Archive for the ‘Old Media’ Category

Posted by Tim Ireland at September 16, 2008

Category: Old Media

For those who came in late:
Bloggerheads – Julie Moult is an idiot
Bloggerheads – The Daily Mail: let’s kick arse and take names
Bloggerheads – The Daily Mail responds at last!

The first full set of relevant image search results are in – and the surprise leader is Live Search!

I must admit to being just a bit impressed. The performance is surprisingly early (and relevant) for this particular search engine:

1st is an image of Julie herself (including her status as an idiot) that comes to us via Jim Barter, 2nd is a picture of the big, mean bully who started this (Live is not fooled by this image being hosted by another website) and the 3rd result is the contribution of the artist whose work the Daily mail ripped off!

Meanwhile, Yahoo offers nothing of relevance, and Google is still poking around b3ta.com, mainly because a quirk of design allows users of that site to change their sigs so they update for every entry ever made all the back to the dawn of Teh Internets (almost); the only relevant results to stray onto the front page at Google have been the original ’50ft Blears’ image by Beau Bo D’Or image (via this post at The Daily Quail) and a classic belm from TheSpoof.com

I realise that initially I promised “a prize… for the best relevant performance in Google Images” but I think this set deserves recognition as well, especially as it’s the first relevant one.

So the first prize from the shelf goes to Jim Barter.

Congratulations, Jim!

I’ll be posting a numbered list of all the goodies and doing a random draw later.

Cheers all.

[Psst! It appears that Julie Moult hasn’t filed a single story since this post went live. And you’re welcome.]








Posted by Tim Ireland at September 9, 2008

Category: Old Media

Hi everyone.

Well, after (almost) calling me a bully and publishing the bare minimum (One. Comment.) from a reported 60 submissions, the good people at the Daily Mail have completely failed to respond to my rebuttal and done nothing to clarify their recent statement about their comment moderation policy, so I guess they must really mean/believe what they’re saying.

*sigh*

So, as much as it pains me to do this….

Could you please – via email – forward the following to everyone you know?

It’s an important message that recipients will appreciate and remember you for.

==================== || ====================

Dear Readers of the Daily Mail and Mail Online,

SHORT VERSION:

1. Please do not visit the Daily Mail website and submit comments until further notice, as they have issued a statement saying; “We get more comments than we can possibly deal with and our moderation side hasn’t been able to keep up.”

2. Please forward a copy of this email to your family, friends and work colleagues.

LONG VERSION:

Martin Clarke, editorial director of Mail Online, Britain’s ‘most popular’ newspaper website, recently issued the following statement regarding comments submitted to online articles:

“If you want to complain about a story some days after it’s published you have to take a more traditional view of things and write to the editor, the same as you would as if it was in the paper. We don’t publish all the letters we get.”

So please, if you have any criticism regarding any online article that’s more than a few days old (e.g. objections to the inaccuracy of quotes, the omission of facts, the unreliability/distortion of figures, and/or the overall quality of reporting), do try to take a more traditional view of things and write to the editor privately. Perhaps in a letter.

There’s no need to go sounding off electronically (and publicly) under ‘comments’, as it is unseemly and needlessly modern.

Mr Clarke would also like those readers wishing to submit comments of agreement or praise to the website to know that;

“In an ideal world we’d get every [non-libellous and inoffensive] comment published, but it’s a hell of a job moderating 7,100 comments every day. We are reviewing our entire moderation policy. This is becoming more and more of an issue for us. We get more comments than we can possibly deal with and our moderation side hasn’t been able to keep up.”

So, until further notice, can EVERYBODY please STOP submitting ALL COMMENTS to the Daily Mail website? Staff simply cannot keep up with the current volume.

After all, there’s a lot of work to do. Presently, there are articles going back as far as December 2005 that still invite readers to submit comments (that will probably never be published) because staff simply have not had the time to work out a way to close comments on old articles yet.

You can imagine how this compounds the problem, further adding to the huge number of comments submitted.

