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I want my internet back dammit

Where have all the webmasters gone?



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

10+ Year Member

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 don’t 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.


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

10+ Year Member

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)


3:52 pm on Feb 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I have an idea on how to improve the forums and enhance the signal-to-noise ratio.

Serious SEO forums should be displayed with a blood red or black background, with skull 'n bones icons. Geesh.. if you did that I'd read with serious caution, and never post unless it was really good and relevant, but I'd read it knowing I was lurking in the pirate's cove/black hat arena/ secret society. If you violated the social contract and posted something stoopid, careless, or your own opinion, you'd get cut or beat up. At the very least you'd get a trojan, so your zombie could pay back your debt for your error. That would keep the masses in line, the S/N very high.

Threads that include real tidbits that worked, or revealed black hat techniques, would degrade in resolution over time so they were not readable after say, 6 hours. Get 'em while their hot, but don't ruin it for everybody by leaving out in the archives.

Business forums with posts like "G buys H" or "what happened to the submenu on MyFaveSE for whatever" or "AJ now shows 11% more sponsored listings than they did last month" would be grey on white, using Times Roman, *with* serif. No bathrobe posting permitted. And you simply can't post from a Mac no matter how you might try. New posts are limited to 3 per month, to allow time for digestion. Yawn.

Entrepreneurial/opportunity/marketing forums would be (sorry for the US-centric analogy here) DOLLAR GREEN. In posts, all occurences of the letter "S" would be replaced with $. All language would have to be UPBEAT, and posts suggesting there might be a downside would be disallowed as OT. Every post would be a new thread, so that every reply, again by social contract, would be of the form "I didn't believe this but then I had to test it out for myself. I tried it, and WOW. It worked *exactly* as described, and I made $$$$$ in N months following this plan". This a surefire way to keep the signal high and the noise down for the business forums.

Professional Webmaster Forums would use Avatars, but they had to be either

  1. your dog (so you can bring your dog to work)
  2. your head shot, if your hair is a primary color or you have a mullet. Perhaps we could allow goatees as well.
  3. your full body shot, but only if the camera is overhead at a slight angle, looking down onto you, preferably with a very wide angle lens. You may execute finger expressions in the shot, but keep the hands from blocking the face, and keep it either non-obscene or non-obvious obscene.

Foo forum should be restricted to neon playdough colors. Every post has to use some variation of the smilie at least twice. Threads are color coded for their type of humour (obvious, stoopid, juvie, sophomoric, sarcastic, cynical, parody, irony, and just plain bad. If this were the case I would scan foo daily. Sometimes I'd just read the "sunny yellow" and opther times when I was in a PO'd conspiracy-theory mode I'd look for the urine-color-coded cynical posts.

Of course Foo would also be the home of "other", which is all posts that were long, "unfinished thought" posts (those that include those that include the word "if" or the phrase "then agains"), who-gives-a-crap-about-your-personal-life posts such as all posts that include phrases like "one time I was" and IANAL.

Oh it is getting on and I have some work to day so I can't finish this or edit it or go back and make it better... sorry.. but I really wanted to express myself ater reading some of this thread, and I know that after I hit POST I really won't be paying atention to this thread anymore anyway so I don't really care. See ya!


4:06 pm on Feb 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

I think a WW drinking game would be fun.

"You violated Adsense TOS" -> sip beer
"You posted a url read the TOS" -> sip beer
"OMG my site is my site banned?" -> shot
"for the newbs $3.67 a day is possible" threads -> shot
"google owes you nothing" -> shot
"make content for people not SE's" -> drink beer
"content is king" -> beer bong

feel free to add your own rules


4:28 pm on Feb 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

and has a another thread goes off topic.........


4:39 pm on Feb 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

for some reason going off topic never happened with the old school...hmm I wonder why that was?


5:19 pm on Feb 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Perhaps WebmasterWorld is seeing its own version of The September that Never Ended? [catb.org]


5:32 pm on Feb 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

>>>>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

If you say so. I am doing the same old tricks I always did. Since pagerank became less important I have not changed strategy once. These "tricks" are common knowledge and they work a treat.

My main reason for reading the board is just to make sure I am not missing something.


