All About Content

Quote of the Week: Hannibal Lecter’s Guide to Link Building

Posted by Melanie Phung on Wednesday, April 2, 2008 at 12:46 pm

Quote of the Week from Eric Ward’s article on so-called “best practices” in link building:

Hannibal Lecter followed a set of “best practices” when he ate a census taker’s liver, and those best practices included Fava beans and a nice Chianti, but having best practices didn’t make him any less insane.

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Category: Link Building,Quote of the Week,Spam

10 Years of Viagra Spam

Posted by Melanie Phung on Thursday, March 27, 2008 at 9:26 am

Ten years ago today, the FDA approved the Pfizer-manufactured little blue pill, marketed under the trade name Viagra.

Sildenafil, the active drug in Viagra, was originally designed to lower blood pressure, but why lower blood pressure when you can raise… the amount of spam in people’s inboxes. Cheap magic manhood pills available anonymously online? That’s profit ready for the picking.

According to Wikipedia, Viagra has plenty of other uses too:

A low-concentration solution of sildenafil in water significantly prolongs the time before cut flowers wilt.

So next time you get get an email promising you your girlfriend’s eternal gratitude, and you’re ready to hit the delete button, think about the multitude of other uses Vyyiagr@ has.

Indirectly or directly, Pfizer is responsible for probably half of your email volume, so be sure to take a moment to reflect on the historic importance of this day. But remember, if your celebration of Viagra’s anniversary lasts more than three hours, please call a doctor.

Photo credit: Digital_Freak

Update: April 7
Oh look, what an honor: Aditya Mehta, on behalf of India Syndicate totally plagiarized my last paragraph and is republishing it on MSN. Classy.

Update: April 8
The plagiarized article has been removed from MSN. The URL now points to a different article.

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Category: Spam Harder to Spam

Posted by Melanie Phung on Wednesday, July 18, 2007 at 9:45 pm

Last week I ran across something I hadn’t seen before with online account registrations. Askville (Amazon’s user-generated Q&A forum) requires a cell phone number during the account creation process! That makes it exponentially harder to create multiple user accounts. (Unique email addresses? Puh-leeze.)


According to an email I just got from Research and Markets (disclaimer, I can’t vouch for this market research firm):

U.S. mobile penetration levels are currently at around 80 percent. This translates into roughly 240 million subscribers.

And obviously (obviously?) cell phone adoption by the types of people who would sign up for an Amazon Askville account would be at least a little higher than this. So Amazon is banking that their users will have a cell phone number, and that they’d be willing to give it up. Otherwise they’d be alienating a lot of potential users in a space that’s already a little crowded.

Seems pretty obtrusive to me, but it is does address the problem of people creating multiple user accounts to game the system.

Is this the direction account registration is going to have to go?

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Category: Spam

Google Bomb Algorithm Separate From Ranking Algorithm

Posted by Melanie Phung on Monday, June 4, 2007 at 9:59 pm

One of the interesting tidbits from this morning’s discussion with Google’s Matt Cutts has to do with how Google diffuses a “Google bomb” (such as the ones that Stephen Colbert recently pulled off with “greatest living American” and “giant brass balls“).

The reason they crop up and then disappear suddenly (as opposed to never succeeding in the first place) does not include any editorial intervention — however suspicious it may look. That’s consistent with what they’ve always said, even when the “miserable failure” results had President Bush’s bio page at the top forever.

Apparently the algorithm that sniffs out Google bombs is not built into the regular ranking algorithm; it’s run separately and only once every couple of months.

Another (valuable?) insight from this conference: Vanessa Fox is a big Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan. (Updated June 15: Vanessa Fox is leaving Google!)

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Category: Link Building,Spam

Folksonomy Spam, a.k.a. Tag Spam

Posted by Melanie Phung on Saturday, June 17, 2006 at 4:27 pm

For every evolution of the Internet, new types of spam are born. Wikipedia even has a whole article series about different kinds of spam. If you aren’t familiar with tagging and the ways it can be abused, learn a little about tag spam here and see a somewhat amusing example here.

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Category: Social Media,Spam