Buddy Links Update, April 22-2000
Hi Net People;
I'm into preparing the next refresh, revalidating sites, reworking the email program, and validating all the new sites. Many issues have come up that I feel we need to discuss and be aware of before I send out that refresh. Please take time to read this as there are some very important things to discuss.
First, we sure have been generating the new member sites. Thank you very much. I know I'm always thanking people for being in this program; but, right now is rather a unique time in search engine promotion history.
I just spent about 8 hours on Friday studying search engine listings. The results were mildly disturbing. Small site after small site is being pushed out of the SE's regardless of content.
Part of that is due to their lack of inbound links and their own promotion efforts. The other part is due to search engines targeting small sites for removal or burying in the rankings.
Having just seen the alarming news first hand, I feel a little extra thankful for you members. It is so nice to be part of a program away from the search engines, where website owners and admins are banding together to accomplish a goal. It reminds of the old time community spirit of the internet. So thank you again for joining us.
Please take a few moments and visit a few of the members sites in the program. Supporting one another goes a long way to making all of our sites successful. And actually, there are some real gems in the listing. There are a couple of sites I've found incredibly useful. (like the new spell checker one...lol)
Which reminds me: I mentioned the new site guidelines in the last update. The guidelines are not about censorship, they are strictly about SE promotion. I apologize for the tone of that update and it never even occurred to me that a few people may have thought it was about censorship. The whole goal goes back to: "If search engines won't list a site, then neither will we".
Issues at Hand:
There is much ground to cover here. So please read this. I will assume you have and if a question comes up down the road, I will (psst) point back to this letter
Sites Marked Failed
Many knew it was coming sooner or later - I just spidered and hand walked through every site in the program. From that came over one hundred sites marked as failed. Most for failing to perform the last refresh and some for not understanding the filenaming scheme. Once again, we go from /example.htm to /example2.htm to example3.htm (there is no numeral 1 in the scheme).
If you have the word "links", "buddy", "directory", or "resources" in your filenames, headings, or page titles, please remove them. If it is in a filename, please log in and update your entry. It is up to you to correct this - you may or may not be included in this refresh if you have those words in those locations. It would be nice if we had a few dozen employees to whip out a program to email everyone this affects, but that's not going to happen - only you can make it happen
Not sure? Look for 404's
Look in your logs for 404's to your Buddy Pages. If you find a 404 file not found, then there is a problem and you should log in to take corrective action. Nine times out of ten it is a problem with filenames. (remember, there is not a "1" in the scheme, it goes, "mypage.htm" to "mypage2.htm" to "mypage3.htm"...I did mention that didn't I? lol, yes that has been a hard one to get across.
Pages with spam are marked failed, bad, or banned depending on the nature of the spam. This includes invisible text, backgrounds designed to obscure links, spam meta tags, spam pages, adult words on the page, spam titles, and intentionally corrupt html. Some of the more egregious ones will be banned from the program (especially robots.txt and robots-no index tags. Those are really flagrant and obvious) Yes, I do check for all of that - I didn't get here by accident and I wasn't born yesterday - "it's my job man". Yes I do dl robots.txt from time-to-time (surprise-surprise).
Let's have a frank discussion about this program. Some people do not understand what we are trying to do here, nor do they get where the program is going over the next few refreshes.
First; there is so much talk about links programs in forums and other articles right now. A surprising amount of it is coming from people who have no idea what they are talking about.
I've been fielding many emails about it, and I wanted to give you some food for thought. So, lets start with the good stuff first:
Q: Is there any risk to my site in being in this program?
A: Yes, there is risk in any program that places content on your site.
Q: How much?
A: None to little.
Q: What is the nature of the risk?
A: Some engines may look unfavorably at what we are doing and reject some of our pages. I consider this to be highly unlikely with our program. Other programs are detectable - we are not.
Q: What can we do to reduce the risk?
A: I am doing everything in my power to that end.
Q: Ok, so why is this program different from others?
A: The first thing we do is make it impossible for search engines to "sniff out" our pages via a program. We use randomly generated pages with unique titles, unique filenames, and no identifying text or graphics. There is no way a search engine can find us via a program (spider or indexer).
Q: But what if someone searches for us by hand?
A: Sure they can do that, but so what? By my estimate, 70-80% of the sites on the internet have links pages, why should ours be any different? Especially now that we are moving to context content sensitivity.
Q: So what's all the anti-link programs talk?
A: Honestly, I don't know what their beef is with link programs; but, I do know some of them don't have a real clue what they are talking about. Thank you for pointing out some of these absurd discussions to me when and where they happen. I don't make a point of running around the net defending Buddy Links or Search Engine World, but it is nice to know.
The bottom line true risk? Minimal from this program. Actually, the risk is less than most affiliate programs. Affiliate programs always have that embedded link back to the home site. If SE's would want to target anything, they'd start there.
What we are doing with the upcoming refresh is critical. Moving the program to context sensitive pages is important in the long run.
What else am I doing?
Renaming the program to remove "links" from the program name. I've not finalized a new name yet because I'm searching for something that is registerable (is that word?) with Internic.
Fresh ideas on a new name? (can't have: links, directory, resources, friends, site, sites, or web in the name). I'm thinking something totally unrelated - just a catchy common name.
I am also rewriting the signup sheet and validation process. The goal is to get better descriptions and better titles. I want us to move on to pages we are proud to have on our sites - not something that we push out of the way. The small directory structure I am setting up for this next refresh can go a very long way to achieving that goal. In order to get there, we need better, cleaner, and attractive descriptions.
It is going to take time, and a few more refreshes to get where we want to be, but I promise I will do everything I can to keep the program clean, risk free, and moving forward.
Those that have taken the time to categorize their sites, will get a bit of preferential treatment this time. Not on purpose, but the sites that have been categorized just get processed first, and then what is left over will get the remaining pages.
Those that signed up in the last week, rest assured I will get to them before the next refresh.
Some of you have noticed a "SEW-Silk" slowly wandering all over your entire site. Yes, I'm toying with a full indexing, spidering, walking-talking, search engine. What a better place to start than with you folks in Buddy Links? More news on this front in a month or two. If you want me to stay off your site, use "SEW-Silk" in a robots.txt with a "netins.net" domain.
How Many Links?
For long term site success? Well, that is different than Search Engine promotion. For pure site success, my theory is 10. Ten quality links from like minded sites. Theory is that if you get 10 quality links, everyone interested in your category of site will run into a link to your site sooner or later. After they get there, it is up to you to do something with them and turn them into a long term user. Yep, just 10 links.
But if we are talking search engine promotion? That is difficult to judge. There is no magic figure - every engine is different. 500 links are/will make a difference.
How would you feel if I started charging to add new sites? (not existing ones of course). I'm talking a minimal fee ($5-10 per year) for a two fold purpose. One would be covering the server fees and a touch of my time (you'd be shocked if you knew how much time I put into this). The other point would be that if people put down even a token amount, they would be more likely to participate long term. We are a get rich *slowly* program.
T H E L I S T
These are the currently marked failed, possibly unvalidated, or bad sites. Most have tiny comments in their "note" field when you login. You have until Tuesday to clean and correct the problem. Please login and check your entry, edit your category and then and only then, contact me if there is still a problem.
If you have pages up, know they are up, and you are marked failed, it is probably a filename problem. Login and look at your entry, scroll down and see the example links pages urls)
The following sites, may or may not be included in the next refresh. (remember, we are talking 500 links this refresh...it's the big time)
SN8, SN11, SN16, SN22, SN23, SN43, SN44, SN49, SN53, SN63 SN64, SN68, SN78, SN90, SN91, SN93, SN95, SN98, SN101, SN119 SN122, SN131, SN132, SN134, SN136, SN159, SN165, SN167, SN168, SN192 SN199, SN200, SN207, SN209, SN210, SN215, SN216, SN217, SN218, SN219 SN221, SN223, SN227, SN233, SN234, SN235, SN242, SN251, SN257, SN258 SN261, SN270, SN272, SN274, SN275, SN288, SN293, SN294, SN296, SN300 SN301, SN307, SN310, SN314, SN316, SN320, SN321, SN325, SN327, SN328 SN331, SN334, SN337, SN340, SN343, SN353, SN357, SN359, SN361, SN364 SN369, SN370, SN386, SN388, SN391, SN392, SN407, SN412, SN414, SN418 SN419, SN420, SN445, SN447, SN450, SN456, SN471, SN487, SN489, SN490 SN498, SN500, SN501, SN502, SN504, SN509, SN526, SN534, SN537, SN540 SN542, SN545, SN546, SN547, SN548, SN549, SN551, SN555, SN562, SN569 SN570, SN575, SN579, SN582, SN589, SN592, SN597, SN598, SN602, SN605 SN608, SN614, SN618, SN620, SN626, SN633, SN634, SN642, SN646, SN647 SN648, SN649, SN651, SN655, SN656, SN657, SN660, SN661, SN662, SN665 SN672, SN673, SN674, SN680, SN683, SN688, SN689, SN691, SN695, SN702 SN705, SN717, SN718, SN721, SN722, SN723, SN724, SN725, SN727, SN730, SN732, SN734
(generated: April-22 at 3pm. Some new sites may have been validated since the list was generated)
Unique emails: 472
Total submissions to program thus far 951 (?I think that is accurate. I miss counted the last time I reported that figure).
Last Spiderings: Apr-20-2000, Apr-22-2000.
Total size of all spidering links pages: 54meg.
Total files spidered: 3774
Time to spider: Apr-20 (office dsl): 21mins.
Time to spider: Apr-22 (home 56k dialup): 3hrs 10mins.
Time to index: Apr-20 (700mhz anthlon): 2mins 15secs.
Time to index: Apr-22 (333mhz celeron): 14mins 45secs.
Buddy Links Main Page:
Note: that page will be changing in the not to distant future (to remove "links" from the url. So if it fails, please look for a link on the main Search Engine World home page).
Although, I may not have time to respond to everyone since I always get a crush of email just before refreshes and afterward, your thoughts, comments, feedback, rants, raves, are all appreciated.
Oh, and again Carla, it is Tabke as in the Tab Key (old joke, so that makes your girl friend the Space Key? Yes, but don't tell my wife)...
...If you have 24 odds and ends, and you lose 23 of them, what's left? An odd or an end?