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Wordpress Banned by Google for Spamming 472

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the there-be-scammers-everywhere dept.
The Real Nick W writes "Wordpress, an incredibly popular Open Source Blogging system was found to be spamming google by inserting hidden links to junk content on high paying Adsense keywords such as mesothelioma and debt consolidation. Following Threadwatch picking up the story an anonymous Google rep appeared in the original thread admonishing bloggers not to use sneaky tactics to rank highly for "duplicate content" such as the 100,000 hidden articles on the Wordpress site. The articles have now dissapeared from Google and it remains to be seen whether Google will ban Wordpress outright as they tend to do when SEO's and web dev's pull these kinds of stunts."
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Wordpress Banned by Google for Spamming

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  • Er... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ZiZ (564727) * on Thursday March 31, 2005 @03:42PM (#12102995) Homepage
    "Mesothelioma"? It's a cancer, I guess (or so Google says), but not one I've ever heard of. How did that get to be an expensive adsense word?
    • One word... (Score:4, Informative)

      by tag (22464) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @03:43PM (#12103015)
      lawyers.
    • Re:Er... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Juggle (9908) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @03:43PM (#12103018) Homepage
      Two words - Asbestos lawsuits.

      • Re:Er... (Score:2, Funny)

        by m50d (797211)
        Could you clarify that for those of us who are unfamiliar with them? Wikipedia doesn't show anything for it.
        • Re:Er... (Score:3, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Asbestos was widely used as a building material (insulation, I think) before it was found to be carcinogenic. Nowadays there's a bunch of money to be made suing everybody from a diddle eyed joe to a damned if i know when you come down with cancer related to asbestos exposure.
          • Fireproof insulation, to be exact. It works great so long as it isn't disturbed, but once it gets pushed on or touched, asbestos fibers get in the air and tend to not leave your lungs.
          • Re:Er... (Score:5, Interesting)

            by ergo98 (9391) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @04:12PM (#12103351) Homepage Journal
            My father worked for a couple of decades for Grace [grace.com] in a processing plant in St. Thomas, ON., and of course in his mid-50s he developed, and passed away from, a quick spreading lung cancer caused by asbestos.

            Of course the cause was the heavily laced vermiculite (I remember hopping in big bins full of the stuff when I was a kid. It was a really neat spongy stuff that looked really interesting [google.ca]) that Grace was processing at the St. Thomas plant, and they knew for many years that it was packed full of asbestos but decided that lawsuits due to death and injuries were less costly than cutting off the asbestos lined mine.

            Anyways, a lot of executives at Grace should have gone to jail for gross negligence causing death, but of course they didn't. As it stands we never did sue Grace, as that sort of case is much less common here in Canada, but I'm sure my father wasn't the only victim.
            • Re:Er... (Score:4, Interesting)

              by tompaulco (629533) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @05:41PM (#12104446) Homepage Journal
              Just to clarify, vermiculite itself does not contain asbestos. In fact, it is a type of rock in and of itself which, like a ballpark frank, "Plumps when you cook it", becoming a very light rock.
              The reason the two became associated was, as mentioned in parent, one particular vermiculite mine had asbestos in it as well. All the vermiculite mines which tested positive for asbestos are now closed down.
              I used vermiculite and cement for the bottom of my inground swimming pool (under the liner of course). The result is a bottom that is easier on the feet than a traditional concrete bottom. While vermiculite and cement is not as strong as gravel and cement, it is still able to support a 30 foot water column, which is far deeper than my pool.
              Vermiculite is also commonly used as insulation, especially in masonry applications.
            • Re:Er... (Score:3, Interesting)

              by Lawrence_Bird (67278)
              Peter Grace was a ogre. Did you know he packed a gun? This was in the early 80s. As a CEO you would really have to do some bad things to be that concerned for your well being to carry your own gun and body guards.
      • Re:Er... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by The Jonas (623192) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @03:58PM (#12103197)
        True. A couple of years ago books with commercial and government applications and recommendation for asbestos use were selling for upwards of $2000.00 on eBay. Here [ebay.com] is another example of some of the continued interest in collecting evidence in these lawsuits. One of the better selling books back then was "Naval Machinery [ebay.com]" which detailed the use of asbestos in US battleships, etc.

