Posts tagged ‘typepad’

A Company Called Upskilled Is Still Threatening Me Over Spam They Put on My Site

I got yet another email from blog spammer Upskilled that had a more threatening tone than the last:

We have tried to contact you several times regarding the link on “http://camprrm.typepad.com/” to our site http://upskilled.edu.au/.

This link is in violation of Google's Webmaster Guidelines and must be removed in order to bring our site into compliance with Google's terms.

Like it is something I did that is in violation.  They are now sort of hinting that if I do not respond they will have to put my site on some naughty list sent to Google.  All of which follows this laugh-inducing line from their prior email:

We appreciate your efforts to promote our website; however, we are trying to bring our website within Google’s guidelines.

Yeah, as if I put it there. It is a spam comment they put there years and years ago back when Google rewarded such behavior.   A spam comment not placed by me but in fact placed by them against my wishes. The comment was one sentence repeated out of the post itself and signed with their corporate link.

For those who are not familiar, the original Google secret sauce over older search engines was that they did not rely on metadata in the post itself to assess relevance of the post (back in the day, people used to fill their metadata with "Britney Spears" and similar gunk to attract search rankings).  Instead, they looked at how many other sites linked to you.  The more, the better.

But people are nothing if not innovative in gaming metrics, and quickly web sites started trying to spam links to their themselves all over creation.  They sometimes paid sites for links, but why pay when you can stick links to your site for free in spam comments on blogs.  This is what Upskilled clearly did.

Now, Google has changed their algorithms (actually they change them constantly) and penalize sites for having these spam links.  Which is why this company Upskilled is trying so desperately to convince me that I am somehow responsible for their spam link.  It almost tempts me to create a whole web page that is just the word "Viagra" repeated over and over and linked to their site.

For the record, here is my response to their email I have sent several times to their National Marketing Manager Michael Crump, which they continue to ignore and pretend that I am not answering them:

I no longer control this site at typepad.  I left it 7 years ago for self-hosting.  Typepad continues to display the blog, but I cannot make any changes without paying hundreds of dollars to reactivate my account.

Perhaps I misunderstand the situation, but I must say I have only limited sympathy.  Your company obviously engaged in a marketing campaign where you used automated programs to leave spam comments on blogs -- in this case the comment your bot left was just a quote of some of the text in the post itself.  Such spam comment bots are the bane of us blog owners' existence and we spend a lot of time and money fighting the behavior you engaged in.  In trying to promote your business, you vandalized my blog with digital graffiti.  Now that Google has changed its search ranking rules to penalize this behavior, you want me again spend time and effort doing your cleanup for you.

By the way, now that I read your original email more clearly, I am infuriated with your approach.  "We appreciate your efforts to promote our website; however, we are trying to bring our website within Google’s guidelines".  You are implying that I put up the link rather than you guys.  Insulting.

You want to scare me that somehow I am in violation of Google guidelines.  But in fact you are in violation.  It was you or your paid marketing representatives that put the link on my site, not me.  I didn't even want it there.  And since that sort of spam comment violates the terms and conditions of my site, you put it on my site in violation of my rules and express wishes.

Upskilled: Yes I Sprayed Graffiti on Your House. I Now Demand You Clean It Up

Update:  I have an update on Upskilled's continued attempts to blame me for their spamming this site.  

I received a link removal request the other day from Upskilled.edu.au pointing to a link in a comment back at my old typepad blog site.  In part the email said: "We appreciate your efforts to promote our website; however, we are trying to bring our website within Google’s guidelines."

This is hugely insulting.  The link in question is obviously from a spambot marketing campaign they had years ago.  If they had just confessed that and said they were sorry I might not be ticked off, but to imply that I somehow put up this spam comment and therefore am obligated to take it back down is infuriating.  Anyway, I would have to pay Typepad hundreds of dollars to get back into my account so I can't do it anyway.

I sent them this:

I must say I have only limited sympathy.  Your company obviously engaged in a marketing campaign where you used automated programs to leave spam comments on blogs -- in this case the comment your bot left was just a quote of some of the text in the post itself.  Such spam comment bots are the bane of us blog owners' existence and we spend a lot of time and money fighting the behavior you engaged in.  In trying to promote your business, you vandalized my blog with digital graffiti.  Now that Google has changed its search ranking rules to penalize this behavior, you want me again to spend time and effort doing your cleanup for you.

No thanks.

Whew! Done

OK, I think I have finally, successfully migrated both my blogs from the Typepad ASP service to self-hosted WordPress, with the completion of Climate Skeptic last night.  Now I can get back to real posting.

Site Migration is Done (I Hope)

As of this evening, the site migration from the Typepad service to self-hosted WordPress is mostly complete.  I have gotten a few emails about broken links and such, but I am fairly certain most are chased down now (though you are welcome to email me if you have problems).  The RSS feed is the last thing I need to test -- which I will do with this post.  For those of you who have been accessing this site via the feeds.feedburner.com/CoyoteBlog feed, I am hoping nothing has changed -- that should still be the primary feed in the future  (though you may experience about 10 duplicate posts from this weekend).  Folks who have been using other feed locations will have to migrate -- all those other feeds are now off (well, almost, I will put a few more messages on the old feeds to remind people to switch).  If you are seeing this post in your feed reader, you are good to go.

