Industry rumours, scandal and intrigue - it's all here.

Is Wikipedia Dying a NoFollow Death?

Thread Title: Allegra & "no follow" Make Wikipedia Disappear from SERPs? Thread Url: http://www.webmasterworld.com/forum30/28079.htm Thread Description:

The good boys and girls at webmasterworld are discussing member MulitMan's personal observations that some Wikipedia pages are suffering dramatic loss of rankings.

The surmise is that the addition of nofollow to all outgoing links within hours of the announcement is the cause, with the requisite "no evidence whatsoever" rule strictly adhered too heh.. My feelings remain the same however, i see nofollow as an insult to the intelligence of webmasters and a barely veiled attempt to quell the rising whine of bloggers by saying "well, we did try..."

But i digress...

So, assuming of course that Google are actually honoring nofollow (they have never said that they do or will as Brian pointed out) is it harming Wikipedia?

I know that even Scoble gets flak for using nofollow in his main weblog and that many bloggers are now STFU about this ridiculous play by the SE's so is it a failure, or are enough people still under the ether to call it a success?

Bastards.

Added for Adam: Make that some bloggers! heh..

Rumour: Yahoo set to leverage Blogosphere

Some interesting posts on Yahoo over the weekend that all seem to lead to the conclusion that we'll see some exciting stuff from Y! shortly as they expand their already impressive start on RSS and Blogging. Follow the title link for the full post.

Mark Jen - "i thought google would love it. i thought wrong"

Thread Title: the official story, straight from the source Thread Url: http://99zeros.blogspot.com/2005/02/official-story-straight-from-source.html Thread Description:

Mark Jen tells all (well, some at least) - key quotes:

on january 28th, 2005, i was terminated from google. either directly or indirectly, my blog was the reason. this came as a great shock to me because two days ago we had looked at my blog and removed all inappropriate content

Yeah, that was odd...

followed by some blather to deflect the fact that he posted inappropriate information on his website about his employer and get all the wide eyed bloggers on side:

people ask me if i'm bitter. funny thing is, despite all this, at the end of the day, i can see where google is coming from - but i don't agree with their stances and i wish they had executed a little differently. i think blogging is the next big thing on the internet. the web gave people revolutionary access to information; email and instant messaging disrupted the way people communicate with each other; blogging empowers everyone to create new information and connect in a community. it’s the culmination of lots of the progress that has happened on the internet rolled into one huge, powerful, killer app. corporations should embrace this technology just like the ones before it. companies that are confident in their offerings should let employees spread the word. in today's age of information overload, blogging is quickly emerging as the fastest and most cost-effective method of marketing.

What was interesting is that they looked at his site, tore out the bad bits, said "as you were mark" then fired his arse 2 days later...

Hmmmm.. i may find myself siding with the bloggers for once on this, loathe as i am to do so - unless there is much that he's left out, that's not cool at all imo...

Threads that go south...

Earlier i posted Big Companies that get away with Spamming and asked for some examples.

My intention was to talk about Microsoft and the like getting away with murder when we, the smaller players do not.

I dont always get these things right, my intentions weren't bad i think, but the thread quickly went South, and i aplolgize.

It's closed now :)

Big Corporations that get away with Spamming

DaveN raises an interesting point and one that has long had smaller players feeling resentful towards search engines.

When Bigs Corps Spam, It's OK

Think this isn't true? Sure it is, i've seen examples over the years as many here at Threadwatch have im sure. I can understand that Google (as prime example) cannot afford to ban large corporations for a number of reasons:

Big $$$'s for Adwords etc Cant afford the PR scandal Cant afford users not being able to find the corp's site So is this fair?

Of course it's not, but then very little in life is fair and im not generally of the whiney nature heh.. however, bringing Search engines to task over the seriously lop-sided execution of indexing penalties has some interest.

Why exactly is it ok for Elance to use hidden text and not me? - As dave points out, if he did it, he'd be likely to get banned.

Examples of LARGE Corps that Spam

It's been a long establised tradition in the webmaster/seo circles to not shop the little guys, but large corps have been deemed fair game. In that spirit, go right ahead and give examples of how search engines allow large corporations get away with spamming while the independent site builders are penalized.

