definitely yet another car crash

  • Engtech on how to enable locally related posts (requires the CSS upgrade). Naturally this was censored from the forums.
  • Lorelle isn’t a fan. I think the main issue she and many others are having is that it looks like the links are blogger-controlled and sanctioned. Why isn’t there a ‘powered by Sphere’ label to disclose how they’re being generated? Please don’t tell me it’s Automattic’s reluctance to give credit to third-parties in action yet again. This is one mess they shouldn’t want to be claiming responsibility for.
  • why don’t Automattic ever think about how their actions affect people blogging about sensitive issues? or the businesses they’re supposedly at pains to attract? What if a NSFW link turns up on a Club Penguin blog? It’s all very well to direct people to the ‘Report as mature’ or ‘Report as spam’ buttons, but by that point offence has already been taken and you’ve had to deliver the objectional site another pageview in order to report them. And what if the link is offsite? Won’t somebody think of the children?
  • I’m still not seeing any related posts on this blog. At first I thought Adblock must be taking care of them, but I’ve now seen them on three other sites so that’s not it. Clearly nobody else is writing stuff related to mine and I am unique in my own little niche! Or I have been shut out of the system because somebody might take offence at my username. Whatever. I’m shutting it off pre-emptively because I’m deriving no benefit from it and it may hurt other people down the line.
  • The person who decided to make this feature opt-out rather than opt-in needs to not be in a decision-making capacity anymore. Frankly I am sick of third-party providers getting to call the shots without considering the needs of users. This is a nice feature for those who want it, but it is a bloody terrible one for those who don’t. Sure, it would take longer to build up your database, and you’d end up sending more traffic outside wordpress.com in the short term, but these disadvantages would be offset by not pissing people off by inserting spam into their posts. Sometimes you should go for the less convenient option because it’s the right thing to do.
  • Andy Beard wonders why the links, which are clearly search queries, aren’t no-followed. So do I. Well, no, I don’t really. I just think they should be. It isn’t especially fair or intuitive that people are dishing out PR to random unapproved links when they can’t even switch off no-follow for regular commenters.

    And if you’re up for some fresh outrage about the global tagging scam check out his post about language subdomains throwing up identical global tag pages (ht: adam, in comments). Whoa. What strikes me about this is the blatant conflict of interest on Google’s part: they’re not going to block these duplicate search pages because they’re benefiting from the ads served on them. If Automattic happened to be with another ad provider then I have no doubt Google would smack them hard. It all leaves a really unpleasant taste in my mouth.

17 Comments »

  1. Bug Girl said

    Amen.

  2. About Tags pages in other languages, few weeks ago were identical. Now only shows post of the same language. Checkout the Dreamhost tag page in English and Spanish

  3. Although I don’t like the idea of having no control of links thrown up on my blog, I am going to leave it on just to see the random madness that it throws my way.

    Unfortunately, I must be in the same glass bubble as you, though. All but two of the many posts I’ve checked on mine have ‘possibly’ related posts.

  4. They do seem to be taking care of this now: Google’s 18 April cache of http://de.wordpress.com/tag/flex/ contains only English posts, but the current version is German-only. And tag pages are now returning a ‘sorry, no results’ message if there are no posts in the target language.

    This eliminates the duplicate content issue; but not the fact that each tag generates a new global tag page for each subdomain. And the majority are going to be identical ‘sorry, no results’ pages. And 404s, if anything, are going to have more ad clickthroughs than pages with actual content.

  5. Andy Beard said

    I don’t see any ads on the new pages without content, but then Adsense on pages without content or 404 pages is breaking the Adsense ToS.

    All those junk pages push legitimate pages out of the serp, even important ones for Automattic (you would think) such as their WordPress consultants page, which does appear a few pages lower on the example I gave.

    What they have effectively done is changed junk duplicate content pages into junk stub pages of even less value.

  6. engtech said

    I like the “you’re stealing traffic” argument if you try to use the related posts feature without linking to other people.

    I’ve been watching my referrers like a hawk and I still have yet to see anyone click on my blog from a “possibly related posts” link.

