Purchase yourself a link (bargain!)

Since my campaign links for t-shirts failed miserably, probably because I forgot to put up a shipping address, I thought of new ways to boost my shady tiny link monkey business.

The recent trend to SEO cannibalism (SEOs outing their former clients for inbound links which the SEO agency purchased, fabricated, stole, faked, or bartered on behalf of said ungrateful clients; as well as SEOs outing other SEOs with no purpose other than getting rightfully slammed for being assclowns) inspired me to start this auction:

Get yourself an inbound link!

This a.w.e.s.o.m.e. inbound link goes to the highest bidder:

TOP NOTCH INBOUND LINK

Of course I can’t ship the whole link, just the value of the HREF attribute, and only the left part before the #. You can use this URI on every page you own. Search engines will love you for your relevant linkage, because this site provides value for every industry and each niche within.

Here’s the deal: You bid a fortune in the comments, and if I decide to sell you my awesome link, I’ll cut the bold part of

<a href="http://sebastians-pamphlets.com/#home”>TOP NOTCH INBOUND LINK</a>

out of my source code and email it to you in exchange for your bucks. You get a great URI to spread, and my link on this page will still work without all this protocol, server name and trailing slash stuff. That’s clearly a WIN-WIN situation, isn’t it?

Fineprints

If you’re not a professional Inbound Marketer, here’s a protip: in your bid admit that you’re a complete douchebag. I understand that spelling the meaningless term ‘Inbound Marketer’ is way too complicated, therefore I’ll accept ‘douchebag’ as a valid job title.

Not an inbound marketer?

Don’t panic. Of course I sell links to outbound marketers, too:

TOP NOTCH OUTBOUND LINK ®

 

The deal is the same, with one exception: I still accept great t-shirts (XXXL) for outgoing links pointing to my pamphlets.

Terms and conditions

Don’t you think that not participating in my link auction saves you from underground marketing activities (formerly known as email spam) in your inbox or my graffiti on your SERPs (formerly known as webspam). If you don’t bid, I’ll unleash my cookies!



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Dear webmaster, don’t trust Google on links

I’m not exactly a fan of non-crawlable content, but here it goes, provided by Joshua Titsworth (click on a tweet in order to favorite and retweet it):

What has to be said

Google’s link policy is ape shit. They don’t even believe their own FUD. So don’t bother listening to crappy advice anymore. Just link out without fear and encourage others to link to you fearlessly. Do not file reinclusion requests in the moment you hear about a Googlebug on your preferred webmaster hangout, because you might have spread a few shady links by accident, and don’t slaughter links you’ve created coz the almighty Google told you so.

Just because a bazillion of flies can’t err, that doesn’t mean you’ve to eat shit.



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About time: EU crumbles monster cookies from hell

Some extremely bright bravehearts at the European Union headquarters in Bruxelles finally took the initiative and launched a law to fight the Interweb’s gremlins, that play down their sneaky and destructive behavior behind an innocent as well as inapplicable term: COOKIE.

Back in the good old days when every dog and its fleas used an InternetExplorer to consume free porn, and to read unbalanced left leaning news published by dubious online tabloids based in communist strongholds, only the Vatican spread free cookies to its occasional visitor. Today, every site you visit makes use of toxic cookies, thanks to Google Web Analytics, Facebook, Amazon, eBay and countless smut peddlers.

Not that stone age browsers like IE6 could handle neat 3rd party cookies (that today’s advertising networks use to shove targeted product news down your throat) without a little help from an 1×1 pixel iFrame at all, but that’s a completely other story. The point I want to bring home is: cookies never were harmless at all!

Quite the opposite is true. As a matter of fact, Internet cookies pose as digestible candies, but once swallowed they turn into greedy germs that produce torturous flatulence, charge your credit card with overprized Rolex® replicas and other stuff you really don’t need, and spam all your email accounts for the time being until you actually need your daily dose of Viagra® to handle all the big boobs and stiff enlarged dicks delivered to your inbox.

Now that you’re well informed on the increasing cookie pest, a.k.a. cookie pandemic, I’m dead sure you’ll applaud the EU anti cookie law that’s going to get enforced by the end of May 2012, world-wide. Common sense and experience of life tells us, that indeed local laws can tame the Wild Wild West (WWW).

