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“You Have Been Warned”

“You have been warned about this before. Please do not leave your link signature in all of your comments. I told you previously that it belongs in your profile.”

The words above belong to one Tony Kaye. Mr. Kaye, from what I can tell, is a low-level employee at Gawker Media’s Gizmodo. I’m happy to report that when you search the Internet for Tony Kaye, you’ll find lots of references for Tony Kaye the 1970s-and-later musician and Tony Kaye the film director, but nary a one to this Tony Kaye.

And that’s as it should be. The other Tony Kayes are far more important than Gizmodo’s Tony Kaye, and besides, Gizmodo’s Tony Kaye is a Search Engine Optimization bad guy and doesn’t deserve to be noticed.

Oh yeah. And I predict that in a few week, “Tony Kaye” is going to point right here, too.

Why am I telling you about Tony Kaye? because last week Tony wrote those words above in response to a comment I posted at Gizmodo. The comment was in-context at the time, but Tony moved it to a purgatory designed to hide my comment but still keep it around to serve Gizmodo’s purposes. I then responded to what Tony did, but my response, being directly critical of Gizmodo’s practices and Tony Kaye, was deleted (EDIT: happily, as of February 11, 2011 my comment was added to the original link). So here it is:

Tony, I’m being honest/serious when I say that the phrase “it belongs in my profile” doesn’t register for me. I’ve never seen “my profile”, nor, frankly, am I terribly interested in it—especially when I’m spoken to like that.

And I’ve never seen the “warnings”. If Giz’ terms of service (no comment beyond saying that I know you know how much of it either I or most other readers have ever read) specify “no self promotion”, that’s your right. So’s nuking posts that violate those terms if they exist. But let’s call it what it is: If I participate in your forums in an on-topic way, I’m being a good citizen; I’m contributing, and adding value to your content. To have a problem with me doing the equivalent of handing out business cards at a party is just whiny and childish.

I’d post a link to a story I wrote about this, but I’m sure that would offend your sensibilities, too. And frankly, I can’t be bothered. I’ll just go hang out at someone else’s party, attracting/retaining traffic for them instead of you.

Geeeez, man. Get a grip.

Disclosure:  I’ve included the link I alluded to in the words Tony Kaye deleted from Gizmodo when my original comment did not include that link.

My point, besides showing you, Tony Kaye, Gizmodo, and its many readers just how good we are at Search Engine Optimization, is to talk about how important it is that you understand SEO and undertake Search Engine Optimization as you construct your business change and business planning.

Search Engine Optimization is what’s driving the traffic patterns on the Internet and also what decides which people come to your web site and who doesn’t. SEO is one of the few tools available to small businesses trying to fight back against “the big guys” getting bigger at their expense.

And Tony Kaye and people like Tony Kaye may not like it when others practice coopetition by taking advantage of the opportunity to hand out virtual business cards at their parties, but to pretend they can control the practice is short-sighted, and provides more opportunity for smart people—like you. And actually, is kind of rude. You want me there but not to tell people who I am? Puh-leeeze.

Or as mega-marketing star Seth Godin has said: it’s OK to be unreasonable.

Thanks, Tony Kaye. See you in the Search Engine Optimization results for your name.


  1. BS”D

    Shalom Aleichem,

    He just removed my star for mentioning that is still using the old format, not to mention as well. Nice article. I’m quite convinced that Gawker is undergoing some lousy changes lately. Perhaps it’s just time to get my tech news somewhere else.

    • Thanks, Ezra!

      I honestly don’t know if it’s a Gizmodo thing, a Gawker thing (they’ve certainly had some issues lately!) or a Tony Kaye thing, but clearly there are issues.

      Always glad to know I’m on the right page in someone else’s mind . . . !

  2. Tony Kaye isn’t his real name. Everyone on Gizmodo knows that. As someone who’s been banned twice from Gizmodo (first time unfair, but second time I have no regrets. Screw Joel Johnson), I have to say I have no sympathy for you for one simple reason. Obnoxious self promotion is extremely annoying.