I have really tried to make the site more attractive, and I rejoiced in the much greater flexibility I had on WordPress.   Since several people have asked, I did all the design myself, though I paid a whopping $7 each for two stock images I used in creating the banner image.  Most folks read this blog via text feeds, but do me one favor and check out the new design just to make me feel better for all the work that went into it.

Actually, the vast majority of work went into migrating the site from Typepad without breaking hundreds of inbound links.  It is not impossible to maintain the permalink structure of the old Typepad blog, just hard, and I will post on how I did it soon.  On thing I will say now, though -- the new Typepad platform implemented for my site in October made it MUCH harder to migrate.  The last 50 days of posts took more time to migrate than the previous 4+ years.  That is one reason I have dropped a lot of my posting and really pushed up the priority of moving the site -- Every day I waited created a lot more work.

I have posted on my dissatisfaction with the new Typepad platform several times.  Suffice it to say that while the WordPress platform is a much better one, I would not have moved had it not been for three issues:

  • Typepad eliminated the blockquote option from the editor.  Yeah, I know, this seems a trivial concern.  But it is telling that a blog software provider could be so clueless about their customers as to think blockquotes to be unnecessary to bloggers
  • Typepad really screwed up the image functionality.  I have been on and off to customer service for weeks on images that simply would not post or would not post correctly.  Further, perhaps in an effort to make it impossible in the future for anyone to leave, Typepad implemented a new image storage system where it is impossible to actually access your image file.  What this meant for me was that, in blogging, the same images had to be uploaded over and over again, for every post in which they were used.  Further, it meant that my program that I used to scrape the old blog site and put all the images on my new site could not copy these images.  I had to painstakingly go into every post, right click and download the image, and then re-post it.  And I use a lot of images.
  • OK, so Typepad would have been fine if I did not ever quote any other sites and used no images (lol).  But it had one more problem-- when switching to the new platform, they built a new spell check program which is awful.  Folks who read my blog a lot know I DESPERATELY need a good spell checker.  But the new Typepad spell checker did not have an "add to dictionary" or even a "slip all occurrences" option, and somehow it disabled the built-in Firefox checker.   Image spell-checking a 3000 word piece on global warming and having to hit skip 150 times for each occurrence of "CO2" in the piece.

So, one blog down and one to go.    The second should be a lot easier with what I have learned.  My one screw-up on this one is I imported some old posts with Carriage Returns on each line so they don't wrap right, but I will just have to live with that -- I know how to avoid it with the next migration.  Expect blogging to be light, as I need to get my other site off Typepad before I post too many more items that I have to port manually.  I also still need to get the caching system up and tuned, so the site may be a tad slow for a few days.

Thanks to all those who complained about my site being the visual equivilent of nails on a chalkboard -- you gave me the final push to get this done.  In retrospect, an intervention was clearly necesary and I appreciate those who were forthright enough to provide it.

You've Been Warned

I am switching over domain registrars as the first step in the porcupine mating ritual that will eventually lead to a migration of this blog to WordPress.  There may be short downtimes of the site or of the email associated with this blog as I futz around with nameservers and cnames and such.  But since I am unable right now to publish any content on typepad that includes a graph or drawing, I am willing to bear some problems to get on a new platform.

A Better 404 Page

Google's got a new little widget one can embed in a custom 404 error page that looks like this.  Its cool because in addition to a search box, it claims to be able to provide the user the closest matching page in cases of typos.  I am playing around with it for several of my sites, though I don't think it is an option for the blogs -- I am pretty sure there is no way to implement a custom 404 page on a typepad search.  By the way, the Google dashboard / webmaster tools site is pretty helpful, particularly if you are really interested in where and how your search traffic is coming in.  I implemented a new sitemap for each of my blogs and uploaded them to google via the webmaster tools site and saw an immediate increase in search hits.

Not Happy

I spent much of the morning blogging yesterday, and typepad has managed to lose all the data.  I will say this is the first time I have been unhappy with Typepad, but I am very unhappy.

Apology to NZ Bear

I sent this email to NZ Bear today:

From reading the FAQ's, I guess I am not the only one, but in moving my blog from my Typepad address http://www.coyoteblog.com/coyote_blog to a dedicated address www.coyoteblog.com I have managed to grossly inflate my ranking, since my link score has been credited with cross-links between these two sites.  I am not actually a "Large Mammal" "“ I am actually small and weak and survive by hiding among the rocks from the larger beasts.  When you work up your "merge" code, please add these sites to your list of targets.

Warren Meyer "Coyote"

TTLB Ecosystem

The overly type-A readers may note that I have two different links to TTLB ecosystem ranks below.  Apparently, this site is in their twice, once as www.coyoteblog.com and once as http://www.coyoteblog.com/coyote_blog/.  It is unclear to me how TTLB handles these.  From what I have read, I think they have yet to implement a merge code, and I know a while back there were folks who claimed that some rankings were pumped up by internal cross-links between URLs like these.  If anyone has any insight on this, please comment below.

UPDATE

Well, posting stuff like this can be simultaneously helpful and embarrassing.  I just got an email from a friend who pointed out that he did not know anything about TTLB, but the reason I was still getting linked via http://www.coyoteblog.com/coyote_blog/ URLs was that I had not turned on domain mapping in Typepad.  I checked the box, republished, and now all my permalinks, etc. are in the coyoteblog.com domain.  Yeah.  And duh.

A second email pointed me to this TTLB notice, which seems to offer a way to migrate my old URL link history to coyoteblog.com. Thanks all.