Well, at least in the UK, so far. That’s quite astonishing by the way, because usually the UK vetoes or boycotts everything EU, until their lowbrow thinking and underpaid lawyers discover that previous governments already have signed some long-forgotten contracts defining EU regulations as binding for tiny North Sea islands, even if they’re located somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean and consider themselves huge.

Anyway, although literally nobody except a few Web savvy UK webmasters (but not even its creators who can’t find their asshole with both hands fumbling in the dark) know what the fuck this outlandish law is all about, we need to comply. For the sake of our unborn children, civic duty, or whatever.

Of course you can’t be bothered with researching all this complex stuff. Unfortunately, I can’t link to authorative sources, because not even the almighty Google told me how alien webmasters can implement a diffuse EU policy that didn’t make it to the code of law of any EU member state yet (except of the above mentioned remote islands, though even those have no fucking clue with regard to reasonable procedures and such). That makes this red crab the authorative source on everything ‘EU cookie law’. Sigh.

So here comes the ultimative guide for this planet’s webmasters who’d like to do business with EU countries (or suffer from an EU citizenship).

Step 1: Obfuscate your cookies

In order to make your most sneaky cookies undetectable, flood your vistor’s computer with a shitload of randomly generated and totally meaningless cookies. Make sure that everything important for advertising, shopping cart, user experience and so on gets set first, because the 1024th and all following cookies face the risk of getting ignored by the user agent.

Do not use meaningful variable names for cookies and decode all values. That is, instead of setting added_not_exactly_willingly_purchased_items_to_shopping_cart[13] = golden_humvee_with_diamond_break_pads just create an unobtrusive cookie like additional_discount_upc_666[13] = round(99.99, 0) + '%'.

Step 2: Ask your visitors for permission to accept your cookies

When a new visitor hits your site, create a hidden popunder window with a Web form like this one:


Of course

Why not

Yes, and don’t ask me again

Yup, get me to the free porn asap

I’ve read the TOS and I absolutely agree


 

Don’t forget to test the auto-submit functionality with all user agents (browsers) out there. Also, log the visitor’s IP addy, browser version and such stuff. Just in case you need to present it in a lawsuit later on.

Step 3: Be totally honest and explain every cookie to your visitors

Somewhere on a deeply buried TOS page linked from your privacy policy page that’s no-followed across your site with an anchor text formatted in 0.001pt, create an ugly table like this one:

My awesome Web site’s wonderful cookies:
_preg=true This cookie makes you pregnant. Also, it creates an order for 100 diapers, XXS, assorted pink and blue, to be delivered in 9 months. Your PayPal account (taken from a befriended Yahoo cookie) gets charged today.
_vote_rig=conditional If you’ve participated in a poll and your vote doesn’t match my current mood, I’ll email your mother in law that you’re cheating on your spouse. Also, regardless what awkward vote you’ve submitted, I’ll change it in a way that’s compatible with my opinion on the topic in question.
_auto_start=daily Adds my product of the day page to your auto start group. Since I’ve collected your credit card details already, I’m nice enough to automate the purchase process in an invisible browser window that closes after I’ve charged your credit card. If you dare to not reboot your pathetic computer at least once a day, I’ll force an hourly reboot in order to teach you how the cookie crumbles.
_joke=send If you see this cookie, I found a .pst file on your computer. All your contacts will enjoy links to questionable (that is NotSafeAtWork) jokes delivered by email from your account, often.
_boobs=show If you’re a male adult, you’ve just subscribed to my ‘weird boob job’ paysite.
_dicks=show That’s the female version of the _boobs cookie. Also delivered to my gay readers, just the landing page differs a little bit.
_google=provided You were thoughtless enough to surf my blog while logged into your Google account. You know, Google just stole my HTTP_REFERER data, so in revenge I overtook your account in order to gather the personal and very private information the privacy nazis at Google don’t deliver for free any more.
_twitter=approved Just in case you check out your Twitter settings by accident, do not go to the ‘Apps’ page and do not revoke my permissions. The few DMs I’ve sent to all your followers only feed my little very hungry monsters, so please leave my tiny spam operation alone.
_fb=new Heh. You zucker (pronounced sucker) lack a Facebook account. I’ve stepped in and assigned it to my various interests. Don’t you dare to join Facebook manually, I do own your name!
_443=nope Removes the obsolete ’s’ (SSL) from URIs in your browser’s address bar. That’s a prerequisite for my free services, like maintaining a backup of your Web mail as user generated content (UGC) in my x-rated movie blog’s comment area. Don’t whine, it’s only visible to search engine crawlers, so your dirty little secrets are totally safe. Also, I don’t publish emails containing Web site credentials, bank account details and such, because sharing those with my fellow blackhat webmasters would be plain silly.
eol=granted Your right to exist has expired, coz your bank account’s balance doesn’t allow any further abuse. This status is also known als ‘end of life’. Say thanks to the cookie community and get yourself a tombstone as long as you (respectively your clan, coz you went belly up by now) can afford it.