The Daily Mail obviously does not want to give the impression that they are accepting comments when they know that they have no capacity or intention to publish them, so the only logical option is to call ‘time’ on the whole affair until the editorial team get their act together.

This cycle must be broken for the site to move forward, and you can help by:

a) not submitting positive comments until further notice
b) submitting any negative comments via a ‘more traditional’ letter to the editor

Your patience is appreciated.

Please remember to forward this message to family, friend and work colleagues.

Cheers

Tim Ireland
www.bloggerheads.com

==================== || ====================

Go to it gang. Oh, and do keep a weather eye out for updates. The Daily Mail peeps might be a little quicker with their next response…. and there’s no telling how polite this one is going to be.








Posted by Tim Ireland at September 6, 2008

Category: Old Media

For those who came in late:
Bloggerheads – Julie Moult is an idiot
Bloggerheads – The Daily Mail: let’s kick arse and take names

Judith Townend – Campaign against Julie Moult ‘smacks of bullying’, says Mail Online: A widespread internet campaign against one of the Daily Mail’s reporters ‘smacks of bullying’, according to the editorial director of its website. Speaking to Journalism.co.uk today, [Martin Clarke, editorial director of Mail Online] said the comments on the article in question were not published, because the story was already a few days old, and this was not an act of censorship. Users should use the feedback button on the site, which sends requests directly to Clarke, to complain about a story, he added. “If you want to complain about a story some days after it’s published you have to take a more traditional view of things and write to the editor, the same as you would as if it was in the paper. We don’t publish all the letters we get,” he said. Clarke confirmed that 60 comments had been made on the article, but these remained unpublished as of Friday afternoon – until Ireland’s original post was set live. ‘[I]n an ideal world we’d get every [non-libellous and inoffensive] comment published’, but ‘it’s a hell of a job moderating 7,100 comments every day’, he said. “We are reviewing our entire moderation policy. This is becoming more and more of an issue for us. We get more comments than we can possibly deal with and our moderation side hasn’t been able to keep up. We’re not into censoring comments – if that comment had been posted on the day or even the day after we would have probably got it up there.”

Thank you, Judith Townend, for finally getting us somewhere with these people. I was beginning to feel like a forgotten member of the great unwashed for a bit there.

Let me just fire off a quick letter to Julie Moult before we proceed, because there are obviously hurt feelings to be nursed and boo-boos to be kissed:

Dear Julie,

I currently have plans for a little music-video victory dance and some prize-giving when the first real image results come in, and that’s it, so you can relax.

I am sorry for being a little bit mean, but I think it is fair to say that you’ve given your fair share of grief in service to your evil overlords, so please understand when the apology section of this letter cuts short rightabouthere.

Don’t expect any sympathy from me over anything reasonable that carries on beyond this without my help, unless it somehow goes Teh Full Kilroy, and you have to change your name and your face and your hair and go to live on a small island somewhere, and even there people are writing “Julie Moult is an idiot!” on walls because they saw it on a nearby island that has internets… in which case I might be inclined to think that maybe you’d had enough.

But even then I’d want to review some of your latest articles first, just in case I was wrong.

See, I did my homework, and you really have been an idiot. If you’re somehow not totally responsible for all the stuff published in your name, then you’ve been an idiot for allowing the people who are truly/equally responsible to continue to put your name to their idiocy.

It is my sincere hope that one day soon you will be able to stop being an idiot, and from that moment you can count on me to defend your honour against all comers.

Everyone makes mistakes, that’s why Nazi racoons have self-destruct mechanisms.

Cheers

Tim Ireland
www.bloggerheads.com

(ahem)

Thank you. You’ve been most patient.

And now, for Martin Clarke, editorial director of Mail Online, I have this:

1. Julie Moult is no innocent flower, it could have been far, far worse if I’d so much as pushed the snowball, and I find it delicious to be half-accused* of bullying by the Daily Mail.

[*Next time, fellas, don’t be so shy. It’s important that you stand up to bullies when you can and not show fear when you do.]