    *RABBLE RABBLE RABBLE RABBLE* This guy is the enemy of my SEO. Dude your whole blog is you whining about different websites telling you to stop spamming them. No one likes a spammer. I came here looking for a kindred spirit to rail against Gizbans with and found a whiny brat. I followed your link, looked at your profile. Dude… your whole post, your retarded self promotion is nothing but spam. It is clearly stated in community policy not to do it and offers an example that looks exactly like what you were doing.

    I can go teach people how to sell but I still can’t sell shit in a spot with a big sign clearly saying DON’T SELL SHIT HERE.

    Also, you kinda suck at this SEO thing. Searching you comes up with you, good job, half the job done. But no reference to you, no accolades, no value or proof of expertise, nothing but link spam… you’re doing it wrong genius. You just come off as a little daft. Your other blog posts don’t help your argument.

    Oh god, I feel dirty now. Did I just defend Tony? Eww.

    • I appreciate your feedback. Genuinely. I disagree with you, but I accept it. And as you can see, it’s here. And it’s unedited, despite the fact that you’ve used language I don’t believe needs to be in print and . . . actually, violates our terms of service. I expect you didn’t read them, just as I didn’t read Gizmodo’s. Oh, the irony!

  3. Jeff: the kind of SEO you so quickly defend is a special kind of black hat SEO called spamdexing. There really isn’t much of an argument for it; it’s pretty much just a way of cheating to climb the ranks in a search result. Did you read about the recent JCPenney scandal? They employed the same kind of SEO tactics. Sure it may work for a short time, but as soon as a search engine catches on, your site is banned.

    I read through your article condemning Tony’s actions.

    First of all, downplaying his importance in life is a douche move. Seriously, you sound like a major prick who got his feelings hurt. Deal with it.

    Then you talk about how SEO is what’s \driving the traffic patterns on the internet\. You are absolutely correct! When used correctly (\white hat\), SEO is a great way to bring customers to your site through the magic of Google. However, your practices, like I’ve already described (\black hat\), are strictly forbidden by all major search engines.

    You liken spamdexing, or \coopetition\, to handing out business cards at a party. You challenge Tony’s right to prevent you from doing so, for who is he to prevent you from promoting your business? The analogy isn’t very accurate, however. You’re not handing out business cards to people, you’re stapling business cards to the wall so that they stay there, because the \business cards\ stay there forever. It’s a glorified billboard.

    • Antubis (umm . . . Chris, right?), I’m not at all kidding when I say that I appreciate you taking the time
      to write that. Seriously. Not angry, not making fun of you or anyone, just saying “thank you”. Clearly you put some time and thought into that response.

      But you made some mistakes. I’m not going to address the parts of what you saythat are opinion-based, but I am going to speak to how wrong you are to qualify our style of SEO as spamdexing.

      According to Wikipedia (and I’m not holding Wikipedia up as the be-all and end-all of information sources, but they’re . . . Wikipedia . . . the term spamdexing covers a rather large set of SEO-focused behaviors. I’m linking to the
      Wikipedia article on spamdexing
      for anyone who wishes to follow it down, and also inserting it here in blue so to respond to you in the manner that the effort you took deserves. Again, I’m serious in thanking you for that; there’s not so much as a trace of irony in my words

      Spamdexing (also known as search spam, search engine spam
      or web spam) involves a number of methods, such as repeating unrelated
      phrases, to manipulate the relevance or prominence of resources indexed by a
      search engine, in a manner inconsistent with the purpose of the indexing system.
      Some consider it to be a part of search engine optimization, though there are
      many search engine optimization methods that improve the quality and appearance
      of the content of web sites and serve content useful to many users Search
      engines use a variety of algorithms to determine relevancy ranking. Some of
      these include determining whether the search term appears in the META keywords
      tag, others whether the search term appears in the body text or URL of a web
      page. Many search engines check for instances of spamdexing and will remove
      suspect pages from their indexes. Also, people working for a search-engine
      organization can quickly block the results-listing from entire websites that use
      spamdexing, perhaps alerted by user complaints of false matches. The rise of
      spamdexing in the mid-1990s made the leading search engines of the time less

      I’ll fess up to the fact that the writing technique I use includes using key words in prose a way that might (I emphasize “might”) be construed as heavy-handed. However, if that’s the “definition” of spamdexing, well then, spamdexing isn’t happening here. We’re not repeating unrelated phrases. Not here, and not on comments made in other places like Gizmodo.

