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Thursday, December 27, 2007

EntreCard Holiday Dysfunctional Link Love That Could Potentially Hurt You

(UPDATE 12/31/07 - the links and pics from the Entrecard All Cards page, as promised, are now removed from this article.  The article itself has been left "as is" so it will still refer to them as if they are still there)


(this page might take a while to load but it was necessary in order to bait some of you here to see your own folly.  In a day or two, I will remove all the Entrecard pictures, and links to your sites, which you will understand why shortly.  But ALL Entrecard users should read this in order to see how some of the cheap, lazy tactics over which some people gush and fawn can actually HURT you and thwart your progress - and, in most cases, without you even knowing.)

So, You Think It's Easy Being A Controversy Blogger?

Think Again.

What I'm about to show is you just an example of what I deal with on a regular basis.  To note, I do not like to do what I'm about to do.  When it comes to naming people for making "bonehead" moves, I generally don't; unless they are a well-known marketer or an "A-list Blogging Celebrity" whose influence over the masses makes naming them more important.  But in this case, I have to make an exception so that you can see exactly what I'm talking about and why it is both cheap, lazy and potentially harmful.

Thoughtful, Creative & Community-Building

In my previous article, Love Thy Entrecard Neighbor Blog Meme - A Powerful Use of the All Cards Page, I came up with a powerfully creative way to get more benefit from the Entrecard "All Users" page than just the backlink it gave to us.  In fact, the article was more beneficial and brilliant than meets the eye because it took certain factors into account - human nature, search engine optimization factors, etc - that would have required too much time and space to explain.  But, in short, it was a way for participants to meet their 8 "all cards page Entrecard neighbors" and, very likely, learn some very cool new things about them.  At the same time, they'd be giving those 8 neighbors some link love and simply inviting them to do the same.

Ideally, it would ripple out and many Entrecard users would get to meet many other new Entrecard users... real, quality, eyeballs on each others sites.

I then invited about 20 other active Entrecard users with an invitation to help kick it off so that it would grow faster and give many of the newer, less popular, Entrecard users, something to both enjoy and buzz about.

And Gosh Be Darned, I Forgot What I Was Dealing With...

Shortly after, I received a reply from some people saying that it was a "great idea."  But then one of them wrote again to say...

"Your idea is pretty good, but this one is better and will build everyone's technorati rank. [link withheld for the moment]"

It then led to NOTHING MORE than a complete and total copy of the Entrecard All Cards Page on someone else's blog. 

A Better Idea?
That Will Build Everyone's Technorati Rank?

PLEASE!

Yechhh, and this is more prevalent than you likely even know.  In fact, some people will read this and actually wonder, "Well, what's so wrong with that?"  For Starters, How About - EVERYTHING..

The Blind Leading the Blind

Just think about this for a second.  YOU DO NOTHING MORE THAN COPY ENTRECARD'S ALL CARDS PAGE TO YOUR BLOG and then a handful of the 1300 people on the page show up and say, "Hey, THANKS!" and maybe they even say, "That was so nice!  I'm gonna link you back, too!" because most of them don't know any better. 

I even saw a couple Entrecard users in the comment section who I KNOW are much smarter than that so it goes to show you what life on the internet can be like.  If...

Even SMART People Can Get Roped In By A Cheap & Lazy Ripoff...

...then think about how ripe for exploitation are those who are fairly new to all this? 

Most new and intermediate bloggers are so desperate for attention and visitors that even if Adolf Hitler came back from the dead and linked to their website, they'd be flattered and gushing with thanks.


Thanks for the link-love, Adolf!

Here is one response to the RIP-OFF of the Entrecard All User's page:

"I found your site because I started receiving visits from this post! So THANKS for the link! :-)"

Ok, Stop...  Critical Thinking Pop Quiz...

Does anyone REALLY believe that packs of users really sifted through 1300 tiny icons to go visit this one guy's page?  Apparently, yes!  Multiply that times a couple of billion and that's what you're up against.  If anything, it was the effect of search engine spiders... but people?

"Oh, Search Engine Spiders?  Well, That Was At Least A Little Good, Right?"

WRONG!

But don't let that stop you, or anyone else, from getting distracted from the main point which is a CHEAP & LAZY RIP-OFF of the Entrecard All Cards Page that made all kinds of people think they were witnessing the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ.

