Friday, July 29, 2005

The Caliphate of Pax Americana

In the search for the driving forces behind the recent fundamentalist Islamic terror aimed at Western targets, those who refuse to make the obvious connection with a number of disastrous Western involvements in the Middle East, have found an old, old motive they believe they can attribute to Islam: the Global Caliphate.

R. James Woolsey, on Newsnight recently, resorted unashamedly to this argument. This is rather rich coming from a former Director of the CIA, an organisation that helped create Osama Bin Laden.

It’s tempting for those in power to explain the recent surge in radical Muslim terrorism as driven by the desire to create the Global Caliphate, because it’s a simple explanation that has some roots in history and appeals to most simple folk. The epic clash between good and evil!

It’s true that Islam and Christianity are two competing religions which for centuries have been trying to promote their truths, often at each other's expense. It’s also true that some radical Islamic thinkers consider the West’s involvement in the Middle East as the latest
Crusade and are therefore calling for a Global Caliphate. The latter are nonetheless a small minority.

For most Islamic terrorists, the Global Caliphate is quite literally about the last thing on their mind. Palestinian human bombs have only one real aim: to secure an independent, sovereign state for the Palestinian people.
And these fundamentalists in Iraq really aren’t aiming at global domination either.

Besides, terrorism would be almost the most ineffective method of establishing such a Caliphate. To achieve world domination, you need to cover terrain, this is something which bombing campaigns of whatever nature cannot achieve.

By contrast, the US are much more advanced in achieving territorial domination of the Middle East, with troops present already in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq and powerful local allies like Israel and Egypt. The US have made it clear that it’s in their interest to establish a Pax Americana in the region, to secure the world’s supply of hydrocarbons.

Perhaps we’ll be looking at a Caliphate in the form of a global Pax Americana

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Shoulder by Shoulder

Right now, the Muslim and Christian communities in Britain are standing shoulder to shoulder in the face of fundamentalist Islamic terrorism. When this united front will show its first serious cracks is of course only a matter of time.

Sir Iqbal Sacranie and many other Muslim community leaders face very difficult times to keep their communities together and protected from attacks.

Their position, however, is made much easier, relatively speaking at least, by the fact that this Government really doesn’t tolerate any dissent on the question of fundamentalist Islamic terrorism at all.

Last week, a more radical leader of the Muslim community said that he deplored “all violence, killing and bombing by anyone” and was lambasted for these words, because it didn’t constitute an “unreserved apology” for the work of the London bombers.

Another prominent Muslim leader was vilified for saying something all Britons agree upon: “that Mr Blair had lied over Iraq”.

Thankfully for Mr Blair, the successful implementation of a “shoot first, ask questions later” policy means that censorship of Muslim spokes people in Britain will soon no longer be necessary…

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The IRA pledge to Disarm and the New War on Terror

The IRA’s pledge to end all armed struggle in Northern Ireland comes at a welcome but strange time.

At first the IRA pledge seemed to come at a moment chosen to support Mr Blair’s waning fortunes. Mr Blair did contribute considerably to the Good Friday agreement, at the time a great step forward towards a lasting peace settlement in Northern Ireland. I sincerely hope the IRA’s latest initiative will also make a lasting contribution to the end of hostilities in that particular part of the world.

But it’s hard not to be cynical about the IRA leadership’s decision regarding the timing to end that particular “war”, when Mr Blair now faces the prospect of an altogether different type of war. One that is largely of Mr Blair’s own making and will prove to be also his undoing, one that will make the IRA look like a bunch of sweet, old darlings… One in which a dangerous but identifyable enemy is replaced with an army of faceless and virtually invisible suicide bombers.

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Thursday, July 28, 2005

Al Qaida, the Taliban and the US Government

In the debate as to the causes of London terrorism, many, including the Government itself, are sticking their heads in the sand by refusing to recognise the role the British involvement in Iraq has played. It’s always easier and more convenient to depict the bombers as mindless killers and evil doers that must be reckoned with in the severest way possible. If that means shooting a few innocent bystanders that’s OK, as long as it’s for the greater good.

Or as that other genius of all matters geopolitical
George W. Bush puts it “we’ll hunt them down and smoke ‘em out!”

A “course of action” that doesn’t take into account the deeper underlying cause of why the West now has a rapidly swelling army of irate fundamentalist Islamic terrorists vying for our blood, is like a quack cure: based on nothing it cannot work.

The cause of the bombers hatred of all things Western goes back much further than Gulf War II. It goes back, amongst others to US involvement in pre 9/11 Afghanistan, where the CIA, for pragmatical US reasons,

helped create what these same people now call the monster Osama Bin Laden

Another excellent article by Michael Meacher, published in the Guardian and titled

This war on terrorism is bogus
also very much gets its facts straight regards the events leading up to 9/11.

On several occasions I’ve maintained that President Blair may well be the first British politician to enter the history books as a criminal of war. But if this Government stubbornly and blindly continues to refuse to acknowledge that it’s role in Iraq will almost inevitable lead to more real bloodshed at home, then Mr Blair should be impeached for “incitement to mass murder”.

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Suicide Bombers without a Cause

Mr Blair and his war cabinet continue to deny any link between the bombings and the deplorable state of affairs in Iraq. The tune of Mr Blair’s message changed an eensie, teensie bit towards: ”well, alright then, may be some muslims do have a liiiiiittle bit of a grudge against us re. Iraq, but [indignation reaching crescendo] that doesn’t justify any suicide bombings”.

According to a Daily Mirror/GMTV poll, some 85% of Britons now believe that terrorisms at home is directly linked to the war in Iraq, but that isn’t something Mr Blair and his cronies are willing to take into account. Democracy hasn’t been New Labour’s strong suit for some time now.

Tony, no one is saying that what the suicide bombers did (and will continue to do) is justified or can be condoned. It’s in the nature of terrorism that these people carry out uncondonable acts, did you get that?

But it is an insult to the dead to deny the link with Iraq.

The idea of a deeper underlying cause for these attacks, other than the West’s, and in particular the UK’s and the US’s, involvement in several Middle Eastern misadventures such as Gulf War II, is risible and highly improbable.

The Government’s stance that the fact that suicide bombings have occurred also elsewhere is also a feeble smoke screen: Madrid was directly linked to Spain’s involvement in Iraq, in Istanbul the target was the British Consulate. The recent attack in Egypt is one in a long line of internal but essentially anti-American terrorist attacks.

The gang of four seem to imply that these suicide bombers are motiveless. But history has shown that all terrorist groups have in fact very clear motives and objectives. It’s true of Bader-Meinhof, Red Brigades, Black September, PLO, IRA, the loyalist factions, Hamas, Al Qaida etc etc. It’s certainly true of this latest batch as well.

And for anyone still in doubt as regards the anti-Western feelings of Iraqi Jihadis,
read this previous post.

It’s time to acknowledge the devastating effect of British involvement in Iraq: doing so could just prevent us being drawn into a long and protracted war with this faceless and virtually invisible enemy and having to transform this country into a fortress, Israel-style.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Paper Pushers against Terrorism…

Whitehall’s secret weapon against fundamentalist Islamic terrorism has been revealed: more pointless legislation. Give a 50k per annum paper pusher a problem and, presto! They come up with... lavatory paper, in an effort to be seen “doing something”. Ironically, these people really don't give a shit...

The good general public is also mightily reassured that something has at last been done: these bills will come in very handy to slap the terrorists around the ears with, or possibly torture them by tickling their feet.

Or are they merely expecting to bore these guys to death?

Luckily Mr Armando Iannucci has got all of Mr Clarke’s bases covered.
His anti anti-terrorism bill bill should cover most angles but Mr Iannucci has far more arrows on his bow.

Meanwhile in the war room, more bills are being forged… Scribble, scribble...


How Jihadis really feel about us and the US

Despite much talk about the use of the Internet as a means of communication and propaganda by fundamental Islamic Jihadis, finding these sites isn’t as easy as it might seem.