5:33 pm on Feb 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

<<But what I don’t hear is people breaking the changes apart for the pure joy of understanding>>

I guess in fairness, SEs have gotten much harder for the average person to game. Gone are the days when a 100% frame could put your kid through college. I'm really starting to question whether or not one guy with a Dell is going to be able to compete long term. Algo cracking seems to run a distant second to network power players with big infastructures behind them.

It used to be about finesse. Now, I'm not so sure.


5:43 pm on Feb 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Off topic? In Foo? Purleaease.

There are places for high-horses, but surely here isn't one of them?

Where have all the webmasters gone? Up in the world.


5:47 pm on Feb 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

jk3210, and the discussions about optimising have become more and more technical.

Reading the technology and maths behind Page and Brin's original page rank formula is a far cry from studying the AI behind LSA et al. Even if you can understand the math and technology the testing to prove or disprove any individual theory has become a lot more difficult. I see some of the most respected old timers like the Marcias etc struggle to make sense of Allegra. The more the skill, research and time that needs to go into identifying emerging trends the more likely it is that the associated discussions will happen outside of a public forum. This leaves the public forum open to being hijacked by the Samaritans' clients. And content publishers like mat and me


6:18 pm on Feb 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member encyclo is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

There appears to be not only a problem with people whining in threads, but also a problem with people whining in threads that there are people whining in threads. Read that sentence again slowly: it does make sense really.

Let's take a step back. What was the question again? I mean the one in msg #1, just down below where I'm posting. Ah yes, "Where have all the webmasters gone?". Well, we're here, and in great numbers: but just avoiding the whining.

The WebmasterWorld forum index is not here [webmasterworld.com], nor even here [webmasterworld.com]. Those are important pages, sure, but there is so much going on here where webmasters can find tons of unique, pertinent, quality information. You've got an amazing resource covering the mechanics of building a website in forums 21, 83 and 91, top-notch information about web development in forums 88 and 47, wonderful threads about copyright, content-building and managing a web business in forums 44 and 31, rogerd's incredibly insightful forum on community building (forum 103), ... I've not even covered a quarter of the good stuff going on here.

In the Google World section, even if some want to paint things black, there is a huge amount of good stuff going on. Yes, the update threads can be a drag, but there are some real gems in there. When you're panning for gold, don't expect to find a 2lb nugget on the first day. There is a huge amount of money which is putting enormous pressure on webmasters, and if you're expecting to learn all the secrets just by reading a few threads then you're going to fail. However, there are great hints, lines of attack, snippets of analysis, seams of understanding. The threads can give you everything you need to start understanding things yourself. Have you read about Markov chains [webmasterworld.com] yet? No-one's going to do the work for you.

Other points brought up include the "private club" myth: that you can have a forum (say at $3K a head) where suddenly you find yourself in the rarefied atmosphere of a network of trust where everyone can discuss openly and you can sit there and lap up all the secrets and the expensive research of others. It's a myth because, let's face it, Google probably have enough spare cash in the budget to scrape together the cash necessary to buy a seat, anonymously of course. Some people appear to forget that you can't be sure who's reading the thread, so you just can't give away your livelyhood. At least here, in the Supporters's Forum as well as outside, you know that anything you say can and probably will be read by members working for the search companies. A "Private" forum would be no different, except that some may be harboring under the illusion of confidentiality. Knowledge scraping is like content scraping. You might get ahead in the short-term, but if you want to be successful long-term, you've got to do it yourself and not depend on the hard work of others.

If you're complaining that you're not getting enough out, then it's probably because you're not putting enough in. You can see from my post count that I've posted a few messages before - perhaps a few of those posts helped someone. But it's nothing - nothing - compared to what I've got out of here. Let's put all this crap about bell-shaped curves, neverending Septembers or whatever to one side for a moment, and look around. Go to the real forum index [webmasterworld.com] and start reading. Go into the forums you usually pass over. Did I mention the great Adsense forum (forum 89) with all of Jenstar's thoughtful and informative posts? The new hardware forum (forum 103)? In all of those forums, you'll not only find that wealth of information you're looking for to build a better site, but also you'll see just how many "real webmasters" have made WebmasterWorld their home.


