old sites playing dirty tricks

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I'm seeing old sites that have been around for many years that are on
the same exact IP address and they are obviously just different domain
names with nearly the same content except optimized for location.  Even
whole industries taken over by monopolistic spam.  Are people really
looking for 25 web sites offering the same product on a choice of 2
affiliate systems? The small businesses get drowned out. Why doesn't
Google penalize them? I'm not even sure if Google can automatically detect
hidden text very well because I see it everywhere. It is a bit frustrating
when you are trying to do things legitimately...

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