But Here's A Specific Reason It's Not Only Not Good But Potentially Harmful

"Keep the links on a given page to a reasonable number (fewer than 100)."  (Google Webmaster Guidelines, design and content guidelines)

Now, you might not realize this but there are a LOT of people who fight to remain ignorant.  It's not a bad thing; it's just true.  So I'm already used to the kinds of answers I get from things like this.  For example,

"Ok, well, who says you have to do everything Google wants you to do?  I don't even get most of my traffic from them, anyways!"

Ok, well, that's all well and good.  The point here is that there are people who are gushing with thanks for something that amounts to a LINK FARM and if Google suggests you avoid building LINK FARMS then it's a good bet all search engines don't like them either.  In fact, BLACK HAT SEO types, when targeting someone with a vengeance, will often put their target's site links on such pages in order to devalue their rankings in the search engines.

EXPLANATION OF LINK FARMING AND HOW IT CAN DESTROY YOU

(google search result for 'link farms')

Just Imagine You Are Google...

...and, suddenly, out of nowhere, you find an ordinary site that suddenly throws up 1300 links overnight.  LOL!  And isn't it just a riot that newbies with virtually no experience in these matters try to argue FOR these "feel-good" events as if we were standing in the halls of their former high schools?

"But Entrecard Did It!"


(yeah, well, it's their operation...)

Ok, so by that logic, it's instantly ok to just copy it to your blog and take credit for it while giving search engines the impression of a link farm?  In fact, Gorilla Sushi didn't even acknowledge Entrecard for the effort THEY put into creating the "All Cards" page.  People were giving HIM all the credit for the "effort" when it was PHIRATE who created it and there is NO acknowledgment of that anywhereon Gorilla's blog.  Oh, I'm sorry, Gorilla made it so that you have to SQUINT to see any of the 1300 icons.  That's what I call a "wasted effort."

Also, as far as search engines go, they would see that Entrecard had LOTS of traffic and that Entrecard wasn't just a little blog out in the middle of nowhere - so it wouldn't set off the red flag that a copy/paste ripoff page would.  Besides, Graham and Phirate really did it in the spirit of helping you ; whereas, the RIPOFF was done in the spirit of getting backlinks while potentially harming you.

IN CONCLUSION...

In so many ways, what Gorilla Sushi did was cheap, lazy and potentially harmful; but that, as you can see, that doesn't stop people who don't know any better from raising up their hands in praise and thanks.  This means two things that matter in relation to Sam Freedom's Internet Marketing Controversy Blog,

  1. As an internet marketer, you should be excited that there are still so many people out there who can be bamboozled into your favor with almost NO EFFORT at all.  That the same people who bitch that they don't get a break are the same ones who throw it away every chance they get while fighting to keep it that way; and

  2. By being controversial, Gorilla Sushi has earned his mention on the world's only Internet Marketing Controversy blog.  Congratulations, Gorilla.

(Here's what Gorilla Sushi did below.  Soon I'll be removing it so that it doesn't make Google hate you and I and brand us as link farm conspirators.  If you want to see his page, you can find it by passing through his Entrecard page because I don't want to link to a link farm.  It's titled, "Entrecard Holiday Link Love")

How Does It Feel to Be A Part of Your Very First Link Farm?

Oh Wait, That's THREE Now...!

1. Entrecard All Cards Page
2.  Gorilla Sushi's Cheap, Lazy Ripoff of it
3. And Now Mine Which I'll Be Removing Shortly

You're On THREE Link Farms Now!!
LOOKS LIKE YOU'RE IN TROUBLLLLLLLLE!!!!

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30 comments:

Shari Thomas said...

Sam, apparently physics is alive and well here...

Just like the bell curve where there are a few real geniuses, and there are an equal number of idiots...

So it is on the Internet. For every really awesome and intelligent marketer, there is a lazy, lying marketer who's wanting everything for nothing.

Thanks for exposing something that is potentially very harmful.

Shari Thomas

Sam Freedom said...

@shari - most importantly, there is a little "Gorilla Sushi" in all of us. ;-) I'm sure he'd like that, too. ;-)

PWNED said...

If you were so appalled by him doing it, why mention his name at all? Even without a link on your page, people can now Google it. Negative press is still press.

Then, under the ruse of "exposing people" you do the same thing. Seems like you are being cheap at the same time. Sorry, but GS beat ya to the punch. That's all. 288 subscribers tells me that you haven't established yourself THAT much yet.

Who We Are said...

Guess I should be happy my widget wasn't in the mosaic... How come I don't feel happy?

Sam Freedom said...

@pwnd - i really hope you satisifed your need for smallness with your reply. If you had only realized that the controversy blog relies and thrives on responses like yours, you might have done otherwise. That being said, let's address your points so the public can learn:

If you were so appalled by him doing it, why mention his name at all? Even without a link on your page, people can now Google it. Negative press is still press.

That is an ancient argument and I purposely left it open knowing that someone would bring up it.

It is that serious of a problem that people will benefit by knowing about it now. Already, I have seen other bloggers copying it and spreading the LINK FARM so people need to see what it is right now rather than putting 2+2 together LATER after the damage is done.

I am not worried about giving G.S. exposure, in that regard. I have no ill will towards the blog, or any of its authorts, and have no desire to see them fail. It's this one event that I want people to understand, therefore, withholding specific information by your logic would be thoughtless and, potentially, allow more people to come to harm.

Then, under the ruse of "exposing people" you do the same thing. Seems like you are being cheap at the same time.

At least now, passers-by know that you present your ill-formed arguments without even having read the article. The reason I did it is explained in the very first paragraph. And I also made clear that I would be removing the pictures and links shortly after said purpose was accomplished.

You should learn to be more thorough.

Sorry, but GS beat ya to the punch. That's all.

I am so hurt that GS started a cheap, lazy, copy and paste, viral link farm campaign that is going to potentially damage 1000s of websites search engine standings forever and negate all of the hard work that their owners are doing to build themselves up before me.

I should be ashamed that I didn't get to it first. lol

288 subscribers tells me that you haven't established yourself THAT much yet.

That's ok because my dick is bigger than yours. And not only that, you're too much of an ignoramus to think before you speak. How could it have occurred to you that I have a marketing mailing list separate from my feeds that consists of 30-40k readers?

Or maybe that I've written blogs on marketing and non-marketing that have hit Top 10 out of 100s of 1000s on MySpace.

Even if you knew any part of that, you'd still be an ignoramus so it wouldn't matter.

The saddest part is that the best thing about you is your name - and it describes you very well because you WERE just PWNED!!!1!!1!

Next...

Sam Freedom said...

@whoweare - probably because when you're not getting much traffic or visitors, it can feel good to be part of a drama or controversy. Except, its no good when the drama can harm your blog rankings and get you branded as a link farm.

Simple PC Guy said...

Sam,

Thanks for the heads up. I just requested to be removed from the link page.
Thanks,
pcguy

Sam Freedom said...

@pcguy - now why can't everyone be like you? I'd sure be out of business if they were, though!

Btw, I "nofollowed" all the links in this blog so Google would not see me as trying to spray link-love juice all over and less of a reason to consider it a LINK FARM (plus I've been here at least 3 years so they've got a history on me).

But, just so's ya know, your link will be gone from this blog in a couple of days.

Reno said...

Sam-

Wow! Pwnded got burned bad.

Is there anything we can do to correct this problem or are we all screwed? What do you suggest?

Sam Freedom said...

@RENO - lol and what pwned didn't even realize when he remarked on my having 288 feed readers is that he was, indirectly, insulting 1000s of other bloggers who have the same or far less - and his insult didn't even connect because I have 3 other huge mailing lists. lol

Anyways, there's a chance this might not become too big of a problem but if, as is already happening, more and more people keep copying G.S., then it could look pretty sketchy to the Search Engines...

...and no, I don't know we can do about it.

Ultimately, I want to say that things will work out and that the S.E.s can figure out what's going on BUT that is not what I'm even writing about here.

What I'm writing about is that what started out as a NICE gesture got MISUED by someone in a way that could potentially HARM people. And many of them are screaming praise and thanks for it.

So, hopefully, my raising the alarms on this one, whether or not it would blow up in peoples faces, will, in the least, lessen the likelihood of it.

It's really a wait-and-see thing, but nothing to tell you right now.

AndroidGuys.com said...

Thanks for the heads up Sam! We appreciate you sticking it to people who apparently don't know better. 30-40k huh? That's awesome!

BadEvan said...

In response to your comment at BadEvan.com.

Wow Sam!

Do I come to your blog and talk smack about you and your readers?

“Reckless Behavior”? I’m in a committed, safe and loving relationship. I know many straights that engage in much worse behavior.

At least we don’t have to worry about surprise children.

