Copywriting Spam

Lee Gomes of the WSJ uncovers how some web site owners undertake the task of adding unique content to help with their search engine rankings. He posed as a freelance copywriter and was asked to “create” new content from existing copy.

My job, it became clear, was to make enough small changes to the text for Whirlywinds to be able to pass it off to search engines as his own. Which is, in fact, what most of the “original content” on these sites turns out to be: cut-and-paste jobs with superficial modifications.

Is today national “Cut and Paste” day? :-)

Hat-tip Barry.

Google Base Launches Seller Rating System

Google Base is becoming more like eBay each day. The service is now offering a rating system for sellers where buyers can offer their reviews of a merchant.

Via Wingo.

Wal-Mart Enlists Bloggers, New York Times Goes Off

The New York Times manages to make a huge story from the fact that some bloggers apparently “cut and paste” whole sentences sent to them by Wal-Mart and other companies.

Sheesh. I see this all the time with online news media – especially executive quotes from press releases. Why is it such a big scandal that bloggers do the same?

It looks to me like this is just another opportunity to rip on bloggers. Let’s get this straight, bloggers don’t live by the rules of MSM, they are individuals expressing opinion and sharing their thoughts. We don’t need publishing guidelines, AP style or fact checkers. Everything you read on a blog should come with a caveat emptor. You take it as you find. If you can’t handle that, I hear the broad-sheets are crying out for your readership.

Oodle Partners with Lycos and Backpage

We’ve gotten a sneak peak at a new press release coming out later today from classified search engine Oodle. They’re announcing a new Oodle Partner Network and have signed up Lycos and Backpage as charter members.

Oodle search results are being incorporated into Lycos’ new classified marketplace, recently launched this week located at

“We’re excited about the launch of Lycos classifieds,� said Brian Kalinowski, chief operating officer of Lycos, Inc. “Not only can our users post classified listings for free but by partnering with Oodle, they quickly identify the most relevant listings, whether they were published on our site or elsewhere.�

Oodle results are also being added to, a group of free community classified sites operated by local media outlets including newspapers, radio and television stations in 40 metro areas. This week results were introduced in Houston, Denver, LA, Cleveland, Tucson, Boston and San Antonio.

Cross-Browser Device Assessment Panel at Cre8asite Forums

Today is Marketing Pilgrim’s “Community Announcement” day. :-)

Kim Krause Berg is launching a new forum over at Cre8asiteforums entitled “Cross-browser Device Assessment Panel (CDAP)“.

The forum itself is designed for ongoing input and review. Those in the community who want to share their skills and knowledge with accessibility, browser issues, CSS, etc. will have plenty of opportunities to do so.

Anyone else need a shout out? Send me your announcements and we’ll send you the love.

High Rankings Seminar Coming to the Bay Area

Jill Whalen wants to pass on to our readers a 25% discount to her seminar being held March 30-31. Use “PILGRIM” when you register and you’ll be all set.

Yahoo Launches New APIs

Yahoo has just not quite made available new APIs via the Yahoo! Developer Network.

Yahoo! Photos API: In the coming months, a new Yahoo! Photos API to allow developers to build custom applications on top of the world’s largest photo sharing service(a). By opening up its API, Yahoo! Photos encourages the developer community and photo product providers to create value-added features and products for Yahoo! Photos’ 34 million users worldwide(a).

Yahoo! Shopping APIs: Based on developer feedback, Yahoo! Shopping has enhanced its APIs with a new browse navigation feature that helps consumers quickly narrow their product search by providing the user with a menu of sub-categories and product attributes to further refine their search results. A browse shopping experience with category and attribute based refinement can also be built, allowing users to drill down and obtain product results meeting their preferred product criteria.