Friday, March 2, 2012

Skeptic Assumes Too Much in Cryptomundo Attack


Full Disclosure: Bigfoot Lunch Club is a contributor to Cryptomundo and we have the highest regard for skeptics. Skepticism, in our mind, requires discipline and rigor. We even have a few favorite skeptics we follow, Sharon Hill of Doubtful News and Brian Dunning of Skeptoid.com. These are two skeptics that are very good at articulating arguments and they do their research. 

Then there are those who don't do their homework. This brings me to Myron Getman of The Mad Skeptic and Bobby Nelson from The Bent Spoon Magazine. Recently, Myron created a truly funny post that could have been respected as satire, had it not ventured into unfounded assumptions. The gist of Myron's argument is, "...Coleman and Craig Woolheater's favorite tactics to generate traffic -- SEO tactics and, more specifically, the use of keywords." Myron bases this assumption on his previous experience as an SEO writer. 

To be fair, Bobby only accuses of Loren Coleman using a "Cheap Attempt to get Hits on 9/11" and that Coleman shamelessly plugs his book.
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We know that there has already been an exchange between Myron, Bobby and Loren, but when we read Myron's post today we couldn't help but offer our opinion. 

Although this may seem like a Valentine to Cryptomundo, I am hoping I can make reasoned arguments that:
  1. Cryptomundo does not need gimmicks like bikini clad women and high-profile keywords to get traffic.
  2. The "tactics" Myron accuses Cryptomundo of using to drive traffic don't work and he may not have a current understanding of how SEO works. (Keywords don't work
  3. If the first 2 arguments have merit, then there is another valid possibility for why Cryptomundo uses topical subjects and keywords. Occams Razor: They are being topical. Why the bikinis? Loren Coleman likes women. 

ARGUMENT 1. Cryptomundo does not need gimmicks, Below is a graph from Alexa.com. The lower your rank number the higher your ranking (#1 is the highest ranking). Cryptomundo is ranked 100,461 out of approx. 16 Million websites. It is ranked in the very top percentile of all the websites Alexa tracks. It beats about 15.8 Million other websites. If you want to verify Cryptomundo's high traffic you can click on these other reputable ranking/traffic websites (these links will take you directly to Cryptomundo's stats), Quantcast.com and Compete.com.
Traffic rank for cryptomundo.com:
Traffic RankChange
1 month90,539-14,641Change in Traffic Rank over the trailing 1 month period (A negative change means the site is getting more popular)
3 month100,461-35,643Change in Traffic Rank over the trailing 3 month period (A negative change means the site is getting more popular)
  














ARGUMENT 2 The "tactics" Myron accuses Cryptomundo of using, don't work. Cryptomundo has many organic (non-manufactured) reasons why they already rank high on search engines and get plenty of traffic. These reasons are far more effective than keywords. 
One of the strongest reasons is they have over 34,000 websites that link to them, we call them backlinks; very valuable for SEO. The next biggest crypto-site BFRO.net only has 8000 backlinks. Cryptomundo also has a high rate of loyal returning visitors. Bikinis and high-profile keyphrases can't buy that kind of SEO gold.

If the SEO tactics Myron mentioned worked,  his post would have ranked pretty high yesterday. TheMadSkeptic didn't show up on the first 120 results for either Andrew Breitbart or Davy Jones. You could argue that if you searched for both of those together you would find his post, but according to our research, almost nobody searched for those two names together. There is the possibility he did get a lot of traffic to that post, which would have less to do with keywords and more to do with the clever lampoon.

Finally, below is the third-party report for Myron's meta tags. Meta tags are called in-page SEO. It is the first place you start when optimizing for search engines. They are not terrible, but do not rate as well as you would expect from someone who had a working knowledge of SEO or keywords.

Meta tags report for: http://www.themadskeptic.com
meta taglengthvalue
Title: 36Andrew Breitbart Davy Jones Bigfoot!
Description: 77Writings on skeptical, scientific, computer, and other topics by a scientist.
Keywords: 199skepticism, skeptic, science, education, woo, myron getman, baron_army, asbestos, bigfoot, linux, opinion, critical thinking, analysis, blog, health, new york, new york state, albany, ubuntu, xubuntu

Meta tags analysis.
Title:Title contains no errors.
This tag contains 36 characters.

Description:Description meta tag relevancy to page content is fair.
The Description meta tag relevancy to page content is 45%.

Keywords:Keywords meta tag contains too many keywords.
This tag contains 23 keywords. This is too many for what we would consider a 'robot friendly' keywords tag. The maximum number of keywords we recommend for this tag is 20.

Finally the third argument is dependent on the first two. The accusation that Cryptomundo is using keywords and other SEO as cheap tactics to drive traffic is not the simplest possible answer. Cryptomundo already gets plenty of traffic through more effective channels and topical keywords are simply just that, topical.

6 comments:

  1. Then why do they DO this? There have been several incidents that have driven me to dislike and disrespect CM and everything about it. They seem bent on alienating and acting unprofessional. I don't endorse making fun of others but they are so predictable in their behavior. There is something definitely wrong about it. I'm tired of LC telling me I have no sense of humor.

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    Replies
    1. IDoubtIt, I think Coleman overacted to your comment about the museum. I am not sure why he took your comments personally.

      I admit it is still possible that they are trying to use keyword tactics, if they are, then they are just as mistaken as Myron as far as effectiveness to drive traffic.

      If I was to give them the benefit of the doubt they are merely being topical. I've used holidays, news items and so forth for blogpost ideas.

      Delete
  2. Hmmm...I was accused of not doing my homework then it was said I only accused Coleman of a cheap attempt to get hits on 9/11 (which it was) and shamelessly plugging his book (which he did). Please help me figure out where I didn't do my homework. This is a common tactic used by you Colemanites, accusing people of not doing homework then when I ask what isn't factual about my statement, none of you, Coleman included has a response.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is factual that your statement is subjective and contains assumed characterizations.

      Coleman could have leveraged 9/11 to plug his book without being cheap, or shameless.

      I have high regard for those that exercise the discipline of critical thinking. You have plenty of posts that showcase this. In this case, however, I see room for other plausible arguments.

      Delete
  3. While I can readily admit to being frustrated with folks like Myron, Bobby, and less so Sharon, I hopefully will never allow myself to call them some of the names I've been called. For example, in reaction to my factual explanation of the name "Nittany Lions" during the Penn State scandal, this is what Myron Getman wrote on Nov. 12, 2011: "Loren Coleman, at it again. Using the sex scandal at Penn State to generate traffic to his site. The man is a fucking scumbag."

    Why do I write what I write? Am I just interested in "hits" and "traffic"?

    The reality and truth is something a lot more simple. Although Myron, Bobby, and Sharon find it hard to "believe," there is, indeed, an Occam's Razor reason for why I write what I write. I decided long ago, if I was going to write to share my thoughts so often, I would post what I was thinking about and what I was reacting to daily. I do not live in a vacuum. I have a family, love baseball, keep a link to the mental health consultations I've done for 40+ years, and daily talk to lots of people who are not interested in Bigfoot or cryptozoology. The simple truth is that I write about what's happening in the world, and, yes, it often relates to items in my life, mind, and experiences that are Fortean or cryptozoological. No covert motives to get hits on my part. Hits don't do me any good. I am not the owner of Cryptomundo, as I have said scores of time. I was given the license to write about whatever I wanted to and I have. I don't follow rankings, ratings, numbers of hits, and to do so would distract me from what I want to write about.

    Furthermore, I do not apologize for putting links to my books, museum, or such in my postings. It is a way for people to read more about what I have to say, or come see an educational part of what I want to share. The museum is a nonprofit, and even when it wasn't, it was not-for-profit. My life and income is relatively not-for-profit, so book sales are a non-factor. I have a mortgage, lots of debt, run behind a month in my all my bills, sometimes two months, and take out my trash just like most people.

    All of my writings are a mixture of entertainment of the mind, critical thinking challenges, attempts to upset with new data, and straight reporting. I am interested in a wide universe of subjects, from falls of frogs to who is running for Senate in Maine, from vegan human diets to Bigfoot diets, from conscientious objectors (like I was during the Vietnam Era) to not shooting Sasquatch, from sightings of Nessies to not polluting the ocean with plastic. If a major event happens on the news that strikes me, I may or may not relate it to another intellectual puzzle I am thinking about. I make no apologies for this. But I do disrespect people who think I am writing something about 9/11 or sexual abuse of children out of some kind of warped need to get people to read my writings. Give me a break. You do not know me.

    I write to share, challenge, push thinking, but whether a skeptic or a cryptozoologist, please don't slander me with your own psychological projections of why you might write something. I am not you.

    ReplyDelete
  4. First: in the fair interest of full disclosure, I am the author of 'The Bigfoot Filmography' which has an introduction written by Loren Coleman (no relationship to me).

    But that's not what prompts my response. What prompts my response is that the original entry seems not made in jest, but a kind of more personal attack in nature. Witness the speculation at the end in small type about Loren's motives, etc. And equally, the juvenile (to me) picture of Loren with a tin foil hat added, etc.

    What is one person's humor is another's version of unnecessary roughness, granted. Still, all the more reason I offer a counter testimony to the speculation that suggested somewhat nefarious (i.e. "cheap" and "shameless") motives on Loren's behalf, to which I can at least personally and professionally witness are not factual to my experience with Loren, Craig Woolheater or anyone associated with Cryptomundo.

    Likewise, Loren was very helpful at all stages while I wrote my book in helping with research, suggestions, resources, etc. He never asked for a penny in compensation for many hours spent helping me, which seems somewhat contrary to the 'from afar' analysis offered as to his financial motives. One would think if monetary compensation were his ulterior motive, then he would have certainly "put the bite" on me! And he did not, always remaining a gentleman and a professional.

    Craig Woolheater has likewise been forthright and honest with me in all our correspondences and meetings. And I know from many conversations with him over the years that profit is the farthest motive for his many, many hours spent maintaining Cryptomundo. If he has been concealing this from me all this time? My congratulations to him, as he's an expert poker face, no doubt... though he still remains from from a profligate exploitation king of cryptids, and he's never expressed any desire to "make money off of Squatch" to me in this manner.

    I finally believe that Loren's interest in Fortean "intercasaulity" or what Jung preferred to call "synchronicity" accounts for the statistical fact that Loren's posts often reflect current events. While this does open Loren up to the kind of satire presented, it does not conversely mean that he is inherently wrong, either. Charles Fort spent a lifetime cataloging and puzzling over similarly strange phenomena in society and recorded history, and has faced equally blistering ridicule at times from those convinced such lines of thought are so preposterous as to be worthy only of mockery.

    My problem with this perception is that is very akin -- perhaps uncomfortably so, for me at least -- to the same absolutist position one encounters with, say, Flat Earth Believers or Climate Change Deniers, etc. That is, they seem to be staking a position not based on clear reasoning of their own position, but of selective undermining of their "opponent" and his/her position. This is how the blog posting which has caused some controversy reads; it seems speculative and caustic in tone, not made in any honest attempt. Why not, for example, seek Loren's response to such a one-sided posting to run concurrently? But whatever, his response has been made, and I find it eloquent and believable. Some would say, "Oh sure, you would. He wrote the introduction to your book!"

    And so he did. Very well, I might add. But as for profit motives? Well, I can only again state what I have personally and professionally known in my own limited involement with Loren, Craig and CM.

    Much acrimony unnecessarily exists with the fields of cryptozoology and skeptics, I have observed. Here is to hoping any and all parties who may actually be bored enough to have read this far understand I wish to offer the perspective that this serves neither purpose to any good effect, as I believe Loren clearly explains.

    ReplyDelete

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