O'Reilly accused of Search Spam by Clueless Moron

Story Text:

Famed tech publishers O'Reilly have been accussed of using dodgy black-hat search engine tactics by a blogger I've never heard of before who goes as far as to compare O'Reilly to the whole WordPress dodgy pages scandal and others all for....wait for it....accepting a couple of paying, visable text links, clearly labelled as advertising, in their left hand side navigation bars. According to the do-gooders this is evil:

How horribly low have we sunk, that I'm not willing to link to O'Reilly sites without a rel="nofollow", because they are a bunch of low-life search engine spammers? X-bloody-ML.com, something that I won't touch without a nofollow condom? This just sucks.

None of the sites advertising in the spot on O'Reilly have used any black-hat tactics as far as I can see, they've just spent some decent dollars across a range of sites, including a whole pile of pages on search related blogs as well. Perhaps they'd prefer no one linking at all?

Note: The "clueless moron" bit was added by Nick W - who know's for a fact that this guy knows fuck all about fuck all.


by a blogger I've never heard of before

We haven't heard much from Mr Ringnalda recently, but he has featured on TW in the past :-)

Threadwatch .... (it caters to sheep ranchers (sites which funnel in searchers who will click on any search result, however unlikely, and can then be pushed out through an affiliate link) and mushroom farmers (sites whose only chance of a sale is keeping their customer in the dark about any alternative, helped along with a hefty feeding of bullshit))



Bloggers: STFU

several other bloggy people are getting their knickers in a twist to get in on the act (#1, #2).

Orielly have been selling text links on their sites for years, but that is not really the point.

How the hell do these people conclude that paid-for text links are "spam"?

Orielly SEO's must be worried

about the lose of those backlinks

spam is in the eye of the beholder

>>How the hell do these people conclude that paid-for text links are "spam"?

lots of people conclude that - I've had a few good loud discussions with people who feel that unless they can see how the target site fits with the originating sites audience it must be spam.

At the end of the day, those

At the end of the day, those links aren't about relevance. They're not about finding hotels for tech shows.

They're about text link ads - for gain in Search engines, and, sometimes, genuine traffic.

The point is though, that text ads are a legitimate advertising medium, and if O'Reilly want some $$'s then why not? At least they're not for pills right?

I don't really think it matters

.. if Orielly wanted to point to porn its not my business. At the end of the day its their site, not mine.

Heres an analogy

My local newsagent has cards in their window. Anyone can have one for a small fee, the newsagent decides which he will accept, could be for mortgages but more likely dog-walking. Very unlikely to be for a newspaper store or something too "on-topic". How is this different?

Dan Thies made a wonderful

Dan Thies made a wonderful analogy the other day abot this, im asking him to write it up for TW :)

If he doesn't, i'll steal the idea like the black heartedly baddie i truly am heh...

He's threatening to delete

He's threatening to delete me now, 'cos i disagree hehe...

Russell, is that you in disguise? haha..

Some people just cant back down.

The point is though, that text ads are a legitimate advertising

Paid advertisements are what make the world go around. If the search engines are going to start discounting those, it will be hard to get any page to rank. Purchasing text links is a completely normal (natural) thing to do. I don't know how that could be discounted. (FYI: This is a quote from a very smart person I know).

could agree more

Couldn't agree more with you Sammy, text ads are legit, your paying for them and your getting your links up with the permission of the publisher, its a win-win for both parties, this goose is attacking people who are doing the right thing in terms of links when he should be looking at people doing the wrong thing if he really wants to go on a crusade.

Now it starts

Dave Winer's even linking to this crap now. Watch the blogswarm that will probably follow as we get a debate from the geek bloggers about how everything should be free, easy and ad free.

Ah well

Not many people care about what Winer has to say any more, he is still trading off his credibility from 4 years ago. He has more axes to grind than our local blacksmith so possibly he just likes the "stick the boot into oreilly" angle, heh.

To be fair to dave, he links

To be fair to dave, he links to it, but doesn't comment..

Don't get me wrong

I still think the bloke is ok, and he has contributed a lot more to the internet than I have or ever will, heh. Just he hasn't the sway he once had - being linked from scripting.com used to be like being slashdotted but apparently not got the power he once had.

Tim O'Reilly replies It

Tim O'Reilly replies

It makes excellent reading actually, and even our friend Matt Cutts turns up in the comments

Indeed interesting

But I agree Mr Cutts should post in the comments if he is going to divulge some Google guidelines rather than give private info. By making it private I suspect he is going to say "shhhh, it's ok, carry on. We turn a blind eye to big boys like you" ;O)

Google certainly have a

Google certainly have a growing number of automated methods for devaluing text links.

>>Tim O'Reilly

>>Tim O'Reilly replies

O'Reilly's post is interesting. I didn't read every single reply to it but I keep wondering about relevancy. I mean who is Google or anyone to say what is relevant. For example my local coin-op laundry in town has Coke-a-Cola on their sign. They don't sell Coke so it would seem to be irrelevant. Is that spam? Maybe it's branding. It's right back to judging intent.

I still wonder how long Google will try to dictate who a webmaster can allow to advertise on their site and how?

Agreed Brad

Before Google people would link to their friends. I linked from my red dwarf fan site to a friends extreme sports site (zest or something, can't recall). They had NOTHING in common other than the webmasters liked each other. Seems Google dictates the rules now regardless of who is right.

interesting to note that Matt Cutts says...

on oReilly's blog

Tim points out that these these links have been sold for over two years. That's true. I've known about these O'Reilly links since at least 9/3/2003, and parts of perl.com, xml.com, etc. have not been trusted in terms of linkage for months and months.

My comments are at SitePoint...

Well, some of them anyway. I'm working on a story for you, Nick. I have no problem with Google filtering whatever links they want to filter. In fact, I'd like to see them filter ALL links and let us get back to the good old days of reverse engineering.

A spoiler, if you can call it that... I have a hard time understanding the friggin' difference between paying for a directory listing (that drives no direct traffic) and paying for a text link ad that drives no direct traffic.

Oh, wait, let me screw my white hat on a little tighter... now I remember. Directory submissions are good and wholesome, and text link ads are evil, bad and wrong. Yeah, that's it. Personally, I don't waste my time with either one, not because they're both spam, but because links that cost me money are not worth pursuing.

But it is Good to Pay $299 for a Yahoo Directory Link - More BS

So a pretty good question came up at the SES buying and selling link session. It went something like this... so why if you say don't buy links, why are you encouraging people to buy the annual link on the Yahoo directory for $299.? Bottom line, I have not seen any sort of evaluation of links by Google. It is all about the shear number of links you have. It doesn't matter whether it involves building multiple pages with links going into your site, paying for text or directory links, trading links or anything at all. Come on, what is natural about going from 357 links in July to over 2500 in August? Paid, Porn, webrings/reciprocal:


I even found some porn links in this collection:

These are all the things that they say will get your site in trouble. I am not seeing that at all - Quite the contrary!

In fact, I'd like to see

In fact, I'd like to see them filter ALL links and let us get back to the good old days of reverse engineering.

Fine by me - bring it on - the sooner the better. The web was more fun before link inflation, PR and Adsense.

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