6:35 pm on Feb 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

<<The more the skill, research and time that needs to go into identifying emerging trends ...>>

Yep, that's why I hated to see that button-pushing thread fall by the wayside. That was shaping-up to be one of the rare times when some frontline soldiers were giving out a reality check of exactly how far advanced the state-of-the-art really is.

<<if you can understand the math and technology...>>

*chuckle* I'm also not so sure about that word "understand." I get the impression that the heavy-weights use more of a shotgun approach: throw it all against the wall and see what sticks.


6:52 pm on Feb 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Really interesting to see how different people interpret this. First of all when I posted the first time it was nothing more then a rant. It was not a rant directed at Webmasterworld at all but us in general.

I originally posted this in foo on purpose. You kind of have to dig to discover foo as it as it rarely gets to the active list or the front page. And boy what a difference it makes when it does.

I am just trying to figure out how we turned this cool little internet thingy into a money whore. And we were the ones that did it. Just read the source code and I sure you all can. In fact the recommend approach (or should I say best practices) is to make your site not look at all like it is geared towards generating ad or affialte money. Just look at weapons of mass destruction. Neat trick ;).

I catch myself doing it too. Check out this thread. [webmasterworld.com ]

It is about an absolutely amazing website that will rarely be seen because of people like us. I actually caught myself saying oh she should change this and do this. Naw she should not change a thing.

Mfishy gave some great advice earlier. Meet another webmaster and talk over a beer. The problem is it is not so easy. We are scattered all over the world. Myself I live in a small little mountain town in Guatemala. Hell, I just able to get internet access in my home only a year ago and I am lined up to get high speed in the next day or so.

There is only one guy in town that remotely understands when I talk about this stuff. Absolutely brilliant computer geek. Some of you might even know him. A big game software company even had a bounty on him because of a forum he had in the past. (sold it a little too early ;) He just likes to figure out systems and he really does not care about the money part. He just likes to know how things work.

The point I am making is we don’t talk anymore. The other day I ripped apart a seo’s network and gained all kinds of information. By the way thanks. Needless to say I was very excited. Who could I talk to? No one. Just lonely out here.


6:57 pm on Feb 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator incredibill is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

"Where have all the webmasters gone?"

Based on rampant thread drift, I think they are hard at work having taken their ritalin compared to the rest of us AADD (adult attention deficit disorder) sufferers that ramble wildly from thread to thread not remembering what's posted where nor even caring.


6:57 pm on Feb 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

As far as meeting other webmasters in person I agree thats tough.

Most of the people I know that are professionals in this field don't know anything about what is written on here.

They are just programmers. Heck they don't even like to discuss programming topics.


7:32 pm on Feb 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member suzyuk is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

What a great thread.. I've stopped by to read it few times.

Answer as I read it because I see everyone has taken it their own way..

Mostly we're all still here, in the webmastery world somewhere, but it's rather large as far as I can tell, always has been but most everyone else is just getting on with it.. it being their area of the web.

I can't say it as eloquently as encyclo did but there are forums and people out there [webmasterworld.com] who are both respected and have respect for ALL areas of webmastery (which to me means building a website, and ALL it entails.)

I have always read most forums at WebmasterWorld, but mostly it is just that reading, it doesn't mean I don't understand nor that I don't care it's just that a few years ago I was listening and learning so I respected and now it's not worth it (joining in I mean) because labels have been applied some have names some don't but they are there.

My answer is we're still here but it's big old world, and yes I do see your point it gets very lonely when you don't have anyone who understands what you're talking about.. whether it's programming, SE Algos, ROI, Markov chains, PPC... there is nothing worse than only having yourself to let off steam too, I'm glad you did it here seems there's a lot of steam in all areas :)



8:03 pm on Feb 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Marcia, I'd have to agree with your timeline, I can draw it to that month too.


9:01 pm on Feb 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

As far as money goes, I'm glad there is a bit of spread of money around the net, I started programming when I was 11 on my older brother's beatup labtop, what was I supposed to do for hosting, ask my parents "mom, dad, can you give me $120 a month to run my website?". I searched for hours and finally found a great freehost and I made my site under the host's subdomain, google finally accepted me into adsense, and now I pay monthly for my dedicated servers off of my adsense money. So money does help. The only contradiction I can think of is that when I was really young i remember you could run a website off your computer and peeps could just type in your ip address.