I'll start with Elance.

only large corporations or sites please

Rumour: Google to Donate Servers, Bandwidth to Wikipedia

Thread Title: Google to Donate Servers, Bandwidth to Wikipedia Thread Url: http://google-blog.dirson.com/post.new/0233/ Thread Description:

Dirson say (above) that Google will be donating some hardware and bandwidth to the excellent, but painfully slow Wikipedia

Patching up the do no evil karma?

Rumour: Google putting Pressure on News Sites? [update]

UPDATE: Please see Mikkel's comments for how this story unfolded in the end.

Here's an interesting one straight out of the "putting 2 + 2 together and getting..." department

Did Google cause Computerworld to Remove News Story?

Earlier today there was an article on the Danish version of Computerworld - in the discussion area: debat.computerworld.dk - the article was titled "Danish Companies Abuse Google" and was about how adwords have been appearing in the Google.dk SERPS for Danish Banks under their competitors trademarks.

Is the Trademark issue HOT? Sure it is...

The article in question underwent several edits and people from Computerworld at several points said "We cant get an answer from this on Google Scandinavia" and "We cant get an answer on this at Google" - Maybe they did in the end

Shortly after CW tried to get answers on the Danish Banking Trademark Issues the entire story was pulled hehe... Only a few of the comments were left of the original piece.

Putting 2 + 2 Together and Getting....

There could be all manner of reasons for this of course, but it's easy to put the pieces together and imagine that IDG Publishing, who own Computerworld getting told to cool it on the Trademark issues reporting as it's been a seriously hot topic in recent months with Google only recentley losing a French trademark case with Louise Vuitton.

The Banks were not in fact bidding on eachothers names, it was (according to my source) a case of Google expanding the queries and bringing up competitors Adwords somewhat innapropriately.

One could imagine that further embarrassment for Google in the European sector wou

Major Security Breach - WHOIS DB: Passwords Revealed

This came to me via an anonymous source but this is a bit of a concern. On more than one query, very sensitive password data was visible.

The original source added that only certain domains had the breach visible.

Very alarming!

Added by Nick Confirmed - got sent a few whois queries to try and have seen a whole bunch of user passwords on NetSol - You can Try a Query Here - if your site is registered with NetSol then you may see your passord revealed in the results....

Godaddy Bug Being Fixed

Earlier i reported what appeared to be a security breach at Godaddy.com.

Since posting I've spoken to Harry Chemin, their chief of security and Barb Rechterman, the Senior VP and they assure me that the problem will be fixed tonight.

What was the problem?

The bug occurs when you order a transfer of a domain - What happens is that the next time you go to order a domain, the last transfer's contact details appear in the system as your own.

In most circumstances this wouldn't cause much issue but if you're ordering a transfer from somebody else, those details appear as yours - this caused me some concern recently and thanksfully, it's being dealt with now.

It's a pity that their customer service didn't handle this in a professional manner - see the other post for details...

Thanks Barb and Harry.

Beware - Godaddy Accounts Being Hacked

Just a General Warning - It appears that Godaddy Accounts are being hacked - mine was hit bad, fortunately I managed to get on the phone and have someone manually do something about it before any damage was done though.

If you Register your Domains with Godaddy - Better Check All is Well

Essentially, i've had somebody elses account details coming up when i go to buy domains - a would be competitor no less - I have no idea if this is isolated to just me of if all accounts are at risk from some inherent security flaw.

This security breach was duplicated by the original agent i spoke to on the phone - so it clearly has nothing to do with me.

When i asked about it, They Put the Phone Down on me

Seems it's hitting a bit of a raw nerve, when i insisted they give me a contact email of a real person that would handle the issue they hung up on me - Way to go Godaddy! - First you put what? Millions of accounts at risk potentially, then you treat the concerned customer this way?

Sheesh...

Time to find a new Registrar i think...

MSN Search in Religous Slur Scandal

Thread Title: Vatican is ***t Thread Url: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/02/09/msn_search_italy/ Thread Description:

The register have a piece on how if you search for merda (shit) on the Italian MSN a Vatican site comes top

If you're an Italian Catholic MSN user I am pretty sure the MSN algorithm isn't one that would endear you to Microsoft at the moment.