Because I’m somewhat lazy, the list above isn’t made up but an excerpt of my blog’s actual cookies.

As a side note, don’t forget to collect local VAT (different percentages per EU country, depending on the type of goods you don’t plan to deliver across the pond) from your EU customers, and do pay the taxman. If you’ve troubles finding the taxman in charge, ask your offshore bank for assistance.

Have fun maintaining a Web site that totally complies to international laws. And thanks for your time (which you would better have invested in developing a Web site that doesn’t rely on cookies for a great user experience).

Summary: The stupid EU cookie law in 2.5 minutes:

If you still don’t grasp how an Internet cookie really tastes, here is the explanation for the geeky preschooler: RFC 2109.

By the way, this comprehensive tutorial might make you believe that only the UK has implemented the EU cookie law yet. Of course the Brits wouldn’t have the balls to perform such a risky solo stunt, without being accompanied by two tiny countries bordering the Baltic Sea: Denmark and Estonia (don’t even try to find european ministates and islands on your globe without a precision magnifier). As soon as the Internet comes to these piddly shore lines, I’ll report on their progress (frankly, don’t really expect an update anytime soon).



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My Top 10 Predictions for 2012

  1. SEO refuses to die. In other words, SEOs who grasped HTML5 might survive. Flash on the other hand, died earlier.
  2. Google delays the launch of their mind-reading-search-implant (beta) after Altavista threatens to give away their babelfish earpiece for free.
  3. Yahoo launches a huge comment link spam attack in order to boost the ranking of its few remaining Web facilities at Bing.
  4. Earth becomes flat, at least on-line, after the presidential elections.
  5. Counting is overrated.

While working hard on tomorrow’s hangover, I remembered that posting drunk ain’t good for unknown reasons.

If you’ve nothing better to do, feel free to complete this post in the comments. Don’t. I hate experienced optimists.



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Geo targeting without IP delivery is like throwing a perfectly grilled steak at a vegan

So Gareth James asked me to blather about the role of IP delivery in geo targeting. I answered “That’s a complex topic with gazillions of ‘depends’ lacking the potential of getting handled with a panacea”, and thought he’d just bugger off before I’ve to write a book published on his pathetic UK SEO blog. Unfortunately, it didn’t work according to plan A. This @seo_doctor dude is as persistent as a blowfly attacking a huge horse dump. He dared to reply “lol thats why I asked you!”. OMFG! Usually I throw insults at folks starting a sentence with “lol”, and I don’t communicate with native speakers who niggardly shorten “that’s” to “thats” and don’t capitalize any letter except of “I” for egomaniac purposes.

However, I didn’t annoy the Interwebz with a pamphlet for (perceived) ages, and the topic doesn’t exactly lacks controversial discussion, so read on. By the way, Gareth James is a decent guy. I’m just not fair making fun out of his interesting question for the sake of a somewhat funny opening. (That’s why you’ve read this pamphlet on his SEO blog earlier.)

How to increase your bounce rate and get your site tanked on search engine result pages with IP delivery in geo targeting

A sure fire way to make me use my browser’s back button is any sort of redirect based on my current latitude and longitude. If you try it, you can measure my blood pressure in comparision to an altitude some light-years above mother earth’s ground. You’ve seriously fucked up my surfing experience, therefore you’re blacklisted back to the stone age, and even a few stones farther just to make sure your shitty Internet outlet can’t make it to my browser’s rendering engine any more. Also, I’ll report your crappy attempt to make me sick of you to all major search engines for deceptive cloaking. Don’t screw red crabs.

Related protip: Treat your visitors with due respect.

Geo targeted ads are annoying enough. When I’m in a Swiss airport’s transit area reading an article on any US news site about the congress’ latest fuck-up in foreign policy, most probably it’s not your best idea to plaster my cell phone’s limited screen real estate with ads recommending Zurich’s hottest brothel that offers a flat rate as low as 500 ‘fränkli’ (SFR) per night. It makes no sense to make me horny minutes before I enter a plane where I can’t smoke for fucking eight+ hours!

