How to not make friends and influence rankings. Ben Michel contributes an update to the search-engine optimization (SEO) contest mentioned last month, the object of which was for contestants to create a site ranked highest by google for a nonsense phrase, "nigritude ultramarine."
Michel writes "The first phase of the competition ended last Monday, and the winner was the owner of a forum called nigritude ultramarine--previously known as Merkey.net. According to Brandon Suit, the owner of this forum, the key to his winning strategy was "getting high PR backlinks"--having other websites with high Page Ranks link to him and vice versa.
What impact does this have on SEO, and indeed for the rapidly growing search industry in general? The viability of certain underhanded methods in the pursuit of SEO has been clearly reinforced by many of the results of the contest--both Suit and his closest competitor, Philipp Lenssen, posted links in Wiki Sandboxes in order to better their standing. According to Suit, "If you want to manipulate [Google], you can." While search engines certainly have come a long ways from relevance-based searching, it seems that they still have significant changes to make before they can more accurately order results for any given query. The search engines' creators themselves must make countless revisions in their own, perhaps quixotic, quests to create the perfect tools to retrieve relevant data in the vast, ever-expanding realm of the internet."
However, not everyone is as matter-of-fact about this method of increasing search-engine visibility; May Kasahara is one of the webmasters and wiki users who isn't.
Kasahara writes: "The Search Engine Optimization contest previously mentioned on Slashdot has had a detrimental effect on wiki users and admins (including myself) lately , as the words 'Nigritude Ultramarine' have been showing up in wiki sandboxes across the web. A search on UseModWiki's homepage brought me to this informative entry, which in turn led me to Nigritude Ultramarine and the Wiki Sandbox Effect [note -- mentioned last week on Slashdot] and to these accompanying comments, mostly from very annoyed wiki users."
OK, so maybe "infinite" was a strong word. Prof.Phreak writes "Quoting wikipedia: On May 26, 2004, Richard Arenstorf of Vanderbilt University submitted a 38-page proof that there are, in fact, infinitely many twin primes. On June 3, Michel Balazard of Bordeaux reported that Lemma 8 on page 35 is false. As is typical in mathematical proofs, the defect may be correctable or a substitute method may repair or replace the defect. Arenstorf withdrew his proof on June 8, noting "A serious error has been found in the paper, specifically, Lemma 8 is incorrect"."
What are these dashed lines all over your sacred cow? reifman writes "Slashdot's link to my article in the Seattle Weekly helped generate 175,000 page views and numerous letters and comments. The article seemed to touch a nerve in the Mac and Linux communities. I've posted a follow up responding to people's letters."
Updates from the Academic Affairs Division. zenrandom writes "As Case Western has just recently been reported, we may as well mention the initiative that will be connecting many schools in Ohio. Oarnet, a part of the Ohio Supercomputer Center and The Ohio State University is building a statewide academic and research fiber optic network. Composed of multiple metro-rings and over 1600 miles of fiber."
In unrelated college news, Mirell writes "After the FBI previously investigated an open records request filed for the tunnel blueprints at UT, students decide instead to enter via brute force. Hooligans - 1, War Against Terror - 0."
The problem with opening Pandora's Box. WC writes "The previous review on JDS2 ended with no successful installation so it wasn't very helpful on what to expect from the Sun distro. This new review has got a working installation but with a slew of new problems: more installation woes, unusable networking, buggy Nautilus and Mozilla window resizing artifacts among others. The author concludes that JDS2 is --effectively-- nothing but JDS 1.1 with the added Sun server software on top, but the desktop part has the same (and more) issues like JDS1 had."
Looking innocent is not their strong suit. tbase writes "As reported on News.com.com, Claria, formerly known as Gator, has sued L.L. Bean, charging the retailer with filing a frivolous lawsuit against its advertisers. As covered in a previous Slashdot story, L.L. Bean has filed suit against current and former Claria advertisers for advertising via pop ups over L.L. Bean's site."