What is nice to see is that The Register are keeping their journalistic integrity although being sponsored by MSN

How much did Jeeves pay for Bloglines?

Thread Title: Engines are buying...but who's integrating? Thread Url: http://weblogs.jupiterresearch.com/analysts/stein/archives/006415.html Thread Description:

Jupiters Gary Stein speculates over just how much Ask paid for Bloglines this week.

The short version: About $35-50 Million

Im glad to see someone agrees with me in that this is a good buy for Jeeves, i dont pretend to be any kind of analyst, but it feels right. Gary goes on to talk about all the aquisitions Google, Yahoo and Jeeves have made recently (i touched on this in: Puzzling the Google Direction by its Aquisitions) and how these things need to, and surely will be, strung together:

ut a collection is not that big of a deal, at least not to consumers. It sort of makes me think of a guy who buys a killer plasma television, a DVD player, surround sound and monster cables....and leaves everything is a separate room. What you want to see is to have that guy integrate it all together into one, great thing: a home theater where you can watch the Die Hard Trilogy.

When is this going to happen for the engines? Sometime soon, I think. They have to pull these assets together in some kind of meaningful way soon. And search is the perfect thread for them all to be strung together with. One single search should return a cluster of content.

We live in interesting time heh...

Weblogs Inc courting a little VC Funding? [update]

Thread Title: Oh My Goshe Thread Url: http://avc.blogs.com/a_vc/2005/02/oh_my_goshe.html Thread Description:

UPDATE: and now lunch with Meckler - see comments...

Maybe im jumping the gun but when Calacanis has lunch with Fred Wilson i can't help but jump wildly to conclusions...

Look for Weblogs Inc getting a few more $$$'s shortly i reckon - Mark Cuban of 2929 is already into the company, that owns blog properties such as Engadget, in a large way...

Google & Jen - Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock....

I got an IM early last week from a friend i know to have many a connection within the 'plex - Jen had been fired, his desk was empty and there was no sign of him. He'd just quietly left.

Since then, the blogs have gotten a hold of it and over the last 3/4 days the story has been doing a slow burn through the blogosphere. In fact, it really is like watching the fuse on an Acme Co™ bomb carefully planted by wiley coyote slowly burn down the fuse.

My guess is that like with Wiley's efforts to dispose of the roadrunner, this bomb is going to explode in the face....

Speculation:

There was some hoohah over Google Adwords for his blog that could only have been placed by Google itself - is this the cause of the firing? Maybe he placed the ad himself, after all, he's clearly a prize idiot and maybe this pushed GOOG to booting him out the door?

Watch this space...

Amazon in Hot Water over Stealth Marketing Allegations

Thread Title: The Hot Startup That's Really An Amazon.com Marketing Ploy? Thread Url: http://techdirt.com/articles/20050208/1648253_F.shtml Thread Description:

Amazon are causing a bit of a ruckus over alleged "stealth marketing" ploys.

At the start of the year we reported on a hot new social networking startup 43 Things where users get to jot down things they want to do, tag them and hook up with other people that want to acheive the same goal.

As it transpires, the start up is run by some ex Amazon employees and it now comes to light that Amazon have aquired (or are the sole investor) in the company and people are starting to speculate whether this was a set up from the start...

Very cloak and dagger eh? what fun....

phpBB Hacked - Developers Locked Out

Thread Title: phpBB Site Cracked, Developers Locked Out Thread Url: http://news.netcraft.com/archives/2005/02/08/phpbb_site_cracked_developers_locked_out.html Thread Description:

Whoooah... as if recent phpBB problems and vulnerabilities weren't bad enough it now looks like the main server and one of the largest web communities on the net (about 150,000 support forum users) has been hacked via Awstats.

The developers have been locked out and cannot access the server even in single user mode according to the netcraft report threadlinked above.

Bad news...

Google under Fire for Orkut Hate Sites

Thread Title: Hate Messages on Google Site Draw Concern Thread Url: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/02/07/technology/07orkut.html?ex=1265518800&en=0a553b10ff5c8209&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland Thread Description:

Google have come under fire in the above threadlinked NYT article about a rash of "Hate Sites" on Orkut - the invite only social network community. What's more though is that these sites, that typically advocate hate and violence on the subjects of race, religion and sexuality specifically break the Orkut TOS.

