Linkbaiting is Annoying

I’ve been reading a lot of search engine stuff in my feed reader recently. I used to be deep into the search engine optimization knowledge, but at some point, I realized that it was, at some level, just scummy. Not the idea that you’d understand how engines work and do the little things to make your site rank appropriately. No, it was the other stuff, like link exchanges and link buying and the general dishonesty that comes along with that. When I go to a search engine, I want to actually find what I’m looking for, not have to dig through a bunch of crappy sites that think they deserve my traffic.

It got worse when AdSense came along, and it got even worse as Digg, Facebook, MySpace, and the other social networking-type sites got big. Now, not only were people gaming the engines, they were throwing up lame articles and gaming other systems to get both the search juice and the traffic. Their spammy site gets the best of both worlds, and the rest of us deal with more spam–just not of the email variety.

This week was a big to-do about one of these SEO/SMO guys who got banned from now-Yahoo! owned blog widget because he was posting how to hack it (and, quite frankly, being an all-around douche). So, a guy who games the system for a living was bitching about being banned from a free tool that he’d been posting how to hack. Topping it off, a whole bunch of other SEO folks (many of whom I’ve been reading for a few years now) hopped on and defended the guy.

I just don’t get it.

I understand that the whole idea behind this widget (MyBlogLog) and behind other sites (like Digg, Flickr, etc.) is community. You build a community and you get more than just the functionality of the widget, you get the benefit/fun of the community. It’s all so Webtwopointohy.

Finally, a voice of reason came through my feed reader. I’m hoping we’re reaching a tipping point. I’m hoping we’re reaching the point where every sales and marketing guy out there looking to score some quick money doesn’t look at every new site and widget as something to game and make money. Now, I’m not against making money. I’d love to create a site that has some value to people and figure out a way (ads or not) to make some money. But the group of folks who exist solely to put up a site with ads, get it on Digg, and get enough sheep to click on it need to go away. They used to be called spammers, and it’s about time we go back to calling them that.

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