Archive for January, 2005
Of particular interest is how link spamming originated:
“It was around December 2003: Google did what was called the ‘Florida update’. It changed the algorithm that measured how high a site should be ranked to spot ‘nepotistic’ links and devalue them. So if you had a link farm of sites with different names which linked heavily to each other, they were pushed down,” explains Sam.
So the link spammers – who prefer to call themselves “search engine optimisers”, but get upset when search engines do optimise themselves – turned to other free outlets which Google already regarded highly, because their content changes so often: blogs. And especially blogs’ comments, where trusting bloggers expected people to put nice agreeable remarks about what they’d written, rather than links to PPC sites. Ah well. Nothing personal.
The reality, as I’ve always suspected, is that it isn’t just about SEO. The ultimate goal is to get people to click through. For every click, the link spammer gets money. Sometimes as much as 1$ per click. And when he can send out 1-2 million blog comment spams in a night, he needs very little in terms of click-through to make a profit. A very, very large profit.
One link spammer I know (okay, he’s the only one who’ll admit to it) makes roughly 30K per month from link spamming. My challenge to him? Start a blog ;-)
I’ve decided that English is an awful language. In a past life I was a linguistic genius of sorts. At some point I’ve been fluent to varying degrees in English, French, Spanish, Italian, German and sign language (2 varieties). I’ve also had a working knowledge of Russian, Latin, Ukrainian and Hebrew. At some point.
I say that not to brag (or sound like a dumbass for forgetting all these languages), but to say that it’s not because I think other languages are necessarily better than English.
I’ve simply realized that for whatever reason, English isn’t incredibly good at expressing “true emotion”.
I realized this twice in one night, which is why Shannon’s been encouraging me to write this.
First, I was telling her about how much I “really, really enjoyed meeting Neville Hobson.” (yes, I reallly, really enjoyed meeting others as well)
It was while saying that that I realized how “not how I really felt” that “really, really” was.
(ps: yes, today is “rambling day”)
I realized that English simply isn’t actually very good at communicating the level of respect I have for several people I met this week, including Neville.
I think it’s because we use the “extremes” our language allows so readily in conversation. The fact that I had to say “really” twice to try and get my point across was sad.
Initially I didn’t think there were really any languages that made good use of respectful terms, but obviously there are.
Spanish, for example has a whole suite of them. German is very similar.
What’s my point?
Well, I wish I had words to express how much meeting many people this week meant. And I wish I had to words to tell my wife how much I truly love her.
I thought it’d be good to do this for the record.
This blog contains my words and my opinions only. Every now and again I’ve done “Sponsored Posts“. I really don’t think I’ll be doing many more. I get paid for these Sponsored Posts, though every word is mine and not an advertiser’s.
Beyond Sponsored Posts, I am not compensated to write on this blog. Off of this blog, I am paid to produce content for a variety of websites, magazines and books. I am paid to produce video and audio content for clients, for corporations and for contributions to white papers.
I realize that having Sponsored Posts may affect people’s perceptions of the overall authenticity of my blogging. As a result, I am considering dropping them. Outside of Sponsored Posts, though, every bit of content is not paid for. It is mine and produced solely because of passion and because I think way too much.
Yes, I’m generally against disclosure statements, and I also know this whole thing is a tempest in a teapot. However, the water’s still hot and I don’t feel like getting burned just because I was too lazy to open up about waht I’ve already said was happening anyways. Every one of my business relationships is open, honest and disclosed on the blogs I write for but, for fear of getting burned, I’ve reiterated the obvious.
My voice is mine. My words are mine. And I don’t sell either. I sometimes sell my fingers to pay for my mouth, but when I do it will always be clearly marked, and will always be in the Sponsored Posts category.
I’ve been thinking about this for a few days. It really came into stark contrast last night after a half hour chat with Shel and Robert about our books.
Forgive me if this post is rambling. It’s a collection of a few different thought threads.