      Common spamdexing techniques can be classified into two broad classes:
      content spam
      (or term spam) and link spam.


      The earliest known reference to the term spamdexing is by Eric Convey
      in his article “Porn sneaks way back on Web,” The Boston Herald, May 22, 1996,
      where he said:

      The problem arises when site operators load their Web pages with hundreds
      of extraneous terms so search engines will list them among legitimate
      addresses. The process is called “spamdexing,” a combination of spamming —
      the Internet term for sending users unsolicited information — and

      Content spam

      These techniques involve altering the logical view that a search engine has
      over the page’s contents. They all aim at variants of the vector space model for
      information retrieval on text collections.

      Keyword stuffing

      This involves the calculated placement of keywords within a page to raise the
      keyword count, variety, and density of the page. This is useful to make a page
      appear to be relevant for a web crawler in a way that makes it more likely to be
      found. Example: A promoter of a Ponzi scheme wants to attract web surfers to a
      site where he advertises his scam. He places hidden text appropriate for a fan
      page of a popular music group on his page, hoping that the page will be listed
      as a fan site and receive many visits from music lovers. Older versions of
      indexing programs simply counted how often a keyword appeared, and used that to
      determine relevance levels. Most modern search engines have the ability to
      analyze a page for keyword stuffing and determine whether the frequency is
      consistent with other sites created specifically to attract search engine
      traffic. Also, large webpages are truncated, so that massive dictionary lists
      cannot be indexed on a single webpage.

      The first sentence of that last paragraph is something we do, but I say that only because that sentence includes the word “calculated”. That said, I personally disagree with the broad definition; keyword stuffing is actually when you use an unrelated word repeatedly . . . as the rest of the paragraph defines . . . and we don’t do that.

      Hidden or invisible

      This is unrelated text that is inserted by disguising keywords and phrases by
      making them the same color as the background, using a tiny font size, or hiding
      them within HTML code such as “no frame” sections, ALT attributes,
      zero-width/height DIVs, and “no script” sections. However, hidden text is not
      always spamdexing: it can also be used to enhance accessibility. People
      screening websites for a search-engine company might temporarily or permanently
      block an entire website for having invisible text on some webpages.

      Meta tag stuffing

      Repeating keywords in the Meta tags, and using meta keywords that are
      unrelated to the site’s content. This tactic has been ineffective since 2005.

      ‘Gateway’ or doorway pages

      Creating low-quality web pages that contain very little content but are
      instead stuffed with very similar keywords and phrases. They are designed to
      rank highly within the search results, but serve no purpose to visitors looking
      for information. A doorway page will generally have “click here to enter” on the

      Scraper sites

      Scraper sites, also known as Made for AdSense sites, are created using
      various programs designed to “scrape” search-engine results pages or other
      sources of content and create “content” for a website. The specific presentation
      of content on these sites is unique, but is merely an amalgamation of content
      taken from other sources, often without permission. These types of websites are
      generally full of advertising (such as pay-per-click ads), or redirect the user
      to other sites. It is even feasible for scraper sites to outrank original
      websites for their own information and organization names.

      Nope. We don’t do any of those things.

      Article spinning

      This involves rewriting existing articles, as opposed to merely scraping
      content from other sites, to avoid penalties imposed by search engines for
      duplicate content. This process is undertaken by hired writers or automated
      using a thesaurus database or a neural network.

      We don’t do that, either. I break it out seperately so we can take a little sideways journey.

