Why NekNominations are Causing Me to Lose Faith in Society

Unless you’ve been living on Mars for the past few weeks (which, frankly, I wish I had been) you’ll have seen the NekNomination craze that has been taking Facebook by storm.

This involves people downing alcoholic drinks and then nominating someone else to do the same, possibly by going one better than their nominator. The ‘hilarious’ japes are filmed and posted onto their Facebook timeline, so all of their friends can see how much of a lad they are. Fun huh?


It has been reported that the craze started off in Australia, and that it only reached the UK a few weeks ago. It’s obviously a universal fact that drinking is ‘cool’ and the more alcohol your can drink, the cooler you are. Continue reading “Why NekNominations are Causing Me to Lose Faith in Society”

Common Sense Isn’t Common Enough Today

I promised myself that I would stay away from this topic… that there were already enough regurgitated posts about guest blogging. But it proves to provide a perfect segue to a mini-rant. And those that know me are well aware of my weakness for such opportunities.


Hornets nestMatt Cutts seems to have stirred up a hornet’s nest the other day, when he blogged about The decay and fall of guest blogging. As someone that has stirred his share of hornet’s nests over the years, I can imagine him muttering as he did a classic facepalm and shook his head in dismay. Been there, done that, Matt!

One couldn’t help but get the impression that Matt may have been a little fed up when he penned that post. I’ve been following pretty much every word out his avatar’s mouth for several years, and he’s rarely been quite so explicit in his statements. The ‘tude was showing, man.

But then, if I was tasked with running Google’s spam team, I’m betting I’d totally redefine the term jaded.  And I’ve got a ‘tude on, even when I’m in good mood!

His blog, mattcutts.com, hasn’t been starved for either views or comments for quite a while, but the velocity at which comments piled up in the wake of his statement was still notable. Some applauded his announcement that guest blogging would be getting some “special” attention (I’m in that camp). Some just jumped in to spew hate and others were wont to defend guest blogging. Continue reading “Common Sense Isn’t Common Enough Today”

Two Thousand and Late – 10 Online Habits That Should Remain in the Digital Past

People have so many annoying online habits, but a lot of the time, it’s things that can be stopped. We’ve all done them in the past, but we’re into 2014. Add these bad boys to your New Year’s resolution list. It’s no longer 2005, no-one is going to think you’re cool.

N.B. This article could coincide with the fact that I’m getting old. I no longer want to spend every Saturday morning waking up with a colossal hangover, and I no longer want my whole life broadcast across social media. So either these things really are well and truly dead, or I’m just past it.

That's annoying!1. Fictional Names

Apart from on Twitter, where a made up name is almost mandatory because someone in China who never tweets has taken yours, there’s no need to make up a name. Don’t add a ‘quirky’ middle name to your Facebook profile. We all know your real middle name is Alan, and that your real surname is Smith, not Smithington-Brown III.

The only time this is acceptable is if you’re under the age of 18 and you don’t know better.

2. Photos from Every Night Out

The novelty of uploading photos on Facebook has seriously worn off. No-one wants to see every single photo that you took of you and your three other friends on a night out. How have you had time to take 203 pictures anyway? Shouldn’t you just concentrate on having a good time? Continue reading “Two Thousand and Late – 10 Online Habits That Should Remain in the Digital Past”

Google Plus Comments are Dangerous!

A couple of friends and I started a new online venture right after the first of the year, and one of the features we implemented was to use Google Plus Comments. At the time, it seemed like a decent way to increase our reach. And to be fair, it might accomplish that.

But at what price?

Between the three of us, we had already tried both Disqus and Livefyre commenting and didn’t like the fact that they hijack much of the benefit of on-site engagement. G+, we thought, would be different.

A WTF Moment

So, a couple of hectic weeks later, we finally got a breather and noticed something interesting… and disturbing.

A colleague mentioned that she had left a comment on a post on our site. I happened to be in our backend at the time, and I noticed that her comment didn’t appear in our Comments section. At first, I thought that perhaps she had left her comment on G+, but she assured me that no, it was definitely on our site that she had commented.

So I went to the post itself and things got even more interesting. There were 11 comments displayed on the post, yet in the backend, not a single comment appeared for that post. WTF? I mentioned it to my mates and we decided that some testing was in order, but that if Google Plus Comments was acting just like Disqus and Livefyre, we’d go with the core commenting within WordPress. Continue reading “Google Plus Comments are Dangerous!”

