Digital Culture

WordPress Ethical issues

Bit of a buzz around the wordpress forums and such today regarding Matt Mullenweg (the originator of WordPress) and his psuedo-ethical adword scheme to help pay for wordpress hosting. From the link above:

I discovered last week that since early February, he’s been quietly hosting at least 120,000 168,000 articles on their website. These articles are designed specifically to game the Google Adwords program, written by a third-party about high-cost advertising keywords like asbestos, mesothelioma, insurance, debt consolidation, diabetes, and mortgages. (Update: Google is actively removing every article from their results, but here’s a saved copy of the first page of results. You can still view about 25,000 results on Yahoo. Here’s an example of some results in MSN.)

Ok, so…scamming the adwords in google seems a tad slimy, but understandable. Hiding the adwords articles with odd CSS positioning tricks lends even more oddity to the issue.

As someone on the waxy thread says…why didn’t he just do a straightforward ad-words column on the page? has enough traffic to make that worth his time, I would think.

In any case, we’ll see what Matt has to say when he returns from Italy.

EDIT: Google and Yahoo have both already removed these from their results. MSN still lists them, and here’s a direct link showing what Matt did. Load the page, then view: source and check the last DIV.

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