Archives for January 2008

Data portability for your email, searches, calendar, …

Marshall over at ReadWriteWeb notes that in addition to Google, more sites are joining the Data Portability Working Group, which is cool. Data portability is a Good Thing in my book, and I’ve written about general data portability and Google before. So I left this comment:

“Check this out, LinkedIn even posted about the Data Portability issue on their blog today – wouldn’t it be great if Google did that?”

Hey Marshall, I wrote almost a year ago about all the ways that you can take your data out of Google if you want:

That includes your searches on Google as well, if you’ve signed up for Web History. I think Eric Schmidt’s comment in 2006 at Web 2.0 that “We would never trap user data” has been borne out. See also this great post by Google OS about backing up your data from Google:

Making identity portable is interesting and a Good Thing, but personally I’m more interested in making sure that I can get copies of my email, searches, calendar data, docs, feed subscriptions, etc.

My 2007 traffic stats

Time to post my stats from 2007. I did a similar stats post last year. In 2006, I had 1.7M visits and about 2.9M pageviews. In 2007, I had about 2.3M visits and 4.8M pageviews:

My search stats for 2007

My top five posts in terms of traffic were:

My RSS subscriber stats look like this:

Subscriber stats

What else can I easily check as far as stats? I’ve done 580 posts since I started my blog with 38,990 comments, or about 67 comments per post, on average. Oh, and my browser breakdown in 2007 was 48% Firefox and 44% Internet Explorer.

Traffic Power CEO in jail

Here’s something I missed while I was offline last week. It looks like Matt Marlon, who served as CEO of Traffic Power, has landed himself in jail. I have mixed feelings about this, but the mixed feelings are mostly satisfaction, curiosity, and just a smidge of glee. 🙂 In my opinion, the stuff that TrafficPower was doing was just bad news.

I think the search engine optimization industry has made a lot of progress in the last few years. It’s a little less common to get cold calls from SEOs that guarantee #1 rankings but won’t tell you how they try to do it. And if a large SEO company wants to try something high-risk with a client, they’re more likely to explain the potential risks to that client first. There are still issues, of course, but I was looking over a list of 20+ blackhat SEO companies that I compiled back in 2002. The majority either went out of business or have transformed into white-hat SEO companies.

For a while now, I’ve had a slight hunch that clients that embrace blackhat SEO on their site are willing to cut corners in other areas of business as well. Earlier today I was reviewing an email from 2001 (!) where Google removed a very large company’s website from our index for hidden GIF links, machine-generated doorway pages, and cloaking. It’s interesting to look back with the benefit of hindsight now. Later on, the company:

– had 10+ employees convicted for inflating revenue
– the CEO was sentenced to 10+ years in jail
– another executive was sentenced to 2+ years in jail

Can I definitively claim that there’s a connection between a willingness to embrace blackhat SEO and a willingness to cut corners in other areas of business? No, of course not. But I have seen several examples like the one I mention above. That’s why I’m glad that as more site owners learn about SEO, the long-term odds of blatent SEO scams going undetected go down.

Hat tip to Aaron Wall for mentioning Matt Marlon’s new location (jail) to me. Aaron and I have had differences, but I give him major points for fighting Traffic Power when they sued him. That led to one of the first times that Google confirmed a webspam penalty in public in order to dispute one of the lawsuit’s claims:

I can confirm that Google has removed and domains promoted by Traffic Power from our index because of search engine optimization techniques that violated our webmaster guidelines at If you are a client or former client of Traffic Power and your site is not in Google, please see my previous advice on requesting reinclusion into Google’s index to learn what steps to take if you would like to be reincluded in Google’s index.

Ah, good times. 🙂

Wikia launches

Ah, who am I kidding. You don’t want to hear me talk about the Davos question. I know that webmasters and search engine optimizers alike are all over at Wikia taking it for a test drive. I’m sure that SEOs are trying to figure out how this scoring:

Sorting algorithm to score viagra query

means that a site ranks highly for viagra. That’s cool. I’m over on Wikia testing it out tonight as well. Maybe I’ll see you over there:

I show up for the term SEO

Wikia is catching some initial negative reactions, but I think this is one of those projects where it will take time to see how Wikia’s search experience develops. So my reaction is pretty simple: congrats to the Wikia crew on your public launch, and welcome to the search industry! I’m glad that you’re jumping into the search space.

Back online, and my Davos answer

I’m back online. My email isn’t quite as out of control as last year, but it will take me a few days to catch up on things. Going offline for a week was nice, and I’d recommend it to anyone, especially if you have a wonderful companion to help you savor the time off.

Here’s my answer to the Davos question (“What one thing do you think that countries, companies or individuals must do to make the world a better place in 2008?”). I want people to explore how to measure where money can be spent most productively to tackle problems. That is, on issues where there is disagreement (take drugs: prevention? prisons? treatment? interdiction?), try to agree on a set of metrics to measure success. Or at least agree on a methodology to determine the metrics.

I enjoyed Scott Adams’ 9 point economic plan that distills a bunch of economic advice into ~200 words. I’d love to read a “9 point plan” that distills down the most likely ways to live longer (stuff like: don’t smoke, drink no more than one glass of wine a day), as long as the “9 point health plan” is based on solid research. I’d really like to read a paper where someone took a bunch of important issues and looked at the potential impact a single person could make on each issue.

Update, January 8th 2008: I said “I’d love to read a “9 point plan” that distills down the most likely ways to live longer (stuff like: don’t smoke, drink no more than one glass of wine a day)…” Well, once you’re on the lookout it’s easier to notice things. A recent Cambridge University study suggestions that four simple steps can add 14 years to your life:

  • Quitting smoking
  • Five servings of fruits and vegetables
  • Limiting alcohol intake
  • Exercise

And that list is sorted by what will extend your life longer.