Link Farms Are Dangerous

Most people who have websites are regularly emailed to join or place links on their site to be part of link farms. These are bogus links (links unrelated to the site’s content) that have the goal of tricking Google into improving the site’s search rank. Horrible SEO (Search Engine Optimization) companies sell this sleazy service. If you take part, you’re risking Google catching you and then demoting or banning your site.

See the NY Times article The Dirty Little Secrets of Search detailing how J.C. Penney rigged their results and then got demoted. It was a very successful strategy over Christmas, but Google just responded.

On Wednesday evening, Google began what it calls a “manual action” against Penney, essentially demotions specifically aimed at the company.

At 7 p.m. Eastern time on Wednesday, J. C. Penney was still the No. 1 result for “Samsonite carry on luggage.”

Two hours later, it was at No. 71.

At 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Penney was No. 1 in searches for “living room furniture.”

By 9 p.m., it had sunk to No. 68.

In other words, one moment Penney was the most visible online destination for living room furniture in the country.

The next it was essentially buried.

Google TV Worst Product Ever

I like Google and knew that they were attempting something new and audacious with their Google TV. I knew that it had been horribly reviewed and that all the major networks blocked their content from the device. But it wasn’t until I opened my review unit of the Google TV Revue by Logitech that I fully appreciated what a disaster this product was.

It’s “Open”

Yes, Google TV is open, which I now see means that there is no consistency in App design and interface. There are no standards for layouts or buttons. Do I use a mouse or click buttons? Use whatever you want.. it’s different in every app and very confusing.

It Feels Like A Computer

At a few points, I got the message that an application was not responsive and asking if I wanted to force-kill it. That’s not something most people want to deal with on a TV.

It’s Low Quality

The Logitech Revue takes in the video feed from your cable box or DVR and then overlays its content on top of it. This way you can put the live TV feed in a corner box while browsing the web. The downside? The video is re-encoded and therefore degraded in this process. I wasn’t even looking for it, but noticed that the colors and shadows were far more muddy than they should be. I then switched back and forth on the same content and could easily see the problems introduced to the video feed. Audio? Your 5.1 surround sound is converted to stereo.

DVR Integration Fails

The whole idea of Google TV sitting on top of my TiVo DVR doesn’t work for me. If I search for content and the Google TV thinks it’s on live, it will attempt to change the TiVo channel for me. But if my TiVo responds, “Currently recording something else. Do you want me to cancel that other recording?” the Google TV doesn’t know it. It’s clunky and confusing. Just keep my boxes separate or fully integrated (Google TV built into my DVR).

No Content

There is remarkably little content for the Google TV. Most of the content felt like shells for the web pages. I had to click on the option to expand the video to full screen.

Google TV does have Netflix (what box doesn’t today?), Amazon, and Pandora, but many of the other applications either didn’t work or worked sporadically. This is on the latest firmware as of Christmas 2010.


Google TV might be an upgrade if you’re running a Web TV 2.0 box from 2004. But with Apple TV, Roku, Windows Media Center, and a host of “hacker” systems from Boxee, XBMC, and Plex, there are many alternatives now that do far more for less money.

I applaud Google for trying to move into the living room, but this box needs to be redesigned to be user friendly for non-engineers. It needs a consistent user interface and more content.

Google says that they’re continuing to develop Google TV, but Logitech has stopped making this Revue unit and the products planned for CES have been cancelled. Lets hope that Google takes this break in product development as an opportunity to rethink their approach to entering the living room.

Mapnificent Finds Where You Can Travel

Mapnificent is a new site using Google Maps that finds out where you can get to in a certain amount of time. It accounts for you using public transportation and you can tell it in the settings that you have a bike. It’s great for exploring restaurants near you, but in a direction that you never bothered to look.

Bogus Search Engine Optimization Services

As an owner of websites, I regularly get email like this:


I am Maria, Business Development Manager.

I went to your website: “” and saw that you are an online service provider.

Would you be interested in outsourcing Link Building Services to us? We will be happy to deliver one way thematic links for any theme and numbers. We have delivered over 40,000 links to various retail and agency clients spread over different verticals.


* Links from Unique IP’s

* Regular Caching sites

* Less Outbound Links

* Start pricing USD 1.5 only

We have our quality department checking each and every link as per the quality parameters.

We would pick the exact anchor text and will be happy to provide a choice of using as many anchors as you want. Besides all our links pass thorough the quality parameters set for link building ensuring only high quality link building for a website.

Do let me know if you are interested and we would be happy to discuss this further.

For more info you can visit our website URL: – [removed]

I look forward to your Positive response.

Kind Regards,

Name: – Maria

Post: – Business Development Manager

E-mail:- maria@[removed]

NONE of these services are legitimate. There are two possible things these companies do:

1) They could just take your money and do nothing.

2) Or they could do something worse than nothing. Some companies actually try to do what they say, creating “Link Building Services.” One of the elements of the Google PageRank algorithm is how many links there are to your site. By putting your link on a bunch of sites, they attempt to game the Google PageRank algorithm and improve your search ranking. The problem with this is that Google isn’t stupid. Google can easily and automatically identify bogus links from link farms. Google can then penalize you by lowering your search rank or removing you completely from their search results, the mark of death on the Internet.

Even if these little companies could outsmart Google, it’s a sleazy business. To improve your site’s search results, write good content and get legitimate links. For more information on Search Engine Optimization and PageRank, see our post Google SEO and Other Search Engine Results Performance Suggestions.