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February 1, 2008 8:07 AM   Subscribe

Am I just being grumpy, or is now an odd time for a single link Times Online post?

This story originated online, is well covered elsewhere, and, being on the subject of unfortunate product names, could have been turned into a perfectly good post by the addition of some other similar examples. But wasn't.

Funnily enough, the poster shares a name and a location with some guy who works for an SEO company. That's just purely circumstantial of course and proves nothing.

But now I'm really grumpy.
posted by motty to Etiquette/Policy at 8:07 AM (66 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

Didn't you hear? Murdoch bid $44.6bln for Metafilter earlier this morning.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:15 AM on February 1, 2008


I doubt NinjaTadpole is a shill. Seriously.

But I do think that Times Online links should be banned from now on.
posted by grouse at 8:16 AM on February 1, 2008


>>starts ripping copper wiring out of metafilter<>
See you in hell, fuckers!

posted by cowbellemoo at 8:16 AM on February 1, 2008 [3 favorites]


I'm really having a bad feeling about TimesOnline links generally. We'll look into this, of course.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:17 AM on February 1, 2008


The "SEO company" is Green Cathedral, who are (I think) a legitimate long-established web design company. Their "SEO" seems to be of the standard web analytics and ad-targeting variety, not the dodgy astroturfing kind. The poster has been around for years, and judging by his contacts page, has been to meetups. Unlikely to be a spammer.
posted by Burger-Eating Invasion Monkey at 8:18 AM on February 1, 2008


The poster has been around for years, and judging by his contacts page, has been to meetups.

He's a nice guy, too, and I think he knows MetaFilter well enough not to do this.
posted by grouse at 8:20 AM on February 1, 2008


But I do think that Times Online links should be banned from now on.

Too far. Plenty of legitimate posts include Times links. Do you really want to ban links to the Times Literary Supplement, Mary Beard's blog etc etc?
posted by Burger-Eating Invasion Monkey at 8:22 AM on February 1, 2008


How about we toss NinjaTadpole in a lake - if he turns into a frog, we let him live. If he remains a tadpole, he's obviously an SEO spammer and we burn him.
posted by Banky_Edwards at 8:23 AM on February 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yeah, if NinjaTadpole's trying to game the system, then boy, has he ever been playing the long game.

But still, yeah, we should punish the Times mightily for their dickslappery. I suggest poking them with sticks and laughing.
posted by flashboy at 8:27 AM on February 1, 2008


Do you really want to ban links to the Times Literary Supplement, Mary Beard's blog etc etc?

Yes. I'm sure MetaFilter has sent far more traffic to The Times due to legitimate posts than from the shills (of which about 20 posts have been identified so far). Losing that legitimate traffic is a fitting response that will discourage web sites from gaming the system in this way.
posted by grouse at 8:28 AM on February 1, 2008


Can we ban Cracked.com first?
posted by Artw at 8:37 AM on February 1, 2008 [5 favorites]


I was going to post something similar this morning when I saw that front page post.
posted by Dave Faris at 8:42 AM on February 1, 2008


Ban Cracked.com & Times Online.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 8:42 AM on February 1, 2008


It's a total nightmare, isn't it - the crap shills make themselves obvious with their crapitude and get caught, but the bright ones would hide successfully precisely by being real. If you're in shilling for the long game then building actual relationships with actual people in actual communities is what you need to do in order to have the capital of goodwill to make your shilling work. Since I read this I've been wondering how many people really are playing exactly that long game and also at what point this kind of thing will become so extensive and pervasive that I'll just have to accept that non-obvious shilling, cleverly hidden, is something that can't be avoided.
posted by motty at 8:42 AM on February 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


If a shill can pass the turing test is it still a shill?
posted by Artw at 8:46 AM on February 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Metafilter traffic is a drop in the ocean for the Times, and cutting it off would have no effect whatsoever on the Times' SEO policies. Meanwhile, prohibiting Times links would deprive Metafilter of many perfectly good posts for no good reason.
posted by Burger-Eating Invasion Monkey at 8:47 AM on February 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


OMG SEO SLEEPER CELL!!!!11111!!!!



motty, your suspicion is justified, but I doubt ninjatadpole is one a then SEO fuckers.
posted by Divine_Wino at 8:47 AM on February 1, 2008


To clarify: NinjaTadpole has indeed been to meetups, is either a real human being or a highly advanced cyborg, and my suggestion that he'd been playing a "long game" was a joke.

As Burger-Eating Invasion Monkey said, the "SEO" that his firm offers appears to be purely technical SEO, not any of your "buzz marketing" or "stealth community infiltration" or "soul harvesting" malarkey that goes on these days.
posted by flashboy at 8:49 AM on February 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


grouse writes "Losing that legitimate traffic is a fitting response that will discourage web sites from gaming the system in this way."

I sure hope this becomes policy, I'd pony up the $5 to shill youtube in a heartbeat.
posted by Mitheral at 8:51 AM on February 1, 2008


motty, your suspicion is justified, but I doubt ninjatadpole is one a then SEO fuckers.