        An ebay search for "asbestos" sometimes yields some surprising results.
    • Re:Er... (Score:5, Informative)

      by TheFlyingGoat (161967) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @03:44PM (#12103027) Homepage Journal
      Because asbestos exposure eventually causes mesothelioma, and lawyers are all about suing in asbestos cases lately. There might be other reasons, but that's the first one I thought of.
    • Re:Er... (Score:5, Informative)

      by freitasm (444970) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @03:44PM (#12103030)
      Lawyers make so much money in lawsuits that they are willing to pay the most for each click on ads with this word.

      There are rummours these are one of the highest paying keywords around.

      Some people will make anything to have these ads on their pages - even use hidden text to try and catch the Google bot attention. This is the "spamming" in the article.
    • Oh, crap!!! (Score:5, Funny)

      by feloneous cat (564318) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @03:44PM (#12103034)
      I just ordered mesothelioma from a Greek diner!
    • "Mesothelioma"? It's a cancer, I guess (or so Google says), but not one I've ever heard of. How did that get to be an expensive adsense word?

      It's a specific form of cancer caused by asbesthos. And since some-one has to put asbesthos somewhere before you get to breathe it (it doesn't grow on trees), there's some one to blame, and to sue, and therefore, a handsome profit to be made.

      The assumption is that people who have it will know the name and search for it on google, whereas the unwashed masses wouldn'
  • by feloneous cat (564318) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @03:42PM (#12103006)
    ... googling something will turn up nothing. But it will do it in 0.073 seconds!
  • Blogger.com (Score:3, Insightful)

    by filmmaker (850359) * on Thursday March 31, 2005 @03:42PM (#12103007) Homepage
    This leads me to wonder: what about blogger.com? There's just as much dubious "blogging" going on there as anywhere.
    • Re:Blogger.com (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 31, 2005 @03:51PM (#12103117)
      It isn't blog spam. It spam hidden elsewhere on the wordpress site that's the problem. Read the article!

      Spammers are paying the wordpress site to host bogus articles on the site. Since the blogs of people that use the wordpress software package link to the wordpress site, the wordpress site is ranked as an authoritative site. This lets the spammers get their rankings on Google boosted because wordpress links to them in the bogus spam articles.

      It has NOTHING to do with what people are blogging about.
    • Re:Blogger.com (Score:5, Informative)

      by Raven15 (152175) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @03:53PM (#12103137)
      The issue here isn't what individuals are putting on their pages, it's that Wordpress put a bunch of invisible links on it's front page. Because Wordpress has a high Google rating, this boosted the Google rating for the links. Obviously that's in violation of Google's terms.
    • Re:Blogger.com (Score:3, Informative)

      by Suburbanpride (755823)
      while this wasn't about blogging, Google owns blogger.com so I doubt that they woudl have any problem with them. I am curious however to see how google plans to make money with blogger, besides encouraging bloogers to put up advertising.
      • Re:Blogger.com (Score:3, Interesting)

        by filmmaker (850359) *
        That's an interesting question, but I think they may be able to make a reasonable business model out of just the ads. That is, supposing they continue to have so much dominance. The ad model doesn't scale down too well, in terms of true viability and not "vacation money."
  • Heh (Score:5, Funny)

    by Neil Blender (555885) <neilblender@gmail.com> on Thursday March 31, 2005 @03:42PM (#12103008)
    I search google for mesothelioma about once a week (from various proxies) and click on an adwords ad just to screw some lawyer out of $40 (which is what a click on that keyword costs.)
  • by chris09876 (643289) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @03:43PM (#12103012)
    Although it's good that Google's taking a step in the right direction by trying to keep their index clean, there are lots of sites who try to spam the index. SEO is a huge 'industry'. Cracking down on some of the big perpetrators is a good start, but more needs to be done if Google wants to maintain (and even improve) the quality of their searches.
  • SEO (Score:5, Interesting)

    by chiapetofborg (726868) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @03:43PM (#12103024) Homepage
    I work for an SEO company, and we hear about all the sneaky tricks, but it isn't all that hard to be optimized while not pulling sneaky attacks. Google has a very complicated algorithm that take a lot of things into effect. The reason that they rank pages that have certain characteristics, is because those pages can actually be good, they don't have to be sneaky. A very closely monitored network of domains, can get a very high page rank. One need not revert to sneaky tactics to do well.
    • Re:SEO (Score:5, Interesting)

      by rjelks (635588) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @04:02PM (#12103237) Homepage
      "One need not revert to sneaky tactics to do well."

