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Are Bad Reviews Good For You?

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By EelKat Wendy C Allen

EelKat.com is only days old yet is getting 300+ visits a day from a "bad review" on a blog?


I wrote an article in 2007 called "Are Flamers Good For PageRank?" after one of my articles received a bad review from a blogger, and the next morning I found myself #1 on page 1 of Google. Well, today (September 15, 2013) I find it happening once again, but oddly from a domain that is not yet indexed by Google (it can take up to 8 months for Google to index a newly registered domain name.)

I was wondering how often does this happen to folks? I registered my domain, and 3 days later a guy (who apparently trolls for newly registered SBI sites to bad mouth via bad reviews on his blog) writes a blog post telling people "well, here's another idiot who was duped into joining SBI", and now I'm getting traffic from his post, which I wouldn't mind if my site was ready for visitors, but I just registered it so obviously it's not.

I only registered my domain a few (13) days ago. My site isn't even close to being ready for visitors, I'm still building it. Granted it does have 84 pages up already (though not yet easy to find as the T3 pages are not yet linked up to the T2 pages; my T2 to T3 link ups are a nightmare right now - still sorting that out), nearly that many more in draft, and most of the ones that are up are supposed to be in draft, but I forgot to click the draft box before hitting the build button. The place is a mess right now and I won't be telling people how to find the new site until at least October or later, because I'm not READY for traffic yet. It is going up fast, but this is because I'm moving an old site that I started in 1997, and it had 6,000 pages on it. I'm moving because the old host had serious server issues which ended up erasing 30,000 websites, including mine. Thank goodness I had copies of every page on my site stored on a back up drive in my house, otherwise I wouldn't be able to start over on a new host like this. (The old host btw, was a "free host" so my url was HOSTNAME.COM/MYNAME/NAMEOFPAGE. This is the first time I have used a personal registered domain.)

So, here's the thing. My boyfriend asks me this morning "Any traffic to your new site yet?"

I laugh and say "Of course not, silly, I only just registered the new domain last week, it takes Google 3 to 6 months to index a new domain. I won't be getting traffic till next summer."

He says "Well have you checked your traffic stats?"

"No."

So, I go to check my stats and see that I had 323 unique visitors today, :shock: almost as many yesterday, and all week every day has had no fewer than 170 visitors.

I'm thinking to myself: What the heck? That's not right. Something's wrong here. I know the traffic is not from Google and I've only told 3 people about my site so far, where is this traffic coming from? And why? Why are people looking at my site already?

I don't want people looking at my site yet, it's a mess still, I'm not ready for people to look at it yet. I'm still deciding what goes where and moving things around and deleting pages, adding pages, editing pages after publishing them, realizing I was suppose to click the "save draft" box before clicking the build button but forgot - again. (thus there are now several pages "published" that are not done yet, that are supposed to still be drafts! whoops!) It'll be another month at least before I'll be ready for people to start looking around the place. How in the heck did they even find it?

So I check the page which lists where the traffic is coming from. It's coming from exactly 4 places: FaceBook, Twitter, The Warriors Forum, and 72% of the traffic (the first few days) came from a blog.

I had never heard of either the forum or the blog before so no clue what they were. I went to visit them and found that someone had written a bad review/rant about SBI and how much they hated it (I ended up joining the Warriors Forum so I could reply to the thread than promptly left as that place appears to be heavy in the "I want to gang up on people and yell mindless insanity" type of posters.) I read the thread and the blog post (both written by the same person and each of which linking back to my site) and was WOW! The guy ranted on calling me every nasty name under the sun, than concluded that I was "a verbose idiot without a college education" along with "don't believe me, just have a look at her website!"

I happen to be an English Major, as well as the author of 30+ books, 200+ short stories, a few dozen plays, 2,000+ articles, and I write 2 advice columns, and since 1978 have won 13 writing awards. It is very obvious that the post-writer never heard of me before and has no clue what he is talking about in his descriptions of who he thinks I am and what he thinks my site is.