So I decided to hunt for one. The best known is probably but it’s entirely in Arabic, so not all that much use to gauge the strength of anti-Western feeling.

Then I came across an Iraqi site, through The strength of feeling towards Britain and the US is palpable. The text speaks for itself (there’s also audio and video) but here’s a few excerpts:

Over two million innocents died waiting for a light at the end of a tunnel that only ended with the occupation of our country and the theft of our resources.

After the crimes of the administrations of the U.S and Britain in Iraq , we have chosen our future. The future of every resistance struggle ever in the history of man.

We have not crossed the oceans and seas to occupy Britain or the U.S. nor are we responsible for 9/11. These are only a few of the lies that these criminals present to cover their true plans for the control of the energy resources of the world, in face of a growing China and a strong unified Europe . It is Ironic that the Iraqi's are to bear the full face of this large and growing conflict on behalf of the rest of this sleeping world.

We thank all those, including those of Britain and the U.S. , who took to the streets in protest against this war and against Globalism. We also thank France , Germany and other states for their position, which least to say are considered wise and balanced, til now.

Stop using the U.S. dollar, use the Euro or a basket of currencies. Reduce or halt your consumption of British and U.S. products. Put an end to Zionism before it ends the world. Educate those in doubt of the true nature of this conflict and do not believe their media for their casualties are far higher than they admit.

And to the American soldiers we say, you can also choose to fight tyranny with us. Lay down your weapons, and seek refuge in our mosques, churches and homes. We will protect you. And we will get you out of Iraq , as we have done with a few others before you.

We, now choose when, where, and how to strike. And as our ancestors drew the first sparks of civilization, we will redefine the word “conquest.“

And to George W. Bush, we say, “You have asked us to ‘Bring it on’, and so have we. Like never expected. Have you another challenge?”

Mr Blair said recently that after 9/11 the world briefly woke up, then turned over and went back to sleep. But as regards the underlying causes of fundamentalist Islamic terrorism, Mr Blair himself is in a deep, deep coma…


Gang of Four in Denial...

Mr Blair continues his mantra that the terrorist attacks on London aren’t related to that masterpiece of Blairite policies, the war in Iraq. (Watch the video!)

The root causes are elsewhere, he maintains. Elsewhere presumably means the moon or some other far away place.

Straw et al dutifully echo this with grave faces (trying not to burst into laughter isn’t always easy). Clarke simply looks utterly bored with the whole thing.

Currently we’re being “governed” by a junta style bunch of pathological liars.

What’s more worrying is the BBC’s hopelessly lackyfied style of reporting on all of this. On Newsnight yesterday, this particular crony started nodding in agreement before the usual suspects had even opened their mouths!

As regards the opposition, we haven’t got one. Lots of grave faced murmuring about “measured response”, “consensus”, blah, blah. Not a word of criticism. Charles Kennedy now really looks like the troll he actually is.


Brian Walden and Civil Liberties

In a rather astonishing article published on the BBC site, Brian Walden gives his unsavoury version of why civil liberties should basically be cancelled, in the name of anti-terrorism.

Just a few gems:

Thursday's attempted attacks it emerged that the terrorists who bombed London on 7 July weren't from a foreign country. They were home-grown, having been born and raised in Britain. And their message of hate is just as intense, though the grounds for it are obscure.

Yes, Prime Minister, we really can’t think why they would do these nasty, nasty things to us.

Alzheimers springs to mind… Perhaps a mercy shoot-to-kill could be a cure? Or a shoot first, ask questions about this bonkers article later. Mr Walden won't mind as he clearly has no need for civil rights.

The whole Middle East should be destabilised, because the only hope the Muslims have is democracy. Until the people are given a free choice in a fair election, nothing will come right.

This doesn’t even really sound like English. Who needs terrorists when we have bird brains like Brian?


ID Cards and the Middle East...

Clearly ID cards wouldn’t have made the slightest bit of difference to avoid the London bombings. Some are trying to come up with usually far fetched scenarios showing that ID cards would somehow make things worse with regards to the London events. But that’s mostly conjecture and speculation.