As far as contribution goes, webmasterworld is still a fair cycle, I started off mostly posting lots of questions, I still do, but now I go through the forums and awnser lots of other people's questions too and show my techniques.

ill edit this post soon, school period is ending.


10:21 pm on Feb 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

If I could hijack this thread for a second...:)

Would somebody mind telling what's wrong with the "My site has disappeared from the SERPs?" threads.

Speaking as one who has had a fair amount of those myself. I try to be helpful, friendly, informative and opinionated here, and every once in a while my site disappears from the SERPs. These threads become lively and intelligent discussions that are highly useful on other forums, but around here, people with knowlege just stay away, far away from people in the most desperate of situations.

To model a previous post here's what you get when you post a "My site has disappeared from the SERPS" thread.

1. Looks like you got caught with your hand in the cookie jar ;)
2. You are obviously hit with the <most recent manifestation of SEO paranoia>
3. Throw out your domain and start over.
4. Yawning chasm of silence

There are great lessons to be learned from many of the sites who get "disappeared." Nobody seems to want to know this stuff, IME.


10:23 pm on Feb 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

People grow up.

Long long time ago we started building website via notepad. Back then, there wasn't google and when google did come along, some of us got good ranking without even knowing PageRank, Link Popularity. A decent html intro was good enough to get you recognized. But then one day the bubble busted and there were gloom and doom all over. The smart webmaster's went through 4 yrs of college, learnt more than HTML, learnt true programming.They actually did some research.

So where are they now? They are here and they are kicking. But time has changed.

Welcome to Internet Reloaded (V 2.0).

Good luck, if you want to make a website about HTML.
You don't need a website focused on HTML, you need a damn book.

Now if you want to run a succesfull website, you need more than HTML. You need tactics, your own network, your own server, your own software, your own researched loophole, most importantly you need money to make money.

So please with all due respect, stop whining and let the big boys play. Don't expect to open a damn site one day and beat amazon. You need lot more work and lot more resources to play this game, now and in the future.


10:24 pm on Feb 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

also, one thing about WW is that there are some incredibly insightful posts that are made here...that we don't realize how insightful they were until about 6 months later.


10:25 pm on Feb 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

For me the novelty wore of.

It just became... too reactionary rather than knowledge seeking, forward thinking, silly bantering.

I do miss the old days but times have changed and I guess as toyota says ... "Act, Improve, Repeat"

Going into hibernation ;)



10:48 pm on Feb 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator incredibill is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month


What we need is a web site dedicated just to missing web sites per SE. I propose a speciliazed site called "webmilkcarton.com" and if your site shows up on the back of the milk carton, it's not good news. Having such a site, with potentially thousands (hundred of thousands) active sites missing in search engines could be just what the internet needs to see how bad and wide spread of a problem this truly is.

We could even have "WebVan alerts" (named after one of the most famous now permanently missing web sites) that emails the list of web owners showing all the new missing web sites that vanished without a trace.

Maybe maintaining such a list, with time it vanished, time it returned, and being able to analyze that mass of data might pinpoint some interesting underlying trends about these issues.

I'll bet MSN, Google and Yahoo would not be happy about such a list being maintained!

But I digress....


11:41 pm on Feb 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator ianturner is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

also, one thing about WW is that there are some incredibly insightful posts that are made here...that we don't realize how insightful they were until about 6 months later.

Its like someone trying to teach run before you can walk.

If you keep reading you will realise faster and faster what the insightful posts are, so maybe in 6months time it will only be 3 months before you realsie that the post was insightful. And in twelve months you'll pick up on it a month behind and in two years you'll be making those posts that everyone thinks are insightful 6 months later.


12:38 am on Feb 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Supporters Forum

When Brett opened up the Supporters forum I was quite happy because the forums upfront where washing out. My hope that discussions would be taken to a new level, and for a short time they seemed to going that way. As word got out the crowds that swamped the forums upfront moved on back… It really lost my attention. I have no idea what the Supporters forum is doing really – I have asked a few and it is a 50/50 renew or not suggestion.