      If Google gives higher rankings to sites that have more links pointed at them, would you consider link exchange programs sneaky? For instance, lots of websites link to slashdot.org, but I doubt that CowboyNeil has a SEO company getting reciprocal links for /. I'm really not trying to flame, but I'd like to understand the perspective from the SEO's.

      Are link exchanges just another example of exploiting a flaw in google?
    • Re:SEO (Score:3, Funny)

      by hackstraw (262471) *
      One need not revert to sneaky tactics to do well.

      Cool!

      Now once the spammers figure that out, spam will stop.
    • Re:SEO (Score:3, Insightful)

      by kurosawdust (654754)
      One need not revert to sneaky tactics to do well.

      Google's job is to give the user the most relevant pages to a topic. A search for "viagra" should ideally bring up things like the webmd information for the drug and pfizer's site long before any "BUY CHEAP PERSCRIPTION V1AGR@ FROM Cherub J. Happenstance" pages.

      Consequently, anything that you do to your web page specifically and solely for the purpose of increasing your search engine ranking without increasing the relevance of your page, while we can spli

    • by billstewart (78916) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @06:31PM (#12104947) Journal
      Google Pagerank's objective is to use robots to guess which pages will be interesting to humans, and present the interesting pages first and the boring ones later. There are three ways an SEO can help you with this:
      • Tell you to write content that's actually interesting to humans. (Editors do this professionally, and pagerank originally attempted to do this by guessing that if people go to the effort to put links on their web pages then the targets are probably interesting to those people.)
      • Make sure that your interesting content is presented in a way that robots can find it. (An FAQ that tells you to put your keywords in titles and META tags can do this, or an HTML editor tool can do it automagically, but some people do need to pay someone else to RTFM for them, and theoretically an SEO can make money doing it.)
      • Lie to the robots so they guess that your customers' actually-uninteresting content is probably interesting, so the robots show the humans the boring SEO-assisted pages first instead of the actually interesting pages. This lying is the main business that effective SEOs really engage in. (Ineffective SEOs are in the business of lying to their customers about being effective SEOs, but they and their customers deserve each other and sort of by definition don't have a high enough pagerank to worry about.)
        • "Sneaky attacks" are SEO lies.
        • "A very closely monitored network of domains" is SEO lying too.
        • Hijacking blog comment services is really annoying SEO lying.
        • Robogenerating lots of pages with lots of popular search keywords, especially if you're building them into URL names, is SEO lying.
        • Robogenerating them without actually storing them anywhere might be technically interesting SEO lying, though disk space is so cheap these days that it might not be necessary.
        • Hijacking real pages using 302-Redirect attacks is technically interesting for about 15 minutes, but is really nasty spammer lying.
      Googlebombing by using sneaky techniques to promote your "403 Weapons of Mass Destruction Not Found" and "Miserable Failure"->"whitehouse.gov" pages was technically similar to SEO lying - but it was clever and amusing metacontent, and deserved its 15 minutes of fame, and watching the sleazy Republicans reply in kind was amusing too, but it's Been Done Now.
  • Google (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Schezar (249629) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @03:44PM (#12103028) Homepage Journal
    This is why I love Google. They approach problems in an intelligent manner.

    Problem: Spammers are very obviously trying to muck with our results.

    Solution: Block said spammers.

    The only problem is that it's hard to notice all but the most egregious offenders.