Mr Blair, shortly after the attacks, claimed there was no link to the war in Iraq. On last week’s “This week”, Michael Portillo strangely and incorrectly echoed him, citing that bombings had occurred elsewhere such as in Istanbul. Portillo must have suffered an uncharacteristic bout of amnesia, by forgetting the Istanbul target was in fact the British Consulate. The bombing of Madrid, early on mistaken for an ETA attack, was later conclusively shown to be a fundamentalist Islamic attack, resulting in the resignation of the Spanish Prime Minister and withdrawal of Spanish troops from Iraq.

Just about every terrorist attack in recent years, from the first failed twin towers bombing (26/02/93), the USS Cole, Kenya, 9/11, Istanbul, Madrid and the recent events in London are linked to the West’s involvement in Afghanistan, the Middle East, the Palestinian/Israeli question and the non-UN supported invasion of Iraq (Gulf War II).

Even the most recent attack in Egypt where the target clearly wasn’t British or American, is linked to the West’s position in the region. Egypt is the only Arab state with close ties to Israel and the largest recipient of American aid in the entire region, apart of course from Israel itself. Because of this it has been the target of probably mostly internal radical Islamic terrorists for years now.

In the short term we can continue to foil a few attacks here and abroad, using blunt instruments like shoot-to-kill and intelligence, but against “clean skin”, home grown terrorist cells, no amount of surveillance, random searches, sniffer dogs etc can be particularly effective. We will be drawn into a protracted “war on Islamic terror” with many, many casualties. Things are likely to get worse before they (may) get better.

In the medium-long term the West needs to clearly rethink its Middle East strategy. Resolving the Iraq situation, however difficult that may be, and extricating ourselves from that part of the world would be a first important step.

Addressing the Palestinian question, this time seriously, is in the medium-long term the only viable solution. A satisfactory settlement for both parties, including an independent Palestinian state, should be one of the main objectives of our Middle East policy.

The alternative? To continue to breed an increasingly large army of irate and blinkered Islamic terrorists, vying for our blood. Unfortunately, these no longer require the umbilical cord to "Al Qaida", making them all the more dangerous and potentially prolific.

I’m not a great lover of conspiracy theory but I can’t help feeling the West actually likes this “outside enemy” situation because it certainly distracts from the many internal problems all of our countries suffer. Bush, for one, wouldn’t have been re-elected without 9/11. It looks like Mr Blair will also postpone passing on his crown, as it appears he’s regarded by the general public as a more suitable PM in times of crisis. What's so reassuring about this prolific and pathological liar is beyond me, but there you are.


Wednesday, July 13, 2005

The British Identity Card Scheme...

Aftermath of 7/7

In the wake of the London bombings on 7/7, the British Government now stands accused of reintroducing the identity cards scheme, by stealth as it were. But the ID cards scheme however, was announced in the Queen's Speech on 17 May 2005, after careful and very lengthy consultations.

The mention of identity cards has the same effect on the British public as waving a red flag in front of a bull.

In this post I’m going to try and dispel some of the irrational arguments used against the idea of identity cards.

ID cards curtail civil liberties

The privacy argument. In this country one has to be armed with at least two, often three forms proof of identity and increasingly also photo ID, to carry out something as basic as opening a bank account. Personally, I find having to show a utility bill more of an intrusion into my privacy than showing one, uniform document such as an ID card. How much I spend on my phone calls is really only my business.

ID cards would also increase “stop and search” by police officers, opponents say. In this country, like in any other civilised one, the police of course has powers to apprehend people who may be suspected of having committed, committing or planning to commit a crime. These persons will during their arrest have to prove their identity in one way or another. Where is the problem?

The police take fingerprints and DNA of any suspect in their custody, even without any charges being brought. These data go directly into the national crime database (whether you turn out to be a criminal or not). An intrusion into a suspect’s privacy? You bet! But no one bats an eyelid and I don’t either. After all, it’s for the greater good, isn’t it?

