Does Your Website Make People Angry?

Jul 12th

Just as it is good to invest in structural change it is good to invest in restructuring debates and reframing ideas.

When we consume media one of the biases we often overlook is our own. When NPR created their Budget Hero commentors quicky stated things like "it's too liberal" and "they used right wing think tank as a *credible* source." Such statements reveal as much or more about the reader as they do about the media.

When you know a field better than most people producing media in your space it is easy to denounce everyone who knows less than you as being full of crap. Dr. E. Garcia, a brilliant Information Retreival scientist, makes a habbit out of roasting me because I have a more practical and less academic experience in the space.

While he feels my work is not up to his standards, the work he denounces helps people gain top rankings in Google and is getting free inbound links. Even better, I syndicated some free Creative Commons licensed content on latent semantic indexing called Patterns in Unstructured Data. Dr. Garcia thinks I know nothing about the topic, but when the original source went offline I started gaining citations as the source for that work too! Am I a leading expert on academic information retreival? No. I read some of Gerard Saltan's work, but my experience are more well aligned with finding the criteria necissary to rank in Google.

Web Designer Wall recently published an SEO guide for designers. In it they stated "Most people aim for a keyword density of 2%." I am not sure where they got that stat from, but generally the document was fairly well done and I am glad they cited me as a resource. I could be envious of the exposure their article got and try to rip it to shreds, but where is the benefit? Dr. E. Garcia flaming me generally does nothing but flow PageRank my way. So be it...you know you are doing something right when people hate you. ;)

Chris Anderson, famous for the Long Tail, recently had his long tail strategy ripped apart by the Harvard Business Review.

Chris does not mind though...he is already on to debunking the scientific method!

But faced with massive data, this approach to science — hypothesize, model, test — is becoming obsolete. ...

There is now a better way. Petabytes allow us to say: "Correlation is enough." We can stop looking for models. We can analyze the data without hypotheses about what it might show. We can throw the numbers into the biggest computing clusters the world has ever seen and let statistical algorithms find patterns where science cannot.

Mahalo offers virtually nothing original or of value, but it is worth more than most websites because Jason was good at making people angry. There is greater value in evoking emotions than being the person who's chain is jerked by people writing with the express intent of making you angry.

Published: July 12, 2008

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Comments

July 12, 2008 - 7:14pm

I know you don't like me, but there are 60 full-time folks, and 300
part-time paid folks, working on Mahalo and they are providing real
value.

Even if you don't believe in the abridged wikipedia article +
socially/human currated results (i.e. www.mahalo.com/iPhone ), you have to admit the how to artiles
and video game coverage is really valuable, no? Take a look:
http://mahalo.com/Category:How_To

The product is actually built on love for the user... trying to help
them save time and money. You might not like me, but the product is
really coming along.

best j
---------------------
Jason McCabe Calacanis
CEO, http://www.Mahalo.com

July 12, 2008 - 8:54pm

I guess the way I see it is that some of it is at least a bit contradictory...I mean your how to guide for online investing pays less than $100.

How qualified is the writer if they value their time at less than $100 a day? How much stock do they own?

Sure you could say they are doing it because they love the topic, but honestly if they cared that much about the topic they would probably publish said content on their own site...if you love a topic handing over copyright for a day's worth of work seems like a poor business decision.

July 14, 2008 - 3:38am

I know you don't like me, but there are 60 full-time folks, and 300 part-time paid folks working on Mahalo"

Well, I hate them too. I even hate the janitorial staff.

Sorry, couldn't resist.

July 12, 2008 - 7:52pm

We can throw the numbers into the biggest computing clusters the world has ever seen and let statistical algorithms find patterns where science cannot.

And because of statistics we can produce a result that we like. ;-)

July 12, 2008 - 8:21pm

@ Jason - You're a brilliant marketer, but I don't think aaron's gonna take the bait: "I know you don't like me" ;)

July 12, 2008 - 11:36pm

...you know you are doing something right when people hat you...

Being "hatted" and "hated" are both good for generating inbound links :.)

July 13, 2008 - 12:21am

I hat when I do that ;)

Thanks Todd.

July 13, 2008 - 4:02am

we are all entitled to our opinion.

if i say aaron wall sucks, some people will agree with me and some people will not.

but in the end, aaron wall has done more good things than things that upsets some people.

July 13, 2008 - 6:38pm

I think it's because we all attach identity to opinions, there will always be someone who hates what we say or how we say it. This is because if we have a conflicting view to someone else we are attacking their very identity and without that they feel that they have nothing. There is nothing we can do about it.

July 14, 2008 - 8:55pm

Aaron, you previously gave a bit of advice I considered very wise: always tell a story that other publishers would be willing to syndicate. Which I interpret as a bias for positivity (among other things).

In my personal experience writing on controversial topics (e.g. Bruce Lee and plagiarism), there are two types in the audience: people who hardly care one way or another, and fanboys who rabidly disagree. Yes, I make people angry, but this hasn't exactly triggered a stratospheric rise in my popularity. Maybe I'm choosing the wrong topics?

Or, maybe the trick is not in substantive dissent, but in pretending to rebel against the majority view, while actually accepting it? You know: edgy, but safe; tension and release; and finally all is right with the world.

July 15, 2008 - 12:31am

Or, maybe the trick is not in substantive dissent, but in pretending to rebel against the majority view, while actually accepting it? You know: edgy, but safe; tension and release; and finally all is right with the world.

We do live in a headline culture where often the headline is designed more for emotional response than relevancy.

July 15, 2008 - 9:21am

Don't let that academic guy bother you, Aaron. I came out of academic/research institutions myself, and when I first discovered him writing on SEO, I was anxious to enjoy reading quality academic work worthy of peer review. I didn't find it.

I found what my peers would have called trash, and posturing that they call "little fish, littler pond" syndrome. A mentor once told me, "It's easy to shine bright in a dark room... but don't do that because you'll just disturb the natural environment".

Jason seems to be softening a bit...

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