Near as I can tell, he is someone on the SBI forums (who is also a member of the Warrior Forums AND is the owner of that blog) who clicked on my link in my signature (it's the only place you can find my url in order to get to my site, seeing how it's not ready for visitors and I thus have not advertised it anyplace yet! and I have no choice in the sig link thing, SBI just adds it there to your post in the forum automatically) and used my (at the time 3 day old) site to point out how SBIers put up crappy empty sites with useless content!(Side thought: only webmasters who build SBI sites have access to the SBI forums, so doesn't that mean this guy who hates SBI is himself a webmaster using SBI to host his own sites?)

Thing is on the day he wrote that "bad review" post my site was only 3 days old, empty and only had one page on it saying "under construction" with a 3,000 word explanation about the old server crash and that I was moving the old pages (all 6,000 of them) one at a time as fast as possible so I could get the site back online for my (7,000+ subscribed) readers of the old site - which had also hosted both of my advice columns. It also explained that I chose to use SBI for the new site, because of the C2.0 which I felt would make it easier for my readers to ask questions for my advice column.

That is the page he is sending people to - the page explaining the server crash of the old host and why I decided to use SBI to host it this time around. That page was put up for my long-time fans/followers/readers/subscribers to the old site's RSS who I knew would eventually end up on my site (the url is my real name) on their own. That page speaks directly to my long time readers, referencing to things only they would understand the meaning of (events which happened just before the server crash), thus does not make sense to the casual browser, but it was not intended for the casual browser. The page is there to say: "Yes, I'm still online, everything's okay, here's what happened, I'm working as fast as I can to get a new site up to replace the old one, see you guys soon."

From glancing around the Warriors Forum I saw a lot of anti-SBI rant threads, apparently they make a habit of attacking newly registered SBI sites, which they are being alerted to by that blogger, whose blog is like a database of "here's the latest sucker to buy SBI, go check out their site so you know to boycott it in the future".

If the guy knew anything at all about SEO, Google, Panda, or Penguin, he'd know that the single most important thing a website needs to get high search page rankings on Google is back-links.

Every time he sends a link back to one of these sites which he hates, he sends a vote of "hey this is a great site, I'm going to recommend it by linking to it and sending my traffic to it," to Google. Google sees him linking to all these SBI sites and goes "Hey these must be really good sites, they are getting plenty of back links from this guy" and so Google boosts the rankings of each of the SBI sites he has linked to.


On the other hand if the guy knew anything at all about SEO, Google, Panda, or Penguin, he'd know that the single worst thing a website can do is to link out to other sites. Google looks at all those links all willy nilly all over his site and says "Yeah, this site can't be too important because they are just directing traffic away from themselves, let's ding them" and thus his own site's ranking goes down.

It seems to me that perhaps this guy has an alteria motive in his sending out massive waves of links to all these SBI sites which he supposedly hates. SBI allows us to track our traffic from our dashboards, thus we know where every single visitor came to us from. Running an SBI hosted site himself, he knows this. He also knows that when a site gets a bad review from a blog, chances are really high that the site owner is going to do one or both of two things:

  1. Visit his blog, read his post, write a comment to that post in defense of their own site.
  2. Visit his blog, read his post, return to their website and write a rebuttal post (like the one you are reading right now.)

Most SBI site owners are going to do both (and from the look of his site, they often do.) What this guy is doing is using a sneaky tactic to raise traffic and VISITOR INTERACTION on his blog.

Google likes visitor interaction. Google loves it when someone comments on your post. Google thinks it's just the bees knees when someone comments on your posts, shares it on FaceBook and than write a rebuttal linking back to you. Get someone to do that and Google will heaping mounds of sticky sweet sugar dumplings on you and send your site flying to page one. And that's EXACTLY why this guying is running around like a loony bin giving bad reviews to every SBI site he can find.