ID cards can’t help fight crime

This is usually illustrated by a sad little joke that pulls a few drunken laughs in the pub. Here’s one version I found on a blog post recently:

I wonder at what point exactly the terrorists may have been asked for their ID cards? While they were making the bomb? Maybe as they boarded the bus that blew up? Or maybe indeed as they descended into the underground? Total rubbish.

Total rubbish indeed.

No single measure can eradicate crime or terrorism but an entire arsenal of methods can certainly contribute to the “war on terror” or crime in general. ID cards can certainly contribute as well. The British public seem to have forgotten that during WW II (and for some time after) ID cards in Britain were compulsory, as a security measure? No one had any doubts back then…

ID cards will cause a wave of crime themselves

This is based on the idea that once the cards have been introduced, an industry of forgers will emerge, to supply aspiring wrong doers with false identification.

Forging goes on all the time and no doubt some will attempt (and some will succeed) to produce forgeries in the same way passports and banknotes continue to be forged.

It’ll be easy to produce counterfeit ID cards

Let me illustrate the point as follows. I could very easily forge the current forms of indentification such as a utility bill, using my scanner and image manipulation software. But I’d only have to do that if I didn’t want to get want to get my hands dirty by rummaging through someone else’s rubbish bin…

In contrast, the ID cards the Government have their eye on, are state of the art and amongst the most difficult to forge documents available.

We all have passports anyway

Wrong. Passports are only required for those wishing to travel abroad.

And let’s face it: compulsory passports would undoubtedly meet with the same illogical resistance to something that's been effectively in place for decades in most European member states.

ID cards will be horrendously expensive

This is of course based on the recent “findings” of a group of “independent” researchers who hadn’t really done their sums. According to their “calculations” the ID cards would clock in at over a £1,000 each. That’s preposterous. Even when taking into account the considerable initial costs of setting up the infrastructure and producing the data, the cost per card wouldn’t be anywhere near that number.

But cheap it will never be. Neither will the
2012 Olympics though.

Accepting the ID card scheme means the terrorists win

This is perhaps the most warped argument of them all. In the aftermath of 7/7 many expensive and sometimes intrusive security measures will be put in place, in an attempt to prevent another attack. Does that mean the terrorists have won? Quite the contrary, it only means we’re fighting back. Or does anyone suggest we do nothing at all?

Final word

The reality is that most members of the British public aren’t in favour of the scheme because it is perceived as something inherently “European” and hence by definition deeply suspicious. This perception blurs all opinion into a “we just don’t want them, alright?” kind of argument.

Further reading on
identity cards, No to ID cards site and discussion forum

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This entry was written from the perspective of a UK resident, not a UK citizen. Where I’m from ID cards are compulsory and we do have a National Identity Register as well. The proposed ID cards Bill appears to be much more far reaching and potentially far more intrusive than anything we have regards identity registration in our country.

After reading the bill, I can only say that in its present form I don’t support the ID cards bill either. You can read a little more about my thoughts on ID cards
on this forum thread where I’m logged in as guest “blogfast”.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

London Olympics are a Reality!

When we heard the news that the London bid for the 2012 Olympics had been successful we jumped up and down with glee too! Great news.

Right now mentioning anything about “costs” or “security” can get you lynched. We’ve beaten the French to it, Vive President Blair, up yours Chirac etc. are the order of the day. Fine, nice to feel upbeat about something for a change.

But costs and security are issues that aren’t going to go away, no matter how far away in time the games might still seem right now. As regards security, the blasts in London today seem almost timed to perfection to remind us that post 9/11 Olympics in an Anglo Saxon country like the UK will bring with it a security nightmare of unprecedented scale. The games have been targeted in a bloody way before (remember Munich?). It’s unlikely to be the last time in this conflict ridden world.

As regards the cost, spokes people are confident the UK will be able to control costs better than Athens did (100% over budget!). But only time will tell… I’m hoping for the best but I’m not willing to bury my head in the sand.

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Three cheers for Technorati!
The choice of name itself shows intelligence and irony at the same time.
It’s of course paraphrasing the word “Illuminati”, Italian for “the enlightened (plural)”, a term applied by conservatives to anyone that doesn’t read only tabloid newspapers or isn’t a complete redneck. A badge of honour, surely!

