Rap Idiot
December 31, 2013 11:10 AM   Subscribe

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.

On December 22, Rap Genius asked users to add links back to the site to their posts in exchange for traffic. On December 24, Google removed RapGenius from search results. Site traffic promptly collapsed. The founders have posted a mea culpa, stating that "we effed up, other lyrics sites are almost definitely doing worse stuff, and we’ll stop." Tim Lee at the Washington Post has catalogued some additional bad behavior by the RapGenius founders, and at SearchEnglineLand Barry Schwartz considera the causes of RapGenius's ban, the site's naivete, and whether Google wants to eventually get into the lyrics business.
posted by Going To Maine (99 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
 
I am schadenfreuding so hard over here. SO HARD. The founders' public personas are so smug, it's really hard to not revel in their downfall.
posted by Reversible Diamond-Encrusted Ermine Codpiece at 11:22 AM on December 31, 2013 [6 favorites]


I love Rap Genius, but the photo at the top of that Washington Post article basically makes me want to take a flamethrower to their servers.
posted by Rock Steady at 11:24 AM on December 31, 2013 [34 favorites]


I think everyone is rooting for a big, public douchebag fail. But I bet Andreessen Horowitz is frantically working back channels with Google and in the end this will be nothing but a warning (to Rap Genius and others who might try the same thing).
posted by 2bucksplus at 11:27 AM on December 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Judging by their previous GoogleRank(tm), I had thought the SEO practice was going on for a long while. The episode you link to was just where they recently got caught, I thought?

The Verge article on this from 12/25.
posted by cavalier at 11:30 AM on December 31, 2013


The question of who runs Bartertown has found an answer, it appears.
posted by Mooski at 11:30 AM on December 31, 2013 [11 favorites]


The question of who runs Flavortown is still open.
posted by Going To Maine at 11:32 AM on December 31, 2013 [20 favorites]


Hold on, precisely why is this bad? Don't people do stuff like this all the time?

I like rapgenius despite how the owners may act. It's a great place to learn about the more subtle nuances in rap lyrics. Without it I wouldn't know exactly what Denzel Curry or anyone else in Raider Klan were talking about at times since they reference a lot of Carol City and Miami stuff, and have in-joke references even beyond that.
posted by gucci mane at 11:34 AM on December 31, 2013 [4 favorites]


Considering RapGenius is a genuinely useful site offering a service unlike maybe 95% of lyric sites out there (and definitely in a more user-friendly way than 100% of them), I can't comprehend why they thought shady SEO shit would help. Their site came up on top every time I Google rap lyrics, everything was working as it should have been. Maybe I'm misunderstanding something about what their intention was or how this was supposed to work, but it sounds like a bonehead move.
posted by griphus at 11:37 AM on December 31, 2013 [12 favorites]


@gucci mane Because it's a well-known (and pretty J-V) way to game Google's algorithm, and it's explicitly prohibited.
posted by changoperezoso at 11:38 AM on December 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


Funkytown is run by Lipps Inc.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:39 AM on December 31, 2013 [18 favorites]


Seriously just try to watch the first 30 second of the TechCrunch Disrupt video without wanting to punch these guys in the dick. "Show me love. We're on snapchat everybody. Show me looove ...... Show me looooovve"
posted by crayz at 11:39 AM on December 31, 2013 [9 favorites]


hands down rapgenius is the best lyrics site I've ever used. It's pretty ridiculous that I can't search fro "rapgenius lyrics [song name]" and get it. I think that's a bad on google's part.
posted by twjordan at 11:41 AM on December 31, 2013 [4 favorites]


One weird side effect of this snafu is finding links back to OHHLA like its 1998 all over again.
posted by raihan_ at 11:41 AM on December 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


twjordan: "hands down rapgenius is the best lyrics site I've ever used. It's pretty ridiculous that I can't search fro "rapgenius lyrics [song name]" and get it. I think that's a bad on google's part."

Understandable collateral damage, but Google has to be tough here -- the argument here is, if you piss in our sandbox, you are getting kicked out.
posted by cavalier at 11:42 AM on December 31, 2013 [5 favorites]


But other people game Google's algorithm and don't get into trouble. Didn't Dan Savage make it so that when you look up santorum you get a perverse sexual concept? Did he get in trouble? And hasn't Stephen Colbert used his show to do sort of the same idea?
posted by gucci mane at 11:43 AM on December 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


crayz, I was just coming here to post that and offer pretty much the same sentiment. Way to make a favorable impression on everyone that hadn't herd of your service yet, folks.
posted by The Vice Admiral of the Narrow Seas at 11:43 AM on December 31, 2013


gucci -- I think the variance there is a) size of offense and b) akin almost to getting pulled over in a speed trap -- sure, other people were speeding, but can you catch every fish? Once Matt Cutts was aware of this, I think it was all over..
posted by cavalier at 11:47 AM on December 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


Didn't Dan Savage make it so that when you look up santorum you get a perverse sexual concept?

You can always request that others create links that will effect Google. You cannot, however, pay them in any way to do so, and that's where this is different than what Savage did, and it's against Google's rules.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:48 AM on December 31, 2013 [11 favorites]


Funkytown is run by Lipps Inc.
Say, loud.
posted by Flunkie at 11:49 AM on December 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


But other people game Google's algorithm and don't get into trouble.

The Wikipedia article on Google bomb explains the difference between doing that and doing what RapGenius did pretty well.
posted by griphus at 11:49 AM on December 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


first 30 second of the TechCrunch Disrupt video

The very name of said category of video makes me want to punch someone, so it's unclear how much value-added-punching is contributed by the actual people in said video.
posted by kiltedtaco at 11:49 AM on December 31, 2013 [7 favorites]


I have a really hard time believing Google didn't catch Dan Savage not only creating a slang term but then making the perverse creation be the very first result when you search the particular word, which happened to be the last name of a high profile politician and presidential candidate.
posted by gucci mane at 11:50 AM on December 31, 2013


The impact, is very very real. They appear to have a Quantcast tag directly on their page and the data is public. Here's a daily view of uniques - looks like they dropped from about 1.5 MM a day to about 200k
posted by jourman2 at 11:51 AM on December 31, 2013


I have a really hard time believing Google didn't catch Dan Savage not only creating a slang term but then making the perverse creation be the very first result when you search the particular word, which happened to be the last name of a high profile politician and presidential candidate.

It wasn't a violation of their terms of service.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:51 AM on December 31, 2013 [6 favorites]


The thing is, the slang term stuck, so the search return is actually valid. Basically, Dan Savage made fetch happen.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:53 AM on December 31, 2013 [32 favorites]


Sorry, I'm on my phone on the MAX so I can't catch what you guys are saying quickly enough ;)

I wasn't under the impression that they were offering money, but traffic. I guess traffic counts as money though. One of those articles says it's a grey area.
posted by gucci mane at 11:53 AM on December 31, 2013


The impact, is very very real. They appear to have a Quantcast tag directly on their page and the data is public. Here's a daily view of uniques - looks like they dropped from about 1.5 MM a day to about 200k

Holy cow. That is a compelling graph. It also indicates how powerful Google is in driving traffic to these sorts of websites.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 11:54 AM on December 31, 2013


Basically, RapGenius wanted to profit (by way of ad revenue by way of increased traffic) in a way that necessarily makes Google search results unreliable. Dan Savage just popularized a slang term.
posted by griphus at 11:55 AM on December 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


Dan Savage made fetch happen.

He was streets ahead.
posted by Going To Maine at 11:56 AM on December 31, 2013 [14 favorites]


the photo at the top of that Washington Post article basically makes me want to take a flamethrower to their servers.

That was so much worse than I was expecting.
posted by elizardbits at 11:56 AM on December 31, 2013 [25 favorites]


Mahbod Moghadam's manner of speaking in his facebook post and his comments to jmarbach's post is so ... outlandish? offensive? obligatory? ... that were this to be revealed as a prank or a provocation, I'd be less inclined to look the other way and maybe willing to consider the issues raised here.

Pardon me. MASSIVELY less inclined, yo.
posted by notyou at 11:57 AM on December 31, 2013


The impact, is very very real. They appear to have a Quantcast tag directly on their page and the data is public. Here's a daily view of uniques - looks like they dropped from about 1.5 MM a day to about 200k

Holy cow. That is a compelling graph. It also indicates how powerful Google is in driving traffic to these sorts of websites.


