Sorry this site requires JavaScript to be enabled in your browser. See the following guide on How to enable JavaScript in Internet Explorer, Netscape, Firefox and Safari. Alternatively you may be blocking JavaScript with an advert-related or developer plugin. Please check your browser plugins.

I'm not trying to create a reputation management nightmare for SEOmoz by submitting this pamphlet with a title like "Why LinkScape and OpenSiteExplorer must die", but both tools would certainly deserve it. Under the hood they're downright shady. Sorry for being that blunt.
Comments26 Comments  

Comments

Avatar
from Ruud 2863 Days ago #
Votes: 2

When they first came out it was so clear to me they parsed other's data that the whole tumult back then came as a surprise to me; I thought everyone knew/understood.

But to see know they're still more or less claiming/hinting they're building this themselves [shakes head] Not getting it.

But apart from that ... anyone can do with data what they wanna -- and anyone can make up any claim they want. Look at Google who uses data the way they feel like it and tell beautiful stories about rel-tags they invent...



Avatar Moderator
from Sebastian 2863 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Ruud, when such a service acquires data the legit way, you're spot on. If they purchase it from a search engine, I can blame the SE for selling it. What I can't stand, is the way it is right now.



Avatar
from Skitzzo 2863 Days ago #
Votes: 3

The only reason this kind of thing is tolerated is because people like the mozers. Rand is a likable guy (even if you don't like many or most of his actions) and several members of his team seem to be great people.

But if you pull that aspect out of the equation you're left with a company that regularly lies for attention & personal profit. Whether it's claims like this about building their own index with their own bots or it's a sensational blog post without a shred of proof to back it up, the motivation is the same: attention.

Majestic IMO is a model of how SEOmoz SHOULD be doing business (open about their sources & allowing easy blocking).

By the way, for anyone interested in how SEOmoz will respond to these criticisms do a quick search for SEOmoz decision flow chart :)



Avatar
from Glendz 2863 Days ago #
Votes: 0

SEOMoz, crawler or not a crawler, the tool is good. it works. And probably they just should not have use the word crawler. And then the link explorer came out, the first thing that came into my head was... why don't I make something like this, I know where they are pulling the data anyway. :)



Avatar
from richardbaxterseo 2863 Days ago #
Votes: 3

This type of post feels extremely familiar. Haven't we been here before? I don't wish to cause offence to anyone here but I'd like to point out that (as Glendz has already stated) the tools are good. You can argue the toss on the wording of the "sales" copy all day but ultimately, the SEOmz team have explained how they acquire and store data in the past.



Avatar
from RobBothan 2863 Days ago #
Votes: 1

@Richard I'd agree, with the launch of more open source data sets like data.gov and data.gov.uk are we really surprised that it took Seomoz to launch this with their own api?

What would it of taken for another SEO company to do it and relable it as theirs? (and who says there arent agencies out there paying for the whitelabeling of linkscape already?)

Having re-read the previous sphinn posts on linkscape et al I kinda get the feeling that we're all bored this month. Is this anything other than another view of linkscape?




Avatar
from annie7 2863 Days ago #
Votes: 1

With all my due respect (and as much as I hate criticizing tools because I respect the creators' hard work too much), I don't think this is something we have discussed before.

Sebastian ins't talking about privacy alone; he says that the creators do not enclose the data source and especially the way they obtain the data. To put it less softly, they are lying despite the fact that the lie is obvious.

Am I right?



Avatar Moderator
from Jill 2862 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Sebastian, is this the same issue that was first revealed about them when they originally came out with LinkScape?

If so, I guess they just thought the issue would die out after time and people would forget. (Which apparently is what happened.)They've certainly had enough time at this point to do things the proper way. I had assumed since nobody was still talking about it that they were doing just that.

Guess not.



Avatar
from neyne 2862 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Annie , this is exactly what was discussed when Linkscape came out. They didn't want to say what the useragent of the data gathering robot was because it would reveal that the data was partially bought and that the robots were not theirs. Shit hit the fan and Rand came up with the metatag NODMOZ (or whatever it was). Heh, that is easy, they parse the head anyways so they could just exclude the data with the tag from the analysis and not from indexing.

In any case, I don't think the way they are pushing it is worse in its inaccuracy than a lot of other products that are being pushed on us. How many seconds does it take for Win7 to load?


A lot has been said about the herd mentality of the people supporting Rand and SEOMoz, it would be funny if the Rand criticizing crowd started behaving that way too... Let's not go there.



Avatar Moderator
from Sebastian 2862 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Ann and Jill, your're right. They've changed the numbers, but kept the modus operandi of obfuscating facts and misusing terms. They still do not provide a proper method to opt out of their service.



Avatar Moderator
from Sebastian 2862 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Neyne, I believe in calm and professional discussions. I hope that's not wishful thinking when it comes to a SEOmoz product. ... Let's not go there.



Avatar
from mvandemar 2862 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Annie, Neyne, and Jill, here's what sparked the whole conversation again:


http://sphinn.com/story/139472



Avatar
from neyne 2862 Days ago #
Votes: 1

ah now that you put it that way :)))))


they just seem to keep spilling that feces bucket into the fan opening....



Avatar
from IncrediBILL 2860 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Sebastian, I think you’re embarrassing yourself here.

The content in LinkScape and OpenSiteExplorer may be initially seeded from some other source but it’s clearly crawling from their IPs because all of the sites I protect have a unique crawler ID embedded in the results and the crawls originate from crawl6.dotnetdotcom.org which is DotBot

Likewise, I have also investigated MagesticSEO and it’s the real deal, with embedded crawler IDs clearly linking back to actual distributed MJ12BOT crawlers.

You all should be more worried about Google and focus your efforts on how to unseat them as the dominant search engine before it’s too late instead of worrying about such trivialities.



Avatar Moderator
from Sebastian 2860 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Bill, as for Majestic we agree, I wrote just that. As for dotnetdotcom.org crawling on behalf of SEOmoz, that's a completely different story. If (I don't doubt it) SEOmoz does stealth crawls with a user agent called "dotbot", that's not better than scraping with regard to the Robots Exclusion Protocol.


When they crawl, they must do it under their own flag, and that includes offering a method to block their crawler (not some mercenary crawler) in robots.txt. The "seomoz" meta element is clearly no acceptable procedure to opt out of LinkScape.


Crawling and processing data everybody can buy at search engines and elsewhere is not the same. Mixing both in the way it looks SEOmoz does is a concept that I can't call ethical.



Avatar
from IncrediBILL 2860 Days ago #
Votes: 0

DotBot as a crawler obeys robots.txt

Who cares if it's called DotBot or LinkScape?

That's like saying Yahoo is unethical because it calls itself Slurp, silly.

Who cares what flag it crawls under as long as it plays by the rules?

Gigablast crawls and openly sells their index yet you have no clue who is using Gigablast's data so it's the same exact situation with DotBot.

It's a silly little quibble over 2 companies that will ultimately have no impact on your lives at the scale Google does.

Is this one of those things that where making noise and bullying the little guy makes everyone feel better because there's nothing you can do about the real threats to your livelihood like the big corporate giant?

The bottom line is I block DotBot simply because DotBot provides me ZERO VALUE for the crawl.

That's the only thing I'm concerned with, what do I get in return, if it's nothing, it's blocked.



Avatar Moderator
from Sebastian 2859 Days ago #
Votes: 1

I second that: "That's the only thing I'm concerned with, what do I get in return, if it's nothing, it's blocked."


"That's like saying Yahoo is unethical because it calls itself Slurp, silly." ... Hey, all polemic statements belong to me, me, me! Seems we don't totally agree. Anyway, the (LinkScape) issue isn't worth a serious jihad.



Avatar
from IncrediBILL 2859 Days ago #
Votes: -1

Technically all you've done by putting their products in the public eye is send more potential customers to both Linkscape and MajesticSEO who will be looking to see what all the fuss is about.

Fess up, Rand put you up to this...



Avatar Moderator
from Sebastian 2859 Days ago #
Votes: 2

Hehe ... nope, neither Rand nor Majestic hired me to create fuss. Actually, Rand created all the fuss himself by announcing OpenSiteExplorer.



Avatar
from IncrediBILL 2859 Days ago #
Votes: -1

See, that's the thing, if nobody talks about it after he announces it, it just fades away.

Doesn't matter if it's good or bad PR, it's getting mentioned, getting links, growing stronger in the SE and all of the very SEOs bitching about it are unwittingly helping him strengthen his position.

If he didn't put you up to it, that means you're helping him for free?

Say it isn't so!



Avatar
from mvandemar 2859 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Bill, I must have missed something, somewhere, in what you are saying. The fact that Moz uses information from dotnetdotcom.org equates to the fact that Dotbot is the source of all of Moz's data? I see absolutely no correlation there, aside from the fast that they are listed as one of their sources.

Have you by any chance actually looked to see if your sites show up as link sources in their tool?



Avatar Moderator
from Sebastian 2859 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Besides the "even bad publicity is good PR" thingy, I'd say that I've tried to help SEOmoz by pointing out their errors. I'm not sure my verdict "LinkScape in its current shape must die" will help SEOmoz to gain new customers. If that's so, I'll crank out a series of posts, starting with "The death penalty for Google's anti-WebSpam algos or how to flood a search index with doorway pages totally risk-free" and "All affiliate programs are bullshit - except mine". ;-)



Avatar Moderator
from Sebastian 2859 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Michael, I'm sure Bill can prove that his stuff exclusively served to dotbot appears in LinkScape.



Avatar
from IncrediBILL 2859 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Yes, I can prove it because there's data in each element of my site(s) that was scanned by LinkScape that shows up linking it back to a specific crawl, which was DotBot.

They may use other sources, for what I have no idea because I'm only seeing data tagged from DotBot crawls.



Avatar
from neyne 2859 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Hmmm

The fact that you see elements of your site (or the data contained within them) being scanned and showing in Linkscape in a direct correlation with DotBot's crawls means that on that particular crawl, Linkscape got your pages through the DotBot crawl. On the next round it may get it from some other crawler.

Did blocking Dotbot completely remove your site as a link source from Linkscape ?



Avatar
from IncrediBILL 2857 Days ago #
Votes: 0

>> On the next round it may get it from some other crawler.

It's been DotBot since the beginning, I've never see any other source.

I'm not saying they don't use other sources, I'm just saying I've only seen DotBot from day one and you never hear of anyone mentioning any other source as I'm not the only person tracking their crawls.





Upcoming Conferences

Search Marketing ExpoSearch Engine Land produces SMX, the Search Marketing Expo conference series. SMX events deliver the most comprehensive educational and networking experiences - whether you're just starting in search marketing or you're a seasoned expert.



Join us at an upcoming SMX event: