Archive for the 'Web nerdery' Category

Looking for backlinks? Look elsewhere

Deluged with SEO marketers trying to get me to put links to their e-commerce sites on this blog. None of them are offering much individually, but added together it would be a fair-ish sum were I to say ‘yes’ to them all.

A quick and pithy message to them all: Fuck Off.

Apols if you’re sick of this topic (I’ve written about it before). I’m coming back to it because it’s a daily reminder, for me (yes, I’m getting these offers almost daily), of just how bonkers and corrupted the web has become.

The demands of SEO make every link suspect. Really doesn’t matter what you’re reading online, or where. Somebody, somewhere has probably paid for at least some – maybe all – of the links on the page. That’s rarely flagged, if ever.

To my ageing and increasingly irrelevant eye, this is dangerous. We used to educate kids to spot the difference between advertising and ‘real’ programmes on the TV and in other media (or at least, they tried to teach my generation. How about yours?). Nobody’s teaching anybody how to spot affiliate marketing and paid-for backlinks masquerading as ‘real’ content and ‘real’ click recommendations. Most parents haven’t got a sodding clue, so they could never teach their kids.

Does this matter? Do you care? Does anybody care?

Posted on 18th September 2013
Under: Rants, Uncategorized, Web nerdery | 6 Comments »

Why the internet is shit, part 2,399

“Odi et amo. Quare id faciam fortasse requiris.
Nescio, sed fieri sentio, et excrucior.”

This was written 2000 years ago, about a woman. (“I love [her] and hate [her]. How is that possible, you may ask? I don’t know, but I feel it all the same – and it’s agony”). It describes pretty perfectly my own feelings about the internet.

The web is a wonderful thing. It’s changed everything about… well, everything. I live within it, and am informed and entertained via it, every hour of every day. I really wonder how I lived without it.

But you know, it’s also a teeming, seething cauldron of shite.

SEO agencies: Smell the sulphur

I am bombarded – some days, multiple times – by people offering to pay me for contributed ‘editorial’, or links, or adverts. Some of it is deeply creepy and dishonest; companies even offering to write their stealth ads in my house style to make them seem like ‘real’ endorsements by me.

I’m pretty much aghast at this stuff. I’m stunned that corporations are willing to be so brazenly, disgracefully mendacious. You realise that the web is absolutely stuffed with paid-for advertising masquerading as something else. And I do mean STUFFED; you cannot trust a single word or link online.

Most of it is driven by SEO, of course. SEO agencies know that the most powerful Google fuel is backlinks, so they trawl their clients’ marketplace looking for sites demonstrating the appropriate keywords. Then they try to place links on those sites – openly, or hidden within paid-for ‘posts’ meant to look like genuine site editorial.

Ultimately, therefore, this is mostly search engines’ (and therefore Google’s) fault. In the form the web has evolved, and as it currently works, Search drives commerce to an astonishing degree. Search engine algorithms basically corrupt the web by forcing commerce to devise dishonest and devious means to attract custom, and tempting small (and large) publishers into corrupt collusion.

It stinks to high heaven.

Odi, definitely odi.

Posted on 8th September 2012
Under: Rants, Web nerdery | 9 Comments »

Soilman goes iPhone friendly!

picture of WPTouch iphone interface

Have just made the blog mobile-friendly with WPTouch. If you use an iPhone or other device to look at it, you should see the difference.

Note that you can turn off the mobile theming at the bottom of the home page if you’d prefer to see the standard desktop version.

If you’re reading with a mobile device, do please let me know if you find anything that’s not working, or just looking weird.

Posted on 2nd October 2009
Under: Web nerdery | Comments Off on Soilman goes iPhone friendly!

Gravatars are go

Finally got round to enabling Gravatars on the site. Have been meaning to do this for ages, but time’s been against me.

It’s no big deal, but a small improvement I like. If you comment on sites regularly, you may want to sign up for one (it’s free).

Posted on 10th September 2009
Under: Web nerdery | 2 Comments »