"One of my friends suggested we should do karaoke night so we found Freakin' Awesome Karaoke Express and decided to give them a go... We had a blast, their service was amazing and they had unbelievably great selection of songs... I never would have thought of seeking a mobile karaoke service, but they were fantastic... My friend had been to a block party where they were hired..." Only problem: Freakin' Awesome Karaoke Express does not exist. Fake reviews are endemic to online businesses, they are rated as trustworthy, and they are amazingly cheap to buy. [more inside]
"Advertising is not well. Though companies supported by advertising still dominate the landscape and capture the popular imagination, cracks are beginning to show in the very financial foundations of the web. Despite the best efforts of an industry, advertising is becoming less and less effective online. The once reliable fuel that powered a generation of innovations on the web is slowly, but perceptibly beginning to falter. Consider the long-term trend: when the first banner advertisement emerged online in 1994, it reported a (now) staggering clickthrough rate of 78%. By 2011, the average Facebook advertisement clickthrough rate sat dramatically lower at 0.05%. Even if only a rough proxy, something underlies such a dramatic change in the ability for an advertisement to pique the interest of users online. What underlies this decline, and what does it mean for the Internet at large? This short [PDF] paper puts forth the argument for peak advertising—the argument that an overall slowing in online advertising will eventually force a significant (and potentially painful) shift in the structure of business online. Like the theory of Peak Oil that it references, the goal is not to look to the immediate upcoming quarter, but to think on the decade-long scale about the business models that sustain the Internet." [more inside]
Metafilter is laying off 3 of its staff, including long time moderator and frequent moral compass Jessamyn who is moving on to Internet Archive’s Open Library. November 2012, Metafilter experienced a sharp drop in traffic. Slate asks "Why has Google forsaken Metafilter?" But the problem is endemic of a larger issue. Google is breaking the internet. [more inside]
Rap Genius is a lyrics site that allows its users to annotate lyrics with additional data and criticism. The site has become a touchstone in the hip-hop community: various prominent rappers have signed up for accounts to explain their own lyrics, it's been profiled and discussed in the NYT, and has raised $15 million in venture capital from Andreessen Horowitz. The founders have talked about expanding the site's annotations to other topics. Then came last Sunday, and the SEO. [more inside]
Having trouble coming up with an idea or a SEO friendly title for your next web article? Portend's Content Idea Generator comes to the rescue.
Demand Media, once valued higher than the New York Times, is seeing a rapid decrease in profits because of Google changing its search algorithms. Does this mean the beginning of the end for "content farms"?
In Reluctant Defense of the Curmudgeon Malcontents. A Baltimore-area attorney explains how online marketing is hurting the legal profession: There is for the conscientious ethical attorney a balance between eremitic life in a Byzantine-era monastery and nonsense online carney barking, but none of these non-attorney folks deserve a seat at the table in that discussion. And the more you see of the online marketing nonsense that's out there, the more sympathetic you become to people with poor home training who reject that nonsense in language you wouldn't want uttered aloud in your grandmother’s house of worship.
Allegations have surfaced that a Wikipedia trustee and a Wikipedian In Residence have been editing the online encyclopedia on behalf of PR clients, while running an SEO business on the side. Response. Trigger warning: Violet Blue content.
Is SEO killing America? Clay Johnson about how media gives us what we want, not what we need, and how it's destroying democracy. If you don't have time or can't watch a 17 minute video, read this article discussing and summarizing the video.
Looking at the rest of the top search results for Christmas is like getting into a time machine that takes you back to a bizarro 2001 in which every single web surfer is a sucker. There are "Hot Links!" and "Fun Things to Do." What we see is the ad hoc, de facto social network formed by people who type Christmas into a search engine. And man, that network is like MySpace for your great aunt who has too many cats. [more inside]
Start a home business, get rich quick, win financial freedom! If you watch late-night TV, you've heard it all before. But what's the story behind these slick pitchmen and their dubious schemes? Enter The Salty Droid, your ornery metal guide to the corrupt underworld of scam-marketing scum. This charmingly acerbic bot (owned and operated by mild-mannered Chicago dog-lover Jason Michael Jones [inter-view, long talk + transcript]) is a valiant crusader against the vile con-men who bankrupt the elderly and the desperate with beautiful lies. Exposed so far: A shadowy "Syndicate" of frauduct-pushing personality cults polluting the media with blogspam and woo-woo talking points. Boiler rooms in the Utah desert where telemarketers farm credit from easy targets with cunning, probing scripts [PDF]. Powerful politicians bought wholesale. Believers left to die in fraudulent new-age vision quests. It's a soul-crushing beat, enough to make one feel like a regular catcher-bot in the digital rye. But somebody's got to do it -- preferably someone with plasma nunchucks and titanium skin.
"Schema ...provides a collection of schemas, i.e., html tags, that webmasters can use to markup their pages in ways recognized by major search providers. Search engines including Bing, Google and Yahoo! rely on this markup to improve the display of search results, making it easier for people to find the right web pages. " [more inside]
Age of the Algorithm. In the age of the algorithm, you can get just about anything you think you want, learn everything you think you need to know, by clicking on a link or typing a few words into a search bar. On SEO, content farms, old media, and 'online sweatshops.' (From Maisonneuve.)
A quick google search for "free wordpress themes" returns quite a number of varied results. The author of Why You Should Never Search For Free WordPress Themes in Google or Anywhere Else does a quick run-down of which of the first 10 results are genuine, trustable sites, vs. how which carry themes full of malicious code. The results aren't good.
How (crowd) curation is making a comeback in search and how Facebook is using it to "remake whole industries."
Microsoft's new search engine, Bing, goes beta. Cribbed from live.com, the layout for bing is... strangely familiar. Early reviews are mixed, with mixed results, mostly noting that the results less useful than google, especially when it comes to google.
The SEO Rapper (a.k.a. The Poetic Prophet) spits rhymes on such topics as Design Coding, Link Building, Paid Search, and Conversion Closing for all your marketing campaign and web design needs.
MakeMyLogoBigger Cream is a clinically proven formula which embiggens your logo, gets rid of annoying whitespace, adds SEO magic crystals and reams of powerful marketing text! See Also.
DMOZ Editor(s) seeking extortion for continued inclusion is putting further smudge on the "volunteer" directory. Seems lots of folks have had their hands out over inclusion in the DMOZ, so why hasn't a business been built out of it? Is Best of the Web positioning itself as Google Bait?
Google delists bmw.de. Google employee Matt Cutts reports on the removal of BMW's German web site from Google's index as a punishment for using webspam techniques to increase its search engine ranking. Webmasters and search engine optimizers discuss the issue at WebmasterWorld (no subscription necessary, just follow the link on the page) with a predictable mix of attaboys and dismay at Google's power.
Who gives, who gets... and surprise, Google is on top. I always figured that the search engines had a symbiotic relationship, but playing with this Search Engine Decoder to actually see it is far more entertaining. And, I'd never heard of Overture, but it seems like all the big boys pay them for content. The Decoder is hosted by Search This, which "[provides] search engine optimization and web marketing strategies for the everyday web designer." I guess that's a few of us...
Amazon spamming search engines? Looking around for reviews on Cooper tires, I came across 2 links in the top 20 search results on Google for sites that look legitimate, but are actually redirect pages to Amazon.com (which doesn't even sell auto tires!). What's going on here? Since when is it legitimate for large corporations to spam search engines!??