JAWW (beta)

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Monthly Archives: May 2008

Quod Licet Iovi

WordPress.COM Spams Search Engines …Why Not?

This is not exactly news already. But till this very moment I was repeatedly saying that I’ve never been able to see ads on the notorious Global Tags™ pages for myself. Now it’s changed, I do stand corrected in this post because That Girl was always right on money from the very beginning, Again, and again.

So, yeah:

Sorry, we don’t have any posts here with that tag

…but we’ve got plenty of Hot Nachos ads for you to click through instead:

click to see full sized image

On this splogshot you can see a typical WordPress.com Global Tag page linked from so called Mature .com blogs for many times*. Such “Not Found” pages contains ads only; they does not even link back to the originating blogs. But the funniest thing is that those pages said not even 404s (“Not found”), they’re full blown 200 (“OK”) and thereby indexed by the search engines.

That is why, in this moment, we can also see the following picture of the Google’s index**:

this image linked to Google search; see for yourself

Please notice the links right above and below the link in question: Adam was the first who noticed this horrific user experience. Also of note: this blank (well, except the AdSense and partner’s affiliated links) Automattic’s global tags page even outranked those Technorati’s ones, which do contain some bits of the actual content (linkbacks at the very least)!

I objected and reported this usability issue on multiple occasions both privately and publicly. It only resulted in closing forums threads where it happened. Finally, along with several other volunteers, Automattic banned me from the fora at all. That said, I got absolutely no doubts that Automattic is perfectly aware about producing links intended to manipulate Google’s PageRank algorithm. (Of course you are if such a link scheme is actually a cornerstone your company’s business model built upon.)

Since obviously such pages are “made entirely for the search engines, not for users” and “published specifically for the purpose of showing ads”, this is nothing but a direct violation of basic principles of Google’s “Webmaster Quality Guidelines“, as well as of their own “AdSense Program Policies”.

So, this is an intentional behavior intended to increase revenues via spamdexing (SEO gaming) the search engines (Yahoo, MS Live Search). I only wander why nobody from the legion of the SEO experts notice this? Are they also so deep down in the SE’s back pocket?

The only exception to this rule makes Andy Beard, who for the several times questioned Automattic’s spamdexing peculiar linking practice since the very inception of this link farm on WordPress.com.

well, yes, I know it’s actually another Matt and the Google Webspam Team who needs to be asked in the first place. but anyway, would the oncoming interview with Matt M On WordPress Weekly be a proper place to politely ask about all this mess?

ETA: I guess not exactly.

*) for the non-wordpress.com’ers: GT links are compulsory for all .com users. The price of opt-out and the only way to get out of this link farm is getting off the search engines altogether by marking their blog as Private.

**) yes, a ’phrase operator’, i.e. quotes, was used here for a clearness. but it does not matter too much — even without it said link still is ranked high enough to be on the first page.


broke defined

a somewhat peculiar video response to: define broke. watch more…

we don’t

tumblr’s blog’s finally moved to tumblr from wordpress.com

David, I’m sorry for the inapropriate title, just couldn’t help myself. best of luck at sweet home!

flow and interaction

While you bring up some good visual issues that should be considered I think there are some more fundamental usability issues that need to be addressed first, mainly with regards to flow and interaction. That’s where developments in 1.3 are focused right now.

The prettiest UI in the world that follows every possible convention is still completely unusable if it doesn’t behave in an intuitive manner. People adapt to aesthetics, as Michael has shown, but cognitive disconnects in the interface will bug them forever.

Matt, September 08th, 2004

I couldn’t agree more with this but I’ve finally got to close the following tab (any cure against a multi-tabosis?) which I stumbled upon via Django community news:

I had no idea it was there, it never occurred to me to look in Manage -> Import to convert data already in my blog.

Peter Harkins, 2008-04-17

this guy wrote his own tagegory convertor. sometimes it could be faster than to find something in admin.

not sure if attempt #5 would worth it; an attempt #4 hardly could be considered as a too nice one.

how to embed Last.FM widgets on a wordpress.com blog

sometimes it’s useful to see Google ads, they may tell you some interesting things:


apparently, an advertiser of this sponsored link to the “community owned site” bought a ’wordpress.com’ keyword bid from Google

so, if you want to embed any of Last.FM’s widgets in your wordpress.com blog you are supposed to end up on the wordpress.org landing page (wordpress.org/hosting) and click on some affiliated links. (oh, and also you can’t discuss hosting in the .com forums)

because, as you might probably know, wp.com, being powered by the so called WPMU* application, is very limited in what can be embedded into user pages.

unless, of course, an interested service makes an “attractive deal” with Automattic.

I think it would not be an exaggeration to say that request to add Last.FM support is the most asked one on .com (see forums). Last.FM is a pretty much open platform itself, the sombre black WP logo is promoted on ’copy + paste code’ of every of its widgets. besides, there are at least dozen of various Last.FM plugins and widgets for WP from community. so, what’s the deal?

the answer is probably lack of that said “attractive” (for Automattic) deal. TGA, as always, nailed it again:

last.fm are doing pretty well without wordpress.com, so they had no real incentive to come courting them.

*) WPMU stands for WordPress Multi-User. however, the more proper name for it would be WMPB — WP Multi-Blog.

due to undesigned architecture it does not allow client-side scripting (javascript), embeds (flash etc), iframes. nor WPMU users can edit layout of their templates (they are shared across the host) and so on, and so on.