Then if you’re the popular search engine that in its almighty wisdom decides that I’ve to seek a reservation Web form of Boston’s best whorehouse for 10am local time (that’s ETA Logan + 2 hours) via google.ch in french language, you’re totally screwed. In other words, because it’s not Google, I go search for it at Bing. (The “goto Google.com” thingy is not exactly reliable, and a totally obsolete detour when I come by with a google.com cookie.)

The same goes for a popular shopping site that redirects me to its Swiss outlet based on my location, although I want to order a book to be delivered to the United States. I’ll place my order elsewhere.

Got it? It’s perfectly fine with me to ask “Do you want to visit our Swiss site? Click here for its version in French, German, Italian or English language”. Just do not force me to view crap I can’t read and didn’t expect to see when I clicked a link!

Regardless whether you redirect me server sided using a questionable ip2location lookup, or client sided evaluating the location I carelessly opened up to your HTML5 based code, you’re doomed coz I’m pissed. (Regardless whether you do that under one URI, respectively the same URI with different hashbang crap, or a chain of actual redirects.) I’ve just increased your bounce rate in lightning speed, and trust me that’s not just yours truly alone who tells click tracking search engines that your site is scum.

How to fuck up your geo targeting with IP delivery, SEO-wise

Of course there’s no bullet proof way to obtain a visitor’s actual location based on the HTTP request’s IP address. Also, if the visitor is a search engine crawler, it requests your stuff from Mountain View, Redmond, or an undisclosed location in China, Russia, or some dubious banana republic. I bet that as a US based Internet marketer offering local services accross all states you can’t serve a meaningful ad targeting Berlin, Paris, Moscow or Canton. Not that Ms Googlebot appreciates cloaked content tailored for folks residing at 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, by the way.

There’s nothing wrong with delivering a cialis™ or viagra® peddler’s sales pitch to search engine users from a throwaway domain that appeared on a [how to enhance my sexual performance] SERP for undisclosable reasons, but you really shouldn’t do that (or something similar) from your bread and butter site.

When you’ve content in different languages and/or you’re targeting different countries, regions, or whatever, you shall link that content together by language and geographical targets, providing prominent but not obfuscating links to other areas of your site (or local domains) for visitors who –indicated by browser language settings, search terms taken from the query string of the referring page, detected (well, guessed) location, or other available signals– might be interested in these versions. Create kinda regional sites within your site which are easy to navigate for the targeted customers. You can and should group those site areas by sitemaps as well as reasonable internal linkage, and use other techniques that distribute link love to each localized version.

Thou shalt not serve more than one version of localized content under one URI! If you can’t resist, you’ll piss off your visitors and you’ll ask for troubles with search engines. Most of your stuff will never see the daylight of a SERP by design.

This golden rule applies to IP delivery as well as to any other method that redirects users without explicit agreement. Don’t rely on cookies and such to determine the user’s preferred region or language, always provide visible alternatives when you serve localized content based on previously collected user decisions.

But …

Of course there are exceptions to this rule. For example it’s not exactly recommended to provide content featuring freedom of assembly and expression in fascist countries like Iran, Russia or China, and bare boobs as well as Web analytics or Facebook ‘like’ buttons can get you into deep shit in countries like Germany, where last century nazis make the Internat laws. So sometimes, IP delivery is the way to go.



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Bizarre facettes of war in social media

As a matter of fact, wars happen in social media, too. I don’t mean flame wars. I don’t refer to Arab dictators who, closely following the #ArabTyrantManual, during uprisings shut down Facebook, Twitter, or even the whole friggin Interwebs. I admit, those scumbags are somewhat creative. For example Syria’s junior dictator Bashar al-Assad, wo launched a huge amount of hashtag spambots diluting every piece of information leaking out from cyber activists, while reforming his people with T-72 shellings and mashine gun live rounds. With a little help from a fellow assclown based in Iran, he even managed to jam sat phones, cutting off the opposition’s lifeline to YouTube.

So when even –alleged– ‘third world’ autocrats utilize high sophisticated techniques gaming social media in their war on their own people, we can safely assume that there’s way more interesting stuff to know about the role of social media in today’s wars. You’ve read the headlines announcing cyber squads and such. Of course that info was outdated for decades before it hit the mainstream press. Also, the average (that equals IT-wise clueless) journalist blathers about DoS attacks and such, usually ignoring the more subtle aspects of cyber war. I’m not exactly a fan of rehashed news, so I refuse to discuss the obvious.

Recently, I’ve stumbled upon a pretty sneaky cyber war tactic. Well thought out, although I can’t tell how effective it actually is. The setup is kinda minimalistic: one Facebook account, and a few hundred (Ok, as of today that’s 1.6k) blog comments written by PsyWarriors:

In North Africa, where peaceful Libyans turned freedom fighters are struggling in a bloody conflict with a ruthless regime that performs atrocities on a daily basis, NATO somewhat acts as the ‘Free Libyan Air Force’, officially just enforcing the UNSC resolution #1973. Nothing wrong with that, since –despite some Gaddafi troops defected to the opposition– the so-called ‘rebels’ are civilians defending themselves, their families, neighbors, and even countless foreigners who weren’t able to flee before Gaddafi’s henchmen crawled all over the country in their brutal war on Libya’s population.

Herein lies the problem. We’ve epic amateurs barely able to handle an AK 47 on the ground, and professionals in the air. Both fighting the mad dog’s professional forces without direct lines of communication to each other. The rag-tag freedom fighters lacked structure, command, communication, experience, strategy and everything with regard to warfare. After the initial strikes by American, British and French armed forces, NATO joined the battlefield with a plan. Its step by step execution wasn’t exactly compatible with the high expectations of the then still amateurish freedom fighters, who even suffered from occasional friendly fire after carelessly celebrating with AA tracer fire, and cruising through the desert in seized tanks, towards liberated towns.

Of course the tourists carrying high sophisticated gadgets in their huge olive green bags, brought in via tour operator helicopters from their shiny gray yachts sailing near the Libyan coastlines, sorted out some of those misunderstandings. But since the Libyan freedom fighters totally lacked a chain of command, it didn’t help much that the few savvy leaders who actually talked to these tourists got enlightened, because the rag-tag troops consisting of untrained citizens chaotically advancing and retreating in the desert were out of their reach. Qatari military advisers on the ground, helping Libyan citizens carrying seized weapons get into shape, as well as very few consultants and military advisers from UK, France, and Italy, who arrived later on, had just started to train freedom fighters.

Also, the message had to be carried out to the Libyan people, and to Libyans in the diaspora as well, without revealing too much sensitive info that Gaddafi’s loyalists could find interesting. All that with most of the recepients on the ground cutted off from all their information channels besides Libya State TV and few other satellite channels, because cell phones and ISPs were jammed by the government, land lines were insecure … a dilemma. The Transitional National Council (NTC) in Benghazi was the sole institution that was able to reach out to the people inside Libya.

Al Jazeera’s Libya Live Blog (URI changes often, so please click through from the index page) was heavily trafficked since the uprising began (on 17 February, 2011), attracting gazillions of page views and receiving thousands of comments daily. And here we introduce Gerhard Heinz, perhaps a former NVA pilot or not, who frequently updates the audience with strategical as well as tactical information, written in very plain English with a heavy east-german accent. Like: ‘a good tip for tank comanders in tripoli stay away from your tanks ,conkret in the air’ (refers to smart, that is GPS and laser guided, 660-pound concrete bombs used by coalition fighter jets to destroy tanks in residential areas without much collateral damage).

He delivers spot on reports of NATO sorties as well as clashes on the ground as they happen, alledgedly based on timely sat images, SIGINT, HUMINT and whatnot, long before they appear in the (western) press after NATO announcements. Most of his stuff gets confirmed by other sources later on. He even makes predictions that come true, and not all of those are easily guessable and likely to happen. He explains NATO tactics in layman terms, tells why NATO requested the freedom fighters must not advance towards Brega for weeks (to create a sneaky trap for an elite brigade and lots of reinforcements from Sirte), and so on. When NATO is dead sure that particular pro-gaddafi troops can’t communicate after air strikes on CCC infrastructure, so no warning can reach them in time, Gerhard Heinz addresses those, advising them to defect, or at least to run and hide quickly before ‘fast flying silver birds lose some eggs’ above their positions.

