Hello, and welcome to the seventeenth issue of Equilibrium.
A few weeks ago, I received the following email:
I removed the sender's personal details since I didn't want identify them without asking for permission, as well as the company's name, since (spoiler alert) I don't want to give them a backlink. Underlined sections in all emails denote (removed) hyperlinks.
So, a company claims that is working on a free training course and wants to create a lesson based on an article I've written. Therefore, they ask my permission to use it, and they let me know about it in case I want to promote it. So far, so good.
What's sketchy though, is that they ask me to "credit" them by providing a very specific link to a page which is completely irrelevant to the video or the lesson. That smells SEO from miles away.
In addition to that, to register for that training course, you have to fill in the following form:
I personally find that the above requires quite a lot of personal information to register for a free course, but after a quick search I noticed that they also publish the lessons on YouTube, so I decided to reply, sending XXX the following email:
That's a fair reply, don't you think? They asked me that if they create the video and assuming I like it, if I would "credit" them, and I replied that I'll be happy to post a link to the video. I intentionally left out any mention to their SEO link, and got the reply I expected:
Confirm what XXX??? I think I was clear that I'll post a link to the video. And why are you trying to make me commit to something, when you clearly stated in your previous email that there were no strings attached?
These are some of the questions that a person who doesn't know how these SEO link hunters operate will think.
Here's my reply, stating the obvious, and explaining why I do not post SEO links:
The link I provide as an example is for a tutorial that YYY actually created a video for. The video is posted on YouTube and includes an active link back to that blog post. The blog post includes the following text (with a link to the video on YouTube), in a prominent position:
Here's XXX's reply:
At last, some honesty! Forget the pleasantries like "assuming you like it", etc. We're doing business here, sir! You asked us to create a video and promote it to our users, so you'll pay for it! We accept SEO currency.
That was my interpretation of XXX's email, and that would be ok if I was the one reaching out asking them to create a video to promote me or my company. But obviously, that wasn't the case, so here's what I replied:
I think I'm explaining all of my points in the email, so I won't bother you with any further explanation. To be honest, I didn't expect any further communication from them, but I received the following email:
Since I mention in my email something about the links they received, I think it's appropriate to include some stats.
At the time of writing (early December 2015), YYY had 8 lessons published as part of the aforementioned course. I only visited the YouTube version of the videos, since YYY's site requires registration (see above). The YouTube videos provided links to the original blog posts in 5 cases. The actual blog posts, provided SEO links in 4 cases, no link at all in 3 cases, and one of them linked to YouTube (i.e. the example I mentioned in one of my emails).
Finally, without any particular reason other than I like charts and I wanted to visualise the numbers I've been looking at while doing my investigation, here's one which includes the views of each video, against the days it was published for (the numbers were taken on December 6th, 2015):
As always, enjoy the issue!
.blogs (interesting reads from around the web)
The Two Egg Problem — datagenetics.com, 2012
"There’s an interesting mind-teaser/puzzle that floats around the internet in waves. Sometimes it’s described as a Google interview question; sometimes it’s described as a Microsoft interview question. No matter of the origin, it’s a fun little critical thinking puzzle and in this blog posting I’m going to look into it and take it a little further..."
The McDonalds Monopoly Fraud — priceonomics.com, 2014
"Every year, for a limited time only, you can win big money collecting Monopoly pieces. The packaging on McDonalds products has properties from the board game, and if you get, say, both Boardwalk and Park Place, you win a $1 million prize.
The game has a cult following. People visit McDonalds each year -- even fast food haters -- just to collect the pieces and take a shot at winning $1MM. The promotion is so successful, McDonald’s has run it for two decades. But from 1995 to 2001, the game had only one real winner. This the story of Jerome Jacobson, the man who cheated at McDonalds Monopoly to a tune of $20 million."
Think the floppy disk is dead? Think again! — digitaltrends.com, 2015
Apparently, floppy disks are not dead yet.
Home for the holidays, and for a 20-year-old issue of PC Magazine
.podcasts (sometimes is better to listen)
Laravel News Podcast — podcast.laravel-news.com
The Laravel News Podcast brings you all the latest news and events related to Laravel. You can think of it at an audio version of the Laravel News newsletter which was featured in issue #6.
.open source ("show me your license")
Phaser — github.com
Phaser is a "fast, free and fun open source framework for Canvas and WebGL powered browser games". I've been using it for a few months for a prototype of a 2D HTML5 game I'm building for a UK-based startup, and the experience has been great so far. It has an active community, and is actively developed.
Its most recent version is 2.4.4, but a completely new version 3 is also developed at the same time. In this version, the framework will be renamed to Lazer (aka LazerJS) both to avoid any potential trademark issues with CBS, the Star Trek brand holders, and also -according to its creator- because Lazer has a lot of fundamental differencies from Phaser.
.books (physical or electronic)
Fahrenheit 451 — wikipedia.org
Fahrenheit 451 is a novel written by Ray Bradbury, published in 1953. The novel presents a future American society where books are outlawed being the source of all discord and unhappiness, and "firemen" burn any that are found.
According to Wikipedia, the title refers to the temperature that Bradbury asserted to be the autoignition temperature of paper, although in reality, scientists place the autoignition temperature of paper anywhere from high 440 degrees Fahrenheit to some 30 degrees hotter, depending on the study and type of paper.
"Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there. It doesn’t matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away. The difference between the man who cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching, he said. The lawn cutter might as well just not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime."
.games (everybody needs some play time)
Gunpoint — wikipedia.org
Gunpoint is a stealth-based puzzle-platformer created by a single indie developer. The game is set in the near future, where you take control of a freelance spy, who is tasked with infiltrating buildings to fulfil assignments from various clients using a number of high-tech gadgets. The game's length is very short, but it's quite interesting and enjoyable, and I loved its gameplay.
.non-profits (for a good cause)
PDSA — pdsa.org.uk
PDSA is a UK-based charity which is saving, protecting, and healing pets. They are dedicated to improving pet wellbeing in three very special ways – by educating owners, preventing disease and carrying out life-saving operations.
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