Here's a link to the data if you want to follow the ongoing saga. I'd imagine they'll remove public access to it in the near future, though.
posted by jourman2 at 11:58 AM on December 31, 2013


> But other people game Google's algorithm and don't get into trouble. Didn't Dan Savage make it so that when you look up santorum you get a perverse sexual concept? Did he get in trouble? And hasn't Stephen Colbert used his show to do sort of the same idea?

You're looking for inflexible rule-based algorithms where even Google's going to be weighing matters in terms of motivation and consequence. RapGenius' sin is doing it for driving traffic to their own site -> getting more sweet ad revenue -> looking better on the run up to their IPO. Profit-driven motives will always be weighed differently. It's sleazy-ass SEO and if a lot of companies get away with it, it's because they're not as high profile as RapGenius' activities.

Dan Savage's stunt was more googlebombing; the motivation was political rather than profit. That and the George Bush googlebomb (google "miserable failure" -> get the George W. Bush entry in Wikipedia) led to changes in Google's search ranking methodology. That and the size of the Internet now vs. the early 2000s means it's a stunt that's harder to pull off these days; anybody who manages it has coordinated a much larger effort than Savage could dream of.
posted by ardgedee at 11:58 AM on December 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


Rapgenius is AWESOME!

I'm a pretty offensive person, so when I offer constructive criticism, people kinda shut it down because of how its presented.

I joined up rapgenius and started translating lyrics...and then started throwing up poetry. I contacted the founders and gave them a bit of "constructive criticism". I got an email back saying "give us a bit of time to think about it". A few days later I got another email that alluded to some violence between the founders...but said "we wish you would have said it in a nicer way...but yeah, we like the ideas".

I was made an editor, but I didn't have time to keep doing it.

But yeah...I remember getting into a HUGE fight with this dude from East. This wasn't a east coast vs. west coast fight like people would allude to. More like a nerdy guy arguing about the lines (of poetry)with a professor of poetry at tufts. In the end, we both agreed about the other's interpretation and decided that langston hughes was a straight up pimp.

So yeah, rapgenius is awesome. I love the fact that people can start up looking up lil wayne lyrics about "Beat that pussy up like Emmett Till", and find out what the hell people are talking about. I love the fact that you can start off with rick ross lyrics and end up reading poetry by Gwendolyn Brooks.

Fucking bad ass.

And yeah...I understand (white) metafilter's relationship with rap, and how they hate it. But whatever.

I can't see you idiots like Ray Charles.


Also, PROTIP:

When offering constructive criticism to a bunch of white people, it may benefit you to not continually use the phrase "you cracker-ass crackers".

Although seriously...it still worked.

So yeah...site is awesome. And I love how we can link to the site in our metafilter profile.
posted by hal_c_on at 11:59 AM on December 31, 2013 [10 favorites]


"Zuck can suck my dick" is kind of catchy (thanks WaPo and Moghadam's brain tumor)

Wonder how it would look on a t-shirt.
posted by JoeZydeco at 11:59 AM on December 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Mahbod Moghadam constantly references his recreational use of Vyvanse, which Google tells me is a drug that metabolizes into amphetamine, which might have something to do with his seeming delusions of grandeur.
posted by Reversible Diamond-Encrusted Ermine Codpiece at 12:01 PM on December 31, 2013


> I love Rap Genius, but the photo at the top of that Washington Post article basically makes me want to take a flamethrower to their servers

I'm just happy to see Jean-Ralphio got a job.
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:02 PM on December 31, 2013 [35 favorites]


And yeah...I understand (white) metafilter's relationship with rap, and how they hate it. But whatever.

Is this a joke?
posted by Going To Maine at 12:02 PM on December 31, 2013 [10 favorites]


And yeah...I understand (white) metafilter's relationship with rap, and how they hate it.

Oh, bullshit. There are a few people on Metafilter who seem to have issues with rap, but that goes for a whole lot of shit and it's super crappy to just take a swipe like that at the whole community.
posted by cortex at 12:03 PM on December 31, 2013 [50 favorites]


I Am MetaFilter (White), a film by Vilgot Sjöman.
posted by griphus at 12:04 PM on December 31, 2013 [12 favorites]


Mahbod Moghadam constantly references his recreational use of Vyvanse, which Google tells me is a drug that metabolizes into amphetamine, which might have something to do with his seeming delusions of grandeur.