Obviously all that is insider knowledge, scraped from NATO and NTC/FF sources. Since NATO doesn’t act on this ‘leak’ they must be aware of, I’m jumping to the conclusion that Gerhard Heinz is a weapon of mass disinformation, and mass education as well. It’s not him alone, by the way, but he’s the most prominent case (Gerhard Heinz has a large fan club) I’ve spotted until now. He informs and educates Libyans hungry for every tiny bit of reliable info with regard to the conflict, scanning Al Jazeera’s website for updates 24/7, then spreading the word through all channels available, including social media.

I may be wrong in details, because I’m by no means an expert when it comes to all the military stuff. But I know that an organization like NATO has the capability to deal with sensitive information leaking out to the public domain for weeks. If it’s not happening on purpose, they just lost my respect.

I do think that this dude mixes in personal information that might be true, for example his military background. Also, his strong opinions (for example about a weak German government and its cowardly FM who cares more for his personal political affairs than for the Libyan people, and the widespread opposition to the official politics within the German armed forces) are believable. At least it sounds authentic and consistent throughout more than 1,600 blog comments. And that’s doable even by a PsyOps team, considering that Gerhard Heinz posts at times when he should sleep. He openly admits that he’s backed by staff gathering and processing the facts from various sources, but denies all ties to NATO.

So, maybe, I should leave it to that with the words of a blog commenter on Al Jazeera’s website, who said:

@Gerhard Heinz
You have earned a lot of rep. back for Germany, they really owe you some thanks for your work and dedication in this.
It would be interesting to have an article in german newspapers about what you did, when all this is over, and more of it can be told.
For now its kind of a mystery (at least to me), what a german is doing in the middle of all this, and how he can be so well informed. I am very curious to hear how you did it.
Lots of respect from me.

Just make sure, dear reader, that you keep your natural scepticism when you read –regardless where, and that includes the mainstream press as well as social media– about a war. There might be an aganda behind every sentence.



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Get IE9 today! Free download - start surfing fast and safe, instantly!

Days before Microsoft is going to release their new-ish Internet Explorer 9 (IE9), you can get your free copy of a state-of-the-art Web browser here:

GET IE9

The Internet says thanks to James Groome from London, UK, for an amazingly short IE9 download URI: GetIE9.com. Of course, you can still download the best and fastest Web browser out there from its original, longish, download URI.

Go get your new Web browser today, to start surfing safe and fast, instantly. Never worry about Web browser updates any more, because your new Web browser updates itself when neccessary.

This page is best viewed with Chrome or Safari. You may have spotted that getie9.com not really leads to something like Internet Explorer 9. #GeekHumor



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Get the Google cop outta my shopping cart!

So now Google ranks my shopping SERPs by its opinion of customer service quality?

Do not want!

Google CopI’m perfectly satisfied with shopping search results ordered by relevancy and (link) popularity. I do not want Google to decide where I have to buy my stuff, just because an assclown treating his customers like shit got coverage in the NYT.

If I’m old enough to have free access to the Internet and a credit card, then I’m capable of checking out a Web shop before I buy. I don’t need to be extremely Web savvy to fire up a search for [XXX sucks] before I click on “add to cart”. Hey, even my 13yo son applies way more sophisticated methods. Google cannot and never will be able to create anything more reliable than my build-in bullshit-detector.

Of course, it’s Google’s search engine. Matt’s right when he states “two different court cases have held that our search results are our opinion and protected under 1st amendment”. The problem is, sometimes I disagree with Google’s opinions.

Expressing an opinion about a site’s customer service by not showing it on the SERPs that more than 60% of this planet’s population use to find stuff is a slippery slope. A very slippery slope. It means that for example I cannot buy a pair of shoes for $40 (time of delivery 10 days, free shipping), because Google only points me to shops that sell the same pair of shoes for $100 (plus fedex overnight fees). Since when did Google’s mission statement change to “organize the world’s shopping expeditions”? Maybe I didn’t get an important memo.

Not only that. Google is well known for producing heavy collateral damage when applying changes to commercial rankings. A simple software glitch could peculate the best deals on the Web, or ruin totally legit businesses suffering from fraudulent review spam spread by their competitors.

And finally, cross your heart, do you trust a search engine that far? Do you really expect Google to sort out the Web for you, not even asking how much of Google’s opinion you want to get applied when it comes to judging what appears on your personal search results? Not that Google will ever implement a slider where you can tell how much of your common sense you’re willing to invest vs. Google’s choice of goog, er, good customer service …

Well, I could live with a warning put as an anchor text like “show what boatloads of ripped-off customers told Googlebot about XXX” or so, but I do want to get the whole picture, uncensored.

