Yep, Google Base is chock full of spam links, credit card offers and get rich quick schemes. It’s all pretty predictable really. This isn’t all Google’s fault and it’s great to see them trying out a risky (and perhaps revolutionary) idea, but inevitably when you open up a service to user generated content, you can expect to get some fairly questionable material. Run a search for something spammy (poker, money etc) and you’ll find a familiar array of affiliate links and “free money” offers. Even if you simply browse Base, you’ll find it littered with items which are nothing more than blatant ads. And why not? For spammers, Base makes it easier than ever to siphon off traffic from Google’s neverending supply. Greg Linden commented on the same issues earlier today:
There isn’t much content yet but, as content is added, the trick will be keeping spam and crap out. I expect Google Base to be treated like a free version of Google AdWords by many. I doubt it will take long for people to upload your usual assortment of credit card offers, domain name services, get-rich-quick schemes, and exciting new ways to increase the size of your willy to elephantine proportions.
So, how will they help people find the relevant stuff and filter out the crap? At this point, it isn’t clear. We’ll have to wait and watch.
Of course, this is the exact same problem that eBay experiences. However, eBay has the benefit of a loyal community - the community exists to enforce the rules in a way that algorithms or employees never could. Even though spam postings can stay on eBay for months at a time, many get reported by dilligent users and are eventually pulled down. Sure, Google has placed a “Report Bad Item” button next to the entries in Base, but is this really enough?