He could just be a huge jerk. I know people like to find medical reasons and rationality behind the odd/questionable behavior of others but sometimes it's really just that the person is a huge jerk.
posted by elizardbits at 12:05 PM on December 31, 2013 [7 favorites]


I have a codependent relationship with rap.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:05 PM on December 31, 2013


it's super crappy to just take a swipe like that at the whole community.

On reflection, yeah...I could have said it more accurately without taking a swipe at everyone. Sorry.
posted by hal_c_on at 12:08 PM on December 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


(white) metafilter

That's a setting in your preferences, it doesn't have to be that way.
posted by Wolfdog at 12:09 PM on December 31, 2013 [40 favorites]


I know Google provides a service and is totally within its rights to take down results like this but that doesn't stop it from being creepy to see them wield the capability to take down an entire music fan community over night like this.
posted by sendai sleep master at 12:10 PM on December 31, 2013


I am not suggesting that he's not a huge jerk, just that he's a huge jerk who's also a raging speed freak.
posted by Reversible Diamond-Encrusted Ermine Codpiece at 12:15 PM on December 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


I know Google provides a service and is totally within its rights to take down results like this but that doesn't stop it from being creepy to see them wield the capability to take down an entire music fan community over night like this.

It's interesting to see it put that way - Google simply demoted the page rank. The site was still there, and the community (which ostensibly existed independently of Google search) was not taken down.

What was hurt was the bottom line of the business side of the site, and rightly so. Attempting to game a system that produces your bread and butter for you is not the brightest course of action.
posted by Mooski at 12:16 PM on December 31, 2013 [8 favorites]




What I find most puzzling about all of this is why people need to look up Bieber lyrics. I mean...baby baby baby baby oh baby baby baby baby no isn't exactly difficult to cipher out from the track knowwhatimsayin?
posted by Lutoslawski at 12:29 PM on December 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Is Bieber talking to an infant or to a romantic partner? I do not know! If only I had somewhere to find out.
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:32 PM on December 31, 2013 [5 favorites]


So was this a standard threshold thing or more of making them an example like a show trial?
posted by sammyo at 12:33 PM on December 31, 2013


"Baby, baby, baby, baby. Oh! Baby, baby, baby, baby" was Bieber's counting song for his appearance on Sesame Street, ah, ah, ah, ah!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:47 PM on December 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


What I find most puzzling about all of this is why people need to look up Bieber lyrics. I mean...baby baby baby baby oh baby baby baby baby no isn't exactly difficult to cipher out from the track knowwhatimsayin?

Bieber's pretty low hanging fruit, but it's worth pointing out that the lyrics of his that people are actually reading right now are to some of his newer work that includes a verse by Chance The Rapper with some wordplay that it's very easy to see people not getting on first listen.

Also, people just like reading lyrics, to the point where most lyrics sites don't have to put forth much effort into anything but cramming larger and more invasive ads everywhere.
posted by Copronymus at 12:55 PM on December 31, 2013


This thing does not surprise me.
posted by box at 12:57 PM on December 31, 2013


Finally, an excuse to BING it!
posted by Think_Long at 1:02 PM on December 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


Don't you mean Bling it?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:03 PM on December 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'll show myself out
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:04 PM on December 31, 2013


"bling" and "badonkadonk" are my favorite examples of onomatopoetic synesthesia
posted by idiopath at 1:16 PM on December 31, 2013 [12 favorites]


I have a really hard time believing Google didn't catch Dan Savage not only creating a slang term but then making the perverse creation be the very first result when you search the particular word, which happened to be the last name of a high profile politician and presidential candidate.

Savage did that when Santorum was not high profile and almost a decade before he ran for president.
posted by dobbs at 1:19 PM on December 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


i lurve rapgenius, i don't really care if the dudes running it are douchecanoes. i don't think google made the wrong move here, but i do hope they find a mutually agreeable solution because i'd hate to see rapgenius go away.
posted by nadawi at 1:23 PM on December 31, 2013


Metafilter: onomatopoetic synesthesia
posted by sammyo at 1:36 PM on December 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Rap comments on the page like hot sex
But my tribe don't quest like love
Came in this bitch with a mask and a glove
And a team of lawyers to run a train on Google
There's no risk without gain
There's no trust without shame
There's no us without pageviews
Rapgenius, link back to my name

In the kitchen with the cape on, ap-ron
Trey-eight on, could've been Tray-von
But instead I chose SEO bullshit
posted by Teakettle at 1:37 PM on December 31, 2013 [6 favorites]


Metafilter: Beat that pussy up like Emmett Till
posted by codswallop at 1:37 PM on December 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Stop trying to make felch happen slow down
posted by Teakettle at 1:39 PM on December 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


dobbs: Savage did that when Santorum was not high profile and almost a decade before he ran for president.