This post is interesting because I was just telling a friend of mine today that it amazes me how an update now turns us on each other. There is enough experience and brainpower here to really make a powerful network of minds to be reckoned with…

I am hungry for depth and I really miss the digging, experiments, and theories that were discussed. Today I read and make a small post now and then… but that is about it. My findings and success are celebrated between my clients and I, but generally kept to myself these days. (sounds sad ha! It is...)

So perhaps one day Brett will open a new forum that strictly promotes logical conversation where people don’t let their emotions get the better of them. When you let your emotions get the best of you…you loose specifically in this business.


5:44 am on Feb 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Interesting thread.

As Encyclo mentioned, there are other forums other than Google with just the kind of give and take that you are seeking Skippy. Seeing SuzyUK post reminded me of this css classic [webmasterworld.com] from October.

I tend to look for the recent posts of specific members as opposed to just hoping to get lucky scanning forums. I find that I discover far more gems this way since quality discussions bring out the pros who otherwise avoid the noise.

One thing I have noticed is that when I discovered WW 2 1/2 years ago, senior members and mods were quick to rein in threads going off topic. That doesnt seem to happen as much nowadays and so the noise gets louder.


5:55 am on Feb 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Industry has matured. Wild west excitement of emerging endless possibilities has passed. Brett's post back in 2002 is all that any honest webmaster needs (http://www.webmasterworld.com/forum3/2010.htm) regarding SEO. It not a quick FIX thus not attractive to everyone, but valid nonetheless.

Tons of useful info in other threads throughout this forum regarding coding issues etc. How many times can you post that success lies in work, graft, honest dedication to your craft? Not what most people wish to hear. The silent crowd are the converted.

I EMPATHIZE with the frustration some posters express with the seemingly confusing signals google sends (If i were google i would do the same). By nature the type that were initially attracted to this industry (SEO), will find it hard to accept that they are not in control as much as they would like. I SYMPATHIZE with webmasters that accept the wise insight in Brett's aforementioned post.

Google has evolved beyond being GAMED, for the most part. A long term strategy is simply to focus on the fundamentals and leave it there. Not sexy but true.


[edited by: frogboy at 6:39 am (utc) on Feb. 12, 2005]


5:55 am on Feb 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

One thing I have noticed is that when I discovered WW 2 1/2 years ago, senior members and mods were quick to rein in threads going off topic. That doesnt seem to happen as much nowadays and so the noise gets louder

You just can't keep up on a forum. No matter how many mods you add or rules there is only so much they can do. I had this same problem on my forum and it wasn't really resolved until I added a slashdot like system to allow users to moderate each other AND rate each others posts AND filter posts based on rank and user AND the ability to see if a user is using more than one user account ( by IP ).

And for all the work it took to make phpbb do that I still get crap posts, but at least I can filter them now.


6:37 am on Feb 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

When I suggested that $3k "platinum" area a few pages back, I probably should have thrown a ;-) on the end.

I don't think there is anything wrong with this site. I love it. I read it every day. And I don't think I could make my house payment without it. My clients think I'm a genius. Luckily for me, they don't know how much I rely on this site.

Occasionally, like when Allegra devastates one of our sites, I suspect a lot of us get a little cranky searching through "me to" messages as we search for nuggets of wisdom. Sometimes I wish I could just get one of the experts on the phone for an hour to bounce ideas back and forth, without worrying about disclosing any of my "secrets", or accidently disclosing an actual URL.

Maybe if I had been a more useful participant on this forum over the last couple of years, instead of a lurker, AND maybe if I would attend an SEO conference now and then, maybe I'd have a few phone numbers and email addresses to use for just that purpose.

Well, I guess I have my work cut out for me, and my path ahead is clear. This will be my quest - to be more useful to the other members of this site. Afterall, if I'm really useful, maybe the "experts" will invite me into that secret platinum $3k club. ;-)


6:58 am on Feb 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

re - google this:http://www.webmasterworld.com/forum3/2010.htm is all you need.

End of story. Nothing else is required.


This 115 message thread spans 4 pages: 115

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