Pretty much my take too. I hate the flinch, and I hate even more that it's something we can't even ignore, but I think this is spammentum carrying you a bit past the likely answer.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:51 AM on February 1, 2008


You know, this reminds me of something I've been wondering about lately. I've got a tax rebate coming that I want to donate to a charity, but I want it to be someplace where my money is going to do the most good. Does anybody here know a good site that does in-depth research into the effectiveness of various charities?
posted by Horace Rumpole at 8:52 AM on February 1, 2008 [3 favorites]


motty's getting less and less cute when he's puffed up by the moment.
I've never understood the "find the name and send up the spotter planes" mentality of the small and desperate group who want to be the appointed police - the name is in my profile, bro, but you could have done a search for my handle and got more. If people are interested, they can find out pretty easily themselves. Weak.

I've been a (occasionally) active member here since the day the membership door creaked open in 2004; met, amused and caroused with several fine London MeFites in that time; never been sniffed in a MeTa callout. Weaker still.

If anyone would like to check the timestamps on the tertiary sources motty cites, I beat all the newshounds, one by only a couple of minutes, but who remembers second place? Weakest.

I'll do the grown up thing, shall I? Take it to personal email?
Hang up the phone, jess, I'm a-callin'.
posted by NinjaTadpole at 8:56 AM on February 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Metafilter traffic is a drop in the ocean for the Times, and cutting it off would have no effect whatsoever on the Times' SEO policies.

We ban self-linkers regularly. Corporate entities should get the same treatment. Looking at the news, the Times and this Sitelynx company are doing some hilarious backpedaling. Fuck 'em.

(Cracked.com should be banned just for being crap, and because if they do have something funny the link should go to the Something Awful article they plagiarized it from anyway.)
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 8:58 AM on February 1, 2008


(p.s. many thanks to those involved for looking after my back while it was turned. also, though they are no corporate love of mine, my employer does rather more than SEO, and I'm sometimes proud to be a part of it)
posted by NinjaTadpole at 8:58 AM on February 1, 2008


ninjatadpole - You're in the desert, you see a tortoise - that's a type of turtle - it's flipped over on it's back, backing in the sun, what do you do? What do you do?
posted by Artw at 9:02 AM on February 1, 2008 [4 favorites]


Metafilter traffic is a drop in the ocean for the Times

That's true as well - the Times gets several million unique visitors a month, last time I checked, and from my experience MeFi front page posts generally get you a couple of hundred hits, maybe a thousand or two. When you consider that, for example, Fark or Digg get you much higher volumes of traffic, and have far less in the way of community self-link-hunting scorn cops, what puzzles me is why any high-traffic site would even bother.
posted by flashboy at 9:03 AM on February 1, 2008


Hang up the phone, jess, I'm a-callin'.

Operators are standing by. We have a due diligence approach to spammer callouts, I don't think anyone was trying to besmirch your name.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:09 AM on February 1, 2008


NinjaTadpole, it looks an awful lot like I am completely wrong in which case I unreservedly apologise to you.
posted by motty at 9:09 AM on February 1, 2008 [7 favorites]


We ban self-linkers regularly. Corporate entities should get the same treatment. Looking at the news, the Times and this Sitelynx company are doing some hilarious backpedaling. Fuck 'em.

"Get the same treatment"? Metafilter's not some internet Themis, striding the web and dispensing summary justice to the peasants in the fields. If we banned all Times posts because of this, all we'd be doing is cutting off our nose to spite our face.
posted by Burger-Eating Invasion Monkey at 9:14 AM on February 1, 2008


Metafilter: striding the web and dispensing summary justice!
posted by Tehanu at 9:32 AM on February 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


"...all we'd be doing is cutting off our nose to spite our face."

Somewhere in there something should be singular instead of plural, we think.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:32 AM on February 1, 2008


I think we'll be just fine without Mr. Murdoch's newspaper.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 9:33 AM on February 1, 2008


MetaFilter: a mighty internet Themis, striding the web and dispensing summary justice to the peasants in the fields.

What?
posted by scrump at 9:35 AM on February 1, 2008


GOD DAMMIT TEHANU
posted by scrump at 9:35 AM on February 1, 2008


Well fair do's all round then. That'll serve me right for not reading MeTa.

Artw, if I was in the desert, I would be looking for the nearest hostelry, damn the reptiles. This same answer applies in many situations.
posted by NinjaTadpole at 9:37 AM on February 1, 2008


scrump's version is more complete, but mine could be a DC comic. Or a new version of Spiderman.
posted by Tehanu at 9:47 AM on February 1, 2008


It's a collective nose, crash. A horrifying, thousands-nostrilled nose.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:48 AM on February 1, 2008


could have been turned into a perfectly good post by the addition of some other similar examples. But wasn't.

That sort of thinking is the actual problem. Either the link is interesting or it isn't.
posted by signal at 9:50 AM on February 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


You're perfectly welcome to cut off your nose to spite my face. I promise to feel very spited.
posted by ardgedee at 10:06 AM on February 1, 2008


The [quantity][noun]ed construction doesn't lend itself to plural quantities, does it?
posted by Burger-Eating Invasion Monkey at 10:09 AM on February 1, 2008


I, too, think we could get along just fine without The Times.
posted by mumkin at 10:11 AM on February 1, 2008


I, too, think we could add the male equivalent of a page 3.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:19 AM on February 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Cutting off our noses to spite our faces.