2. It is my own personal experience that even reasonable comments made in a timely fashion fail to make it past Mail moderators most of the time. Of course, these could be false memories implanted by magical Googlebomb pixies, so I invite the Daily Mail to share with me records of each and every comment submitted under my name (‘Tim Ireland’), so we can see what’s what.

3. And if they must stop accepting comments after a week, or maybe even “a few days”, they should at least have the decency to do as The Guardian does and deactivate the comments facility when it is no longer in use. Look, here’s another article I submitted a comment to over a year ago. I just captured this image of the page and, as you can clearly see, comments are still officially open and the text actually invites you to make a comment. All of the Mail’s ‘comment-ready’ articles appear to be like this, and it’s simply not good enough:

Try harder.

4. On his lecture about the correct or preferred ways to give feedback, I will remind Mr Clarke that the feedback link he describes is a lot further from the article than any invitation to submit a comment, is tucked up snug as you like in an upper navigation bar giving no indication of its purpose other than the name it was born with, and is such a recent addition to proceedings that it’s still marked ‘beta’:

No... harder.

5. I also wish to hush Mr Clarke mid-word on ‘complaint’. Yes, comments do allow one to make complaints, and the Daily Mail are not expected to publish every complaint, even if one isn’t dealing with the limitations of print. But Mr Clarke is not going to lead me down that path quite so easily. This was more than a mere complaint. This. Was. A. Correction. It contained a complaint of sorts (about the fact that the correction was first issued by Google but someone didn’t listen) but it was, I am sure any reasonable person would agree, a fair attempt to address a major factual error that even contained valuable new information (about the miracle of relevance; one of the “several factors including popularity” that would otherwise have passed without mention).

6. This, too, is what comments are for. At least, it is in the part of the internets where I come from. (I know of at least one influential blogger cheat who differs on that point, and the rules appear to be different in his neighbourhood.) But if the Daily Mail are willing to try doing things my way for a bit, I’m sure I can attempt “a more traditional view of things” from time to time in return.

7. “It’s a hell of a job moderating 7,100 comments every day”

a) It’s a job, isn’t it? And you’re not out in the weather or digging ditches. Be grateful! (beat) That is what I imagine a Daily Mail reader might say to that. But I could be wrong.

b) Oh, boo-hoo. I’ve heard this one before, but it doesn’t hold water. Either the Daily Mail can cope with their commitment to accepting comments on every article or they can’t. They should not have articles live that give the impression that they been subjected to scrutiny and passed without comment when this simply isn’t the case, as this betrays of the trust of readers.

8. OK, so 60 comments were submitted. I’m ready to believe that many of the later ones were along the lines of “Julie Moult is an idiot”, but by the time the later comments were arriving, most web users would have assumed that there was no way anything was going to be published, and probably wished to make their displeasure known to the mods via comments they knew were never going to see the light of day (e.g. comments not unlike “Suck my fat one, you cheap dime store hood!”, which is a fun phrase to slip into any busy paragraph that’s likely to be read by a lawyer sipping hot coffee). If Mr Clarke does reveal any of these, I’d appreciate him not suggesting that any comments made by people frustrated by selfish moderation are the cause of selfish moderation. Nadine Dorries tried that trick, and it got her more laughs than support.

9. OK, so 60 comments were submitted, but from all of those comments, no-one mentioned anything worthwhile, such as the obvious problem with the practice of Google bombing supposedly starting “in the early 90s” (i.e. 5-6 years before Google existed)? Seriously? Happy to hear otherwise. Over to Mr Clarke on that one, I guess.

[Prepare for facepalm. I repeat: Prepare for facepalm.]

10. OK, so 60 comments were submitted. While I’m happy that they’ve finally published something, I’m really quite astonished and disappointed that this is the ONLY thing they’ve finally published under that article:

Oh, FFS.

One. Comment.

