Why Rand Is Wrong About The ‘Twelve Attributes’, Part 2 – The Touchy-Feely Version

Oh, golly gee whillikers! It looks like I stepped on a toe or two! My bad. Time out! Take backs (sorta)!

For those whose delicate sensitivities interfered with seeing what I was saying, here it is again, without the commentary.

I am of the opinion that those who are in the business of blogging should take time to check facts, if things are presented as facts. Opinions are fine. Making up things just because you think no one will know any better is not.

Let’s just take a quick look at Rand’s post about the “Twelve Attributes of Obviously Manipulative Directories“, shall we?

1. General in subject matterNow, Rand does quickly qualify this with “this isn’t a bad thing on its own”… the problem being that it’s not a bad thing when taken in conjunction with anything else, either. “General in subject matter” means that the directory accepts many different categories, such as Arts, News, and Sports… in essence, it describes the vast majority of web directories that exist.

2. Anyone can get in – Obviously Google has stated many times that editorial discretion is an important factor in determining whether or not a particular directory should be considered worthwhile. It’s a standard company line. What is considered a worthwhile site is of course going to vary wildly from one editor to the next, and is completely subjective, but it is well known as something that Google touts. Rand doesn’t demonstrate anything at all to show that the directories that have been penalized are in fact doing this, however. Most of the ones I looked at have both submission rules as to what can and cannot be submitted, and reserved the right to remove websites. That is the very definition of editorial discretion.

3. Marketing to Webmasters – I can only guess at this point that perhaps Rand is thinking that the best place to market paid web directories, which are listings of websites, would of course be to anyone but webmasters.

4. Promoting Search Engine Link Value, not Traffic – Eh, I guess. Not too much to say about this one actually. Do please keep it in mind for #7, however.

5. Use of Manipulative Link Building – Perhaps. The methods he suggests as evidence of this are a bit weak, however.

6. Stuffing Links & Content to “Look Natural” – Not much to say about this one either, except still, not one single example of a directory actually doing this, so we can see what he is talking about.

7. Setting up “Premium” Sponsorships – He is saying now that offering more exposure in the directory, by either putting the listing at the top of the category or on more pages, is a sign of a “bad” directory. Since both of those things have more to do with traffic than PageRank, this is of course the opposite of what he said in #4.

8. Interlinking with Other Directories – Near as I can tell, either Rand is using the phrase “interlinking” in a new way. He’s saying in the body of this “attribute” that offering package deals with multiple directories is a sign of an “obviously manipulative directory”. He doesn’t actually explain why.

9. Common Popular Links – In a very similar manner to #8, the title of this one doesn’t match to what he actually describes. At all, actually. He says (I think) that for some reason if the most recent additions aren’t related, the search engines won’t like the directory. Again, no explanation why he thinks this.

10. Bid for Links – Well, I have no clue. I think he means bid for placement. He doesn’t explain how this is a way to manipulate search engine rankings. This sounds more like prominent placement equals more traffic. This is about directory owners playing off of the addictive and sometimes feverish nature of auctions in order to make more money per link.

11. Multiple Links with Your Choice of Anchor Text – This is the same as #4.

12. Banner Ads from Your Directory on SEO Sites – Same as #3.

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