Let me start by saying I’m not the first person to suggest something along these lines. Others have said Scoble should be the Chief Blogging Officer. I’d disagree, as I don’t think a C-level position would actually be the best use of Robert’s time.
This all started when I realized a few days ago that most of Robert’s influence, writing and (likely) mindshare is around blogging, the relationships it builds, the passion it engenders and the ways that teams and companies can use it. He’s often seen shuffling info from team to team and from teams to customers and from customers to teams as a result of his blog.
That isn’t to say that he doesn’t have a fulltime job. He does. He has a fulltime job as (as I understand it) a Technical Evangelist in the Platform group. His job is basically to do things like Channel 9, as well as to communicate with customers and teams about Longhorn, Microsoft’s next desktop OS.
But, somehow, in spite of a fulltime job he also maintains one of the most popular blogs on the planet, is constantly putting people in contact with each other, is very open and friendly, is about to start writing a book, speaks at a variety of conferences, is a beta tester (under NDA) for numerous software products and has a family.
Needless to say he has a fairly full life.
And, from experience, I have to wonder if Robert wouldn’t be better off in a different position. It’s been said that Robert Scoble is the third most visible and known person at Microsoft, behind Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer. Sure, millions of people don’t know how, but I can’t think of any other individual besides these 3 that more than a handful of people know by name and by reputation.
And that is the crux of the whole shabang.
Busy boy + growing influence + passion for a new technique / medium / technology = something needs to change.
It reminds me of the 90s when a developer took it upon himself to start communicating with customers more and talking through the various benefits of stuff. This little pioneer went on to create a position which is now standard at Microsoft: the Evangelist. There are now thousands of Evangelists at Microsoft, fulfilling a variety of roles.
I see Robert in a similar light: someone who’s creating something out of demand and passion, not out of personal ambition.
The problem is that Evangelists are typically assigned to one team. And that is where Robert is different than most other Evangelists: he talks to a massive variety of teams to create community, knowledge and communication in exciting new ways.
Does Microsoft need to create a Blogger or a Bloggging Evangelist position as a standard one? Probably not. If someone is blogging for a team, that would fall under typicall “Evangelist” type of stuff. But Robert isn’t blogging for one team. He’s the most human, public face that Microsoft has. And he’s also the one voice with more credibility than just about every executive.
Robert would brush that off, and I’d expect nothing less from him. I’m not expecting him to be reading this and glowing with pride. If there’s any glowing it’s embarrassment, from the little I know him.
I guess the issue is that this leaves my train of thought in a bit of a pickle. Yes, Robert should be employed doing blogging, evangelism, communication, Channel 9, etc. These are all things he’s good at and, assuming he enjoys them, are all things he should continue doing.
But there aren’t many cross-team positions at Microsoft. The Recruiting side of things is one. Research is another. Are there many others? Either way, there isn’t really a need for a cross-team department. There is really only a need for a Lead Blogging Evangelist or something.
Robert needs a title, position, influence, authority and paycheck to go with his position, influence and authority in the world.
Maybe that’s my point. When you have an employee who – while he didn’t create the phenom – is pushing blogging forward, helping to change customer perceptions, has an amazing amount of credibility and does most of this off of company time because he truly believes in the company… You really need to step up and believe in him as well.
In my mind, Robert deserves no less than a 250K salary, an expense account and as little “fluff responsibility” (stuff that takes away from his ability to actually Get Things Done) as possible.
I’m completely aware that this post could easily disappear into the ether. But you never know what a difference one post can make until you write it. That, and over the last couple of years I’ve gotten to know some execs, so I’ll be bending their ears very gently to see what kinds of options there’d be.
I have no idea if Robert would be interested in such a position, but I also know that he probably wouldn’t ask for it himself.
Here goes a few hours of chatting, convincing and selling for someone who truly deserves it.
Just a note that any email I was sent while I was in Napa has disappeared into the nether. Please resend anything I didn’t respond to.