/facepalm

[For regulars only: Does No. 10 seem like the kind of thing Uncle Iain would do before huffing; “Well, that’s what you *wanted*, wasn’t it? Tch. There’s no pleasing you!”.. or is it just me?]

UPDATE – Far be it from me to point out the blindingly obvious, but if the Daily Mail introduced the simple measure of comment registration, the rate of flippant and ill-thought-out comments would drop enormously. Immediately. If the system included user profiles that allowed readers to follow a hyperlink under a comment contributor’s name to a profile, with that profile providing details of how long they’d registered and what other comments they’d contributed, *then* they’d have something approaching a sensible solution. This kind of thing will become more and more important as a general election approaches, as both of the main parties are shameless astro-turfers. (And to be fair, I should point out that The Guardian had registraton in place from the get-go over at CiF, but took ages to introduce profile links/pages.)








Posted by Tim Ireland at September 3, 2008

Category: Old Media

[UPDATE (06 Sep) – Exciting NEW link! –> The Daily Mail (actually, genuinely) responds at last! <-- Will have no impact on this post, as its work is done and plans are afoot. Mwahahahahaha!]

[You know this is going to be a fun post, because it comes in two exciting parts. Please stand by to share with family and friends and any bloggers you might now… there’s plenty of names to be taken and arses to be kicked.]

Part One

It is now a week since I first went on the record and declared that Julie Moult is an idiot.

The article that started all of this is riddled with errors and fallacies, but the two that most people find easiest to grasp are as follows:

1. What Moult describes is not a Google bomb, and Google themselves have pointed this out.

2. Google bombing did not start “in the early 90s” (i.e. 5-6 years before Google existed).

Got that part?

Good.

I now invite you to take a closer look at the article… just to see if you can see what I can see:

Daily Mail grab #1

Have you spotted it yet?

No?

Maybe you’d care to look closer:

Daily Mail grab #2

Yes, for starters, it’s apparent that the article has not been updated since 11:25 PM on 22nd August 2008, despite the presence of two glaring errors.

Many bloggers and other web users are aware of those glaring errors. In fact, literally tens of thousands of web users have taken an interest in my article, those errors and the author behind them (including people at 36 different workstations at Associated Newspapers, according to my stats).

As I mention here, I initially sought to bring one of those errors to their attention via comments (the good people at the Daily Mail make a big deal about their allowing comments under every article, yes they do).

I submitted this; “What you describe here is not a Googlebomb, but what Google regards to be relevant image result. Google themselves told you that, but you didn’t listen.”

And…. ah, I see that almost everybody out there can now see what I see… but just in case there is any lingering doubt, let’s zoom in even closer:

Daily Mail grab #3

Yep, that’s right.

No comments. Not one.

Let’s take a look at that again, just in case we missed one:

Daily Mail grab #3

Nope. Not a sausage.

After thousands and thousands of visitors that have dropped by knowing that there is something wrong with this article, not one comment has been published about it and not one change has been made.

And if that’s not bad enough, The Daily Mail then go on to lie about it:

Daily Mail grab #4

“No comments have so far been submitted”…?

What a pack of lying bastards.

Rather than admit that they made a mistake, the Daily Mail have instead followed the example set by Iain Dale; they have let outright falsehoods stand, resisted any attempt to address the matter via comments, and also given the false impression that the article has been subject to reader scrutiny all this time.

And it looks like they’ve been at it for years.

MINI-UPDATE – As I write this, I discover that Stewart Kirkpatrick submitted a comment, too. I’m sure there are plenty of others who have shared a similar experience involving this article alone. This self-serving censorship happens all the time at the Daily mail website and every savvy web user knows it.

Part Two

I waffled on a bit in that first part. I’ll try to be more direct and to the point in this next part. How’s this for starters?

Would like a word

This Googlebomb nonsense is the mere tip of the iceberg. I’ve seen far worse, and odds are that you have too.

I’ve had a gutful of the Daily Mail making their readers worry about stuff just isn’t real. I think they’re well overdue for some serious scrutiny and I find myself in a unique position to do something about that… with your help.

