Thursday, December 01, 2005

WebmasterWorld: Can you really justify this?

Following are my thoughts and may not please everyone. If you cannot stand constructive criticism, please do me a favor and don't read.

First, let me say that there are few, if any, resources online like Like many other webmasters, I am very thankful to Brett Tabke and the WebmasterWorld community for working very hard on creating this unmatched community.

Now, that I have thanked and expressed my gratitude, lets get down and dirty.

A whole eternity to transfer a site

I mean come on. How difficult and hard can the migration process be? Well as we see from the case of WMW, it can be very difficult and time consuming. I remember three days seeing the message that they have selected the host and are now transferring the site. Three days? Wow! IMHO, if a site takes more than 24 hours to transfer, hire someone else.

Banning all robots

Regardless of what Brett and other WMW loyalists say, IMHO, no "sensible" argument can be made in the defense of WMW's dumb decision to ban all search bots from indexing it. IMO, the folks at WMW chose the worst possible solution to a simple problem. One would think that a place like WMW will have no shortage of engineers and developers to help them make an informed decision. Imagine if the management of every community online thinks like the management of WMW. Soon we'd have no content.

Could the reason be bandwidth costs?

I have heard people saying that the decision to ban all robots was made because "unauthorized" bots had taken millions of pages from WMW within a short period of time. So is it bandwidth cost thats worrying folks at WMW? But then why didn't they go with a hosting provider like EV1 that can give them 2000GB bandwidth a month for literally pennies? If bandwidth was the reason behind this dumb decision, then may be the folks at WMW don't really know where to shop. They would rather ban all the robots from indexing rather than make an intelligent business decision to choose a hosting provider that does not charge them huge amount of money for bandwidth. I read somewhere on WMW that Brett had his own reasons for not going with EV1.

Could the reason be processing power?

OK. If WMW management was worried about the processing power, there are many options to deal with it, with the dumbest being to block the robots. I mean, talk about paranoia. Here is a sensible solution: write a script that checks for bot abuse. If a bot is found abusing, ban it temporarily or permanently. I am sure even if WMW cannot write the script themselves there must be many volunteers (like me) who would be willing to write and "donate" such a script.

Could WMW management be worried about content theft?

OK. If content theft is an issue, still a simple script can solve the issue. Again the dumbest option being to block the bots.

Now, I don't know about you, but I have serious reservation as to the technical capabilities of the WMW management. I love the resource but by making such dumb decisions, WMW is only paving the way for WMW2.

Brett, if you are reading this, I just want to point the other options you had available. Sometimes it does pay off to really think things over. I still cannot believe you made this decision. What if someone tries a brute force attack on your server? Will you ask the hosting provider to unplug your server so the attacks won't happen. That's definitely a solution -- but not an intelligent one. Every action has an opportunity cost. Sure you have gotten rid of the abusing bot problem. But did you think about what opportunities you are creating for a competitor? If your content is not in search engines, someone else's will be. If you start giving in to industry pressures like this (like abusing bots) then IMHO, someone is done doing business.

WebmasterWorld lost traffic

  post to


Post a Comment

<< Home

eXTReMe Tracker