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I want my internet back dammit
Where have all the webmasters gone?
skippy




msg:295996
 8:09 pm on Feb 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

What the heck happened? After spending the last week watching the update on google it dawned on me I never hear from webmasters any more. I hear from people that think webmastering is ROI and I hear from people that think webmastering is a reserved spot in the serps. But what I donít hear is people breaking the changes apart for the pure joy of understanding.

Google or for that matter any search engine does not rule my world. I am interested in why search engine x does this and how it works so I can break it just because I can. I am interested in how search engine x works because it is interesting.

Search engine x says that my site does not deserve to be in the first spot the hell with search engine x. I will figure out how search engine x works and place my site where it rightly deserves to be and this has nothing to do with ROI.

We use to talk about things worked around here. The technical challenges a search engine faced. How a search engine collected and ranked data and why it worked in a certain way. What tricks worked and more importantly why. Now all I hear is I am buying links from here and I get xx return for every x spent. Yawn.

So where did you all go? I miss you.

 

Freedom




msg:296026
 5:00 am on Feb 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

If we are talking about the problems here, then the single biggest problem (besides whining) is the: "it happened to me so it must be a universal truth applied to everyone."

What? Your experience was different? No, no, your case doesn't apply because something different happened to me - and mine is the universal, apply to everyone circumstance.

Everybody "talks" (posts) but very few people actually listen. Lots of people say they listen, but I don't think they do. I think most people "talk" (post) just to hear themselves "talk" (post).

I've seen so many threads disintegrate and get filibustered with nonsense as well as go off track with self-preservation posts (who knew that link spammers and button pushers were so protective and sensitive)designed to defend the method or industry.

Mostly these days, I come here out of boredom. Once in a awhile there's a great piece of news to chew on or a very thought provoking thread.

PhraSEOlogy




msg:296027
 5:18 am on Feb 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

We use to talk about things worked around here. The technical challenges a search engine faced. How a search engine collected and ranked data and why it worked in a certain way. What tricks worked and more importantly why.

Its a shame but I must agree with you. I guess now that "old hands" want to keep the info in the inner circle and the newer guys (like me) are too paranoid to share any info in case they lose out on their share of the $$$.

I have also noticed that if you do try to approach a problem rationally - you get the preacher crowd jumping in with "your site does not use organic SEO" or "you should avoid black hat stuff" or "blah blah".

No one, as skippy mentioned, wants to just UNDERSTAND why things are. Shame really.

JUMPS off soapbox and retires to the safety of the local bar.

mfishy




msg:296028
 5:24 am on Feb 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

I have also noticed that if you do try to approach a problem rationally - you get the preacher crowd jumping in with "your site does not use organic SEO" or "you should avoid black hat stuff" or "blah blah".

BY FAR, the biggest problem IMO.

Some time, over the past couple of years people started to forget that it is just a freakin' algo :)

Yes, Skippy, there really is no joy left here. Everyone seems to be yelling at each other but no one listening. Only a couple years back there were actually intelligent discussions about the Search engines algos. We could actually discuss research and how the software was evolving without being interrupted by people that have no interest in gaming SERPS!

Perhaps the change began as the word spread that people were becoming millionaires in their bathrobes because they could reverse engineer Google. The problem for many of the newbies is that if you do not have any interest, or derive any pleasure from actual research and studying search engine algos, you are unlikely to succeed.

Now, as Jake says, these discussions exist, but only in private venues. It is simply impossible to seperate the pure hard core algo cracking from the screaming and whaling as well as the "Build great content crowd". It seems as though they do not understand that every single discussion is not meant for them - you know who you are - we know you have wonderful sites - now shut it! :)

Here is how it goes now.

Example:

Question:
How, if at all, do you see Latent Semantic indexing being implemented in the serps?

Answers:
1. Google owes you nothing!
2. Build great content!
3. My site is up 22% in google referrals!
4. Do link exchanges still work?

That about sums it up. So, I would try to meet people who do enjoy webmastering and SEO. People whom you can sit down with over a beer and actually talk about techniques and technology.

As far as sharing info, my messenger used to go off non stop because i was giving too much away and it was annoying my pals. No reason to spend 500k in search research now to give away a tidbit just to be argues with by dude's with one cruddy site!

