BlogCatalog needs professional help

BlogCatalog DevilA while ago I helped BlogCatalog to fix an issue with their JavaScript click tracking that Google considered somewhat crappy. The friendly BlogCatalog guys said thanks, and since then joining BC was on my ToDo-list because it seemed to be a decent service.

Recently I missed my cute red crab icon in a blog’s sidebar widget, realized that it’s powered by BlogCatalog and not MyBlogLog, so I finally signed up.

Roughly 24 hours later I was quite astonished as I received this email:

BlogCatalog - Submission Declined: Sebastian´s Pamphlets

Dear Sebastian,

Thank you for submitting your blog Sebastian`s Pamphlets (http://sebastians-pamphlets.com/) to BlogCatalog.

Unfortunately upon reviewing your blog we are unable to grant it access to the directory.

Your blog was declined for the following reason:

* You did not add a link back to Blog Catalog from your website.
To add a link visit: http://www.blogcatalog.com/buttons.php

If you believe this to be a mistake, you can login to Blog Catalog ( http://www.blogcatalog.com/blogs/manage_blog.html ) and change anything which may have caused it to get declined. After updating your blog, it will be put back into the submission queue.

If you have any questions/comments/suggestions/ideas please feel free to contact us.

Thanks,
BlogCatalog

Crap on, I followed the instructions on http://www.blogcatalog.com/buttons.php:

Meta Tag Verification

Id you’d rather not add a link back to BlogCatalog you can alternatively copy the meta tag listed below and paste it in your site’s home page in the first <head> section of the page, before the first <body> section.

<meta name=”blogcatalog” content=”9BC8674180″ />

It’s laughable to talk about the “first HEAD section” because an HTML file can have only one. Also having more than one BODY section is certainly not compliant to any standard. But bullshit aside, they clearly state that they’re fine with a meta tag if a blogger refuses to add a reciprocal link or even a pile of server sided code that slows down each and every page.

If I remember correctly, BC folks accused of hoarding PageRank defended their policy with statements like

I should quickly clear up that we provide also widgets and meta tags to verify ownership for anyone who doesn’t want to link back to us. We understand PageRank is sacred to many of our bloggers and give them the options to preserve their PR. [emphasis mine, also I’ve removed typos]

Not that I care much about PageRank leaks, but I never link to directories. And why should I when they can verify my submission in other ways?

Obviously, BlogCatalog staff can’t be bothered to view my home page’s source code, and they’ve no scripts capable to find the meta tag
<meta name=”blogcatalog” content=”9BC8674180″ />

in my one and only and therefore first HEAD section.

The meta tag verification is somewhat buried on the policy page, it looks like BlogCatalog chases inbound links no matter what it costs. Dear BlogCatalog, in my case it costs reputation. You guys don’t really think that I send you a private message so that you can silently approve the declined sign up, don’t you? I’m pretty sure that you treat others the same way. Either dump the meta tag verification, or play by your very own rules.

It seems to me that BlogCatalog needs more professional advice from bright consultants (scroll down to Andy’s full disclosure).

Update: A few hours after publishing this post my submission got approved.



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11 Comments to "BlogCatalog needs professional help"

  1. Igor The Troll on 13 December, 2007  #link

    WoW, I thought you head two Heads..:)

    NP, send them to your robots.txt
    User-agent: BlogCatalog
    Disallow: /

  2. Daniel on 14 December, 2007  #link

    You would be surprised how many of the blogs submitted to us have more than one HEAD section.

    daniel / blogcatalog.com

  3. Sebastian on 14 December, 2007  #link

    Daniel, stuff like that can’t surprise me. A couple crappy publishing tools do that by design, and then there are the HTML challenged publishers theirselves. However, on your links page I’d write something in the lines that if there’s more than one HEAD + BODY section that’s a great reason to hire an expert. ;) Thanks for the approval. :)

  4. Daniel on 15 December, 2007  #link

    :) Great point Sebastian. maybe we shouldnt be encouraging these poor practices.

    We do appreciate your feedback. Our system does automatically check for meta tags during review but occasionally for various, and usually random, reasons it does sometimes get confused and lies to us. And with the hundreds of blog submissions everyday it’s impossible to check the source code of every blog manually.

    daniel / blogcatalog.com

  5. Sebastian on 17 December, 2007  #link

    Daniel, when the script doesn’t find the verification tag, maybe a manual source code check would avoid such hassles?

  6. Your World Gallery on 17 December, 2007  #link

    Wow, if you never left a comment about spinning on my site I need would of come here. And I will say that I am glad I did.
    First please tell me what the spinning thing was as I have never heard of this before, and would it be good to add to my site?
    2nd regarding Blagcatalog I find them very useful as far as growing a site is concerned and meeting new people. I tried joining, well I was a part of Mybloglog untill the yahoo take over now no matter what I try I can’t get my account open and working with the new log in. And I never liked the fact that you can only add 15 friends a day to your list, the limit should be alot higher then that or set up like Stumble Upon where you have a max limit and thats it.
    3rd seeings how you know what your doing with code issues and SEO would you mind lending a hand with my site. There are so many different takes on this topic it is hard to find out what you should really be doing. I have heard of people getting 1000 visitors a day when there site is only a week old. Mine is 3 months and I am not even half of that.

  7. Sebastian on 18 December, 2007  #link

    Collin, I’m glad you landed here and liked my pamphlets, but the comment on your blog linking here is not mine (although I sphunn your article later on). Why Sphinn rocks? Well, it’s the Internet marketing community. Check it out for yourself, and enjoy the nicely targeted traffic, stalking interesting people, and shitloads of good information (Ok, there’s some noise too but that’ll be better next year).

    You shouldn’t give up on MBL for networking, and by the way the Yahoo transition was quite painless. Try BumpZee too. Actually, test the waters everywhere and build a network.

    As for blog SEO, of course that’s interesting. Considering my hourly fees I’d try a guide like WordPress SEO and other posts on blog SEO first. And don’t overestimate search engine traffic, it will last a while before you see SERP referrers on a brand new blog. I’d do the SEO basics, then concentrate on content, community, and networking for a loooong while. Then six months or a year later I’d pay someone for an SEO review and some tweaks. When you can’t attract lots of traffic without search engine listings, you’ll never gain nice SERP positions. Search engines follow the visitors so to say. Oh, and when you write paid reviews make sure that you clearly mark them as sponsored and nofollow the links, Google is on a roll and will ignore you otherwise.

  8. Igor The Troll on 18 December, 2007  #link

    WoW Sebastian, it is nice of you to give fatherly advise to the youngsters of the BlogoSphere…

  9. Your World Gallery on 18 December, 2007  #link

    Yes thank you for the tips. I would however like your feed back on the commentluv plugin from wordpress, what do you think? Good and bad points :)

  10. […] assclowns like Veronica Domb steal my content and publish it along with likewise stolen comments on their blatantly spamming site oylinki.com, […]

  11. Rose on 30 May, 2008  #link

    They need more than professional help.

    To bad they aren’t passing any link love since they use nofollow.

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