But I don’t want to be flippant about it. It might not be “cool” to expand on the technical side of a traffic source that isn’t brand new, but I’m going to anyway. is a search engine that uses blog posts as its source of search results. As a blogger you don’t even need to sign up (I did but I’m not sure it helps). The key to using Technorati to drive targeted traffic to your blog is two thronged: tagging and pinging.

Technorati formatted tags let the search engine know the keywords that are relevant to the post in which you include them.

The HTML syntax of a technorati tag is:

(a href="" rel="tag")keyword(/a)

Of course replace the round brackets with angular ones and “keyword” with the actual keyword. For keyphrases, separate individual words by “+”, e.g. London+Olympics. Create as may tags as you like but try and keep it truly relevant to the subject of the post. Insert the coded tags in the HTML code of your post, anywhere you like.

Next ping your new post to (and others), using, make sure you’ve ticked the relevant boxes and bookmark the page, so you can easily ping each new post.

Technorati will usually index your post in a matter of hours, so your post will start appearing in its own search results.

What’s more, Technorati tag pages also appear in Google’s main search results. I congratulated a friend for a #3 position under bourbon update only to find a Technorati tag page has now taken that position. The tag page in question only displays my own post on that subject. So, not technically, but effectively, my post is currently #3 under bourbon update [wonder how long that will last?]

Any downsides to the search engine? Well, it does appear to base returned results only on the tags, which leaves it quite open to abuse. But, so far the search results seem pretty relevant, indicating that most taggers are playing nice.


Wednesday, July 06, 2005

More Sitemaps Nonsense

In a recent feature article of the SiteProNews newsletter, Titus Hoskins generates more nonsense about the new Google Sitemaps initiative, contributing further to the average Webmaster’s already inflated expectations of the program. And all this in an attempt to peddle some third party sitemap generators!

I quote from near the top:

Google has recently implemented a program where any webmaster can create a Sitemap of their Site and submit it for indexing by Google. It is a quick and easy way for you to keep your site constantly indexed and updated in Google.
There is no “quick and easy way for you to keep your site constantly indexed and updated in Google” and Google Sitemaps doesn’t promise that at all. It’s this kind of talk that’s caused a lot of disillusioned Webmasters to actually turn on Google and accuse them of all sorts. Some are actually convinced that the whole thing is nothing but spyware! Trust me, it isn’t but it ain’t no magic bullet either.

But even on the technical side, Titus is extremely lackadaisical by dishing out some advice that actually could get unsuspecting newcomers into trouble! Titus suggests Luddites should use web based spidering applications that automatically crawl your entire domain and build a Google Sitemaps conform map, ready for submission.

Well, the path of least resistance usually leads to the trashcan and it’s no different here. Blindly including all your stuff in the sitemap is a recipe for including stuff that:

1. has no valid reason or use to be in Google’s index (password protected pages, most images and lots more). Only pages that might actually get found in the SERPs will benefit you.

2. you really don’t want Google to see (redirects and such like, perhaps even sneakier stuff...)

Some GS users have complained that they’ve lost pages in the Google index after submitting a Google Sitemap. That may well be due to incorrect use of the technology, in particular by inadvertently helping Google find parts of your site you normally wouldn’t want them to see! Automatic solutions have their drawbacks too.

I quote from near the end of the article:

Google is still the major search engine on the web so getting your pages indexed and updated quickly is the major reason to use Google Sitemaps. If you want your site to remain competitive it's probably the wisest route to take.

Titus: shut up.

Learn more about what to really expect (and what not) from the Google Sitemaps program.


Monday, July 04, 2005

Over the past few weeks multiple posts and articles have been published about Google’s crawling experiment, Google Sitemaps.

For all you Google Sitemaps lovers, newbies, haters, aficionados, wonderers etc there is now a site
dedicated to Sitemaps, The site is a collection of tools, articles and resources. You can add your own GS resource and make the site grow.


