Wordpress - Our Shit Don't Stink!

Source Title:
Spam, Matt, Wordpress.org — and I am exhausted. Bad mix :)
Story Text:

Earlier today, or was it last night? We reported on the sorry case of Wordpress being caught spamming the search engines and getting into trouble with Google (see the comments in that post) over it. Now we find out that it's okay, and all is well, because Wordpress shit dont stink...

Let’s get the first response over with - please, please, please stop calling it “Spamming”. Regardless of how you stand towards the deeper issue at hand, diluting a word by mixing pretty much everything into the basket of spamming is not a good idea. Yes, the postings were made to improve the Google rank of someone else, yes there was a financial transaction involved, and yes, the postings were not topical to the wider sense of the site, but it’s not spam. Spam involves other, involuntary, carriers. No comment boxes were contaminated, no mailboxes, no Usenet forums, and certainly no one spent a single byte of extra bandwidth (with the exception of the links from Wordpress.Org) on it. It’s not spam.

This is from a guy who works with Matt Mullenweg, Wordpress' creator, and is destined to be the org's first employee if this episode doesn't ruin them. Amazing stuff eh?

SEO's and web dev's have been being quietly and non-publically beaten about the head with a figurative big stick for years for far less than what Wordpress did. It'll be interesting to see how the SE's respond to what i think may cause them some major PR headaches as they're either forced to treat bloggers the same way they treat less public webmasters, or they bend the rules for PR's sake...

Interesting times...



>it's not spam

Well, unfortunate as the term is, even Google calls it search engine spamming. They even used the term in their patent as pointed out in msgraph's thread.

Soooo..... BBBBBZZZZZZTTttttt! Sorry. It's spam.

PR=0 penalized

Well, the Wordpress site has been assigned a zilch PageRank now, and while I can still find it ranked #1 on Goo with a search for "Wordpress" from here in Europe, U. S. reports indicate they've been dropped.

Which, if true, would be rather ironic considering all that Goo hype concerning "most relevant results" - I mean, what could be a more "relevant" site on the SERPs for "Wordpress" than WP itself?

And seriously - do you really want to kickstart yet another "what's spam" / "my spam's better than your spam" / "isn't all SEO spam?" / "no, it ain't, only yours!" debate here?

P.S.: Beat me posting, rc, this was a replique to Nick hisself. :-)


So it's only spam if someone does it to you? If you do it to yourself, that's fine.....

I think someone needs to go back to the recruitment agency with that kind of thinking.

It's just daft, considering how popular Wordpress is, it shouldn't be to difficult to generate some revenue while keeping the product itself free, without needing to risk its reputation by using the oldest CSS trick in the book to hide content.


And seriously - do you really want to kickstart yet another "what's spam" / "my spam's better than your spam" / "isn't all SEO spam?" / "no, it ain't, only yours!" debate here?

Not really, but it *is* news - i've gotten bit uppity over these debates of late but I think we can avoid that between ourselves and watch the show from the comfort of home.

In truth, i feel very sorry for Matt, sure it was grade A stupid, but these guys just dont know about this stuff, otherwise im sure he'd never have risked it with his site would he?

It's not just the stupidity of spamming SE's in such an amateur fashion, that's forgiveable, after all, they don't know about this stuff, what's really mind boggling is the fact that they thought their users wouldnt notice....

It's still a crying shame though....


Besides, Fanto, Nick is... ummm, nevermind.


LOL- argh! ... um, far be it from me ... he he he ....


fucking clowns :)

It's okay ma'am, I'm a blogger.

I feel sorry for them too. But the thing to do is quit denying it, admit the error, take corrective action and take the punishment.

It's all the denial that gets me.



Nick, it's all about intent, hhh!

>all the denial

Agreed. I could give a rat's derriere if Matt was 302-ing the Vatican site, but please don't tell ME it's not spam.

Not Completely Banned

Only the homepage/article folder lookes PR 0. The rest of the site is still indexed and shows up in the serps for a search like "WordPress Support". Try site:wordpress.org

So it looks like Google can impose a partial ban. Does WP get special treatment?

Matt (WP) should listen to that Outkast song "Roses"
"I know you'd like to thank your shit don't stank
But lean a little bit closer
See that roses really smell like poo-poo
Yeah, roses really smell like poo-poo"

Still on pos 1, 5 and 8

Hm, wordpress.com still shows up at #2 with PR 5 (on Firefox PR extension), with the .org "/development/2005/02/strayhorn/" on #1 (PR 0!).
Then there's the Codex on #8 (PR 5).
WP Japan is ranking #10 with PR 5.

So it looks like Google can impose a partial ban.

PR's by page, not by site so I don't find this surprising.

T Shirt... hehehe

I made a blue ringer t shirt for WordPress using this image

I still think more people should be looking at AdSense QA as a problem w this incident too.


HHH! Aaron, put

"all your backlinks are belong to us"

on the back.

partial ban

yup looks like an partial ban to me.


> "all your backlinks are belong to us"

all set :)


>I couldn't give a rat's derriere if Matt was 302-ing the Vatican site, but please don't tell ME it's not spam.

Can you do a t-shirt with that on too? I'll buy a pair then and save on shipping.


>I couldn't give a rat's derriere if Matt was 302-ing the Vatican site, but please don't tell ME it's not spam.

should I split it up at the comma and put the second half on the back, or?


Funny thing is I noticed this a while back while recruiting writers. One proudly mentioned how she had written articles for Wordpress ... interesting lightbulb moment when I started looking at what she'd written. :)


I have a PR0 here for the homepage.

What does this mean for the all the blogs linking to this 'bad neighbourhood'? This could be more disastrous than the no follow in taking all the blogs out of the index ;)

Great shirt Aaron

Closed Thread at Wordpress

They're trying to put out a fire with gasoline at the wordpress support forums...

I have linked every site of mine that uses WordPress, every site of a client that uses WordPress and every site of everyone I have encouraged to use WordPress to a link farm. I did not know this at the time. I did not know that the act of giving credit where it was due (and it most definately is due, WP remains a wonderful tool) would result in perpetuating the gaming of Google.

And yeah, great shirt, i'll buy one later today aaron, nice job!


WP closing forum threads? Not a good move - essentially saying "Shut up, put up, or move on".

Thread closed..

...but not before someone has put

Please read this:


Blimey - cornwall has just crosed the streams...

- Ghostbusters

Mr Book

>should I split it up at the comma and put the second half on the back, or?

That would be great!

>Blimey - cornwall has just crosed the streams...

One of those to please, all on the front.

knowing Aarons spelling....

just want to say that crossed has 2 s's


Orlowski at The Register

Also Battelle and Scoble have now managed to say "Tsk! Tsk!"

Kottke was blunt:

I'm Shocked....

It must have been over a year ago that GoogleGuy said they were going after this kind of hidden content.

If they can't automate the identification of this kind of crap given 12 months plus effort, then they haven't got a cat in hell's chance of spotting the really devious stuff.

If I were a cynic, I would suspect that GG had been spreading FUD since his very first post.

Good job I'm not a cynic then, eh


Matt's response

Sorry, i dont have time to read it, nothing drastically amiss, but shit happens - get out there, and get some good stuff in here. Dont let this place become a ghost town cos im busy :)

sorry Mr book but...

>I have a very high tolerance for spammers - but a very low one for weasels.

Across the front and after the - across the back.


sounds like

he still doesn't get why it was wrong?

The articles hosted content thing was just a short-term experiment, an interesting idea (original and relevant Wikipedia-type content on the site) that was badly implemented.

original and relevant (??) wikipedia-type content??

The content should have been more topical to WP issue, I should have kept up with the content that was going up, the links should have never had the overflow CSS, and I should have discussed it with more people.

is he saying it was an accident he had hidden text links to 100k+ articles?

I did not know they had mesowhatever/asbestos content on them until Andy Baio messaged me.

does he still think they were relevant, then?


I think he's talking about the money made from the AdSense in the comments too. That's a big no no as well isn't it? :)

What he said...

If I were a cynic, I would suspect that GG had been spreading FUD since his very first post.

Good job I'm not a cynic then, eh

You and me both... ;-) Heavens, it's terrible what people like that will think!

wikipedia-type content

Well he has a point, much of it is better [shite though it is] than the wikipedia stuff.

A poor justifacation though, my crap is better than your crap.


The homepage is back up to PR8 here, that has to be the shortest Google ban in history?


I knew i'd find a blogger who wasn't in denial eventually.

The problem that i have with Matt’s decision is that he used community resources (reputation) to engage in a practice that i find despicable for his own gain under the justification that it would be good for the community in the long run if Wordpress grew. There’s no doubt that Wordpress is a great product but it’s a product built on open source and that’s why the community likes it. They like it for its transparency, for its code of honor that flies in the face of big companies. What upsets me is not that he simply engaged in selfish behavior (because we all do) but that he used the community’s reputation to do so. We had no ability to say “not in my name.” This is the “benevolent” dictatorship problem.


I never was "in denial" - I just chose not to get involved in the mud slinging and the gleeful snoopydancing.

I just removed links to the offending pages several days before they were officially "cleaned" - just like I removed the aff FFlogo link when I first set up wp.

Sensible Stuff....

As anyone that does what we do would do right?

When i say "bloggers" im really talking about the more voiciferous 'name bloggers' out there giving opinions on the subject, i assume as a blogger, and a marketer, you'd have a pretty clear take on all this vkaryl :) Sorry to not be clear, and perhaps insult by generalizing too much...


Oh, dear, luv - I wasn't insulted by what you posted. I was just thinking you meant that we were all "in denial" because no one posted here but those who thought it was wonderful to catch an open source personality with his pants down....

As to the "name" bloggers, I don't read them (only as you excerpt them here occasionally), mostly because they are all so - so - um. Sorry - I guess I just won't go there (you know, if you can't say something nice n all....)

And as for being a marketer, I'm not. I'm a css/html junkie/codemonkey - I deliver sites for non-profits, very rarely make significant money any more, and don't really care. I get my dose of "real 'net world" alarums and excursions here rather than wmw any more, for obvious reasons. And I appreciate your willingness to give "house room" to someone whose views on much of the stuff discussed here are not particulaly repeatable in this company.

I have a tendancy btw to take things QUITE literally, which is probably silly....



funny old world innit...

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