILLE||27849543||CREEKSIDE|
||1530 BROWN RD||JONESVILLE||28744654||JONESVILLE MANORS
||909 OAKTREE RD||JONESVILLE||27718283||JONESVILLE MANORS|
||3918 HAPPY RD||JONESVILLE||28336447||HAPPY HAVEN
|VL||$183,500||903 GROVE ST||JONESVILLE||28475033||MAPLEWOOD|
||2227 CYPRESS RD||JONESVILLE||27143886||MAPLEWOOD|
|RES||$194,900||2248 BIRCH RD||JONESVILLE||29874567||MAPLEWOOD|
|RES||$159,900||309 PINE RD||JONESVILLE||26156779||MAPLEWOOD|
|VL||$129,900||9772 RIVER RD||JONESVILLE||29675690||RIVERVIEW|
|VL||$170,900||9736 ROCK RD||JONESVILLE||29557732||RIVERVIEW|
|RES||$379,900||718 VALLEY RD||JONESVILLE||29140697||VALLEY ESTATES|
||701 AMIGO RD||JONESVILLE||28864730||RANCHO VILLA
|VL||$4,000||9701 PANCHO RD||JONESVILLE||29876201||RANCHO VILLA
|VL||$235,000||865 GRINGO RD||JONESVILLE||28910233||RANCHO VILLA|
|RES||$252,000||7317 LOUISIANA RD||JONESVILLE||29867320||MILLERS CROSSING|
|RES||$639,900||7315 LAFAYETTE RD||JONESVILLE||26657489||MILLERS CROSSING|
|VL||$84,900||132 STAMPEDE RD||JONESVILLE||27360977||HAPPLY HOLLOW
||100 BROOK LN||JONESVILLE||28109382||EDGEWOOD|
||8120 GARDEN LN||JONESVILLE||26783948||HARVEST MEADOWS
|VL||$1,495||8382 SUNFLOWER RD||JONESVILLE||27450918||HARVEST MEADOWS
|RES||$339,900||8382 RIMSHOT RD||JONESVILLE||28164598||BROOKLAWN
|RES||$299,900||8210 FOXFIRE CT||JONESVILLE||28670909||BROOKLAWN|
|RES||$599,900||8433 WINDFALL CT||JONESVILLE||29158778||WINDFALL GLENS|
|RES||$1,475,000||402 WINDFALL WAY||JONESVILLE||29445738||WINDFALL GLENS|
Again, in this example, there isn't much here in the way of valuable consumer content. It's simply MLS data that is copied from another Internet source, and duplicated here on ActiveRain. It's taking the powerful search ranking generated by the consistent efforts of our other members, and using it for selfish purposes, without contributing or giving anything in return.
For those of you who have been working hard at consistently contributing your own original, good quality content, we hope you can see why we take such strong issue with those who choose to violate this particular guideline.
The primary premise of Blogging is to engage your readers with interesting, informative content, and encourage meaningful dialog. It opens up a channel for interactive communication between you and consumers. It allows you to reveal a part of yourself and offer greater transparency into our industry.
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To read more about Black Hat SEO Techniques, go to: "What is Black Hat SEO?" by Wendy Boswell
To read the rest of the articles in this series, simply go to the ActiveRain Community Guidelines, and click on specific underlined portion.