I understand you are trying to be cute…But why just come out and insult me and all of my readers like that?

You could have easily gotten your point across with out offending my readers. Who don't care about SEO, or your beef with mass link-love. That's obviously not the topic of my blog.

Your blog post was insightful and well informed. I wish I didn't have this negative experience with you. I could have respected you and your work, but what you did was just wrong.

I was going to delete your comment. Instead I decide to let everyone see it and your ignorance.

Sam Freedom said...

@androids - yup 30-40k, probably more now. And you're welcome. ;-)

@BadEvan - oh come on, now, Evan, you're so sensitive. I oughta pull down your pants and spank that little butt of yours. ;-)

Seriously, Evan, though I didn't mean to lump you in with the bath house crowd, bemoaning the fact of a LINK SPAM campaign going viral does not amount to insulting you or your readers.

There had to be another way you could have said this... like, "Sam, you're awesome. How can I ever repay you?"

BadEvan said...

Sam-

After listing to your shows and reading more of your other posts. I realize that, that’s just you being “funny”. I was actually going to comment that I might have been quick to lash-out.

But then….I read your follow-up comment here. *Funny how the two posts, here and at BadEvan.com, are way different.*

Well Sam, You’re an A**. You wanted to point out the “parallels”. There was no need for a “disclaimer”. BTW “purely coincidental” means it just happens to fit the situation as well. Meaning, that’s what you think of us queers, or at least want to appear that way.

You wanted to be controversial and cute.

Well it ain’t gonna fly with this homo! You don’t know me and the things I’ve gone through. The amounts of hate mail/comments I wade through just to write about GLBT issues. Including basic human right for me and my husband. So, don’t be cute. You come off as an idiot!

Even in your “apology”, you are insulting. Bath house crowd….I don’t believe you mean to come across this way. I really Don’t. I even enjoyed your radio show and could agree with you on many of the topics.

I don’t even care if you do hate queers and fags. That’s your right. Just own up to it and keep it off my blog.

If you didn’t plan on offending, you could have just said, “Sorry Evan, I didn’t mean to offend you or your readers.”

That would have been fine.

Sam Freedom said...

@badevan - Evan, I don't have an ounce of disdain for homosexuals but if you are their representative, then I pity them. How's that? Close?

Debo Hobo said...

Thanks for the info, I was as you say bamboozled luckily I was unable to cut and paste the codes from GS's blog.

Oh well it felt good for as long as it lasted.

Kent Vorkink said...

I like your style!

Allyn Paul said...

Ok Sam, I am really lost at this whole thing..afterall, I write about "sh*t" in every post (we spread it on lawns of course)...: but how does link love turn to you insulting gay dudes? Wow, that is just way out bro! Either way...
I'd really appreciate you following through and writing a rec on my Entrcard site like you originally proposed. Cool?

BTW--I am a big Gorilla Su fan, he (they) are good people.
If my reading comprehension was a little more advanced, I may understand your beef, but I am about 7 beers into a 6-pack, so I am way overdrawn on brain cells already...
AL

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the post! I only take my SEO tips from people with crappy free Blogger blogs, so I'll be sure to pay attention to everything you say.

BURAOT said...

a lot of them have joined the bandwagon now, posting and copying it and reposting it on their own blog.

it seems fun. specially the first time. out of curiosity, i peered through it to see mine. seems like a harmless fun that's all.

but now i am beginning to think otherwise. i am a relatively new in this i call blogsport. i see my technorati "reactions" doubled due to this "mosaic". however, it never increases my technorati link, or it's just taking a while?

anyway, i see danger in all these. it might jammed up the blogosphere and probably would eventually shot everybody down, casuing more harm than fun.

pretty much like the 405 Freeway here in LA. millions of cars travelling at the same rush hour.

Sam Freedom said...

@Debo - It's very promising that you can not only not get caught up in raking the muck like some of the "pile on" crowd at Entrecard did, but that you also really get the importance of what I wrote here. Thanks for your sincerity.

"Oh well it felt good for as long as it lasted."

Believe me, I understand!

@Kent - It is not an easy one to create or imitate - or destroy for that matter. Thank you.

@Allyn - I never insulted gay dudes. In fact, were I to play that "poor me, I'm a victim" game, I'd probably say that calling them "gay dudes" was not only sexist, for not including women, but not taking them seriously as mature men and women. You wouldn't call the president "dude" - well, maybe YOU would. ;-)

In any case, there's so many minority groups these days that have learned the flames of their struggle can be fanned by crying victim that it pretty much takes a manual the size of the phone book to even begin to understand what ticks them all off.

And, frankly, I'm not walking on eggshells around anyone. If someone can point out a specific where I cast hate upon ANYONE, for that matter, then let them say so; otherwise, let them delete my comment, move on and bring an end to all of this overly-sensitive nonsense.

"I'd really appreciate you following through and writing a rec on my Entrcard site like you originally proposed. Cool?"

Cool? You suggest I've insulted "gay dudes" when I haven't and then you want a recommendation? lol Anyways, that's an old post. Offering to exchange sincere recommendations is no longer allowed for some reason. Apparently, it wasn't the "spirit" of what they'd intended at Entrecard even though it's one of the prime tenets of networking. Odd..

"BTW--I am a big Gorilla Su fan, he (they) are good people.

They are ignorant. Jason copied the All Cards page without permission or consent from Entrecard or any of the 1000 users whose brand, icons and site urls were used in it. Whether or not any of us agree as to whether that poses any long-term hazards to their search-engine rank building efforts comes second to the fact that each had their right to opt out stripped away.

Right now, without consent, their icons, site urls and brands are proliferating around the web in what could be miscontrued as a viral link spam campaign and if that doesn't bother most of them, it should bother some, and that's what matters...their branded material was used without permission in a way that is potentially harmful.

Sam Freedom said...

@Anonymous - You just proved that I don't need to be an SEO expert to get eyeballs on my site but had you been SPECIFIC, rather than taunting like a moron, the passers-by here could have learned something from our discussion.

Instead, you've left them with nothing but your nastiness. I hope you are different elsewhere.

Anyways, this "crappy blog" has been a hold-out... purposely to show people that you don't HAVE TO copy all the probloggers and have a gorgeous site to get traffic, comments, make acquaintances and make money.

Thanks again for proving that with your presence.

@BURAOT - I agree, it SEEMS fun. That much was obvious to me when I saw people praising what amounts to a cheap and lazy copy/paste of the Entrecard All Cards page. Even knowing that it was a simple copy/paste of All Cards material and the brand, icons and urls of 1000s of users without their consent, one of the Gorilla Sushi crowd, I think Meleah, still lacked the integrity to refer to it as what it was. Instead she called it "inspired and creative"...

...a wonderful example of "pack mentality" is all that was.

And yes, it seemed harmless, but using 1000 peoples pictures and information without their consent or way to opt out is neither fun nor brilliant nor harmless.

"but now i am beginning to think otherwise. i am a relatively new in this i call blogsport. i see my technorati "reactions" doubled due to this "mosaic". however, it never increases my technorati link, or it's just taking a while?"

I honestly don't know but for someone who is new to the blogosphere, I realize any such attention and motion can feel exhilirating which is why my opening up the matter for scrutiny was met with some initial blowback.

Many of the new, or GS pack mentality, bloggers were like the Hebrew tribes dancing around the golden calf and were pissed off that someone came to wreck the party. And it wasn't to wreck the party, it was to restore a little order.

I just found it brutally telling that Entrecard would remain silent over someone using 1000 of its members information on their own blog in what amounts to a viral link spam campaign WITHOUT CONSENT OF ANYONE.

Rather unusual, huh? How many businesses do you think see no problem with either strangers OR members using 1000s of other members' information without anyone's consent at all? How many?

ZERO! Except ENTRECARD... lol

Dane Morgan | Niche Blogging said...

I'm not so sure this would really hurt any blogs, especially not those linked to. But it certainly isn't going to help them in any meaningful way.

Google is generally only concerned about link farms when they are paid link farms or when they are designed to exploit page rank. They don't really seem to care much about gaming Technorati, at least not until they decide to but Technorati (lol).

I certainly wouldn't advise anyone to dupe this post to their blog, but I wouldn't sweat it too much if your link was included in the thing . It ain't going to help you, but the strong probability at the end of the day is that it isn't going to hurt you either.

You are right that there isn't much of anything you can do about it either. You could try DCMAing sites, but if it has any steam, well, you know how that goes.

Interesting analysis though for someone like me who hasn't even looked at the EC site.

Dane Morgan | Niche Blogging said...

PS [Off Topic] Sam are you on Cre8Buzz.com yet? if not let me know and I'll send you an invite.

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