Google Blogoscoped

Tuesday, June 1, 2004

Creepy Gmail?


Some folks love Gmail, some folks hate it. Here’s a new site for the folks who hate it: by Daniel Brandt of
The author tries to identify four main problems with Gmail:

  1. Mails will be stored even after you delete them (Google says this is due to backup systems, which happen to keep records in different places at any given time to prevent lost data).

  2. Gmail’s policies do not apply to those emails landing in Gmail accounts from non-Gmail users.

  3. Massive potential for abuse.

  4. Inappropriate ad matching.

I’m afraid Daniel raises many points which, though valid on their own, are not related to Gmail specifically. With one expception: the possibility of inappropriate but relevant ads (other web mail ads are just inappropriate, not relevant).

However from my experience with Gmail I have to say the ad matching is very good. Ads appear rarely, but when they do they are surprisingly interesting to read*. E.g. blog-reader Henry was mentioning the possibility of connecting many computers together to query the Google Web API more efficiently – and to the right there was a link to a “Grid Computing Whitepaper”. Interestingly enough the words “Grid Computing” could not be found anywhere in the email.

As I’ve mentioned before, Google will test ads “in the wild” first before letting them into their email program. Relevant, interesting ads as in Gmail are not always the case for Google search results, especially as they often only match a single word out of a multiple-word search query.

Please note I opened a discussion on Gmail. I’d be interested to know if you would have problems using it (or are already using it).

Nigritude Ultramarine and the Wiki Sandbox Effect

[Nigritude Ultramarine]

The ranks they are a-changin’... Google Blogoscoped moved to #2 for Google search Nigritude Ultramarine. This means there is only one position to go. On the 7th of this month, the iPod will be awarded to whoever is ranked first, and as I mentioned before I would like to pass it on to a random person linking to me and letting me know via email. (On 7th next month, the 17” flat screen is awarded, and as I mentioned before I will also pass on my next Gmail invitation.)


To explain some of my strategies before the first round ends: I created a lot of backlinks. E.g. Google now shows 36,500 Nigritude backlinks from my web site (because the site is template driven all I had to adjust were two PHP pages).

But a massive quantity of backlinks from within one domain does not help too much. This is because Google must protect itself from Search Engine Optimization approaches such as linkfarming. Much more helpful are links from all over the place. And many of you were (and still are) helping out with backlinks pointing to this site.

The Wiki Sandbox Effect

Now I can’t resist to reveal one competition secret: the Wiki Sandbox SEO tactic.

So that makes a Wiki Sandbox a place for everyone to create backlinks. Without, as opposed to guestbook spamming, being evil – it’s a sandbox after all.
All you need to do is enter Wiki Sandbox into Google. You get nearly 400,000 hits. You now follow a dozen (a hundred, if you have the time) of the individual pages and enter a text like the following* in edit mode:

Welcome to the [ Nigritude Ultramarine] of the 21st Century.


Welcome to the [ | Nigritude Ultramarine] of the 21st Century.

*Different Wiki implementations may have a different link syntax, so you need to try out which works best, or just provide a text which covers all styles in one paragraph.

Now if you google for wiki sandbox nigritude ultramarine you can see a lot of links pointing to

However – as is the basic idea of a Wiki Sandbox – everybody is also free to delete your links and replace them with their own. This makes it a constant game of going through a lot of sandboxes and leaving your backlink. In fact when I visited the sandboxes I found a lot of links already pointing to other Nigritude Ultramarine sites; or links pointing to commercial sites using commercial search phrases.

I wrote an update on why I decided to stop posting to Wiki Sandboxes, and information on the Secret of Nigritude Ultramarine.


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