He's desperately trying to get you so angry that you'll comment on his post about your site, than he wants you to share his post on FaceBook to tell your friends to read how shitty he treated you, and than he's hoping you'll rush back to your own site and tell your visitors to head back to his site again, via linking to him from your site. This guy his playing on human nature and using reverse psychology to try to dupe you into falling for his little scam.

He knows that most will get angry and send lots of links back to him:

"Look what this jerk (link) said about me and my site! See? (link) He said I suck (link). And I had a look around and look what he said about my buddy on this other post (link), and OMG he's so wrong in his review (link) of SEO, and what is he talking about on this page (link)?

The typical angry rebuttal review is going to link to his site at least once, but in most cases a minimum of 4 times, linking to 4 separate pages of his site. It will also say the name of his blog on average 12 times! And will mention his name no less than 7 times.

And this is exactly what this guy is looking for. Google doesn't care that you are angry and giving this guy a really bad review. All Google cares about is you used really good SEO to link to multiple pages of his blog, say the name of his blog multiple times, and said the name of the blog owner several times. In Google's metallic robot eyes, this is good juju and reason to pat this guy on the back and reward him with a boost in page rank.

This guy is using dirty below the belt tactics to get high search results on Google, by trying to get HIGH QUALITY SITE OWNERS to mention him and link to him several times. This is why he choice SBI to host his own site, and why he chooses SBI sites to diss. SBI does have high quality sites and most of them are getting page 1 Google search results, thus he links to as many SBI sites as he can, gives them bad reviews knowing the owners are more likely to respond to a bad review than a good review, and knowing his chances are good at getting plenty of links and name dropping to help boost his page rank on Google.

Dirty pool.

A smart SBI site owner would foil his lame attempts at Google stardom by NOT commenting on his blog and when they do write a rebuttal, they simply in no place on their site EVER mention the name of his blog, the name of the blog owner, or place a link to his blog post.  Because I refuse to play his game and send my hard earned traffic to his site, his site does not get that boost in Google rankings that he was hoping to get from me. Sorry, SugarPlum, but I've been around the SEO block to many times to be fooled into recommending you to Google that way.

However, this guy is playing with an old double edge SEO sword here. And there is more than one reason why you should not link back to his site now that he is linking to yours.

If the guy knew anything at all about current  SEO, Google, Panda, or Penguin, he'd know that link exchanges are website suicide. You start requesting link exchanges and Google will blacklist you. Super big SEO no-no. The only time you want to use link exchange on your site is if you have a tiny free hosted web site you are only sharing with a few friends and family and are not relying on Google to drive traffic to.

Google doesn't like the whole "I linked to you, please link to me," gig. That is old SEO that worked years and years ago, but not today, not with Panda or Penguin lurking about waiting to bitchslap your website to the black-list.

Years ago it used to be the sites with the most links in and out got the highest search results on Google, now those same sites aren't even indexed in Google.

The more links you have going out, the lower your search results in Google, while the more links coming in, the higher your search results on Google.

Linking to your own pages on your own site, good juju.

Linking to other websites hoping they will give you a link back, bad juju.

Isn't he kind of stabbing himself in the foot by linking to sites he hates and sending his traffic to them? It's silly because a lot of the articles on his site focus on SEO, Google, Panda, and Penguin, and yet most of his information is just plain wrong. His articles are very "I hate SBI because SEO on their site's suck, here's the way SEO should not be done, see look at how sucky this site is" and posts yet another link to yet another SBI site, driving eve more traffic to it.

Apparently his blog's readers however, after reading his bad review than visiting my site as he suggested, liked what they found on my site enough to keep coming back every day, and are posting it on FaceBook and Twitter to tell their friends to check it out as well.

It looks like this guy tries to stop traffic from SBI sites by bad mouthing them with bad reviews, but it also looks like by doing so he is inadvertently driving traffic to the sites he wants people to avoid!