      There are too many “me too” sites on the Internet. For example, and without comment as to the historical perspective, nobody needs both Gizmodo and Engadget, not because there isn’t always room for an alternative opinion, but because the two sites sure do read like they’re continually ripping each other off. There are not alternate opinions being offered. I would argue that those two sites are constantly “rewriting existing articles”.

      Link spam

      Link spam> is defined as links between pages that are present for
      reasons other than merit. Link spam takes advantage of link-based ranking
      algorithms, which gives websites higher rankings the more other highly ranked
      websites link to it. These techniques also aim at influencing other link-based
      ranking techniques such as the HITS algorithm.

      Link-building software

      A common form of link spam is the use of link-building software to automate
      the search engine optimization process.

      Link farms

      Involves creating tightly-knit communities of pages referencing each other,
      also known humorously as i>mmutual admiration societies

      Hidden links

      Putting links where visitors will not see them to increase link popularity.
      Highlighted link text can help rank a webpage higher for matching that phrase.

      ‘Sybil attack’

      A Sybil attack is the forging of multiple identities for malicious intent,
      named after the famous multiple personality disorder patient “Sybil” (Shirley
      Ardell Mason). A spammer may create multiple web sites at different domain names
      that all link to each other, such as fake blogs (known as spam blogs).

      Spam blogs

      Spam blogs, also known as autoblogs, are fake blogs created solely for
      spamming. They are similar in nature to link farms. Spam blogs are also referred
      to as splogs and are often disguised to look like legitimate newsworthy
      sites but are really just created to manipulate consumers into buying affiliate

      Page hijacking

      This is achieved by creating a rogue copy of a popular website which shows
      contents similar to the original to a web crawler but redirects web surfers to
      unrelated or malicious websites.

      Buying expired domains

      Some link spammers monitor DNS records for domains that will expire soon,

      then buy them when they expire and replace the pages with links to their pages. See Domaining. However Google resets the link data on expired domains. Some ofthese techniques may be applied for creating a Google bomb
      cooperate with other users to boost the ranking of a particular page for a particular query.

      Cookie stuffing

      Cookie stuffing involves placing an affiliate tracking cookie on a website
      visitor’s computer without their knowledge, which will then generate revenue for
      the person doing the cookie stuffing. This not only generates fraudulent
      affiliate sales, but also has the potential to overwrite other affiliates’
      cookies, essentially stealing their legitimately earned commissions.

      Using world-writable pages

      Main article: forum spam

      Web sites that can be edited by users can be used by spamdexers to insert
      links to spam sites if the appropriate anti-spam measures are not taken.

      Nope, none of those.

      Spam in blogs

      Spam in blogs is the placing or solicitation of links randomly on other
      sites, placing a desired keyword into the hyperlinked text of the inbound link.
      Guest books, forums, blogs, and any site that accepts visitors’ comments are
      particular targets and are often victims of drive-by spamming where automated
      software creates nonsense posts with links that are usually irrelevant and

      Comment spam

      Comment spam is a form of link spam that has arisen in web pages that allow
      dynamic user editing such as wikis, blogs, and guestbooks. It can be problematic
      because agents can be written that automatically randomly select a user edited
      web page, such as a Wikipedia article, and add spamming links.

      OK, so here’s the meat of the discussion.

      None of the comments I write on Gizmodo or anywhere are random. I comment on the topic being discussed. Sometimes I’m expansive, others less so. But I’m always on-topic. Always. And that adds to the value of the sites where I make comments.

      And nothing is automated.

      Wiki spam

      Wiki spam is a form of link spam on wiki pages. The spammer uses the open
      editability of wiki systems to place links from the wiki site to the spam site.
      The subject of the spam site is often unrelated to the wiki page where the link
      is added. In early 2005, Wikipedia implemented a default “nofollow” value for
      the “rel” HTML attribute. Links with this attribute are ignored by Google’s
      PageRank algorithm. Forum and Wiki admins can use these to discourage Wiki spam.