Bigdaddymerk runs Daily Mail Watch, which is currently one of the top search results for ‘daily mail’ and only a quick refit away from being a serious contender for top search results relating not only to that tabloid’s name, but also key articles, issues and columnists. I’ve been in touch, and he’s keen to play ball.

– I’ve just brought a dozen or so editors together for The Sun: Tabloid Lies. It’s early days, but I think I’m onto something with the specialty-based work-sharing and the tactic of documenting clear and obvious cases of this tabloid deceiving the reader.

The rest writes itself.

If you are the author of an established weblog, and you would consider committing maybe an hour or two a week to documenting the lies and falsehoods of the Daily Mail (focusing on a subject, speciality or columnist of your choosing), then I’d like you to get in touch using the following email address:

bloggerheads DOT com AT googlemail DOT com

[Note – Make sure to include the URL of your weblog (and/or links to any past articles you have written about the Mail), plus any task preferences you may have and/or any special skills you can bring to the table. I’d also like to hear from anyone who thinks they can help with the practical side of the build and/or anyone who would be more interested in targeting The Sun… or maybe even The Express, a tabloid that’s full of righteous anger and owned by a pornographer.]

Then, shortly, we’ll all sit down with Bigdaddymerk and have a private chat about tasks, missions, and tactics.

Ideally, the broad aim of the new Mail project will be to waste less time barking at the liars, by instead reaching out to the readers who are subjected to their lies on a daily basis.

Those readers will probably never change their politics or stop worrying about young people causing cancer and affecting house prices, but they may calm down a bit and they might even stop buying the Mail every day if they realise that a lot of the stuff in it has been invented, misrepresented, or blown out of all proportion.

So what do you say, internets?

I say those bastards at the Mail are due a jolly good kicking.

I say the time has come for us to form an ugly mob orderly squad and pile on blindly cut into their circulation with surgical precision.

Shouty Lewis Prothero in V for Vendetta

UPDATE – Heh. Don’t be afraid to throw your hat in, but I’d best point out before it’s too late that competition for the Richard Littlejohn gig is already fierce.

:o)








Posted by Tim Ireland at September 1, 2008

Category: Old Media, Updates

(Hey, I did warn you…)

I’ve put out an initial post on the subject of Page 3 today, but apart from that and some action over further image-nickery (later) the Sun-watch project will be chugging along happily without my help for the next week and a bit… because right now I’m in the mood to give The Daily Mail a long-overdue kicking where it hurts.

All those in favour?

(Wait for it, wait for it…..)

[Psst! If you’re a blogger and you’d like a head-start on the action, start browsing through any past articles you’ve written about the Mail now.]








Posted by Tim Ireland at August 31, 2008

Category: Old Media

Spotted by Haku, a chap whose recently-installed b3ta.com user signature (*** Julie Moult is an idiot ***) contributed to this result:

The first sign of change in Google Images [screen capture].

It’s only text so far, but it’s a start and an Images database update has come about a lot earlier than expected.

For those who came in late.

UPDATE (01 Sep) – Google Images is still sniffing around b3ta.com, *plus* Daniel’s blog and Bloggerheads, which appears on the bottom row this evening [screen capture].

(Well done, Daniel, who appeared as the first weblog result to get a text mention in Google Images this morning. About 6 hours ahead of me. The bastard.)








Posted by Tim Ireland at August 30, 2008

Category: Old Media

1.

Thank you, Charlotte, for your concern.

2.

Facebook group: “The Daily Mail really are a bunch of fucking twats” (via)
No. of members: 8,213

Facebook group: “I Love the Daily Mail”
No. of members: 20

Not sure what that means exactly, but moving on…

3.