Saturday, July 02, 2005

Top SEO Google Search Engine Optimization...

The prize and world cup for “Worst SEO site on the Net” has to go to http://[www] (cut and paste into your browser address bar, of course eliminating the brackets).

Sometime in June, this page shot to #1 in Google on “seo for google”. It stayed there a few days before disappearing completely off the radar, which REALLY makes you wonder how that damn algorithm works!

Do yourself a favour and have a look at that page: hours of wondrous fun guaranteed! The mind frankly boggles at what kind of person the little guy with the long grey beard must be. Not an SEO expert or placement specialist, that much is clear…


Google Click Fraud Suit

Via WebProNews.

Google is being sued for alleged click fraud committed on its Google Adwords PPC programme. The PPC industry in general is said to deliver some 20 – 40% fraudulent clicks and someone isn’t standing for it anymore. I quote:
A class action lawsuit was filed in US District Court against Google alleging breach of contract, negligence, unjust enrichment, and unfair business practices-all involving charges of click fraud. Click Defense Inc, a click fraud protection firm, filed the suit in California in the name of an unknown number of plaintiffs for an amount not less than $5 million.
Google and Click Defense make unusual court room opponents. Click Defense’s business consists of claiming back lost advertising revenue caused by click fraud, on behalf of their clients, presumably on a “no cure/no fee” basis. The ambulance chasers of the PPC industry, as it were! Whatever the outcome of the case (if there is one), the free publicity in itself makes this a profitable move for Click Defense.

Google on the other hand have always maintained that they do everything possible to detect and prevent click fraud but it can’t be denied that undetected click fraud actually lines Google’s pockets [however unintentionally].

In a bid to combat click fraud Google has terminated (without payout) the accounts of an increasing body of Adsense members (the guys that serve up a large proportion of the Adwords ads), on the grounds of suspected click fraud. Many claim complete innocence but Google remains unresponsive.

Click fraud will of course never cease completely. Only replacing Pay per Click by Pay for Performance could eradicate click fraud. But technically, that’s a lot more challenging than placing ads and counting clicks…

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Friday, July 01, 2005

Google Sitemaps Benefits

The Google Sitemaps beta program has barely gotten out of the starting blocks and Google is already receiving (and ignoring) some heavy flak, mainly from disappointed SMEs.

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The debate about the program started out on
a Google group and has quickly shifted from “How to use the technology” to “What’s in it for me?”

Most questions regarding Google Sitemaps are answered adequately in their own
FAQ section. But that hasn’t stopped many Webmasters from expecting benefits that the program simply never promised in the first place.

Many expected instant crawls, immediate and complete indexation of the submitted pages, higher ranking and even improved PageRank! Well, Google Sitemaps isn’t delivering that, it didn’t say it would (quite the opposite) and it wasn’t brought to life for that purpose.

Google Sitemaps is an experiment in crawling, designed to make Google’s own life easier. Harmonised sitemaps in xml format would make it easier for Google to find content it might want to include in its index. The ultimate benefactor would of course be the searcher.

And for Webmasters? The program doesn’t even guarantee the submitted URLs will be crawled (and that really is not the same as indexing) but many, including myself, have reported that their sitemap and its content did get spidered. Is that a benefit? Yes, albeit to many only a small one. Getting pages in the index and getting high rankings on relevant search terms is the goal in SEM and that isn’t something Google Sitemaps can help you with.

As a result, some disappointed Webmasters have called the program anything from
”the scam of the century” to “spyware”!

Some have reported loss of pages in Google’s index and have attributed this to using the xml sitemaps. I find it hard to see where the connection is. If the program isn’t responsible for indexing your pages then how can it be responsible for knocking pages out of the index?

The bottom line is that using xml formatted sitemaps can get your pages crawled but that’s about the most you can expect at the present time. Individual Webmasters need to work out whether that’s a sufficient benefit to them or not. Personally, I won't be using the program anymore until it comes out of the beta phase.

Further reading on Google Sitemaps:

True or false

Sitemaps and blogs

Short guide to installing a sitemap