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January 23, 2008

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Comments

 Tom R.

Scott,

Yes, that is a tactic for optimizing rankings in search engines.

Tom

David Rothman

Huh. The wording reads like instruction, not like a polite request. It strikes me as rude and not entirely appropriate.

walt crawford

I have to say, if I received a message like that, including this statement:

"The following page needs to be updated:"

and found that, in fact, my link still worked, was factually correct, and didn't have trademark issues, my guard would go right up. (And my link would remain as is.) If pressed, I would respond that it's not my job to support your branding, it's my job to say what I have to say. "Needs" is a strong word, one that doesn't apply in this situation.

Now, if they said, "We'd appreciate it if you would..." or something of the sort, or if the old link was now dead, that's quite a different thing.

T Scott

I was more amused than annoyed by the tone, but I guess that's just me. I certainly didn't feel strong-armed in any way.

When I initially thought that they were saying that the link was bad, I did wonder about what to do for a bit. I have an aversion to the notion of going back into posts and changing things -- it seems to me that they represent a particular moment in time and should be preserved that way -- later posts, comments, or, occasionally updates clearly marked as such within the text might be appropriate in particular cases. But revising a link that's no longer accurate? Doesn't seem like quite the same thing as revising text. On the other hand, if I tried to go back and "fix" every link I've ever used that no longer works, I wouldn't have time for anything else.

jessamyn

Yeah that's totally SEO language (search engine optimization) where they want to have a higher rank in Google for the word Oncology. All the cancer words are hard generally to get good Google rank in. I find that sort of email -- which I get from time to time -- very obnoxious because it basically tried to end-run Google's page ranking mechanism, to the extent that it understands it, and that's sort of antithetica to the way those things grow organically. I write polite but firm "nothing is broken don't email me again" emails to those folks.

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