October 10th, 2006 at 10:08 am e
The idea behind the outgoing porn link is that Google ranks websites based on “authority”. The more your site is linked to by other sites – especially from already established, high-authority sites – the higher its perceived “authority” on a subject; hence the higher your site will be ranked on Google for various search phrases.
So what these “SEO’s” (search engine optimizers) do, is they buy links from high authority sites to try to raise the authority of their new/low-ranked/spam sites. And as internet profit goes, porn sells like nothing else.
When it comes to porn, you don’t need anything resembling content, you just need A) naked women; and B) for people to actually choose your site over the millions and millions of others. Which is why someone would attach a monetary value to links from a site like Ampersand’s, which obviously has a high authority, having been linked to over and over again by other respected sites.
So yes, he absolutely, positively built a site that achieved a monetary value based largely on feminist support and based on that value, sold it to porn spammers.
On the hopeful side, Google does hate that kind of manipulation and it could very well be that his site has already been penalized for it. One can only hope.
This is not some big mystery that is just oh-so-hard to understand. I understand it perfectly and I’m no techie.
A whole lot of people linked to Amptoons because they liked the discussions there, they enjoyed the debate, guest bloggers, commenters, and because they had faith in Ampersand. Amp traded on that good faith, on his readers’ trust, the trust which made Amptoons “high authority,” by selling his site to a pornhound. The pornhound improves his search engine results because of the authority of Amptoons, which existed because, again, people trusted Amp and felt comfortable linking to Amptoons– even if they didn’t agree with him in many ways.
There’s nothing anybody can do about it now. Post to Amptoons, you are posting on a domain owned by a pornhound. Even if you delink, it won’t help or do any good or make any statement (thank god I never linked, at least not on my blogrolls; that made me a “link drain,” in that Amp linked to me, but I didn’t link back. I did, however, link when I quoted something from Alas.) Anyway, this authority, created because posters and readers trusted and believed in Ampersand, was sold, traded on already, contract signed, check cut, it’s a done deal. We can de-link all we want, stay away from Alas all we want, type in “ers” and carrots in whatever posts we post to Alas until the cows come home, it won’t make any difference now.
This was illuminating and hopeful, posted yesterday here by Katchen:
That’s some pretty nasty SEO tactics; seriously disreputable. I would advise anyone who objects to this to log a spam report with Google. www.google.com/contact/spamreport.html. I’m pretty sure there’s a good argument for this constituting spam tactics.It looks like Google have already blacklisted the links page itself; PageRank 0, so the links will no longer be any use to the porn sites themselves. The main site & blog still has fairly high rank though; 7/10.The funny* thing is that Amp has sold out to give the porn merchant a quick boost, and will possibly get his listings trashed as a result, whilst the porn site spammer moves on.With the traffic he gets to the site he could have sold out to a paid listings scheme from Google or Yahoo & be raking it in; He could easily have got a few $100 each month from them at any rate. I’m pretty sure if he’d explained the alternatives, his audience would have dealt with 4-5 unobtrusive links per page or on selected pages?I understand and can forgive desperation, but equally a whole lot of us have been desperate at some point in our lives, and how you choose to operate under those circumstances speaks volumes.*I don’t quite know which kind of funny. Katchen Says:
October 9th, 2006 at 10:59 am e
Actually, on double-checking Amp’s main domain, it appears the site has already been dropped from Google’s listings.
When I was doing research for these posts, I came across this, from a cartooning site that picked up on Amp’s announcement when he posted it and posted it here:
September 15, 2006
Selling to SEOs
An interesting way of doing business: Cartoonist Ampersand has sold his domain to a Search Engine Optimiser who lets him continue to run his (excellent) blog and cartoonist pages in exchange for a link on the blog’s front page and the ability to put whatever he wants (presumably link farms, but I haven’t been able to find out yet) on new pages on the website.
I suppose it’s as legit as any other form of sponsorship, and it sure beats having SEOs spamming their links on other people’s blogs against their will. But one wonders if it wouldn’t have been more effective for the SEO to buy a traditional sponsorship. What’s one link to a blog about, in this case, handbags, on Amptoon’s blog page worth in comparison to a well-placed ad, possibly drawn by Ampersand himself and integrated into the website, pointing directly to the product? Presumably the other stuff the SEO adds is worth more.
There is a risk involved that could cause Amp trouble for a long time to come. The reason I’m interested in this story at all is that the first thing that comes to mind when I think of Search Engine Optimization is spam. Comment spam and forum spams, the two blights on the Web that have caused me to spend many unpaid hours to clean up Waffle, Talk About Comics and, before Mithandir installed his latest honeypot-based comment spam blocker, the comments to Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan. I know that’s not entirely fair; there are forms of Search Engine Optimization that don’t involve spam, and what Amp’s buyer is doing could be one of them. But if the buyer is putting link farms on new pages within the amptoons.com domain, then these will themselves only become valuable if they’re widely linked to, and that means there’s a strong incentive for the new domain owner to spam. Actually, that applies to anything else he might put there – it can only be valuable for SEO purposes if it’s widely linked to.
You don’t want to be associated with a domain that’s spammed in blog comments or forums. Or associated with spam in any form at all. It got the makers of the blogging software WordPress in quite a bit of trouble and could end up doing the same to Ampersand.
If, as Katchen says, Amptoons has already been dropped from the ratings, that won’t be helpful to the pornhound who bought it, I’d assume. It will be interesting to see whether Amptoons turns up as so much porn spam in my spam queue, filtered out by Akismet.
Some have asked how much money Amp received. I don’t know the dollar figure, but I do know this: He got the equivalent of a year’s salary. That’s a lot of bananas.
I hope it’s worth it to him. What I also hope is that light bulbs aren’t going on in the heads of all sorts of theoretically pro-feminist bloggers, who, like Ampersand, see an opportunity to make a quick buck cheap. Nuttin but the bodies of women are at stake after all, you know? Porn happens. Might as well cash in on the gravy train.