Analysis of the use of online technologies in marketing. Related subjects include:
Michael Arrington of TechCrunch stirred the post today with a post titled Reputation Is Dead: It’s Time To Overlook Our Indiscretions. The premise is:
- Embarrassing stuff about anybody can be found.
- Deal with it.
- If there’s embarrassing stuff about EVERYBODY out there, maybe our societal norms will loosen up and get more tolerant.
If anything, Arrington understated the case, by focusing on two kinds of disclosure:
- Specific pieces of information such as photographs, which were originally gathered in a well-intentioned way.
- Anonymous “reviews” — e.g., like those on Yelp, but soon about specific people as well.
That overlooks two other threats:
- Data aggregration or other technologically-advanced snooping used against one.
- Amateur, private-eye-like stakeouts, as cameras and other surveillance equipment get cheaper, and online publication becomes bone-simple.
I.e., Arrington was even more correct than he seemed to realize.
Fred Wilson responded by suggesting that the key issue is making sure that enough good things are said about you to more than compensate for the bad ones. I emphatically agree with that too, as per my 2008 online reputation dictum:
The internet WILL tell stories about you, true or otherwise. Make sure your own version is out there too.
Where Wilson fell down a bit is in suggesting that you should get so many good things said about you they should completely crowd the bad ones off the top page of search engine results. First, this is difficult. Second and more important, if somebody is checking you out for a job or whatever, there’s a good chance they’ll click through to the second page of the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). But otherwise his thoughts are spot-on.
To paraphrase Andy Warhol, everybody is a celebrity for 15 minutes, or to an audience of 15 other people. And for many of us, you can tack a few 0s onto those figures. So there’s no reason to expect any more privacy than celebrities have — but there’s also no reason to expect any less tolerance for our failings than is shown to them.
Google has a screwed-up UI that causes people to buy PPC ads they don’t want to buy. But Google doesn’t refund all the money wasted this way. Bad Google.
Infobionics is attempting low-rent, sleazy search engine optimization. Below is the text of an email I recently received on their behalf: Read more
Andy Beal has a blog post up to the effect that NoFollow is a bad thing. (Edit: Andy points out in the comment thread that his opposition to NoFollow isn’t as absolute as I was suggesting.) Other SEO types are promoting this is if it were some kind of important cause. I think that’s nuts, and NoFollow is a huge spam-reducer.
The weakness of Andy’s argument is illustrated by the one and only scenario he posits in support of his crusade:
The result is that a blog post added to a brand new site may well have just broken the story about the capture of Bin Laden (we wish!)–and a link to said post may have been Tweeted and re-tweeted–but Google won’t discover or index that post until it finds a “followed” link. Likely from a trusted site in Google’s index and likely hours, if not days, after it was first shared on Twitter.
Helloooo — if I post something here, it is indexed at least in Google blog search immediately. (As in, within a minute or so.) Ping, crawl, pop — there it is. The only remotely valid version of Andy’s complaint is that It might take some hours for Google’s main index to update — but even there there’s a News listing at the top. This simply is not a problem.
Now, I think it would be personally great for me if all the links to my sites from Wikipedia and Twitter and the comment threads of major blogs pointed back with “link juice.” On the other hand, even with NoFollow out there, my sites come up high in Google’s rankings for all sorts of keywords, driving a lot of their readership. I imagine the same is true for most other sites containing fairly unique content that people find interesting enough to link to.
So other than making it harder to engage in deceptive SEO, I fail to see what problems NoFollow is causing.
|Categories: Google, Online marketing, Search engine optimization (SEO), Search engines, Spam and antispam||2 Comments|
Washington Post writer Rachel Beckman complains that Facebook inundated her with ads accusing her of being fat and then, when she got engaged, warned her of being a “fat bride”. Now, although she’s newly married or about to be, Facebook is (obviously prematurely) advertising fertility treatments to her.
It’s just the early days, but this sort of thing is bound to create backlash. I don’t think there’s going to be a resolution until people can create profiles so detailed that, for example, they contain the fact that you disapprove of ads about weight-loss aids.
In the short term, e-commerce software vendors should be thinking about how to create UIs that offer most of the benefit of this kind of targeting, but without giving offense.
Sigh. I guess today’s my day for writing about offensive marketing.
On June 19, I wrote of a very dishonest gambit by a dating service called JLove. Specifically, JLove generated pages for many (First_Name, Last_Name) combos, falsely claiming that people — me included — were members of its site. The story was picked up by Slashdot and by some other blogs. Numerous aggrieved victims found the post and contacted me directly, and in some cases contacted the company as well.
Today, one JLove victim emailed me to say JLove had taken down the offending pages. That looks to indeed be accurate! (At least for now.) If you click on http://jlove.com/names/m/monash/curt/, you no longer see what I described in a prior post; rather, you are redirected to the generic http://jlove.com/
Those pages seem to already be completely gone from Google, as well as Microsoft’s Live.com. Yahoo, however, still has them. To see that, search on each engine for jlove.com curt monash. Yahoo’s cache, at least for now, will also show you what the original page looked like. Read more
Google announced a major upgrade to the Google (External) Keyword Tool — it now gives actual numbers of searches, instead of vague logarithmic green bars. This now makes it very cool for figuring out what people actually search for. Estimated average monthly search volumes include: Read more
While I hate dishonest SEO, the honest form serves a valuable purpose. And so I prepared a basic SEO (Search Engine Optimization) tip list that virtually every enterprise should follow. To wit: Read more
Edit: As of July 9, the offending JLove pages seem to have been removed.
The online dating service industry has a penchant for deceptive ads, as is evidenced by the large number of scantily-clad women in the small town of Acton, MA who are alleged to desire sex with me, not a single one of whom I’ve ever seen in a checkout line at our supermarket.
But I just discovered a new twist, courtesy of a scammy dating service called JLove. Read more
I was testing the new blog theme installed on Software Memories, specifically to see whether the title and description in the search engine results reflected the metatag title and description I’d just put in, which are
History of the software industry, its companies and its personalities
History of the software industry by Curt Monash, who’s been in the middle of it since 1981
Well, the answer turns out to be a resounding “Yes and no.” Read more