Ahh, that's my bad then. I thought it was most recently.

hal_c_on: I love the fact that people can start up looking up lil wayne lyrics about "Beat that pussy up like Emmett Till", and find out what the hell people are talking about.

My favorite is off of Swizzy (Remix). I originally found this on pitchforkreviewsreviews but I guess the guy doesn't have it up anymore.

George Gervin, I'mma get my chill on
I'm cold, yeah I get my Buffalo Bill on
Beating up your block, yeah I get my Emmett Till on
In the New Edition yeah I get my Johnny Gill on
Keep a shotgun yeah I get my Jayson Will on
Fuck it Swizz
I'm still gon' black entertainment, yeah I get my Steven Hill on
Only to talk models, yeah I get my Seal on


1. George Gervin is a retired professional basketball player who previously played for the Spurs and the Bulls. His nickname was “The Iceman” because of his cool demeanor on the basketball court.
2. The Buffalo Bills frequently play in frigid temperatures. (or it's about the serial killer)
3. Emmett Till was an African-American boy that was murdered for flirting with a white woman in the 1950s.
4. Wayne is in the newest edition of his car, just like Johnny Gill was in the R&B group New Edition.
5. Jason Williams was a basketball player who accidentally shot his limo driver with a shotgun.
6. Stephen Hill is a Black Entertainment Television exec.
7. Like Seal, who was married to supermodel Heidi Klum, Wayne only talks to models.

So glad that I understand all these references now, which gives me a better appreciation of Lil Wayne. Maybe someone wrote it for him, but I think those references are killer.
posted by gucci mane at 1:43 PM on December 31, 2013


Nice to see you working on your lyrics game Radric
posted by Teakettle at 1:47 PM on December 31, 2013


So glad that I understand all these references now, which gives me a better appreciation of Lil Wayne. Maybe someone wrote it for him, but I think those references are killer.

Surely that tight knot of symbolism and consonance wasn't divined by a single mortal.
posted by codswallop at 1:52 PM on December 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


blue suede stockings: "Well, there is this:

Rap Genius Frontman Blames Brain Tumor for Extreme Asshole Behavior
"

I think the headline is a bit of a simplification.
12:17:13 PM Mahbod Moghadam: it was a fetal benign tumor, and - honestly I think this - it was the cause of me acting like an asshole and telling all these ballers to suck my dick
12:22:17 PM Mahbod Moghadam: basically it was perfect timing, we had all these opportunities coming up and this lit a giant fire under my ass
12:22:31 PM Mahbod Moghadam: oh hell yeah, the tumor had incapacitated me so I could hardly work out
12:22:51 PM Mahbod Moghadam: now I'm back in the gym like an animal, got the 8-pack in full effect, I'm gonna freestyle shirtless soon (maybe)
I think Mahbod is hilarious and don't see why so many people here are offended by him. He's poking fun at the Silicon Valley TechCrunch echo chamber. At the same time, he realizes that RapGenius is accepting money from the very people he's joking about/with. It's a careful balancing act.

Asking people to link to the site like that is sleazy. It's also in poor taste to bring up his brain tumor in a press release BUT:

a) He still had to go through brain surgery. That sucks. I understand how that stress would make you say dumb things.
b) I like that he's still pretty much an unfiltered public voice for the company. He went public about the tumor by sending an IM. Sure, he's an asshole sometimes, but I'm happy they're represented by Mahbod rather than some soulless PR firm.
c) He admitted he was being an asshole.
posted by yaymukund at 2:16 PM on December 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm most bothered by the fact that you don't get the Rap Genius page when you search specifically for Rap Genius. I get that they demoted their page rank, and if I'm just searching for lyrics to something, I'm totally cool with them not being on the top any more. But if I am specifically looking for them, it pisses me off that Google won't help me find them. I didn't piss Google off; why are they making my life more difficult?
posted by Weeping_angel at 2:41 PM on December 31, 2013


We could always 'bing it'
posted by Teakettle at 2:51 PM on December 31, 2013


"site:rapgenius.com bieber" still works fine.
posted by notyou at 2:52 PM on December 31, 2013


Oh, bullshit. There are a few people on Metafilter who seem to have issues with rap, but that goes for a whole lot of shit and it's super crappy to just take a swipe like that at the whole community.

The only things Mefi likes as a group are Doctor Who and cats. Everything else is negotiable.
posted by dr_dank at 3:04 PM on December 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


They are still kind of assholes on social media even post brain tumor. Definitely a weird bunch, to put it kindly. Maybe it's all an act, but that is a long time to play such an act without it actually being your personality. Most people aren't method actors.
posted by ch1x0r at 3:07 PM on December 31, 2013


Their site came up on top every time I Google rap lyrics, everything was working as it should have been. Maybe I'm misunderstanding something about what their intention was or how this was supposed to work, but it sounds like a bonehead move.

I've wondered the same thing myself, they were doing everything right already, were kings of search on rap lyrics, but then they went for this bone-headed amateur move and rightfully got slapped down. My guess is behind the scenes, the people behind the $15mil invested probably were promised that the site would take over not only rap lyrics but every genre of music plus document annotation, etc, and I bet they weren't seeing crazy growth patterns they'd seen in the first year or two. I could imagine a meeting where a VC investor would say "so you guys are kings of rap lyrics, so what? where's the money in that?! wake me up when you're the number one result for justin beiber songs and one direction lyrics." I imagine they got desperate, and started doing this dumb stuff.
posted by mathowie at 3:21 PM on December 31, 2013 [5 favorites]


The only things Mefi likes as a group are Doctor Who and cats.

I think dr thingy is pants, sorry.

posted by elizardbits at 3:26 PM on December 31, 2013 [11 favorites]


I've wondered the same thing myself, they were doing everything right already, were kings of search on rap lyrics, but then they went for this bone-headed amateur move and rightfully got slapped down.

While they might be kings of search on rap lyrics, they are very much not kings of search on other types of lyrics. Trying to get Beliebers to start using the site would have porbably helped to balloon the user base.
posted by Going To Maine at 3:33 PM on December 31, 2013


I have tried hard to like Dr. Who, really. On paper we're a match made in heaven.

But, no.
posted by the bricabrac man at 3:45 PM on December 31, 2013 [12 favorites]


While they might be kings of search on rap lyrics, they are very much not kings of search on other types of lyrics.

Methinks that calling their site rapgenius.com just MAY have something to do with that. A smarter move rather than provoke the ire of Google Itself might have been to start (something like) musicgenius.com or lyricgenius.com or something akin and letting that grow.

But then, they also made the stupid move of letting a VC get up their nose. Someone didn't want a steady, smart expansion. Someone wanted a fast payday.

My schadenfreude gland would light up like the fourth of July if they went totally under because of the greed. Andreesen Horowitz should know better than to pressure them for fast expansion, and the rapgenius guys should've known better than to piss in the Google punchbowl.
posted by chimaera at 3:55 PM on December 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


However dumb this is, pulling this and not the myriad well-known sites that exist just to serve ten billion ads with your lyrics, with their suspiciously identical errors and their fantastic search positioning? This is the sort of thing that starts to say that Google could in fact lose its search supremacy. Sites with the purpose of serving real, unique content should, yes, get an occasional pass for dumb SEO tactics, as long as the content farms are just freely roaming the landscape.
posted by Sequence at 3:55 PM on December 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


Sites with the purpose of serving real, unique content should, yes, get an occasional pass for dumb SEO tactics, as long as the content farms are just freely roaming the landscape.

It's worth noting that, according to the TechCrunch article linked by crayz, the founders claim that they and the folks at Google are trying to work out a compromise. This would be a fairly positive outcome, given that RapGenius is producing useful content that folks want.
posted by Going To Maine at 4:29 PM on December 31, 2013


This too shall pass. Google's wrath is temporary, so long as you change your ways and use the webmaster tools to disavow your previous sins. If they straighten up and fly right, they'll be back to where they were in a month or three.
posted by grudgebgon at 5:22 PM on December 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


I am still furious about Community using "streets ahead" as a made up term Pierce astroturfed. It is an existing English idiom!
posted by Jon Mitchell at 5:39 PM on December 31, 2013