The hatemongering is fast becoming an embarrassment for Google, the world's most popular search engine, particularly because the company has adopted "don't be evil" as its motto. The potential for tarnishing Google's gold-plated brand name also underscores the risks the company faces as it expands into new Internet businesses in which it has less experience.

and

Despite the company's stated policies, Orkut users - who are allowed to participate only if invited by a current member - can join the 2,300 people who already belong to an "I Hate Queens, Faggots and Gays" group, created in August by a Brazilian Orkut member. When setting up the community, the group's founder described it as a forum for Portuguese-speaking people to "show your indignation and make jokes" about a "type of person" who "is gaining in society." Because access to the Orkut site requires membership, general Internet users cannot stumble accidentally onto these groups.

I gave up with Orkut after only a few weeks on it, i guess im just not social enough for that kind of malarkey but man, if this stuff is going on to the degree that Gary Rivlin at NYT claims then surely it has to stop - and it' begs the question, why has it not stopped?

Shell get Screwed by Incompetent SEO Firm

Shell have found themselves in some rather unfortunate circumstances in the Danish Google results - it appears that an SEO firm called Aizee.dk have been somewhat incompetent with their efforts to promote the Danish arm of Shell.

It looks as though they've been doing doorways for Shell by promoting Shell.dk and having it redirect to the real Shell DK page - unfortunately they've somehow managed to META refresh wrongly and now we have this mess:

A [url=http://216.239.39.104/search?hl=da&q=shell ]search for Shell[/url] now brings up the SEO firm as No.1 A search for Search engine optimization now brings up Shell as No.9

Not good news for Shell or the company involved in thier marketing - i debated about even publishing it but it's a major, global company so fair game i reckon...

Looks like a classic case of Google Hijacking gone horribly wrong...

More Conspiracy Speculation on Google as Registrar

Thread Title: 10 Things Google Could Do as a Domain Name Registrar Thread Url: http://www.circleid.com/article/930_0_1_0_C/ Thread Description:

I love a good conspiracy theory, they're just so much fun... This piece threadlinked above gives, as the title suggests, 10 things Google could do with it's new status of Domain Registar - some of them are rather good, i'll list the main points but check the article for more details:

Organize a Mega Whois database - with G technology, think what they might be able to do with all that data. Blog Hosting - think Blogger Mining link networks (love this one..) no.4 is lame Just so that people don't discover what the next Google product will be? Simply to have more control over thier domains Use with Google Adsense for new domains My personal favorite: To start an ID service - buy a domain from Google and get an ID, they then track your sites via your ID and other registrars would have to interface with it so that you could get into Google - heheh... Sell you the domain, host your site, give you advertising and cut out the SEO's er.. no.10 is pretty much the same - Geocities on steriods...

Ok, the Threadwatch small plastic trumpet award for this week goes to anyone that can top that little lot for "tin foil hattedness" :-)

Added: Ooops, where are my manners? via Andy Beal

How Secure are UK Government Sites?

Thread Title: Help me fix a UK Government website please. Thread Url: http://forums.searchenginewatch.com/showthread.php?p=32918 Thread Description:

Dylan, a poster at SEW asks

Hi Guys,

Please help me!

I am helping out on a webiste www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk and have been told that the homepage contains 124k worth of .NET Viewstate which I am told is effecting the amount of time it takes for the website to upload.

Please could someone take a look at the website and have a look at the viewstate .net Scripting because I am no the best in this area.

Thanks Guys

Dylan

Now if he isn't pulling our legs can you believe a UK government website asking for help in changing their code via a web based forum? Knowing how coders communicate and ask questions and request help via Instant messengers, email etc. then I can believe this.

What makes it worse is the website is for the Information Commissioner in the UK.

We oversee and enforce compliance with both the Data Protection Act 1998 and Freedom Of Information Act 2000.

Anyone, could go along, advice on the problem and drop a link script, a touch of cloaking or worse in the guise of helping.

As a Brit, and if true, I am concerned!