A fresh item about the only other national newspaper stupid enough to hire Julie Moult:

The Sun: Tabloid Lies – Setting up “investigations” with only one possible outcome: Occasionally, the Sun likes to take a break from attacking the “work shy” and on benefits just in print and decides to set-up a fallacious test to prove just what a bunch of layabouts those on benefits are… This time the paper has been completely caught out by its own readers, which happily saves me the bother…

A very promising entry that you should read and take some time to think about if you’re a regular here. I think now more than ever that we stand a very good chance of reaching at least a small percentage of Sun readers with this new project.








Posted by Tim Ireland at August 29, 2008

Category: Old Media

*sigh*

Another ‘journalist’ gives his brain a holiday…

On the matter of Tom Watson Vs. David Singleton, I have the following to say:

Just for starters, it’s not a case of Tom being upset that he didn’t have “input in to this diagram”, as if a sea of reliable data accidentally spat out a result that Tom didn’t like… and I sincerely doubt that Tom is miffed that he missed his chance to take part in the creative process.

It is instead a case of David Singleton airing a rumour and presenting it as a fact in the same breath.

Take a look at the diagram produced by Singleton (reproduced here by Sam Coates).

Tom Watson is clearly illustrated as being part of “a formidable network of political strategists and communications professionals working behind the scenes to smooth (David Miliband’s) path to power”, while his call-out box merely states that Tom is “now said to have switched allegiance from Brown to Miliband”.

At a stretch, Singleton might be able to get away with a bit of hearsay (around here he is said to have switched allegiance to the Camden goat-blowing set), but only if the illustration places Tom in a separate ‘maybe’ or ‘unknown’ position outside the network. And it doesn’t. A picture can tell a thousand lies, and all that.

Here, take an even closer look at the diagram. Can you spot any unbroken lines between Tom Watson and David Miliband?

And to those who may *still* be uncertain about what the problem is, I offer this alternative diagram:

David Singleton does not blow goats in Camden or anywhere else as far as I know

David Singleton – who claims to be a journalist and news editor and is therefore subject to the same rules guidelines most journalists and news editors claim to follow – did this thing without consulting Tom Watson. At all.

And yet if you read the article that introduces the ‘circle’ nonsense, you will see that he found the time to extend that courtesy to others *and* note publicly where he tried and failed to make contact (highlights are mine)…

[Psst! Here’s a quick note for people who may not be aware of one very good reason why doing the latter is often important.]

PR Week – Miliband eyes up comms chief for leadership drive

When approached by PRWeek, Collins refused to be drawn on how often he talked to Miliband, saying only: ‘I speak to a lot of people.’ Collins also declined to say whether he would accept a job as Miliband’s communications advisor.

Kestenbaum is a former chief of staff to private equity pioneer and Labour donor Ronald Cohen, and is also close to former Labour Party chief fundraiser Lord Levy.

Miliband is said to have approached Kestenbaum this summer, asking him to forge links with business in return for a key role in his entourage. A source close to Kestenbaum said: ‘He sees himself as Miliband’s chief of staff – a Jonathan Powell-type figure.’

Kestenbaum was on holiday and unavailable for comment as PRWeek went to press.

Donnelly is an MEP-turned-lobbyist who is well connected in Labour’s ‘North East mafia’. Labour sources said Donnelly had spoken to Milband about helping to run his leadership campaign in a private capacity. One said: ‘Alan Donnelly is the campaign manager.’

Donnelly was unavailable for comment but issued a statement saying: ‘I am the chair of the South Shields Labour party – nothing more and I don’t believe there is a leadership campaign. The speculation is nothing more than summer mischief.’

And yet none of the above courtesies were extended to Tom when – and I hear this kind of thing is taken quite seriously by most politicians – it was being claimed that his political allegiances had changed dramatically.

I am informed by Tom that this claim resulted in a disruptive and needless barrage of phone calls from lobby journalists wanting to know what the score was.

I think David Singleton needs to start with an apology involving far more honesty and sincerity than his first effort.

Perhaps he would even care to explain why he appears to have sought a response from some MPs and not others.