The fat lady has sung in forum3.

[edited by: mfishy at 5:29 am (utc) on Feb. 11, 2005]

blend27




msg:296029
 5:29 am on Feb 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

- news to chew on or a very thought provoking thread -

Fascinating theory it is. I've been mostly reading(listening) as well, usually look at the user status and tell you that this would be the thread where lots of "Senior Members" started to talk.

Some one once said "When you smile, it makes other people wonder what you've been up to...."

Listening(or reading) and understanding is one of the qualities that we have when we donít understand mostly at first - and that is universal.

Circumstance of reverse engineering that we played with for a while before and after the last update of the ALGO on Search Engine X is just another reason to smile.

Mr_N




msg:296030
 6:14 am on Feb 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

One of the big problems is that more, and more people who run web sites' mentalities have changed. There's more and more who want into the world of affiliate marketing, or any other way of making some money off of a site. A few years ago, while making money was nice and all, there was still a lot more emphasis on what the site was about.

The predominant mentality on the web has gone from "I want my soapbox! :)" to "I want my cheque! :(" As such, I think that's a big reason why we're seeing more whining about Google results and whatnot, as there are a lot more people whose sole purpose in a site is to work the system and make a buck, rather than getting their thoughts, opinions, knowledge, etc contained on their sites to as many eyes as possible.

gomer




msg:296031
 6:24 am on Feb 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

Excellent post mfishy.

I would like to add an answer to your scenario that is often heard and probably the most annoying:

5) You're a fool to rely on search engine traffic, diversify your business!

Thanks preacher for that really simplistic piece of information. Please hi-jack all the threads in the Google forum with that adivce and while you're at it, I am sure you will also remind us that Google owes us nothing.

The preacher crowd is getting very loud and annoying.

dfud




msg:296032
 6:55 am on Feb 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

I signed up, and paid my money, for the supporters forum thinking that would be the spot where the real experts shared the goods. But even that area seems to get its share of "improve your content" and "google owes you nothing" blather.

Maybe Brett needs a platinum area that costs $3000 per year. Anyone could buy their way in for the $3k. But if a member is useful to the group, Brett could let him in for free. If a member is VERY USEFUL, Brett could put him on the payroll.

skippy




msg:296033
 7:57 am on Feb 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

Now this is what I am talking about. We use to be the biggest fans of open source around. [webmasterworld.com ]

[edited by: skippy at 8:38 am (utc) on Feb. 11, 2005]

AlexK




msg:296034
 8:30 am on Feb 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

Your url is broken, skippy. Remove the crud from the end and it will work:
[webmasterworld.com ]

BTW, a lot of what has been written so far looks like `age creeping up' talk.

As someone new to these forums, what I *do* find frustrating is the number of categorical statements absent of reasoning. Any particular statement may be completely accurate, true in specific circumstances or simply a load of bo**ocks, but--since I am capable of independant thought--I`m far more interested in the reason why. It sometimes seems that there is not a lot of that.

claus




msg:296035
 8:50 am on Feb 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

I post in very few foo threads, mostly because they're not on the recent post list so it's a matter of chance if i see them. However, i somehow saw this anyway. My two pence:

>> it dawned on me I never hear from webmasters any more.

Now, define webmaster [google.com] for a start. IMHO, what Brett has done with this place during the past year or so is actually to give more focus to all the different sides of webmastering there is [webmasterworld.com] with new forums coming up, and they're not all about SEO, or making money, or building great content.

This is really a broadening of WebmasterWorld to realize the full potential of the "Webmaster" part of the forum name, and, imho, it's the right way to go. With this broader focus, new members of course enter - some of these will have quite a different focus than other members.

What we need now is the same thing that we've always needed: A little more respect for fellow members and differences in opinion. Say you're a whitehat, preacher, spammer, SEO, affiliate, programmer, content builder, researcher, whatever - that's nice: Do share, be friendly, and keep up the good work!

The thing that keeps me from posting sometimes is not that i disagree with others - it's their right to do what they do best and like the most: The disappointing and absense-from-thread-provoking posts are the ones where people from either camp are calling people from other camps names. You can do better than that.

