The Death of SEOchat?

51 comments

Well, I was hoping this day would never come but it did. There were some major changes at SEOchat today (specifically adding nofollow tags to signature links) that caused many of the moderators and members of the community to pack up and leave. The mass exodus seems to be mostly about principle and the poor way the situation was handled.

Randfish has blogged about it here.

A sad day.

Comments

Whoop and Dee Doo

Bunch of whiners won't get any PR or crawling from the site.

Oh wah.

Grow up babies, that's no reason to bail on a forum.

I agree IncrediBILL! Who

I agree IncrediBILL! Who cares if they put no follow on the links? Why is that something the admins would even need to discuss? If you're posting in forums for links, well...nuff said...

I think this has more to do with principle

than it does with live links.

many posts were deleted, many forum members banned... it was like nazi germany over there.

anyway... guess it doesn't really merit a thread here.

Isn't seochat mostly fully

Isn't seochat mostly fully of whining morons anyway?

"it was like nazi germany over there."

[url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin's_law]Godwin's Law [/url]

Thanks for the support guys...

I mean. Who on earth chooses to use nofollow overnight?
For seo purposes? Really??
Without prior warning?
In an otherwise really tolerant forum?

LOL - I may have to blame MattC for this: I guess you have a couple of new high-profile but blindfolded followers... Kudos for achieving that.

Nick, Jill and others - this

Nick, Jill and others - this has almost nothing to do with nofollow and everything to do with how you treat the people in your community - something I think both of you hold very high ideals on.

And yes, Nick, thanks for pointing out that we're all a bunch of whiners and morons. Your grace with words knows no bounds :)

In any case, the ex-chatters are all moving over to www.cre8asiteforums.com - they're having a record join day.

Thanks god for that...

Thanks god for that...

Blast!

Rand, you should have pointed them all to TW instead LOL. At the very least the many (!?) that like to discuss PageRank and sh**.

Nah. Better this way.

Funny..

Since Cre8's links are all scrambled and don't count for link pop!

Rand, I'm not sure I understand why a decision to use nofollow is something that needs to be discussed with the community first. Why is that a community issue unless the reason people were posting was to get links?

And really, who wants people like that in your community anyway?

Jill, I promise that next

Jill, I promise that next time we meet (NYC?) I'll give you the whole scoop. You'll be shocked. There's much more than meets the eye - just knowing that 40-50 of the top posting folks from the site exited in a single day should give a very good idea that this has absolutely nothing to do with the value of links - it has to do with the valuation of community members by the folks running the community.

.

Jill, why do you think all these people were posting there to get links?

i like c8, though it's a

i like c8, though it's a little too warm & fuzzy to be my 'routine' forum. i wish them well with the influx ...though i suspect ammon will chaffe even more. i think the newbies are getting to him, you can see it in his posts lately, hhh.

as for seochat, these things happen.

>nazi

i think it's part of the forum lifecycle

Jill, why do you think all

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Jill, why do you think all these people were posting there to get links?

Just going by the comments I was reading at Rand's blog. Many pretty much said as much.

warm & fuzzy

Don't worry RC we bite sometimes too. Grr.

>bite pfffft

>bite

pfffft

us versus them

not a member of seochat but, from past experience on another forum which is famous for deleting posts, cloaking links, and just general misery, i would say it's about feeling valued, or at least receiving equitable treatment. a sig link is really only counted once by the majors, but not all people have full blown networks to use to gain a bit of traffic. when a major destination, who *already* has many links decides to engage in link hoarding, then it smacks of selfishness. you know, as in link freely around the web. is it a *web* or not?

oh and what about this:

my opinion is mixed at the moment. because of the strict rules (90 days, 100 posts) to just GET a sig link, i feel like it should at least be a 'real' link. not to mention the fact that they only display the sigs once per page, not on every post

sounds like a sweatshop to me, and not a very well paid one at that. anyways, that kind of policy only encourages "me too!" posts.

i pointed out to the publisher of that forum that if senior members stopped contributing the place would become just a place filled with clueless questions and no answers.

recently, they seem to be taking actions to encourage logins and posting story leads. my guess is that this is aimed at promoting more contributions. and i say ... pfffft.

newgroups were *much* easier to access and read, but i guess they have no place in web 2.0 :(

i think it's part of the

Quote:
i think it's part of the forum lifecycle

That makes me sad to think every forum goes through this life cycle. I don't want to watch Nick turn into an arrogant pr*ck.

The signatures at SEOchat

The signatures at SEOchat were oversold - you needed 100 posts PLUS 3 months wait to be allowed one - turned them into a commodity and a needless point of focus.

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I don't want to watch Nick turn into an arrogant pr*ck.

Every site admin has to make decisions which aren't always popular. The larger the community, the easier it is to step on more people's toes.

Also remember, sites always belong to the site owners, not the forum members. It can be a bitter lesson to learn. If Nick were to make unpopular decisions at Threadwatch, they are entirely his to make.

Not trying to diminish your feelings, Rand - I know how it feels when that happens.

What do you mean turh

What do you mean turh Heather?

heh...

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What do you mean turh Heather?

Hey, no fair...that's what I was gonna say! ;)

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The signatures at SEOchat were oversold - you needed 100 posts PLUS 3 months wait to be allowed one - turned them into a commodity and a needless point of focus.

Well there ya go. No wonder they're pissed. They put in their time/posts and now they want their links.

Brian, your points are well

Brian, your points are well taken. But unpopular decisions are one things...turning into an arrogant pr*ck is something else.

I actually understand why SEOchat is turning off the signature links. Personally, as a regular reader to any forum, I find them annoying.

Well...

...one of the (many) good things about TW is that there are NO sigs. Of course it has (almost) always been that way.

I wonder what people would say though if Nick added nofollow to all the links here ("As-you-do")*

Might as well bring back intellitxt LOL (at least that one can be neutered using persistent css).

* that's a British phrase - it does NOT mean that he already does...

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I wonder what people would say though if Nick added nofollow to all the links here

Do you seriously think anyone would care?

If so, then Nick doesn't have the community he thought he had.

Well, it's a matter of trust and respect

I like this typical example (?) of "legit" nofollow use - for instance:

Quote:
Then if you want to link to a blackhat spammer without it counting as a vote in Google, just add rel=”nofollow” to the hyperlink, and you’ll be able to tell the difference between normal and nofollow links.

That's all there is to it. FWIW, my (main) SeoChat sig link was hurting me more than it helped... Any good SEO knows that sig links are crap, and the best SEOs know that some sig links are even more crap than others...

a vote for trust and respect

c'mon,

although asserted otherwise above, it would take much more than the addition of a no-follow in and of itself to move that many people. especially people who have the wherewithal to get indexed, spidered, whatever, in a multitude of ways.

the link may be a symptom, but not the cause.

ever heard of the straw that broke the camel's back?

Early on in TW history, i

Early on in TW history, i toyed with the idea of simply not allowing robots in here period. Mostly because we dont need them, and i thought it would be a fun experiment.

The only reason i didnt, and one of the reasons (but not the main) i would never use nofollow in here is that I wanted those we link to to have the full benefit of a link.

TW is a pretty derivative (at least in many first posts) place. If we "threadjack" a conversation, i'd like the person we're linking to to at least have the full benefit of a link.

That probably didnt mean much early on, but i think a link from this site is a pretty good one these days, and we're not greedy, linking is what tw is all about no?

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That probably didnt mean much early on, but i think a link from this site is a pretty good one these days, and we're not greedy, linking is what tw is all about no?

Nick, the links from here are great from the perspective they're supposed to be great. They show people good stuff, interesting stuff, funny stuff, stupid stuff, whatever. They can definitely bring some traffic to the site that was linked.

Whether they count for anything in Google or Yahoo should be irrelevant, imo. It's just completely besides the point. If anyone would post a link here for link popularity purposes then they're foolish, at best. (Again, in my opinion.)

I agree entirely Jill -- but

I agree entirely Jill -- but whether it's important or not, links do have value outside of reader value, and I just wanted to pass that on in full (if there was any to pass...).

I much prefer the value of readers -- this becomes so much more relevant with blogs, and it's entirely how i base my valuation of a link these days. My other blog recent broke the delicious/popular list -- literally thousands of visitors, and the knock on effect, including a writeup in lifehacker has been equally tremendous in getting target audience to site!

Foolish.

Quote:
If anyone would post a link here for link popularity purposes then they're foolish, at best.

Yeah, I pity the fool who has a link from threadwatch, pointing to his site.

Of course you're right that it is a LOT better to link from posts to relevant stuff, and keep sigs out altogether. However, that changes if you're targetting newbie forum posters rather than seasoned pros like yourself and most people here.

But one of the great things about Cre8asite - where I'm posting now, along with most of the recent ex-SEOChatters - is the fact that they've always had the anti-spamming redirect thing. Sort of a "nofollow" avant-la-lettre. Well thought out. And they DO allow linking out from posts, in fact they encourage it. It is great. My sig link there (I had to have one) has no SE value. Big deal.

SEOChat has always had another approach, but now they seemed to want none of both. So: no live links and no SEO value for sigs. Still: fine - if well thought-out and properly communicated. I don't like to sound like a tinfoilhat, but IMV the change was intentionally sneaky. Again - I might add. There have been similar issues AND false promises after....

Who cares, people may say (and you probably will). But you and I know that there are SEO forums about with less "issues" than SEOChat, and (almost) all of the good traits (yes there were some of those). Add to that the frantic post-deleting and critic-banning and you get an instant hostile environment. Hence the exodus.

{/rant}

The more I've read on the

The more I've read on the SEOchat thing, the clearer it has become that there were serious issues there already. It sounds like (and I might be way off base) that there are owners, and there are moderators and posters.

It it true that the actual owners weren't really the main posters there? If so, I think that's a disaster waiting to happen, and I'm only surprised it didn't happen sooner!

Yes, you are right.

Although about half of the mods were pretty active there (down to just the one now LOL) the admins rarely posted OR even read the posts.

Jill - that is the case. The

Jill - that is the case. The owners and admins are not regulars in any sense of the word. And although they are unaware of it, some of us did have access to what they say/think about the community behind their closed doors... very, very ugly stuff.

Really - it's nothing to do with nofollow and everything to do with an ownership whose motivations and valuations are way out of touch with our own.

>motivations and

>motivations and valuations

That's the key issue, but so many members (anywhere, not just seochat) fail to realize that while they are contributing value they give up all rights of ownership once they hit the post button. No matter where you go, you need to come to terms with the fact that your keystrokes are building value for someone else.

I'd love to see a workable

I'd love to see a workable model that could address that fact, but i've not managed to come up with any ideas myself...

No matter where you go, you

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No matter where you go, you need to come to terms with the fact that your keystrokes are building value for someone else.

Well put. Sadly, that took me a *looong* time to realize that little lesson.

No matter where you go, you

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No matter where you go, you need to come to terms with the fact that your keystrokes are building value for someone else.

exactly which is why a site should link out with no rel=nofollow crap or other shenanigans. If I am going to be a partner in the community or if your going to use someone elses idea and talk about them then whats the harm in link love ? People jealously gaurding outgoing links is a poorly thought out solution for a community site.

The Harm

It depends on who's in your community, but the potential harm of link love is that 1) people will post just to get the links, and 2) people will mistakenly think those links are going to help them.

If you're out front about it from the start, telling people their sig links won't count, and that even if they did they really wouldn't help them, then you get a lot less "me too" posts and your little community will be made up of people who are there for an actual exchange of information.

I hope nobody with half a brain is under the impression that forums like cre8 or HR are trying to hoard PR, because we try to teach people how unimportant PR is.

Playing devils advocate

>And although they are unaware of it, some of us did have access to what they say/think about the community behind their closed doors... very, very ugly stuff.

It could be argued that maybe they were right?

Maybe

Everyone's got a right to their opinion, so they're free to despise whoever they want to, I suppose. But if you're running a business (I suppose we can call it that) that involves a community of people, and you hate the members of that community, maybe you're in the wrong business.

Either let it run on its own without bothering to even look at it (like an online slumlord, I guess), or wash your hands of it and unload it on people who perhaps won't hate it as much as you do.

you need to come to terms

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you need to come to terms with the fact that your keystrokes are building value for someone else.

This actually came up at WMW last week in one of the sessions when Brett was on (or maybe holding the mic). I can't remember exactly what was said by whom. Bloody memory. Does anyone else (Aaron?) remember.

>love to see a workable

>love to see a workable model that could address that

There isn't one, Nick. That's why I got out of the admin biz and only post crap here, hhh.

>well put

I think I stole the comment from toolman.

cre8 - actually

As I recall, the decision at cre8 to make outgoing links uncrawlable had to do with our wanting to allow links within posts, and the possibility of linking to bad neighborhoods or sites that might in future become bad neighborhoods, and our not wanting to become the ongoing link police rather than moderators and part of the community.

like an online slumlord

That made me laugh, as it fits my personal opinion of what SeoChat eventually became after Darrin sold it. I left shortly afterward.

But even slum lords are allowed to make a buck off of their property. Maybe like with Joe Pesci in "The Super", if the owners had to actually spend time there they would clean it up or blow it up like an old Vegas hotel and rebuild.

just my *unbiased* 2 cents

although...

It could be argued that maybe they were right?

but how does driving out the most useful voices make anything better?

<Devils advocate hat on>

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how does driving out the most useful voices make anything better?

If you amke $$ on CPC, ask any poorly amde AdSense site ;) IMHO, I would say that most regular forum types are probably quite poor ad clickers.

Seriously, SEOChat probably loses very little the owner cares much about. Newbies will still come, and ad revenue may actually increase. If, in the process, you lose some well respected, non-icnome generating members, maybe that is a price worth paying!

Still, I don't think it was probably a very wise move!

The problem there though is,

The problem there though is, that it's often what those older non-direct-income-generators are talking about that draws the noobs.

Not to mention

they might not click on the ads, but certainly provide the content for the ads to run on.

Exactly

And unless the owners/admins are prepared to provide all the content themselves, it would behoove them to take their community into account. The community is providing content for free. I think it's only fair to give back something, and to show a little care.

And I think what they're

And I think what they're losing is long-term relevance. Unless they can get other folks in who'll build content that the SEO world naturally links to, their link valuation is going to start looking pretty poor over the next few years, while the forums where those members do go will get those natural inbounds.

>probably loses very little

>probably loses very little the owner cares much about. Newbies will still come, and ad revenue may actually increase. If, in the process, you lose some well respected, non-icnome generating members, maybe that is a price worth paying!

I think projectphp is dead-on with that statement. I've often said forums can't make money off of blackhats but the phrase should really be expanded to "communities can't make money off of the truly knowledgeable." One should note, however, that being a senior member does not necessarily equate to being truly knowledgeable. Online communities seeking to propagate themselves make use of that latter tidbit knowing that A] someone will declare themselves to be experts and B] newbies will believe them.

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