WordPress Homepage Uses Link Farm to Game Google

This sort of pisses me off. Waxy has found that the homepage for WordPress includes hidden HTML code that links to a host of 168,000 articles intended to boost the site’s Google PageRank.
Consider for a moment that, by default, WordPress installs templates that link back to the WordPress.org site. They already have thousands of sites linking back to them. Matt, the head of the WordPress development team, said that this was a fundraising experiment begun in February with a third-party contributing the AdSense ads on those pages and the WordPress project getting a flat fee.
I think it stinks.
I think if Matt was going to do something like this, he should have hosted it on any domain but WordPress.org. Gaming search engines for money is unethical and against the spirit of the WordPress project. And it pisses me off since I sent them $50 a few months ago. One commenter on Waxy suggests they use a two prong download link – ask folks to donate before they download – but not require it.
The links have been removed and a brief support forum topic has been closed. Nothing yet on the WordPress development blog which would be the logical conduit of communication. I hope Matt prepares some sort of statement and posts it there – that is the most mature thing to do. As the mobs swarm, there needs to be direct, obvious communication.
At the end of the day, WordPress remains free and open-source under the GPL license. But this sours their image – if only perhaps temporarily. It is still fantastic software and Matt needs to approach this like any other ‘pseuo-scandal’ and give full disclosure. He doesn’t have to – but he should.
Other links:
Burningbird on the joy of blogging and the ‘party’s over’ sentiment.
Another blogger contends this isn’t spamming.
The sucky part is this distracts from the development of some truly great software.
Update: Matt is in Europe and not back yet (or connected). Poor guy. He has to come home to this maelstrom! Good luck, Matt!
Update 2: Matt responds.

2 thoughts on “WordPress Homepage Uses Link Farm to Game Google

  1. Jonas M Luster

    Whooo, step back there a sec. I am not the author of those articles. I learned about them, like everyone else, from waxy.org. I am offering a different take on it, not defending it, and I am _not_ Matt.

    Reply

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