It makes me cry a little bit, thinking of the amazing Wall Street Journal reporters & writers, like Serena Ng, Carrick Mollenkamp, Kate Kelly, Leah McGrath-Goodman, Moe Tkacik, Leslie Scism, etc etc etc etc. There stands their work, like a monument to the ages, to human civilization itself. Their work is near the pinnacle of what the human mind is capable of acheiving, in studying the organization and structure of our own society.
And then, the sour underbelly of Murdoch's new Wall Street Journal. I am writing about this link farm / link spamming stuff. On the following wsj.com page, someone (or some algorithm) has basically copy/pasted the first paragraph of a story from slashdot.org, and that is, uhm, basically all that there is on the page. And some web banner ads. No exposition, no comments section, no summary. Just a copy/pasted blurb and a bunch of links.
Don't believe me? Here is a screenshot:
The Wall Street Journal linkfarm / linkspam engine page says it is "powered by OneSpot".
What is Onespot?
"Patented community ranking surfaces the best content for your audience"
"Increased revenue by 5 - 10% increased traffic"
And so. There it is. The copy/pasted slashdot story text. Right next to the almost-certainly scam advertisements that say "President Lowers Mortgage Rates." and "Obama helps Moms go back to school". Anyone who studies the history of banner ads long enough will recognize the similarity to the "Get a new mortgage" banner ads of the pre-2008 era... and according to people like Steve Eisman, the "get a student loan" banner ads are of the same subprime-industry nature. In other words, the shitty ads being sold on the WSJ.com linkfarm are the lowest of the low, the bottom feeders, the exploiters of the weak and the ignorant.
Now, there is something strangely familiar about this particular copy/pasted linkfarm page to me. What is it? Oh yes. It is a slashdot article that I wrote. I mean, Wow!!!!! That's my writing, right there on wsj.com!! I guess I can put the following notice on the front of my blog now:
"Decora is a blogger whose work has appeared on the Wall Street Journal Online."
Just to think - I am helping the Wall Street Journal increase it's traffic by 5 to 10%. I wrote a slashdot article. The Onespot robot vaccuumed this story up into its database. It spat it back out on the Wall Street Journal, alongside ads from the worst companies in the country, advertising some of the worst scams that can be advertised.
Welcome to the new American idea of 'innovation'.
Who runs this One Spot thing anyways?
Matt Cohen, CEO
Matt Cohen is the CEO and Founder of OneSpot. Previously, he was a Partner at G-51 Capital, one of Austin’s leading early stage venture capital firms. Matt has been working professionally with the Internet and digital content for nearly 20 years. He has consulted with companies nationwide on technology and business strategy, was Senior VP of Operations and CTO for New Century Network in New York (a content and advertising network of over 150 online newspapers), and co-founded HoustonChronicle.com in 1994, where he registered the first newspaper domain name (chron.com) in 1988. He holds a BA in Computer Science from Rice University.
He is active with many professional organizations, and serves on the Steering Committee for the Austin Chapter for the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship.
When not working, he is: spending time with friends, reading, cooking, running on Town Lake trail, listening to Austin’s amazing music scene, organic gardening, or watching movies at the Alamo Drafthouse.
OK. Who else?
Silver Creek Ventures
Mike Maples, Sr.
Retired Executive Vice President of Worldwide Products, Microsoft
Co-Founder & Retired President, Perot Systems
Co-Founder & Retired AOL Fellow, America Online
Board of Directors
Matt Cohen, Founder & CEO, OneSpot
CEO, RCRD LBL
Senior Partner & CEO, Tocquigny
Marketing consulting firm specializing in digital marketing, integrated advertising campaigns, and analytics. Located in Texas, USA.
President, Digital Strategy, Allbritton Communications
Vice President & Treasurer, Online News Association
Former Executive Editor & Vice President, Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive
President, Woodnote Marketing
Former Director of Consumer Marketing, Dell; Chief Marketing Officer, Trilogy Software
Wow. I'd think all these successfull, well spoken, well dressed people would have better business models than link-spamming google with half-copied slashdot articles.
The funny thing is, that after a while, google will start dropping the page-rank of these link farms. I wonder when the managers at the Wall Street Journal will figure out that mass-robot copying of sites like slashdot is not a sustainable way to run a company?