Posted by Tim Ireland at August 27, 2008

Category: Old Media, Photoshopping, The War on Stupid

[UPDATE (03 Sep) – Exciting new link! –> The Daily Mail: let’s kick arse and take names! <-- Check it out for my reponse to the Daily Mail's response to this article. Cheers all.]

[UPDATE (06 Sep) – Exciting NEWER link! –> The Daily Mail (actually, genuinely) responds at last! <-- Even more thrilling than the last link.]

What have I got against Julie Moult?

Well, looking into some of the hateful and (ahem) inventive crap she’s produced for The Sun and The Daily Mail over the years, quite a lot… but really, I’m here today to deliver to Julie a well-earned lesson on the mysterious inner workings of Google:

Part One

Let’s begin with how ‘journalist’ Julie thinks Google works:

Julie Moult – Blears falls prey to ‘Google Bomb’ Attack Of The 50-inch Woman:

She would prefer to be known for her trailblazing policies on eco-friendly housing and community cohesion.

But if the billions of people using Google decide to look for Labour MP Hazel Blears by typing her name into the search engine, a more unlikely image appears.

The first site you reach features a mock-up 1950s movie poster of the politician in a skimpy outfit.

Last night, the prank raised the possibility that she was the victim of ‘Google Bombing’, when internet enthusiasts manipulate rankings on search engines….

Paul Richards, special adviser to Mrs Blears, shrugged off the stunt.

He said: ‘Hazel is supremely relaxed about this. This is just part of the fun of the internet.’

Google yesterday denied the politicians had been subjected to Google Bombing, saying the picture’s ranking was due to several factors including popularity.

Google Bombing, when cyber pranksters create dozens, or even hundreds, of ‘fake’ sites linked to the targeted webpage to make it seem more popular, is something politicians around the world are all too familiar with.

Hello, John1. Hazel Blears’ office isn’t bothered about the ‘stunt’ (which isn’t a stunt), but Julie must have her summer story, so she marches on regardless.

2. Google informs her that it’s not a Google bomb (I prefer ‘Googlebomb’ myself, but nevermind) but in Julie’s eyes this is merely a ‘denial’… and so she marches on again. Without pausing for breath.

3. Even if this were Google bombing (it isn’t), and even if high profile Google bombs still worked (they don’t), the most effective Google bombs involved genuine web users expressing genuine opinions on genuine websites; they would each stake a fraction of the reputation they had earned online on their opinion that George W. Bush is a miserable failure, Tony Blair is a liar, and/or John Prescott is a f**kwit. They would do this by linking to a target website with the required word(s), thereby as a group making it a top search result for a word or words that (usually) did not even appear on the target page.

4. Speaking of that f**kwit John Prescott, I’m a photoshopper and I created an image that is one of the top Google Image search results for his name. It became a top search result because it is an amusing and relevant* image with a relevant filename, hosted on a well-regarded and relevant website (backingblair.co.uk) and it has remained there through many image database updates because people think it is funny (and relevant) and keep linking to it.

5. Beau Bo d’Or, who created the image that Julie Moult is fussing about (and the Daily Mail is using without permission), is – I am not ashamed to say – a better and cleverer photoshopper than I am. He is highly regarded, and his work featured at the online art community site b3ta.com or his own website at bbdo.co.uk (+ heady.co.uk) is highly regarded and regularly linked to.

6. It is the combination of this reputation (based on general interest in past efforts plus specific interest in this single relevant* effort) and a simple, relevant filename that has Beau Bo d’Or in control of not one but two top Google Image search results for the query ‘hazel blears’.

It. Has. Nothing. To. Do. With. Google. Bombing.

What Julie Moult is describing is – for the most part – sock-puppeting and astroturfing, but that doesn’t have anything to do with Beau Bo d’Or’s image being the top search result for ‘hazel blears’, either.

She’s an idiot.

(*John Prescott is a very sexy man in much the same way that Hazel Blears is a very tall woman. Both images are relevant to their respective queries… and in a very similar way.)

Part Two

To help Julie understand how Google works, I have used her name in the title of my article, and in the article itself.