  7. I haven’t seen anyone claiming a major traffic boost from this feature. I don’t think even Automattic can seriously believe large numbers of people are actually going to click on these autogenerated links. They’re not there to redirect traffic or send people to other content they might find interesting; they’re only saying that to bribe people into continuing to host the links. They exist to build PR for wordpress.com blogs and sphere’s external partners.

    If Automattic want to prove they’re doing this for users’ benefit rather than for Google’s, they can no-follow the links or let people use the feature locally.

  8. […] don’t even get me started on the Possibly Related Posts thing.  I think between TGA and the forum threads, the whole subject has been pretty much covered.  As if it needed explained, […]

  9. timethief said

    Well Matt has replied to the issue here … lol :D

    http://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic.php?id=27500&replies=3

  10. timethief said

    And ladies and gents we now have dashboard tips = advertising to purchase a domain and domain mapping …
    Yup, it’s not a bug; it’s a feature LOL :D

    http://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic.php?id=27466&replies=17#post-197133

  11. ‘quite honestly it’s just better for them to have their own domain’? Yeah, that’s why you’re advertising in people’s dashboards. It’s entirely for their own good, and the fact that you stand to gain $15 per year recurring from everyone who bites has nothing at all to do with it.

    The thing that really boggles the brain is that he’s not even trying to slide that past penguins or Snow Lovers; he’s talking to forum volunteers who have been around the site for a while and expecting them not to recognise it as bullshit. Maybe he just assumes that anyone still helping out there must be stupid?

  12. options said

    TGA wrote:

    They (autogenerated links) are not there to redirect traffic or send people to other content they might find interesting; they’re only saying that to bribe people into continuing to host the links. They exist to build PR for wordpress.com blogs and Sphere’s external partners.

    absolutely!

    And the majority are going to be identical ’sorry, no results’ pages. And 404s, if anything, are going to have more ad clickthroughs than pages with actual content.

    unfortunately, those ’sorry, no results’ are not even 404s (as they should be). instead, they are full blown 200 OK pages.

    engtech, perhaps you would like more the following (truly honest) argument regarding opting-out of the Global Tags:

    …basically global tags are important to the WordPress.com model. They help to drive traffic to individual blogs as well as WordPress.com as a whole. Tightly linking blogs together like this is a good search engine voodoo.

    Allowing people to opt-out could dilute the model’s potency. Hardly you’ll see this change any time soon.

  13. Does the fact that they’re technically not 404s mean it’s OK to serve ads on them? (The question is probably moot, since Google seem to be in the habit of letting wordpress.com do whatever they like.)

  14. options said

    oh, yes, “Kings can do everything!” shat Google’s index is an overhead which is very well covered by the revenues from advertisers.

    while I do believe that the following brilliant explanation of yours makes a totally perfect sense:

    However, forcing every wordpress.com user to link to the tags pages does substantially increase the chance of said tag pages turning up in Google searches. More people coming in from Google = more people seeing the ads. The baffled wordpress.com users are just collateral damage.

    at the same time, I should say that I still could never see a single ad on tag pages *by myself* (this, of course, doesn’t mean they aren’t there at all, but anyway).


    as much I’m really sick of the misleading propaganda on the fora, as I am having to repeat any reasonable arguments in vain.

    please, the only and main reason “WP.com does things this [fucking] way” (denying any compromises) is just MONEY and GREED!

    Blogs marked private are allowed to opt out because their linkbacks won’t count for anything in Google. Mature blogs are not, because the global tag links were never intended to be useful for anyone other than Automattic. So what if they’re forced to link to pages that have nothing to do with them?

  15. […] Related Link […]

  16. […] was repeatedly saying that I’ve never been able to see ads on the notorious Global Tags™ pages for myself. Now it’s changed, I do stand corrected in this post because That Girl was always right on money […]

  17. […] team is off for the weekend. Lorelle posted an alert on her blog. WordPress Wank posted how this is yet another car crash for WordPress.com and Internetducttape told the WordPress.com team how to fix the possibly related […]

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