By Felix Salmon
November 29, 2010

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Europe Approves Irish Rescue and New Rules on Bailouts — NYT

Can’t read the recap of the Spider-Man musical preview without wincing — NYT

Guardian editor says they provided copy of cables to NYT — Yahoo

“Our package received more abuse when marked ‘Fragile’” — Popular Mechanics

“One West has upgraded its voicemail, from purgatory to hell” — Hirsch

The Guardian’s Wikileaks interactive visualization — Guardian

When Afghanistan’s vice president visited the UAE last year, he was carrying $52 million in cash — NYT

Katrina vanden Heuvel: An Apology to John Tyner — Nation

The amazing story of – long-form consumer-advocacy at its best — NYT

Keeping us safe: a video of the TSA madness — Atlantic

High-speed video on a fast-moving train — Capn Design

TPG is risking more than all the money it ever made on J. Crew—$1.2 billion—to get back in the company it recently owned — CNBC

“It Gets Better” — Love, Pixar — YouTube

Spectacular, must-read David Roodman post on the Andhra Pradesh microfinance crisis — CGD

New Avedon record: $1.15 mil for “Dovima with Elephants” fashion shot — Artnet


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I was intrigued by that DecorMyEyes story too, but the technical thesis that bad reviews can boost PageRank was baffling. I even double-checked with the founder of GetSatisfaction, and as he put it “The article approaches SEO in near-mystical terms. Black Magic” 57901056

Almost every site that allows user input, including GetSatisfaction, wraps links in rel=”nofollow”. This tells search engines to not count the link as a vote for the purposes of ranking search results. The prime motivation is to remove the incentive to plaster forums and other places where users can create content with links to boost PageRank.

The story itself was well-written and worth telling, but I was left very frustrated that they’d decided to base it around a bogus theory that should have been caught by anyone with basic technical knowledge of SEO.

Posted by petewarden | Report as abusive

Bad reviews are not just on actual review sites. As a consumer, I pass on information like that to many friends so they wouldn’t be ripped off and I would do it via any media I had at hand. So in essence the review sites mentioned can surely be a catalyst regardless.

(You tell 10 friends and they tell 10 friends)

I doubt many people are using no follow unless the links are somehow affecting the site as much as using nofollow can. (If I am reading that the sites ranking itself is affected by using no follow) culpting/ tstxt-metarobots-relnofollow-the-impact- on-seo/

After the 2009 update, when you place rel=nofollow the amount of pagerank of the link (internal or external) is evaporated. As part of the followup to the update in 2009, Matt from Google answered thus:

Q: If I run a blog and add the nofollow attribute to links left by my commenters, doesn’t that mean less PageRank flows within my site?
A: If you think about it, that’s the way that PageRank worked even before the nofollow attribute.

Posted by hsvkitty | Report as abusive

As for J Crew, Oprah keeps saying she LUVS them. (I only watched 2 shows this month and she talked about them in both) It may be flash in the pan fashion but the iron is hot.

Posted by hsvkitty | Report as abusive

> I doubt many people are using no follow

That’s incorrect. Pretty much every non-trivial service that allows user generated content to appear on their pages surrounds links with nofollow. It’s pure self-interest, any that don’t become very tempting targets for spammers. See Twitter, YouTube, Wikipedia, GetSatisfaction for examples.

The only venues that are likely to increase PageRank are posts on personal blog, but they’re likely to have very little Google juice to pass on. Considering that the major avenues of spreading the word (GS, Facebook, Twitter, emails) don’t help at all, that’s going to be a pretty weak effect.

Posted by petewarden | Report as abusive

Pete, while your replies are compelling how is it possible that the negative response boosted his position? How is he also higher in rank then the highly regarded manufacturer of the goods when googled, when he is a work from home small timer?

The piece is more compelling then your argument against it, regardless.

Posted by hsvkitty | Report as abusive

Hopefully Google did solve the problem. At least doesn’t come up in the rankings first before the home site of the disigner glasses.

HOWEVER, they still come up as the first five of a search for DecorMyEyes and 7 of 10 are directed to the site and not bad reviews. If they had “fixed it” only the home site would have come up and the others would have been pushed down by bad reviews.

We shall see… ml

Posted by hsvkitty | Report as abusive