    I've love Google to add a link to the standard search results. Something like "Report Spam." If enough (100k, a million, whatever) unique people/IPs reported a site or result, it would be flagged for human review.
    • by jbellis (142590) <jonathan@NoSpam.carnageblender.com> on Thursday March 31, 2005 @03:52PM (#12103125) Homepage
      you would shortly have SEDO (search engine de-optimizer) specialists who charge you to sic their botnets on your competition... no thanks.
    • Re:Google (Score:5, Insightful)

      by alatesystems (51331) <(moc.daotgniklat) (ta) (sirhc)> on Thursday March 31, 2005 @03:53PM (#12103144) Homepage Journal
      The only problem is that it's hard to notice all but the most egregious offenders.
      Except when it's posted on Ars Technica [arstechnica.com] for all the geeks in the world, including Google employees, to see.

      I've love Google to add a link to the standard search results. Something like "Report Spam." If enough (100k, a million, whatever) unique people/IPs reported a site or result, it would be flagged for human review.
      That has to be the most insightful thing I have EVER read in a slashdot comment. You should suggest it via the google suggest page. It sounds like a great idea to use the most awesome pattern matching machine(the human mind). I'm sure there are more than enough people like you and I that can tell just from the description it's a google-attacking spam page that would flag it.

      In short, mod parent up.
    • Re:Google (Score:2, Interesting)

      by brontus3927 (865730)
      I like the idea for this, but I don't think it could ever be implemented well. First of all, if the number is too small, it would be really easy to abuse. If it was too large, it would be useless. I'm sure Microsoft has enough resouces to get www.redhat.com flagged.

      Alternatively (and I'm sure just as difficult to implement) would be a voting system. Allow users to vote on which links had the information they searched for. And figure in a sites vote tally into its rating

      • Re:Google (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Cecil (37810)
        What part of "Flagged for human review" does everyone not understand?

        When a Google employee looks through the flagged sites, removing the ones which are clearly SEO-spam they will see www.redhat.com and think, "Gee, I am not so sure that is a spam site" and not remove it. Very simple. In fact, a particularly vindictive human reviewer may in fact go to his or her superiors and say "Hey, this site was unfairly submitted for review and I don't think that many people would accidentally do that. Why don't you l
    • Google Spam Report (Score:5, Informative)

      by frankie (91710) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @04:08PM (#12103310) Journal
      You mean like the Google SpamReport page [google.com]? It exists.

      They used to link to it at the bottom of some (random?) search result pages, but I haven't seen it posted publically in a while. Perhaps it didn't actually work as well as you or they hope it would.
  • Ban their ass (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Donny Smith (567043) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @03:45PM (#12103043)
    Does the fact that they're OSS-based make them immune to rules?
    Shall we let some spammers go wild just because they might be using sendmail?

    I say ban their ass.
    • I agree. I really hate to say it, but if Microsoft / Generic Evil Corp. did this stuff on their website, you can damn well be sure their pages would be out of the index fast.
  • They had a high google rank, and profited(/broke even?) on it by breaking google's terms of service.
    Not too surprising that google did something about it.
  • Is this one case where forking isn't a bad thing?
    • Re:Fork the bastards (Score:3, Informative)

      by mopslik (688435)

      Is this one case where forking isn't a bad thing?

      How would forking help? If you read the article...

      It turns out, that Matt is hosting a bunch of articles on subjects like asbestos, insurance and debt consolidation on his PR8 website in order to cover costs and furthering the project.

      So it's not an issue of Joe Blogger's Wordpress software being used to spam Google (although most blogs are susceptible to this). It's an issue of Wordpress's creator using the Wordpress.org site to host "spam" articles.


  • By banning sites, this may do more to hurt the searchers than the sites perpetrating the abuse. There may be some legitimate information on a site that is not found because of the ban. It seems that a smarter tactic would be to set the ranking algorithm not to rank based on links from an abusive site.
  • by Merik (172436) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @03:52PM (#12103120) Homepage
    I use wordpress on my blog. [jnuwebsites.com]

    And i get a loads of comment spam that use keywords similar to the spam words that the wordpress website was hosting.

    I wonder if the wordpress website maintainer has aided the creation of spam bots to identify worpress users and post on thier sites using weaknesses of the default install.
  • Soooo (Score:2, Insightful)

    Can we assume that WordPress **users** are not going to be targeted by Google as a result of this? According to the WordPress site there have been about 100,000 downloads of version 1.5 and that means that a whole swath of legitimate users could get taken down by association if someone gets vindictive.

    What the developer did was wrong, but no offense to Google, stop playing favorites here. Ban casinos and porn before you ban wordpress for spam because 90% of the spamming out there is done by gamblers and po
  • So, did they remove pages/sites that are running Wordpress, or did they remove pages from Wordpress.org? Cuz both seem to still come up in Google results just fine.
    • So, did they remove pages/sites that are running Wordpress, or did they remove pages from Wordpress.org?

      I suspect the latter. The Wordpress.org site is hosting hidden content, not the average user's blog.

      • Well, that would mean a Google search on Wordpress wouldn't come up with links to Wordpress.org then wouldn't it? But they sure as hell do [google.com]. After reading some of the articles, it seems more like Wordpress' creator's site is what may have been removed, not Wordpress itself. Poorly written submission, me thinks. Doesn't give any clear information at all.
    • Re:I don't get it. (Score:2, Informative)

      by tpwch (748980)
      They removed the pages from wordpress.org/articles/
  • Next ban eBay! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by n1ywb (555767) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @03:59PM (#12103203) Homepage Journal
    Speaking of google adwords spammers, eBay has got to be the worst. Every other search I do I get some generic and irrelevant eBay ad with an incomplete sentence containing one of my keywords.
  • by Mike626 (70084) <injoke@gm a i l.com> on Thursday March 31, 2005 @04:02PM (#12103231) Homepage
    ...one option to check out is http://b2evolution.net [b2evolution.net]. Open Sourced, PHP and MySQL based. I've been using it for three months.

    It's flexible, and I like it. You might too.

  • none (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 31, 2005 @04:02PM (#12103238)
    The current issue of 2600 had a letter suggesting people do exactly what Wordpress was now caught doing. Funny thing is, the letter writer was given a dismissive response, because everyone thought it wouldn't work (at least not for long.)
  • by Dethboy (136650) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @04:06PM (#12103289) Homepage
    Reaction...

    Go here: http://planet.wordpress.org/ [wordpress.org]

    Read. Maybe read it again if yer slow. Sounds like the guy was simply trying to raise a few bucks to support what is IMO one of the best blogging apps out there.
    • by geoffspear (692508) * on Thursday March 31, 2005 @04:12PM (#12103352) Homepage
      Quite frankly, I don't care if a spammer is doing it to support his development of a blogging app, his crack habit, or a nearly-bankrupt orphanage.
    • by AtariAmarok (451306) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @04:17PM (#12103409)
      So spamming and trashing search engines is OK if you think it is a good cause?
    • His motives aren't the problem. His methods were pretty crappy. I hope this doesn't damage the WP project itself, as it seems like a great piece of software which I was planning to use (and still am).
    • That's a load of crap. What do you think the end result would be if every open source app decided to do the same? Quite frankly, its disgusting that a GPL'd project would go out and piss all over the very commons that it depends on for its success, especially after all of the blog community's efforts to combat just these sorts of abuses. To have one of our own aid the enemy is unforgivable. I am furious, and I will not be placated by whimpering about "Matt's a nice guy" or "He needed the money!"

      Its very se
  • by Rinisari (521266) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @04:09PM (#12103324) Homepage Journal
    Blogger [blogger.com] is [blogspot.com] full [blogspot.com] of [blogspot.com] this [blogspot.com] shit [blogspot.com], too [blogspot.com].

    Just keep hitting "Next Blog" and you'll find a ton of blogs set up for advertising, just like those.
    • by dr.badass (25287) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @05:39PM (#12104421) Homepage
      The difference being that Blogger's spam isn't created by the people that run Blogger.

      The uproar is over the fact that the lead developer and site maintainer of Wordpress was responsible for hosting the spammy pages. Even the page for donations has the hidden links. [wordpress.org]

      The stated reason for this is to cover his costs and hire a full-time developer, but this raises a lot of questions about the need to do so -- What exactly are those costs? And is it really worth hiring a full-timer if it has to be funded with spam?

      It doesn't help his case that he's presently on vacation in Italy [photomatt.net].

