Google search, now with arrows?

Yesterday I noticed my Google search came up with these little arrows and Xs next to the results. Clicking the up arrow is a vote to “Promote” the search result, and clicking the “X” is a vote to “Remove” it.

I’m not sure how I feel about this social option being added to my old, familiar Google search. Somehow, I’ve become comfortable with the ever-changing, mysterious, mighty mathematical algorithm. I like to think that it produces pretty fair results, although there are certainly plenty of people with gripes over Google’s ranking system.

I hope this Promote/Remove system doesn’t turn Google search into something like Digg or StumbleUpon. I’m not an expert on these systems, but I think they can be a bit cliquish, or even fraudulent at times, with voting exchanges and paid Diggs/Stumbles. I still enjoy stumbling, but I wouldn’t depend on it for my search results. Sometimes I want people’s opinions, and sometimes I want a robot’s unemotional, calculated result.

I guess it’s too early to tell what effect this new SearchWiki will have on the Google gamers. We’ll have to wait and see. What do you think? Is this a good thing?

Excellent Service Deserves a Shout Out

I have to give a short update to my previous post on the CommentLuv plugin. I installed CommentLuv to provide an automatic backlink to my commenters, and wanted to make sure it was working properly as a dofollow link.

First of all, the plugin author, Andy Bailey, showed up on his own to test the plugin, by leaving a comment on my blog, as soon as it was installed. And when I had a question about whether the nofollow tag had been removed, I sent him an e-mail. He replied within hours, and helped me figure it out. It turns out you have to install a plugin to turn off the nofollow tag. (I used NoFollow Free.)

Over the course of several e-mails and a couple of test comments, Andy made sure his plugin was working properly, on its own and with NoFollow Free. He was very friendly and good-humored. CommentLuv is a free plugin, and I did not pay for his service. Likewise, neither Andy nor anyone else has paid me for this post. Sadly, it’s becoming rare to receive excellent, personal, human service these days, and I wanted to say a big THANK YOU to Andy. Keep up the great work!

By the way, everything is working perfectly now, and when you leave a comment, you will receive a nofollow-free link back to your latest blog post. Links for everyone! (Unless your comment is spam, in which case it will be deleted.) Cheers!

I’m not sure what to think about pay-per-post

I don’t want to offend anyone here, but I guess I might. It seems that Pay-Per-Post (PPP) badges are popping up on blogs everywhere. I understand that most bloggers are hoping to make some money. I know what kind of time goes into writing posts and maintaining a site, not to mention that most bloggers have families, “real” jobs, and lots of other things going on in their lives. I’m right there with you! I get it!

But when I read a post on a blog that has a PPP badge, or maybe a disclosure statement (explaining that some posts may or may not be influenced by sponsors), I wonder whether I’m reading a genuine article or a paid advertisement. Is it just me, or does a blog that accepts PPP writing assignments lose some of its credibility? Maybe I should read the whole blog before I decide whether it’s too commercial for me, but how many of us have time for that? Is that how you surf blogs? Probably not.

I’m not trying to sound high and mighty. Pay-Per-Post bloggers aren’t bad people. I’ve considered getting in on PPP myself, but I’ve decided against it. I’ve decided this blog is going to be all mine. Now if somebody wants to hire me to write for a separate publication, that’s a different story. But like it or not, this one’s all me. There you have it.

GeekMom: Now With More Linky “Luv”

commentluv hereYes, GeekMom now offers double the love to readers who leave comments, thanks to a nifty plugin called CommentLuv. I don’t know exactly how it works, but it’s easy to download and install on WordPress, and it was written by Andy Bailey.

Now when you post a comment, you can check a box to “enable CommentLuv,” which will display the title of your latest blog post as a link. That’s a free text link directly to your post — not just to the front page of your blog — and that’s in addition to the link you can include with your name. You get two links for the price of one comment! Isn’t that sweet?

It’s not supposed to slow down loading of the site at all, although it may take some number of seconds for the thing to hunt down your feed once you post your comment. Give it a try and let me know what you think! Thank you!

GeekMom’s Secret to Online Success is…

The good old Golden Rule. Really, it works online just like it does in real life. Sounds too low-tech to work in the virtual world? Well, it’s not. I’ll prove it in five easy steps.

  1. First, develop a nice, friendly, informative profile page on yourself. This can be your myspace page, your blog, your Squidoo lensmaster page, or whatever. You don’t have to give out your personal information. Include a link back to your blog, or whatever else you’d like visitors to click on.
  2. Then do some surfing. Look for blogs or pages that are well-written and interesting. Find something you really like. Have fun!
  3. Don’t just lurk. Participate in polls, give some stars, add some appreciative comments to the guestbooks. Be genuine. Be kind. If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. Remember the Golden Rule, and treat others the way you would like to be treated.
  4. Usually, you can add a link to your comment. This is where you put the address to your profile page, or directly to your blog. Don’t use a spammy, junky link. People don’t like being tricked into clicking on spam!
  5. If you’ve been kind, people will read your insightful comment and want to know more about you. They will click on your link, visit your page, and maybe even leave you a nice comment too. Perhaps they’ll check out your sidebars and ads. If your page is especially wonderful, you might even get a Digg or a bookmark, or even a regular subscriber. Who knows — you might even make a friend!

Give the Golden Rule a try, and see if you get good results. Even if you get one quality visitor for every ten quality visits you make, you will have made Cyberspace a friendlier place. And that’s good for everybody!

Google: I hate myself for loving you

Before you flame me and call me a hypocrite, let me disclose a few things. Yes, I use Google’s products. I love that I can see my house from space with Google Earth! I’ve used Adsense and Adwords, and I still use Blogger, Gmail, etc. In all likelihood, I will continue to use Google products. Google is everywhere, and most of the stuff is free — how can I help it?

But it’s getting out of hand. I think about Google all the time — keywords, backlinks, SEO strategies… What will Google think if I do this? Will Google like that? What if that makes Google mad? I don’t want to upset Google!

But I hate that I HAVE to do that! Google’s looming Google-icious omnipresence gets on my nerves and under my skin, and I hate myself for having to love Google, especially when Google gives no evidence of loving me in return. Some days it seems like Google loves me, and other days, Google turns all fickle and ignores me for no apparent reason. It’s maddening!

Some days, I just want to break up with Google. I want Google to take all his stuff and get out, and leave me alone with my own quiet life. And I can make my place just the way I like it, without having to worry about what Google will think.

But then I’m jerked back to reality. I can’t live without Google. Nobody will like me if Google doesn’t like me. I’m nothing without Google.

And then I’m back to where I started. I hate myself for loving Google. I hate Google for making me love him. Google, come back! I didn’t mean it! Call me!