The tech blogger Phil Ringnalda is taking heat over criticizing O'Reilly about some questionable link ads on the company's web sites. Tim O'Reilly posted a thoughtful response that shows he's not entirely comfortable with selling ads that trade on a site's Google pagerank, rather than visitor eyeballs. This is a good discussion for web publishers to be having, because the practice of pimping pagerank is becoming more pervasive. I've received numerous offers to put such links on SportsFilter, a booming sports ... read more

Alex Pareene, who describes googlemilking as "thinking of a great setup, and letting the internets provide the punchline," offers this contribution to the game: "and then they all blamed me." The phrase reveals scapegoated sex club workers, abuse survivors, drug addicts, and a Canadian who blogs about flatulence: i guess all this talk of gas has had its effect on me. last night i had two dreams and in each one i 'let one go' while i was around other people and they all blamed me and i denied it. More usefully, it ... read more

I bought a text ad on Google yesterday for the search term Mark Felt, wondering how many people would hit the search engine for more information on the deep-throated stool pigeon: Chasing Mark Felt How a 19-Year-Old College Student Unmasked Watergate Source in 1999 The result: 525 clicks on 14,260 impressions, which cost me $26.22 (5 cents per click). Though at first my ad had no competition, by the end of the day, it was joined by ads from NPR, Kentucky Fried Cruelty, and the Washington ... read more

A few weeks ago I invented a new game dubbed googlemilking -- looking for a phrase in search engines that lends itself to hilarious, off-color, or unintentionally self-revealing results. The game was covered by the Scotsman newspaper yesterday, and you can find players by searching for the first googlemilk: "I'm totally straight, but ...": Just as you know that any sentence beginning with the words "I'm not one of those racialists but ..." will end in a diatribe about immigration, it is obvious that the closing ... read more

I had no idea how important Google PageRank was to the business world until I did some PHP/MySQL programming for a local ecommerce retailer. The boss watched search rankings on product-related keywords for the company and its competitors on a daily basis, and you could see the immediate effect on sales of a rank move. Multiply one small St. Augustine company by one million and you have a huge worldwide economy, utterly dependent on the vicissitudes of an algorithm. Google's support for a nofollow attribute throws ... read more