End of rant.

Lets look at the algo change from a technical point of view:

Credit where credit is due, developing and deploying a filter that catches a fraudulent Web shop “gaming Google” out of billions of indexed pages within a few days is not trivial (what translates to ‘awesome job’ coming from a geek).

It’s not so astonishing that this filter also picked 100 clones of the jerk mentioned by the New York Times for Google’s newish shitlist. Of course it didn’t catch just another fishy site, same SOP, owned by the same guy. That makes it kinda hand job, just executed by an algorithm. Explained in my Twitter stream: “@DaveWiner I read that Google post as ‘We realize there is a problem that we can’t solve yet. We have a short term fix for this jerk.’”, or “so yeah, I stand by my statement: it’s a hand job to manipulate the press and keep the stock from moving.”

And that’s good news, at least for today’s shape of Google’s Web search. It means that Google does not yet rank the results of each and every search with commerial intent by Google’s rough estimate of the shop’s customer service quality.

Google’s ranking is still based on link popularity, so negative links are still a vote of confidence.

There are only so many not-totally-weak signals out there, and Google’s not to blame for heavily relying on one of the better ones: links. I don’t believe they’ll lower the importance of links anytime soon, at least not significantly. And why should they? I surely don’t want that. And I doubt it makes much sense, plus I doubt that Google can do that.

As for the meaning of links, well, I just hope that Google doesn’t try to guess intentions out of plain A elements and their context. That’s a must-fail project. I’ve developed some faith in the sanity and smartness of Google’s engineers over the years. I hope they won’t disappoint me now.

Of course one can express a link’s intention in a machine-readable way. For example with a microformat like VoteLinks. Unfortunately, nobody cares enough to actually make use of it.

Google’s very own misconception, er, microformat rel-nofollow, is even less reliable. Imagine a dead tired and overworked algo in the cellar of building 43 trying to figure out whether a particular link’s rel=”nofollow” was set

  • to mark a paid link
  • because the SEO next door said PageRank® hoarding is cool
  • because at the webmaster’s preferred hangout nofollow’ing links was the topic of week 53/2005
  • because the webmaster bought Google’s FUD and castrates all links except those leading to google.com just in case Google could penalize him for a badass one
  • to express that the link’s destination is a 404 page, so that the “PageRank™ leak”, er, link isn’t worth any link juice
  • because the author thankfully links back to a leading Web resource in his industry that linked to him as a honest recommendation, but is afraid of a reciprocal link penalty
  • because the author agrees with the linked page’s message, but doesn’t like the foul language used over there
  • because the author disagrees with the discussed, and therefore linked, destination page
  • just because some crappy CMS condomizes every 3rd link automatically for reasons not known to man

Well, not even all Googlers like it. In fact, some teams decided to ignore it because of its weakness and widespread abuse.

The above said is only valid for links embedded in markup that allows machine-readable tagging of links. Even if such tags would be reliable, they don’t cover all references, aka hyperlinks, on the Web. Think of PDF, Flash, some client sided scripting, … and what about the gazillions of un-tagged links out there, put by folks who never heard of microformats?

Also, nobody links out anymore. We paste URIs into tiny textareas limited to 140 characters that don’t have room for meta data like microformats at all. And since Bing as well as Google use links in tweets for ranking purposes (Web search and news), how the fuck could even a smartass algo decide whether a tweet’s link points to crap or gold? Go figure.

And please don’t get me started on a possible use of sentiment analysis in rankings. To summarize, “FAIL” is printed in big bold letters all over Google’s (or any search engine for that matter) approach to rank search results by the quality of customer service based on signals scraped from unstructured data crawled on the Interwebs. So please, for the sake of my thin wallet, DEAR GOOGLE DON’T EVEN TRY IT! Thanks in advance.



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Buy Free VIAGRA® Online! No Shipping Costs!

Your search for prescription free Viagra® ends here.

Original VIAGRA® pills © viagra.com

Pfizer just released the amazingly easy-to-understand Ultimate VIAGRA® DIY Guide (PDF, 30 illustrated pages). Look at the simple molecule on page one, cloning it is a breeze. Go brew your own! With a little help from your local alchemist, er, pharmacist, you can make even pills and paint them blue. Next get an empty packet and glue, then print out six copies of the image above. As a seasoned DIY professional you’ll certainly manage to fake Pfizer’s pill box. Congrats. You’re awesome.