Duh.

But clich├ęs are sloppy writing anyway.
posted by klangklangston at 10:24 AM on February 1, 2008


As per cortex, the collective nose is being cut from the collective face. I treated Metafilter as a single being for the Themis sentence, so it seemed right to continue the conceit for the face-spiting sentence.
posted by Burger-Eating Invasion Monkey at 10:30 AM on February 1, 2008


Metafilter: It looks an awful lot like I am completely wrong in which case I unreservedly apologise to you.


...?
posted by gordie at 10:32 AM on February 1, 2008


Is it a sexy tortoise?
posted by LordSludge at 10:33 AM on February 1, 2008


you see a tortoise - that's a type of turtle

WRONG. Get it through your thick skulls, people! Tortoises are not turtles, apes are not monkeys, and Coors Light is not beer.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:39 AM on February 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


What were we talking about?

Oh yeah. Me, I'm OK with looking the other way when it comes to self-links if there's no evidence beyond a single user's inexplicably outspoken slight annoyance.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:49 AM on February 1, 2008


The loudest argument I've ever gotten into with my best friend was about tortoise suits.

Her: So I had to get a turtle suit for this shoot we were doing.

Me: A turtle suit?

Her: Yeah, it was like a Ninja Turtle bit or something. So like, this big green turtle suit. So I walk into the costume shop, and I ask the woman behind the counter, "Do you guys have any turtle suits?" And she thinks about it, and she says, no they don't. I'm like, "None? None at all? Are they all rented right now or something?" And she's like, "Sorry, no. We just don't carry turtle suits." And I'm like, "All right." And then, just as I'm walking out the door, I turn around, and ask, kind of as a joke, "Hey, you don't have any tortoise suits, do you?" And she goes, "Oh, yeah, we have five of 'em." Can you believe that? What kind of asshole does that? I was just about to leave!

Me: SHE WAS SO FUCKING RIGHT, THEY ARE TOTALLY DIFFERENT

Her: Wait, so if someone came up to you and asked for a tort-

Me: YOU ARE FUCKING WRONG

Next I will tell you about the time she tried to buy an alligator suit and all they had were crocodile suits.
posted by iconomy at 10:53 AM on February 1, 2008 [22 favorites]


To anyone who had trouble with the tortoise question:

You remember the spider that lived in a bush outside your window? Orange body. Green legs. Watched her build a web all summer. Then one day there was a big egg in it. The egg hatched, and well, you know the rest.
posted by burnmp3s at 10:57 AM on February 1, 2008 [3 favorites]


Tortoises are not turtles

I suddenly have an urge to build my sulcata tortoise a little scuba suit and propeller drive so that he can explore under the sea. Just so that he can see what he's missing.
posted by quin at 11:18 AM on February 1, 2008


I, too, think we could get along just fine without a collective nose.
posted by languagehat at 11:41 AM on February 1, 2008


MetaFilter: It looks an awful lot like I am completely wrong.
posted by Mister_A at 11:47 AM on February 1, 2008


I suddenly have an urge to build my sulcata tortoise a little scuba suit and propeller drive so that he can explore under the sea. Just so that he can see what he's missing.

Scuba Cat agrees. Actually, she doesn't look like she's much enjoying herself...
posted by LordSludge at 12:19 PM on February 1, 2008


I, II, III, IV HE HO EAMUS

(THE ROMANES)
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 12:22 PM on February 1, 2008


SEO = Douche.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 1:49 PM on February 1, 2008


Why isnt nofollow put on every link? I dont see how that could ever be a problem, expect if youre here strictly to pimp your junk. I'm sure there's some argument about bringing pagerank up for good shit, but good shit will find its way to your browser on its own.
posted by damn dirty ape at 6:21 PM on February 1, 2008


The Blade Runner references in this thread are so good that I am reduced to shitting myself in awesome.
posted by psmith at 9:36 PM on February 1, 2008


I liked the turtle joke, tho'.
posted by humannaire at 12:14 AM on February 2, 2008


We've done.... questionable things.
posted by Artw at 12:32 AM on February 2, 2008


But if you NOFOLLOW every link, Google stops working!
posted by ryanrs at 12:51 AM on February 2, 2008


You'd also lose the disincentive to spammers that all of the legitimate links to their web site will be made NOFOLLOW if they self-link.
posted by grouse at 1:58 AM on February 2, 2008


My Mother?
posted by Elmore at 4:11 AM on February 2, 2008


I, too, think we could get along just fine without a collective nose.

But how would we smell?
— Terrible!
posted by Burger-Eating Invasion Monkey at 7:14 AM on February 2, 2008


LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT MY MOTHER!
posted by Kiwi at 11:18 AM on February 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


But if you NOFOLLOW every link, Google stops working!

That's google's problem not ours.
posted by damn dirty ape at 1:13 PM on February 2, 2008


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