Horrible Ways To Sell Bad Internet Marketing Products

Once upon a time, I wasn’t happy in my work. The reason was because I was tasked with making good on promises that often couldn’t be made good on.

Those experiences taught me a bit about myself, but also a lot about other people.

snake-in-oilLet’s look at how some of those other people appear to be (mis)selling (bad) internet marketing products.


This is the old “Guaranteed Page One within 24 hours” trick.

The setup is that a prospect is not happy their website isn’t ranking or is taking a while to rank, and the slimeball shining knight of a business development manager tells them they can have exactly what they want, as quickly as they’d like it. That’s how life is, right?

Opaque Statistics That Don’t Reveal The Full Story

This one’s a little less clear-cut.

The setup is that “previous success ensures future success”, with a twist.

Previous success can indicate pedigree, experience and a fairly-earned reputation. But if success isn’t success, then there’s a pyramid of lies being almost-cleverly constructed. Continue reading “Horrible Ways To Sell Bad Internet Marketing Products”

Professionalism for Fun and Profit

Barrie and I were sharing a rant in a hangout a couple of days ago and it seems like a good time to share it with others. I’ve gone off a few times before about some of these, but since many of them still keep popping up with annoying frequency, I think they’ll bear repeating.

Town cryer

1.      Just because you think you have something to say, doesn’t mean you should.

Most of us have opinions on just about any topic. In my experience, the people that are most worth listening to are often those that have the least to say. Not always, obviously, but often.

In the SEO world, there’s a lot more that’s unknown than known. So when you’re talking about things that have no definitive answer, it makes sense to qualify your statements as opinion or conjecture. Stating wild-ass guesses as fact not only misleads others, it points you out as the wild ass you are. Decidedly unprofessional.

2.      Proclaiming yourself to be an expert, ninja or guru only impresses YOU.

Want to impress people? Try making some sense. Try presenting an intelligent analysis or discussion, looking at all sides of an issue. Billing yourself as some sort of “expert” won’t impress anyone but you. And if you’re doing so, then you’re obviously already quite impressed with yourself. Too much so, in all probability.

What impresses people about others is when other respected professionals refer to them as an expert. And that’ll happen after they earn it with deeds, rather than empty, self-serving words. The “Look at me! Look at me!” approach is a quick way of making people look the other way… permanently. Unless being a professional ass is your goal, avoid this rookie mistake.

3.      Don’t beat someone else’s dead horse.

Continue reading “Professionalism for Fun and Profit”

My Wish List for a Happy 2014, and All That Jazz

Yes, I hate seeing posts like this but they’re just so damned fun to write…

I just finished a 2013 wrap-up post for a site and after having to relive some of the horrors that were visited upon this industry, and there were many, I can safely say that 2014 is probably going to suck, too. Google’s going to continue to attempt to remove all of the loopholes that allow so many of us to thrive online, and they’ll continue to accidentally punish people who didn’t know what they were doing was a bad idea, or, God forbid, didn’t actually do anything that was wrong at the time. I’m sure some of you will be muttering about how that never happens, but you’re utterly and completely out of touch if you don’t think that there are accidental casualties whenever they start making changes.

But I’m not here to rant about Google, because I freaking love Gmail, even though the tabs thing annoys me to this day. And I love Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools and I do enjoy a good doodle. When I search, it’s usually in Google. I don’t advise people to go Dogpile something, do I? Do I?? Hell no!

dandylion wishSo what will I wish for in 2014, other than some previously unreleased Clash albums to magically appear alongside a year’s supply of Marmite that Judi Dench and Steve Coogan personally spread on toast for me every morning, whilst also whipping up a lovely cappuccino?

My 2014 Wish List

Wish #1. People who don’t know what they’re talking about will talk less. Whether it’s giving advice on Twitter, writing for Search Engine Journal or just emailing some completely stupid nonsense plan to someone, please stop it. If you have never built a link in your life, don’t talk about how to build links. If you have only run some PPC ads, I don’t really care about your plan for a technical overhaul of a site. If you’ve been doing SEO for less than 6 months, while I respect that we all have to start somewhere, I really don’t want to read about your success with your clients because you know what? Thinking you’ve done something successful in 6 months is the mark of a child in this industry. You’ve just thrown 1000 links at your client’s site in the past week and the rankings are up? Call me the next time the algorithm changes. Continue reading “My Wish List for a Happy 2014, and All That Jazz”