As for the promise of “no shipping costs”: Well, I don’t ship Viagra®, so it wouldn’t be fair to charge you with UPS costs * 7.5 (I’m such an angel sometimes!), don’t you agree?

By the way, if the above said sounds too complicated, there’s a shortcut: click on the image.

Seriously

Barry’s post about Free Viagra® Links inspired this pamphlet. Google’s [buy viagra online] SERP still is a mess. Obviously, Google doesn’t care about link spam influencing search results for money terms. Even low-life links can boost crap to the first SERP.

About time to change that!

Since Google doesn’t tidy up its Viagra® SERPs, lets help ourselves to the search quality we deserve. Most probably you’ve spotted that this pamphlet was created to funnel (search) traffic to Pfizer’s Viagra® outlet. Therefore, if you’re into search quality, put up some links to this post. I promise there’s no better way magic to create clean Viagra® SERPs at Google.

Dear reader, please copy the HTML code above and paste it onto your signatures, blog posts, social media profiles … everywhere. If you keep your links up forever, Google’s SERPs will remain useful until the Internet vanishes.

Disclaimer: No, I can’t even spiel ‘linkbait’. And no, I don’t promise not to replace this page with a sales pitch for some fake-ish Viagra®-clone once your link juice gained yours truly a top spot on said SERP. D’oh!



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sway(”Google Webmaster Happiness Index”, $numStars, $rant);

Rumors about GWHI are floating around for a while, but not even insiders were able to figure out the formula. As a matter of fact, not a single webmaster outside the Googleplex has ever seen it. I assume Barry’s guess is quite accurate: GWHI-meter

Anyway, I don’t care what it is, or how it works, as long as I can automate it. At first I ran a few tests by retweeting Google related rants, and finally I developed sway(string destination, decimal numStars, string rant). For a while now I’m brain-dumping my rants to Google with a cron job. I had to kill the process a few times until I figured out that $numStars = -5 invokes a multiply by -1 error, but since Google has fixed this bug it runs smoothly, nine to five.

Yesterday I learned that Google launched a manual variant of my method for you mere mortals. I’m excited to share it: HotPot. Nope, it’s not a typo. Hot pot, as in bong. Officially addictive (source).

HotPot’s RTFM

Login with your most disposable Google account, then load http://google.com/hotpot/onboard with your Web browser (API coming soon, so I was told, hence feel free to poll https://google.com/hotpot/rest/sway for an HTTP response code != 503).

The landing page’s search box explains itself: “Enter a category near a familiar neighborhood and city to start rating places you know. Ex. [restaurants Mountain View, CA]”. HotPot search boxOf course localization is in place and working fine (you can change your current address in your Google Profile at any time by providing Checkout with another credit card).

As a webmaster eager to submit GWHI ratings, you’re not interested in over-priced food near the Googleplex, so you overwrite the default category: HotPot search for a search engine in Mountain View, CA

HotPot rating box for a search engine called Google in Mountain View, CAPress the Search button.

On the result page you’ll spot a box featuring Google, with a nice picture of the Googleplex in Mountain View. To convince you that indeed you’ve found the right place to drop your rants, “Google” is written in bold letters all over the building.

To its left, Google HotPot provides tips like

Get smarter SERPs.

Reading your mind we’ve figured out that a particular SERP ranking has pissed you off. You know, rankings can turn out good and bad, even yours. With you rating our rankings, we learn a bit more about your tastes, so you’ll get better SERPs the next time you search.

Next you click on any gray star at the bottom, and magically the promotional image turns into a text area.

HotPot review of a search engine called Google in Mountain View, CA Now tell the almighty Google why your pathetic site deserves better rankings than the popular brands with deep pockets you’re competiting with on the Interwebs.

Don’t make the mistake to mention that you’re cheaper. Google will conclude that goes for your information architecture, crawlability, usability, image resolution and content quality, too. Better mimick an elitist specialist of all professions or so, and sell your stuff as swiss army knife.

Then press the Publish button, and revisit your SERP, again and again.

You’ll be quite astonished.

Google’s webmaster relations team will be quite happy.

I mean, can you think of a better way to turn yourself in with a selfish spam report as an ajax’ed Web form that even comes with stars?

Google’s HotPot is pretty cool, don’t you agree?


Sebastian

spying at:

1600 Amphitheatre Parkway

Mountain View,
CA
94043

USA



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