      (I'm not trying to bash him personally -- just trying to clarify the issue for those that don't understand.)
  • About time dammit (Score:5, Interesting)

    by onyxruby (118189) <onyxruby@comcastRASP.net minus berry> on Thursday March 31, 2005 @04:11PM (#12103332)
    If Google would do this kind of thing much more often, it's results would stop becoming watered down. They should make their policy simple. Googlebomb google and stop getting linked from Google. After a few businesses get nailed and put out to pasture the rest will learn and their results will once more become relevant.
  • by Teja (826685)
    I believe it is important to note that no flaming should be directed against Matt (founder of Wordpress). Afterall, all this was done so that it would improve the Wordpress project. Here [jluster.org] is a good response to all this. Spam is spam, but there is a new side to all this.
  • I like Wordpress (Score:3, Interesting)

    by randomErr (172078) <ervin.kosch@nOsPaM.gmail.com> on Thursday March 31, 2005 @04:12PM (#12103347) Homepage Journal
    Damn, and I really like Wordpress. I'm using it and Thingamablog as my two main bloging tools. I wonder what kind fallout this means for Wordpress from its developer?
  • by imsabbel (611519) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @04:13PM (#12103364)
    just now from their frontpage:
    <div style="text-indent: -9000px; overflow: hidden;">
    <p>Sponsored <a href="/articles/articles.xml">Articles</a> on <a href="/articles/credit.htm">Credit</a>, <a href="/articles/health-care.htm">Health</a>, <a href="/articles/insurance.htm">Insurance</a>, <a href="/articles/home-business.htm">Home Business</a>, <a href="/articles/home-buying.htm">Home Buying</a> and <a href="/articles/web-hosting.htm">Web Hosting</a></p>
    </div>
  • what a shame (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Hallow (2706) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @04:15PM (#12103382) Homepage
    First they don't tell anybody about it. Then they stop people from talking about it.

    Stuff like this is just sleazy, and calls into question the character of the devs and site admins. Either that, or it's just a really stupid, really immature move.

    I wonder if they've realized they've just upset a lot of users, who are now wondering if they can trust the devs and the software they produce anymore. I wonder if they even care.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 31, 2005 @04:23PM (#12103470)
    What happened: Photomatt, the guy who pretty much calls the shots when it comes to WordPress, was paid by a company called Hot Nacho to put up 100,000+ "articles" at WordPress.org. The point of these articles is to help Hot Nacho game Google. Furthermore, WordPress.org used a CSS trick putting links to the articles at -9000pixels on the WordPress home page. This is called "cloaking" and is explicitly forbidden by Google.

    Why this is bad: WordPress is an open source piece of software. It's okay for the people running it to try to make money off it, either by asking for donations or selling t-shirts or anything else they can think of (www.textdrive.com comes to mind), but to knowingly break Google's rules and to receive money from a company whose practices many would consider shady without any feedback from the WP community is just a damn shame. A lot of people don't care and think everyone is being too critical of WordPress. They think asking for "transparency" in an operation like WP is stupid. Well yes, and no.

    A lot of people have given a lot of time to WP. Did they have any say in this? From what I've read, they didn't. So this is one person taking the ball and running with it...he didn't ask if it was a good idea, he didn't ask for alternative ideas, he just decided that he knew what was best for the community and WordPress. Well, he didn't. Take a look at Wikimedia [wikimedia.org]. When they have a donation drive, you know exactly how much money they get and where it's going. You can find out about the drive in advance, and read about it afterwards. What about WordPress? Just 100k+ articles popping up without a word until after they are discovered...

    WordPress has made quite a name for itself, and is a great example of open source software in action. But this incident is a blight on the community. People will see this, not know all the facts, and make their own interpretations and ideas. Some will distort this to help their own FUD..."Why contribute to projects who are just going to try and profit off your code in any way they can?" Matt sounds like a great guy, and seems to have the purest of intentions, but not much good can come of a decision like this. Everyone is watching right now, and it's mistakes like this that open source could really do without.
  • by mcguyver (589810) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @04:27PM (#12103546) Homepage
    Built-for-adsense-sites have been becoming more and more popular over the past two years. It's refreshing to finally see google actively go after these sites:

    built for adsense sites [google.com]

    This would be a non-issue if the Google search engine and Google Adsense program were not part of the same company. Or if the built-for-adsense website were not using Adsense. It's strange that someone would put so much work into creating these spammy sites then overlook something so obvious. You are putting your fate into the hands of Google, the judge and jury, when you rely on both Google as a search engine and Google as your ad network. I doubt wordpress would get noticed for spam if they were using another contextual ad network to monetize traffic or another form of online advertising.
  • by kiwidefunkt (855968) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @04:29PM (#12103568) Homepage
    I'm a wordpress user. I didn't see any "Wordpress needs your help, and $5!" text on the site lately. Maybe I missed it? I haven't donated to wordpress because there are a thousand open source projects out there and it's not so easy to decide where to send your hard earned, free software supporting cash. But if I saw wordpress was in trouble, it'd make that decision a lot easier. There's no way they exhausted all other options before dipping into the Google-TOS-defying low they've reached. Oh well. Live and learn. Nothing gold can stay.
  • Interesting... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by doormat (63648) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @04:46PM (#12103770) Homepage Journal
    I just downloaded WordPress last night - to replace my homespun blog software I wrote back in 2001 (for my blog that I started all the way back in 1996 - it was just me writing HTML for everything). I guess I'll be sticking with my code for a bit longer now, until I find a suitale replacement. I surely dont want to support a company that does this...

    Perhaps I'll be even rewriting my software, since I cant find anything that I like.
  • by Clueless Moron (548336) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @05:10PM (#12104057)
    SE"O"s do NOT optimize search engines; they simply attempt to make their paying clients appear higher in the list, no matter how shoddy or irrelevant their product is, by trying to fool and abuse the page ranking algorithms.

    It'd be more accurate to call them "Search Engine Spammers", because that's exactly what they do.

  • by Linuxathome (242573) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @05:13PM (#12104098) Homepage Journal
    Personally, I don't care about the fact that Matt wants to make money from the work he did for wordpress. I'm more concerned over the fact that he's engaging in something that I wouldn't do myself -- that is, stacking his site with keywords that pay disproportionately more than other adsense keywords.

    I'm willing to look past what Matt does because he's essentially allowing another service (Hot Nacho) usurp his pagerank and I have a feeling he's going to drop Hot Nacho, but I'm having a harder time forgiving people like Chris Pirillo [pirillo.com] who promotes nonsense such as this guy's scheme [adsense-secrets.com] to get more money from adsense. It sounds too much like the get rich quick real estate schemes of the late night infomercials. Everyone, please! If you use adsense then live by the adage, if it sounds too good to be true, then most likely it is. Don't ruin it for the rest of us by doing this grey area shit. We all will lose out! Sure the tricks may work in your favor in the here and now (like a pyramid scheme), but at who's cost in the long run? Sites who put up legit information about a certain adword will be sideswiped by sites who cheat. It's not fair. If google can't fix the cheats, they'll just yank it for everyone across the board.

    Additionally, by tolerating behavior such as this, we're opening the door for other sites to steal legit material written by those who've poured too much research and time in each article. Play by the rules and everyone will be happy. If you're a leecher, hoarder, or just plain criminal, I wish you the worst case of hemorrhoids, dysentery, and cholera combined.
  • by Jayfar (630313) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @07:16PM (#12105332)
    on wordpress.org view source and look for the following:

    div style="text-indent: -9000px; overflow: hidden;

    and in that div are the invisible spam links. The word press gang has to be pretty unsophisticated if they thought nobody would view source and catch this eventually. And they still have tyhe offending code on their main page.
  • by pkhuong (686673) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @10:12PM (#12106578) Homepage
    OK, so we link to wordpress.org by default. I just changed the link to wordpress.org.remove-me-they-google-bomb. I like the credit and helping others find good software, but I disapprove of the "fund raising" practice. Problem solved. I may put the correct link back once they stop the google bombing.

    To others who want to do the same, there are two links in the index.php file (one in the right side menu, and the other in the bottom timer section), and another one in wp-comments-popup.php (again, the bottom timer).

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