      Referrer log spamming

      Referrer spam takes place when a spam perpetrator or facilitator accesses a
      web page, i.e., the
      referee, by following a link from another web page, i.e., the referrer,
      so that the referee is given the address of the referrer by the person’s
      Internet browser. Some websites have a referrer log which shows which pages link
      to that site. By having a robot randomly access many sites enough times, with a
      message or specific address given as the referrer, that message or Internet
      address then appears in the referrer log of those sites that have referrer logs.
      Since some search engines base the importance of sites by the number of
      different sites linking to them, referrer-log spam may be used to increase the
      search engine rankings of the spammer’s sites, by getting the referrer logs of
      many sites to link to them. Also, site administrators who notice the referrer
      log entries in their logs and are subjected to the spam messages, e.g. they may
      follow the link back to the spamvertized referrer page.

      Other types of

      Mirror websites

      A mirror site is the hosting of multiple websites with conceptually similar
      content but using different URLs. Some search engines give a higher rank to
      results where the keyword searched for appears in the URL.

      URL redirection

      URL redirection is the taking the user to another page without his or her
      intervention, e.g.,
      using META refresh tags, Flash, JavaScript, Java or Server side redirects.


      Cloaking refers to any of several means to serve a page to the search-engine
      spider that is different from that seen by human users. It can be an attempt to
      mislead search engines regarding the content on a particular web site. Cloaking,
      however, can also be used to ethically increase accessibility of a site to users
      with disabilities or provide human users with content that search engines aren’t
      able to process or parse. It is also used to deliver content based on a user’s
      location; Google itself uses IP delivery, a form of cloaking, to deliver
      results. Another form of cloaking is code swapping, i.e., optimizing a page for top ranking
      and then swapping another page in its place once a top ranking is achieved.

      None of that applies to what we do, either.

      Chris, listen, I’m standing by my original point: when I comment, on Gizmodo or anywhere, I stay on topic. That adds value to the content on which I comment. DO I HAVE AN ULTERIOR MOTIVE? You bet. Everything we do has ulterior motives. And I believe that in providing a link back to somewhere where you can either read my bio or see my work I’m adding context to my comments. It’s context that’s self-serving, for sure, but it also helps readers of my comments decide whether my words are worth listening to/thinking about.

      Leaving us with nothing except the issue of whether Gizmodo has the right to have and enforce rules (they do) and whether I read the rules (I didn’t). And I said both of those things in my reply to Tony’s snarky comment.

      So are we really just talking about whether I “should have read and known the rules”? Yeah sure. But I don’t read EULAs on software, either. And I’m guessing that you don’t—nor does Tony Kaye, Nick Denton, or anyone at Gizmodo/Gawker.

      By the way: I’ve just read your community policy for the very first time, again, because I’m taking you seriously. And I haven’t violated it.

      Look: with any luck this turns out to be helpful to others. And the way we do SEO? Clean. White Hat.

      You know, says me.

  4. For what it’s worth, you’re still welcome to comment on Gizmodo. Just keep the link in your profile.

  5. That guy removed my star and honestly I have no idea why. He must be someone who suffered a lot in his childhood and needs to get back at people by asserting the incredible powers he has now obtained. Please Dear God, let him not get into politics.

    • Wow, I wish you had made me think you were more of a real person by using either your name or an email address that doesn’t scream “fake”. Then again, given that you hang out at Gizmodo and run in circles with people like Tony Kaye, well, I guess I’ll just let this go through, anyway 😉

    • Andrew:

      While I think I’ve been clear about how the fantastic Mr. Tony Kaye rubs me, and you aren’t the first “I don’t like Tony Kaye either” commenter to weigh in here, I’ll say this: it’s his party over there. I guess you could ask him for redemption?

  6. You know, I’m not sure this guy exists. I think it’s a name Jesus Diaz uses when he’s too cowardly to reap the whirl-wind of his own actions. Jesus Diaz is such a freaking tool. I was just banned from Gizmodo because I told him that a hack he was promoting would cause the need of a very timely re-format. I lost my star when I pointed out a spelling error in the title of one of Jesus’s articles. Freaking idiots at Gizmodo. Engadget > Gizmodo

    • Rob, I’ve heard before that his name isn’t really Tony Kaye; it was during the late night exchange with his buddies where he was making fun of me for having the nerve to “try and get free advertising” on a Nick Denton property.

      I can’t confirm whether “Tony Kaye”‘s real name is Jesus Diaz, but if you have information … bring it!

  7. Ah Tony Kaye – a true JERK.

    I posted a comment on a Gizmodo story which was a true rant. Mean spirited and hateful. When I commented on it, Mr. Kaye promptly removed it.

    Apparently, saying anything negative about one of their esteemed writers is a big no-no over at Gizmodo.

    Yah, it’s their blog and they can take their ball and go home, but how dumb is it to have a comments section that’s nothing but “Rah-rah Gizmodo! All hail Gizmodo!”…?

    • Frank, I know I’ve written something worth reading when four months later people are commenting. Tony Kay of Gizmodo is making, it seems, lots of non-friends. I suspect, since he has a reputation for being a bit of a jerk himself, that his boss Nick Denton is OK with that. And let’s face it: bad press increases exposure as much as good press does; maybe more.

      But do Tony Kaye, Nick Denton, and Gizmodo need things to be this way? I think not. Thanks for chiming in!

  8. Yep, Jeff, you did write something worth reading, and it definitely touched a nerve – with a lot of this.

    I can believe that censorship of comments are inevitable, as you have the weirdos that dump nonsense in the Comments sections. However with my case it was really bizarre because the article I was commenting on was mean-spirited, hateful, biased, and all the elements of trolling that Gizmodo warns commenters against.

    So, in other words its “I can say whatever trolling shit I want to as a Gizmodo author, but don’t you dare say anything negative that I don’t like”.

    It’s almost kind of a joke – I always thought Tony Kaye’s last name was really “deleted this comment” since all you ever see is “Tony Kaye Deleted this comment”.

    Screw Gizmodo. And screw Tony Kaye.

    There, I feel better.

    • Hey Frank: LOL, and :-). Seriously.

      “Deleted This Comment”. Wow. I never stopped to think about it; maybe that IS Tony Kaye’s last name!

  9. Tony Kate is a twat. End of story. He trolls his own site, harasses Giz members then when he’s done with them he bans them. If ever there was a good use for a bullet….

    • You Mean Tony Kaye, of course, and … ok (maybe not that part about the bullet, though) !

  10. Went to Gizmodo, as I do every morning, and noticed a notification. It simply said “Tony Kaye has banned you”. I quick Google search brought me here.

    I’m *assuming* I got banned for using the tag #FireJesus in response to his vitriol, expletive filled “news story” about the 1 on the iPhone calendar icon being off centered (which it isn’t). So assuming this IS the reason, Giz writers can apparently curse and scream about a non-issue (even if it WAS off centered, does it really deserve an entire article full of cursing?), but I can’t rant about said “article”?

    And if that is NOT why I got banned, then maybe he just doesn’t like my avatar? Who knows. I don’t.

    When I create a new account, I’ll be sure not to do whatever I did again.

  11. Tony Kaye is basically a little child with a big stick who likes to play with power at Gawker sites. I’ve seen other people have run-ins with him similar to yours (And I’ve had my own – He banned one of my accounts for calling a poorly edited, crazed, manhating piece of journalism on Jezebel exactly what it was.)

    • Oh, and I’m not joking. I mean the piece was even worse than the usual trash on Jezebel!

    • Mike, I don’t know how you found your way to this old Tony Kaye piece, but in case you haven’t seen it, take a look at what I JUST wrote about Gizmodo. I think you’ll enjoy it!

    • Thanks Gerry. It was a while back, and I kind of enjoyed re-reading it myself!


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