Looks like somebody's streets behind.
posted by Going To Maine at 5:43 PM on December 31, 2013 [4 favorites]


So is "fetch," apparently. and fictionally
posted by lunasol at 6:25 PM on December 31, 2013


calling their site rapgenius.com just MAY have something to do with that. A smarter move rather than provoke the ire of Google Itself might have been to start (something like) musicgenius.com or lyricgenius.com

They already cover a pretty broad range of music - if you search for non-rap artists from RapGenius's search bar you end up on a RockGenius-branded page.
posted by Umami Dearest at 7:14 PM on December 31, 2013


There's more there than rap, but it's buried when you try to find it via a search engine. I just did a search on Bing for "Wanted Dead or Alive lyrics" - RockGenius is the last hit on the second page.
posted by Going To Maine at 7:19 PM on December 31, 2013


songmeanings.net was my go-to for music lyrics and explanations, especially when I was beginning to listen to bands that had more in-depth references to where they were from and actual events in their lives (emo bands). There were always explanations that were total bullshit but it was cool when I'd find some real facts about my favorite bands.
posted by gucci mane at 7:30 PM on December 31, 2013


This indicates to me that the large majority of their traffic is people who randomly search for lyrics (or poetry or whatever) on Google, get what info they need, and leave. Drive-bys, if you will. Anyone who's part of their "community" wouldn't need Google to get there. I don't Google metafilter.
posted by Diag at 9:09 PM on December 31, 2013


one of my favorite facts is that amanda palmer gave an interview to songmeanings.net. it just never stops being funny.
posted by nadawi at 9:25 PM on December 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


This indicates to me that the large majority of their traffic is people who randomly search for lyrics (or poetry or whatever) on Google, get what info they need, and leave. Drive-bys, if you will. Anyone who's part of their "community" wouldn't need Google to get there. I don't Google metafilter.

rapgenius is not metafilter and is not trying to be metafilter.

Also, most of the eyes that view metafilter aren't members, but people who do exactly what you said.
posted by hal_c_on at 9:37 PM on December 31, 2013


After seeing that video of the founders, I know where the creators of Parks and Recreation found their inspiration for Jean-Ralphio.
posted by mecran01 at 9:48 PM on December 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Rap Genius Frontman Blames Brain Tumor for Extreme Asshole Behavior

It's possible, I know someone who had a benign tumor removed and overnight went from raging asshole to cool, laid back asshole.
posted by Mick at 7:25 AM on January 1, 2014 [2 favorites]


They seem like nice kids. And yes, that is PG from Y Combinator.
posted by johnpowell at 10:31 AM on January 1, 2014


Why should lyrics by artists + content by site users = $$$ for boy-men who don't know when it's appropriate to remove their sunglasses? It's not a fresh idea, and there's no reason artists can't do this on their own websites, rewarding fans for contributing quality content through meaningful perks. Years ago, a Game Theory / Loud Family fan created just such a site, and it's miles beyond the few pages I just skimmed on Rap Genius.
posted by Scram at 11:35 AM on January 1, 2014


artists by and large don't do it (and i can't think of any that have a mechanism for annotations by fans, much less receiving perks for it). it's not a new idea, but it's pretty rare for it to work so well - most collected lyrics sites are absolute shit. many websites are set up on the model of prompts from outside bolstered by content by site users which in turns pays the owners and workers (like metafilter).

why shouldn't they earn money for their site?
posted by nadawi at 12:21 PM on January 1, 2014


Scram: "It's not a fresh idea, and there's no reason artists can't do this on their own websites, rewarding fans for contributing quality content through meaningful perks."

That splinters the interest into tiny slices. What makes a site like this work is not necessarily quality but the amount of interest and content generated by the users. It's sorta like Metafilter vs. individual people's blogs. Plus, the artists have signed up and are contributing. I think it's possible for artists to do this on their own, but very few actually do, because it's a lot of work to take on aside from the work of writing and performing music.
posted by krinklyfig at 12:23 PM on January 1, 2014


From Rap Genius: Rap Genius is Back on Google
posted by Going To Maine at 9:34 AM on January 4, 2014


Yeah, just noticed that they must have kissed and made up. The quantcast graph now has a valley.
posted by cavalier at 6:44 AM on January 6, 2014




« Older "I only hope Michael Schumacher pulls through..."   |   Don't Sweat The Technique Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments