It’s no secret that most people like having a measure of control, and today, LinkedIn gave it to them. Members of the professional network can now rearrange their profiles’ sections in order to highlight whatever parts of their resumes make them proudest.
Aaron Bronzan, an associate product manager, explained the change on the LinkedIn Blog. He wrote, “You will notice that the headers of each of the sections on your ‘Edit Profile’ page now have handles that can be dragged. To reorder a section, all you need to do is click and drag one of these section headers up or down the body of your profile.”
This move should allow all sorts of people to get more out of LinkedIn. Students who have only worked in fast food could, for example, show off the name of a prestigious university. Or people who’ve been laid off could highlight recommendations proving that they left on good terms.
The change is definitely a welcome one. It’s apparently not going to represent an isolated upgrade, either.
Bronzan promised, “The ability to reorder the sections on your profile is just the first of a huge number of enhancements that are coming to your LinkedIn profile in the upcoming months. And, as always, we’d love to hear your thoughts, ideas, and suggestions about how LinkedIn can help you to represent, manage, and share your professional identity.”
Mark Cuban recently talked about how search engines and content aggregators are vampires.
There is no reason to be indexed in Google. … You haven’t gotten anything back
But he failed to disclose how his Mahalo investment loots content.
If Google is a vampire (while sending away billions of Dollars of traffic for free) then what does that make Mahalo (which borrows your titles and abstracts as content to pull search traffic into their ad cluttered pages pages, while placing your content below the fold (while using nofollow on attribution links))?
Is the following accurate?
If you think otherwise, then please explain.
Danny Sullivan TORE UP Mark Cuban in a must read article which only Danny could have wrote. It is well worth a read for anyone who wants to understand the hypocrisy behind the Mahalo position on content scraping / vampiring.
I was talking to a friend yesterday who was at a conference where Demand Media’s CEO spoke, and he stated that nobody asked the big question: “what if google decides they don’t like you anymore?”
Then I got thinking about how Google torched Squidoo after Jason Calacanis went on his public campaign to rebrand it as spam. But today under the same level of scrutiny, how is Mahalo (which scrapes millions of 3rd party content listings *without any editorial filter*) not spam? Squidoo at least donates $10,000 a month to charity. Mahalo just “borrows” your content without permission and keeps all the cash.
In the past Google hated content scrapers pretty bad. How bad? Well a guy named Teeceo used to make scraper sites, and here is how Matt Cutts described his work:
In the chat room, I said hello to teeceo, but I know the stuff that he was doing and it’s shoot-on-sight. I think anyone who is blackhat knows (or should know) that I’m happy to talk to anyone, but that we’ll still take action on the spam we find.
Imagine taking that approach to hunting search spam all day long, and then ignoring the *fact* that Mahalo is scraping millions of third party listings and using them as content with no editorial filtering.
Then I started thinking about why the Google spam team could ignore something as outrageous as Mahalo, especially when it was built by a guy who was a false anti-spam evangelist. Is it because Jason is a good guy? No. Is it because there is some actual editorial vetting of the content? no. Is it because Google is getting a cut of the AdSense revenues? Google doesn’t need the short term cash flow (look at all the affiliate AdWords advertisers they just torched), so that is too cynical of a view.
Yes Google wants display inventory (their biggest opportunity for 2010 according to the quarterly call), and these “content” websites have already given themselves over to Google as inventory. But it must be something deeper than that. So I started thinking about it from a longterm strategic level…
Google won’t penalize sites like Mahalo (even though they blatantly violate Google’s guidelines) because Google *wants* to use the works of companies like Mahalo, Demand Media, and Aol to lower the value of other content and bankrupt a lot of the traditional media companies.
Why would Google want to do that?
There is excessive duplication in the marketplace. The faster that duplication is driven out of the marketplace the more desperate companies will be to cut deals with Google. And while there is a down market Google can drive companies out of the market and just claim that it was the economy that did it (much like how Mahalo used the down economy as an excuse to fire most of their editorial staff and replace them with content scraping robots).
Once a lot of media companies are bankrupted, the market is far more efficient, and there are fewer mouths to feed, that means Google can squeeze greater profits margins out of the media ecosystem by getting a fatter cut of the ad revenue.
Currently this shift is risk free because almost nobody understands how the marketplace works. Sure Paul Kedrosky and Mike Arrington blogged about the search results getting spammier, but until you frequently read the above listed sequence on sites outside of the SEO industry there is no damage to the Google brand in them turning the internet into a cesspool.
Once it starts harming the Google brand then I suspect them to act quickly and decisively. And sites like Mahalo will see a sharp drop in traffic. Jason better milk it while he can. The clock is ticking.
Let’s use a different industry to illustrate what is happening.
Let’s say a band named The Beatles records a new album. The local radio station gets a copy of their album and plays their song. The listeners love it so they play it more often, but they don’t mention who the band is and on their website, they put up a link to download the song… but without any credits. Their audience grows. They get advertisers to advertise to their audience. They say, “hey, playing good songs gets us more listeners and more listeners gets us more advertisers, which gets us more $$. Let’s do this more often.” So they go do this 500,000 times, and each time never mentioning who the artist is. They grow and prosper while the artists starve.
Oh, in the mean time they call the artist scum.
In the above metaphor, the artists are the bloggers whose content Mahalo is using. The radio station ripping off the artist is Mahalo. The Federal Communication Commission is like Google, who is allowing all this to continue because the radio station is giving them a cut from the advertising revenue.
Hope this helps make it a little more clear why what they are doing is wrong, needed to get exposed and needs to get fixed.
The analogy isn’t 100% perfect…but it *is* pretty darn close.
Jason is not 100% Jim McCormick, but he isn’t 0% either.