leaked google guidelines on what’s spam and what ain’t

A leaked PDF from Google setting out guidelines for ‘quality raters’ when they’re doing handjobs on spam is doing the rounds on the Interweb. An interesting 43 page read albeit with no real bombshells. Had to laugh though when they were describing thin affiliates around page 35:

Recognizing thin affiliates

Clicking on a “More Information” or “Make a Purchase” button takes you to a merchant on a different
domain.
Right-clicking on an image on the page with your mouse and looking at “Properties” shows you that the
image has a different URL than the URL of the page. This indicates that the image originates from the
other merchant’s site.
Example of a thin affiliate: http://findmeatune.com/artist-Pink
This is an Amazon thin affiliate. Looking at the properties of the images on the page reveals that they
originate from amazon.com.

There is no value added (e.g. reviews, price comparison) on the page, and the value of the page is only in
the link to the merchant’s site.
You cannot complete a transaction from the thin affiliate’s site.

This site belongs to an Irish blogger in my feed that I’d never expect to be a spammer, but what Google says is gospel, eh? :-)

Full PDF here if interested

asus eee pc review

Ordered the Asus EEE 4gb Webcam PC about a month ago but due to serious stock shortages it only arrived today. First impressions, very impressed. Here’s the obligatory unpacking photos:

Asus EEE Unboxed

Asus EEE Unboxed
Asus EEE PC Scale

Comes with a nifty little case so you can fuck it in your suitcase when you’re off travelling. And a charger, manual and support CD or something for your proper laptop which are not needed. It’s idiot proof to set up. Just enter time/date and admin password and it boots. Four tabs when it boots, Internet, Work, Play and Settings. Internet has Firefox, wireless and LAN setup, messenger and Skype. Work has open office word, spreadsheet, presentation software which all load in around 6 seconds. Also has Adobe Reader.

And the most useful app for me, is the console/shell access which you get from File Manager in the Tools menu. Allows me to SSH into my servers. Perfect. I had installed symbian Putty on my Nokia E61 but it didn’t work out. There’s just too many keys missing from a mobile – like Tab for completing Linux filenames. Simple things but without them drive you crazy. The EEE has a small but full keyboard so I can see myself using this at airports to get some coding done. Keyboards small so if you have stubby fingers like me, expect a lot of mistakes. Here’s Open Office Word or whatever you call it:

Open Office Word on the Asus EEE Pc

Sound from the speakers is louder than you would think from such a small yoke and crisp as well. Same with sound from earphones. Comes with 3 usb ports, some kind of a card reader, Ethernet port (nice surprise) and a VGA output. No CD or DVD drive of course. I ordered the optional webcam which is great quality. Here’s a shot of a youtube video on Firefox. As you can see, the video takes up all of the screen space:

Asus EEE PC on Youtube

This is one of the coolest little toys I’ve bought in a long time. It cost me 300 snots with delivery and everything from PC World Business. Can’t go wrong at that price, compare it to the Macbook Air which starts at €1700. Get the Asus EEE as your ‘cloud’ computer.

a late response to seo is bullshit

A blog post over at contrast got a lot of attention the last few weeks. Some people say it’s just linkbait but I’m pretty sure it’s how he feels. I think it shows the divide in the way web designers/developers and seo/marketers think.

This is a business. Companies hire people to design websites because they want to increase profits. (Then there’s government websites that I’m sure feeds half the industry, with incompetent civil servants flashing the chequebook but forget them). It’s no good having an all singing-all dancing website if noone comes to it and buys your products or hires your services.

I’ve taken on a few SEO clients locally and the initial meeting is always the same. Some two-bit web design firm has designed the site for 2 grand plus in some crappy WYSIWYG editor with atrocious code. One website had the template Dreamweaver JS menu that no search engine could crawl, two different domains with the same website and incoming links divided between them and internal links going to the www version and non-www version whenever the designer felt like it. So the company had a nice looking website with 3 pages indexed in Google and none ranking for terms apart from their name.

I asked Dave if a site, built from scratch and constructed using industry-standard best practices (semantic markup, IA, usability and accessibility), still requires SEO? And if so, why? … If I’m providing relevant, interesting, quality content … people will link to it and talk about it in the same way that throughout the history of modern man

If you’re creating a government site, sure. Great content and people will link to it and it will rank very easily. But most commissioned sites are business. Say you designed an overseas property site. What content can you create that people will link to – competitors certainly won’t no matter what you think of. The post talks about ‘tricks’. There’s no tricks apart from buying links, begging for links whatever it takes from good places. Spamming links only works these days to get pages indexed. He’s right that SEO is good marketing. It’s results based. If you’re not ranking the client site for converting keywords, you’re in trouble.

Next, I asked Dave if he thinks on-site SEO practices are perfectly aligned with the interests of the visitor?

I think so. The JS menu I talked about earlier, I replaced with an identical one that used indexable divs, ul and li tags. A good descriptive anchor text is good for the user and the search engine.

I asked Dave what he considers as acceptable off-site SEO practices?… This is pure bullshit. This is filling the web with crap…. SEOs of the world: be good web citizens. Stop adding to the tripe out there on the net and stop spending your time destructively gaming Google. Go out there and make something beautiful, something worth linking to… SEO is bullshit and SEO is bad. Stop it.

Anything and everything is acceptable as off-site SEO if it gets a better rank or ranks for converting keywords. Automating posting of links on forums and blogs is not illegal, it just doesn’t work anymore (except to be indexed) and can give a bad name to a website if they care about that. Write all the spammy articles you want and submit them to article networks if it works. It doesn’t, again only if you need to be indexed, which is OK for spammy .infos with pure long tail crap but no client wants this.

We’re all in this to make money and whatever works and is within the law you should keep doing. ‘polluting the internet – lolz

jason calacanis at affiliate summit

Blogosphere going a bit mad over Jason Calacanis comments at Affiliate Summit. He’s an ‘aul pro at getting people talking. My favourite quote:

You guys really think small. Holding up a six figure check is frankly pathetic. It’s desperate. The industry I’m in, like the Internet industry, like Web 2.0 industry elitist, you know. Kevin Rose, whatever. They would laugh at that. It’s sad. It’s embarrassing.

This is just the kind of bullshit I hate, faggots in Silicon Valley going down the route of brainstorming a shitty idea, sucking off VCs for money who probably don’t have the first clue how the Net works and then blowing all that cash on fancy offices and Tesla Roadsters, I dunno.

One web 2.0 company in a thousand ‘takes off’ with a loyal band of users to create the content and is hyped up until they’re bought out by one of the real big boys with too much money and nothing to do with it. What happens to the other 999 companies? They fail, VCs lose their money and the founders go back to their real estate jobs or whatever. It’s like an Internet gold rush, some get really rich but most don’t.

Affiliate marketing is the complete opposite, if you work hard and do your research you *will* succeed. I don’t know many people pulling in ‘pathetic’ six figure cheques but I knows loads, myself included who are making a decent living doing this. Your own boss, your own hours, neither clients or managers to listen to. Bliss.

And I don’t think Kevin Rose is laughing, or should be laughing. I’d love to know how much the company has lost in the past few years. What’s the revenue model? The ads are terribly targeted and I’d guess the loyal band of pre-pubescent teenage gamers don’t have much money to spend anyway. Don’t matter anyway, it will most likely be bought in the near future by a traditional media company for a silly number only to be written off on the sly in a few years when they realise their folly.