And yet his own website is hosted by SBI. I wonder, does SBI know he is using SBI to host an anti SBI site? Is this guy using any logic? It costs $30 a month to host a site with SBI. If he hates them so much why is he paying them $30 a month? He calls people who buy SBI sites "suckers" on his site hosted by SBI. So what does that make him? Can anybody say hypocrite?

*sigh*

Why are there people like that? How did this guy get so bitter and anti-SBI that he built a blog about how much he hates it and everyone who uses it? That just seems so pointless to me.

I'm guessing getting traffic this way (from people telling people to avoid your site) must be pretty common. You worry about getting traffic from Google and all, but you never think about getting traffic from "bad reviews" from bloggers.

Has anybody else ever gotten a wave of traffic from a bad review about their site on a blog?


Authors vs Bad Reviews

My advice to you, dear reader, is: if this ever happens to you, ignore the bad review. Once you realize you are reading a bad review, stop reading it. Don't even finish it. Close the page without reading the rest of it. It ain't worth another second of your time.

When you get in the entertainment business (and you are, as a writer you are an entertainer, never forget that!) you will get reviews.

There will be good reviews and bad reviews, great reviews and nasty reviews, fan girl reviews and stalker reviews, reviews that's make you go "Whaaaat?" and reviews that put you to sleep.

Most of the time you'll find yourself reading a review while asking "What the fuck? Did they even read my book? Hello! What the hell are they talking about? I didn't write that. Wait, did they send this to the right person?"

You can't please everyone so don't even try. Read the good reviews, ignore the bad reviews, wave a hand at the psycho pants peeing fan girl reviews (and hope they see Edward and run the other way after his sparkling ass instead of glomping you), and get back to your job: writing.

In this business you are bound to get bad reviews. It happens. It happens a lot. And bad reviews often outweigh good reviews, simply because critics are more mouthy than fans.

If you are going to become an author one of the first things you'll need to develop is not good writing skills, but rather a hard outer shell. You need to pretend you are a ninja turtle. Grab your nunchuks and paint yourself green before you read that 1 star review on Amazon. Better yet, don't read the review at all. Go out and buy yourself a big old banana split instead.

Bad reviews will come from editors, agents, publishers, readers, bloggers, friends, family, and neighbors.

You'll never survive as a writer if you can not push your way through the shower of bad review arrows. So strap on your turtle shell and push forward.

Know which reviews to stomp into the mud and which reviews to take to heart.

Ignore the bad reviews from readers and bloggers, family and friends. They don't know what they are talking about. They are just talking out their asses and trying to shoot you down to make themselves feel better. Think of these reviews as kisses laced with poison and keep your distance from them.

Listen carefully to the bad reviews from editors, agents and publishers, they DO know what they are talking about and are trying to help you become a better writer. They WANT to see you succeed and are telling you what's wrong so you can fix it and make it better.


Are Bad Reviews Good For Book Sales?

This got me to wondering if bad reviews are also good for book sales? Now clearly you want to get as many good reviews of your book as possible, but is it not true that whenever a group/school/church/library bans a book, that book suddenly sees a dramatic boost in sales? It is something to think about.


The End?

No, you have NOT reached the end of this article! What you have reached is the end of what it currently online. The rest is coming, hopefully it'll be on here in a day or three so keep checking back. I will remove this message at the same time I put the rest of it online.

As my long time readers will already know a server crash took down most of the old free-hosted site on June 4, 2013 (which was online since 1997 and had reached 6,000+ pages). Thankfully everything was saved on a separate hard-drive and the site is being rebuilt with a new host and for the first time on it's own domain. YAY!

I am currently moving all 6,000 questions&answer articles to this site one page at a time, at a rate of about 4 to 7 new pages being added each day, so be patient. Not all links are yet clickable. This process started on September 2, 2013 and will be ongoing at least through to January 2014. (And it may be well into 2017 before all 6,000 pages will be back online if I continue at this rate of 5 a day.)




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