[edited by: claus at 8:58 am (utc) on Feb. 11, 2005]

skippy




msg:296036
 8:51 am on Feb 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

Actually the crud was in the front but I hear you it has all turned in to a game whether you are worthy or not.

But to answer you question think puzzle. And I really am not trying to be jerk.

Really look at this thread and I think you will find your answer. I just seems to be how it is.

SlyOldDog




msg:296037
 9:20 am on Feb 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

Perhaps the reason why none of the old members post anymore is because everyone knows what works now. Nothing much has changed for 18 months.

mat




msg:296038
 9:22 am on Feb 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

Read this earlier, came back to find claus posted much of what I too feel.

mfishy - you want to be dogmatic, but nobody else can be? As claus says, the spectrum is pretty well covered, from multi-disciplined and multi-sited posters like yourself, to slow, niche publishers such as myself. But you'd have us standing quietly and meekly in the corner why? Our insights may not have the same frame of reference, but they're informed by years of experience and study, and it could be argued that an intimate familiarity with one set of SERP's gives us more finely-tuned antennae than yours? Maybe not the world-view, but a valid local view.

'One site' = cruddy? Really?

I'm not disputing that there's been a dilution here, but how on earth can that be avoided? I know your posts, and this one seems more irascible than normal - newbies are lazy, content ambassadors are smug and don't get it, only us code-munging-number-crunching pros see the big picture, so shut up and listen already?

As someone else posted, what irks me most are the giant leaps and extrapolations from the specific to the general; not far behind, however, are the name-calling and 'you're all whiners posts'. Shades of grey and levels of respect, albeit in complete disagreement.

ncw164x




msg:296039
 9:46 am on Feb 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

Perhaps the reason why none of the old members post anymore is because everyone knows what works now. Nothing much has changed for 18 months.

Wrong...there has been more changes in the last 18 months than the previous 5 years, and I mean major changes

These changes do make a big difference to more and more webmasters, you only have look at the amount of posts over the last 7 days

The reason why non of the old members post any more is they have either been banned or get flamed by other members for posting something which would help but not everyone agree with

newbies are expecting everything to be handed on a plate to them and it does not work that way, they join and post a comment expecting everyone to jump to their attention and get irate when they don't get a reply within a couple of hours, they are not prepared to give a little to receive a lot

Thats the real reason...Full Stop

makemetop




msg:296040
 10:02 am on Feb 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

>that would be the spot where the real experts shared the goods....

There are still some gems being scattered out there. However, IMO, the moment that SE representatives started making themselves apparent on forums was the moment that a lot of us started keeping our heads down and lips sealed.

Obvious, when you think about it!

DaveN




msg:296041
 10:05 am on Feb 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

Skippy we are still here reading listening and helping people when we can a lot goes on in private places like AIM and IM and there are so many places like threadwatch and sew to keep up with, it's hard to be everywhere at once, and WebmasterWorld is far the biggest which also means it's got much more noise... and I get headaches alot ;)

DaveN

moneymancn




msg:296042
 11:45 am on Feb 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

<Maybe Brett needs a platinum area that costs $3000 per year. Anyone could buy their way in for the $3k. But if a member is useful to the group, Brett could let him in for free. If a member is VERY USEFUL, Brett could put him on the payroll.>

That seems to me the best suggestion.

I am new to these boards and to SEO and certainly have learnt all(the little) I know by hanging out(paid member) here.Coming from a non tech background and observing the last 2 years from a purely business(ROI if you like )point of view it seems that PPC has changed the face of SEO somewhat.
Webmasters? like me could get our sites well placed with little real SEO skills and then hang out here to learn more to get a gradual improvement in organic positioning.
Its like the real world outside of IT or SEO,you will alwayd meet a cross section of opinions and personalities but the trick is to be able to identify the BS posters and read between the lines when some of the more reliable people post.

So,for all those who want"the good old days back" I think the platinum area idea would be great for you!Only full time serious SEO's will be found there.

MM
Yes I would join!

LostOne




msg:296043
 11:55 am on Feb 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

"I even changed my user name to hide who I am"

Did that too. My original name was recognisable. Mentioned a few things that one major competitor caught on to in another forum and BAMM, it didn't take long for them to catipult in the SERPS.

"However, IMO, the moment that SE representatives started making themselves apparent on forums was the moment that a lot of us started keeping our heads down and lips sealed. "

Right on traget. I saw my name and comment highlighted from here in some other web forum and BAMN, sure enough one search engine clobbered "what was working" at the time. It could have been a coincidence though.

DaveN




msg:296044
 12:04 pm on Feb 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

platinum area that costs $3000 per year there is still the trust factor... what leaks out and what stays in the group thats the problem..

anyway there might be a 3k group already :)

DaveN

IanTurner




msg:296045
 12:28 pm on Feb 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

So,for all those who want"the good old days back" I think the platinum area idea would be great for you!Only full time serious SEO's will be found there.

And all those search engine reps looking for what is going to be the next big thing (or should that be targets)

These are exactly the same arguments as were put forward when the supporters forum was started.

[edited by: IanTurner at 12:34 pm (utc) on Feb. 11, 2005]

golloween




msg:296046
 12:32 pm on Feb 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

mfishy -- regarding your post where you said "it's just a freakin' algo".

In those good old days I like everyone else was interested in figuring out The Algo. And I agree, those were good days.

However, I don't try to understand Google anymore. Because I simply cannot understand what I consider one of the most powerful AIs on the planet.

The first time I started to realize this was when I saw their Sets in Google Lab. When I read about Applied Semantics and later about GMail, I told to myself:

"Stop trying to understand Google."

They have access to an enormous pool of human knowledge. Current, up-to-date, real-time knowledge. They know what people are talking about (GMail, Google Groups). They know what people are looking at (Google Toolbar). They know what people buy (Adwords conversion counter). They know how to extract meaning from web pages (Applied Semantic).

I can't even imagine the algos that are possible with such inputs.

Of course I can speculate about ThemedWordOfMouthRank or ThemedEyeBallRank which are the first to come to mind. It just doesn't make sense. I can speculate about alien life on Titan with the same probability of success.

To sum things up -- my point is that a single human being with a single brain, a single pair of eyes, and a single pair of ears simply cannot understand something which operates on such volume of knowledge.

Marcia




msg:296047
 12:45 pm on Feb 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

>>something kind of changed in the business over the last 2 years - I'd noticed that too.

More like the last year, year and a quarter or so. If you go back and look at the threads during the Florida update last November and even for a while after, there were some that were absolute dynamite. Something drastic has happened between then and now, and I can't quite put my finger on it.

Freedom




msg:296048
 12:58 pm on Feb 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

Something drastic has happened between then and now, and I can't quite put my finger on it.

Do you mean here at WebmasterWorld or in SEO/SEM, internet, etc.?

hannamyluv




msg:296049
 1:15 pm on Feb 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

Where have all the webmasters gone?

Perhaps they left because they did not want to be a one trick pony. Google pony goes left, Google pony goes right

I don't like the elitist mentallity that seems to abound that unless you can wrangle Google, you aren't a "webmaster". *bah*

The internet and the SEs now offer more and different puzzles than they did in the past. I still see lots of webmasters who spend their time figuring out puzzles and such. Coding, CSS, conversion design, PPC, and many other fun things. And they share their information pretty freely here, as far as I can tell.

mfishy




msg:296050
 1:42 pm on Feb 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

you want to be dogmatic, but nobody else can be? As claus says, the spectrum is pretty well covered, from multi-disciplined and multi-sited posters like yourself, to slow, niche publishers such as myself.

Post all day every day. My point was do not hijack threads that pertain to the google algo with preaching and unrelated posts. There is no longer any palce to talk about SEO without every other post being, "My site traffic is good as I write for the users" Or "google owes you nothing". If you are not doing any SERP manipulation or reverse engineering, why not post in the content writing area or eccomerce or webmaster general.

In the "serious algo thread", one of the very first posts was "Sorry, don't see any major algorithm changes. That's across my fourteen major sites". Think about that for a minute! People are either blind or simply....whatever :)

Macro




msg:296051
 2:12 pm on Feb 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

they do not understand that every single discussion is not meant for them

That probably includes me. So, I'll butt in. :)

Something changed, yes: The vast majority of the people who come here, and the type of people. I feel it's important to recognise the background to that.

1. PPC has reached the masses and people who've never seen seen a line of html code in their life are promoting their products/services online. Vehicles like Adwords are a minefield and the masses find they have questions - they wander into this seomastersworld.com :) site. Then they stray outside of forum81!
2. Adsense arrived and started paying mom & pop websites more in a day than they earned in a year from CJ. Suddenly they think they should spend more time on the site, tweak it, optimise this easy income. Then they stray outside of forum89!
3. There are always only 10 "first 10" results in the SERPs. But the growth of the number of pages being indexed makes it increasingly difficult to get in that 10. So average Joe looks for expert advice. What better place than a forum with a bunch of masters who are exceedingly helpful and patient? Hey, I'll stick around a bit and take a gander to see what else is here.
4. There are new threats and problems arising everyday and non-experts are finding they need to seek advice. 302 issues, logfile spamming, you name it. The subscription here is not onerous so it makes sense to take your question to SF where you believe you're more likely to get a quick solution.
5. Internet access has reached a lot of communities recently including in many non-English speaking countries. You have a lot of people trying to "catch up" (albeit with less than erudite posts/questions)

The main problems are that these new types
1. Lack the knowledge, experience, discussion skills (or even language skills) that you do
2. They show it. ;)

I can understand how some would find that annoying. You may want to discuss the possibilty that the singular value decomposition of LSI is turning the Allegra update into a series of iterative adjustments - or something; and he may not have the know-how or ability to engage in that discussion with you. What's worse is that he doesn't recognise it.

However, it's worth bearing in mind that many of these people may have many other skills/talents/experience that could be usefully harnessed to everyone's benefit. When I read some of my early posts I cringe. However, with the widening of my knowledge (and by studying the posts of the pros) I've come a long, long way. I may even be able to post like one of you guys one day :). I think the way forward is to see how we can harness the wealth that new members bring. Maybe have a more extensive library to send newbies to. Maybe have an induction program or some stricter posting guidelines but, considering that there will only be more such new members, we should really look at ways of converting them to useful contributors. And less of the telling them to "shut it". But, I now will. :)

mat




msg:296052
 2:16 pm on Feb 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

My point was do not hijack threads that pertain to the google algo with preaching and unrelated posts

And I'd agree with you. Ditto the frustration with the 'serious algo' thread.

But we differ on what constitutes a valid input to a thread analysing what Google does and doesn't like. It may not be sexy or cutting edge, but if someone observes that each and every time an update comes along that their large, old, lumbering, article-rich site doesn't seem to have fluttered one iota, does that not speak volumes about the (apparent) simplicity of some parts of the algo?

Not very complicated, not very scientific, but, if it works, and keeps working, is it not serious?

moneymancn




msg:296053
 2:25 pm on Feb 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

<The main problems are that these new types
1. Lack the knowledge, experience, discussion skills (or even language skills) that you do>

This was certainly me(as I posted above) but i did not notice any "pre-entry qualification test" when I paid my subscription!

MM

vabtz




msg:296054
 3:17 pm on Feb 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

All I can really say in reply to this is thank you.

Thank you to all the old timers who have helped me directly and indirectly.

The people your complaining about will fade away as they realize that SEO involves work and not a magic bullet that can be summarized in a 3 line post. If you don't love your work and have a thirst for the knowledge you will only go so far.

europeforvisitors




msg:296055
 3:35 pm on Feb 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

I signed up, and paid my money, for the supporters forum thinking that would be the spot where the real experts shared the goods. But even that area seems to get its share of "improve your content" and "google owes you nothing" blather.

It also gets its share of "My site has disappeared from the SERPs and G$$gle is a monoploy that sux" blather. Those posts are the inspiration for what some here would call "preaching."

What Webmaster World really needs is a Rant Forum (or maybe a "Punching Bag Forum") for frustrated Webmasters and SEOs. :-)

[edited by: europeforvisitors at 3:42 pm (utc) on Feb. 11, 2005]

mat




msg:296056
 3:42 pm on Feb 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

What Webmaster World really needs is a Rant Forum (or maybe a "Punching Bag Forum") for frustrated Webmasters and SEOs.

With, like, insulation and stuff to dampen outbursts and the odd angry shot, kinda like, you know ... sand!

Forum 101: The Sandbox

(It's Foo, it's Friday)

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