Since it’s come to my attention that WP.org has been involved in unsavory business projects involving a misuse of pagerank, I’ve removed all links to Wordpress.org from the blogs I manage. I’ve also removed any mention of the Wordpress software, including changing the meta generator tag to:
<meta name=”generator” content=”Elliott Back 1.0″ /></meta>
I encourage all you to the same. Deny wordpress.org your pagerank and help prevent further abuse in the future.
Matt has an “official” response here: photomatt.net/2005/04/01/a-response/
Now that Kottke.org has become a publicly funded enterprise, he has a responsibility to “edit/write/design/code the site for one year on a full-time basis.” This means that his posts should be frequent, long, and of high quality since he started blogging full time on 2/22/2005. However, a graph of post length over time shows a disturbing fact:
The length and quantity of posts are incredibly low in the month since he went public! On average, every day he writes about 300 words, not counting the numerous links that go on the site. Is 300 words a full time job? Not really. Take a look at this telling histogram:
Kotte.org Posts” />
More than 50% off Kottke.org’s new full time consists of posting virtually nothing! To put this in precise terms, we can construct a 95% confidence interval for the average length of Kottke’s posts. Since n=37 samples, we have approximately a standard normal distribution, which implies the following large-sample confidence interval:
Plugging in the data since he went public, you get the following interval:
95% CI: (69, 322)
In plain terms, we can say with 95% probability that Kottke’s average post-lengths fall in this interval. Or, in other words, it certainly doesn’t look like he’s working on www.kottke.org as a full time job.
It’s not that I don’t like www.kottke.org as a blog. I was just surprised to see little change about the site when he “went public” and received funding to work on it full time. This is a quantitative measure of exactly how much posting he’s done since then, which bears out my impressions. It’s a great blog, and I’m sure he’s a great guy, but, the posting is sparse!
This just in. Apparently the Wordpress.org site is hosting spammy articles on certain high-profit topics to attract click revenues. Since WP.org has a high pagerank, they get a lot of traffic, and thus a lot of revenue. The full story is at Waxy.org.
Here’s a screenshot of a given spam article page, to give you a feel for what they’re up to:
Bloggers are in outrage: Yahoo 360, SEO Roundtable, and Kottke all have something to say. VirtualElvis points out the technique Matt used to “hide” the links from regular visitors, a black-hat SEO trick forbidden by Google called “cloaking”:
The links are positioned -9000 pixels offscreen so that they are invisible to the human eye. But, Google sees them (all 120,000 of them), and drives traffic to those pages. Is making money this way ethical? Time will tell.
The most concerning thing is that it was hidden–cloak and dagger. If Matt / WP.org were honest about their advertising, I’m sure this wouldn’t have been an issue.
The register has an amusing piece: www.theregister.co.uk/2005/03/31/cnet_weblog_keyword_scam/ Also, Matt has an official response here: photomatt.net/2005/04/01/a-response/