I confidently predict that – because of the relevance of the entry and the reputation that Bloggerheads has earned over the years, that my single article about her will become one of the top search results in Google UK for her name (if not *the* top search result) within a couple of hours.

Getting a result in Google Images will take a little longer (as in weeks longer) because the Images database isn’t updated quite as often as the main one, but I’m confident that I can get at least one image into the top row, simply by giving it a suitable name and including it here:

Julie Moult is an idiot

In fact, I think with a quiet word to my readers and a few other web users, I could easily have the entire front page for ‘julie moult’ in Google Images filled with images telling the world that Julie Moult is an idiot… and if she thinks really, really hard about it, she might just begin to understand that what enables/powers the eventual result isn’t magic or trickery, but instead Google detecting a genuine public response to my appeal and her own damn articles:

Part Three

It is my considered opinion that Julie Moult is an idiot.

She doesn’t know or care how Google works, even when the people from Google explain it to her, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Julie Moult was also behind a dangerous claim of “Muslim yobs” attacking soldiers returning from Afghanistan that turned out to be totally without foundation (see follow-ups here and here).

I could go on (and on and on), but I’m confident that the above and her article about “Nazi racoons” will be enough for most people.

You may wish to read more before forming an opinion of your own, and I totally respect that. Feel free to browse through Julie Moult’s many articles in The Sun and The Daily Mail for any redeeming acts/articles (such as her selfless service in search of little Maddie McCann).

Once you’re done and you have arrived at your opinion, I’d like you to take the following steps:

=========== THE JULIE MOULT IMAGE CHALLENGE ==============

Step One – Create an image featuring the words “Julie Moult is an idiot” (or “Julie Moult is not an idiot, but instead a much-misunderstood campaigner for truth and a very nice person once you get to know her”).

Step Two – Include the words ‘julie’ and ‘moult’ in the filename for your image.

Step Three – Publish it on your website or weblog in a post explaining what it is and why it’s there (including, if you like, these steps and a link back to this article).

Step Four (optional) – If you really mean business, put her name in your article title and maybe even drop in some ‘ALT’ or ‘Title’ goodness for your image.

:: Please keep in mind that Julie Moult might be willing and able to sue you if she can prove that she isn’t an idiot (though I’m quietly confident that this won’t be a problem).

:: You may also wish to include a picture/glimpse of yourself in your image, as I have (above), so Julie is certain that real people, not invisible Google pixies, lurk behind the eventual results.

Notable search results will be posted below as soon as they start appearing, and a prize will be awarded for the best relevant performance in Google Images (not including mine).

Good luck to you all. I hope to see you in the top row soon.

========================================================

[Note to participants: Stay tuned for an upcoming post about The Prize Shelf. It’s chock full of goodies for young and old.]

[Note to Julie Moult and the Daily Mail: Just so you’re aware that your notoriously self-serving comment moderation policy does have its hidden costs; normally you lot wouldn’t be worth the time and effort, but your ignoring/deleting my quite reasonable comment response to your article annoyed me just long enough for this idea to take shape. There, now aren’t you glad that you censored a polite comment pointing out an obvious flaw?]

UPDATE (1:33pm) – It’s less than an hour later, and I’m already 4th. Link posted to b3ta. Onwards and upwards!

UPDATE (2:10pm) – Just over an hour later, and I’m settled in at No. 1… no Googlebombing required:

Ta-dahh!

[UPDATE (03 Sep) – Exciting new link! –> The Daily Mail: let’s kick arse and take names! <-- Check it out for my reponse to the Daily Mail's response to this article. Cheers all.]

Related:
CurryNet – More on the Daily Mail and my comments about their ‘suicidal five year olds’ article
Online Journlaism Blog – Reasons not to ignore comments #2: The Daily Mail and Julie Moult
Writing Hurts – Don’t forget, comments work both ways
Stewart Kirkpatrick – The ‘Julie Moult is an idiot’ campaign: a modern journalistic fable
The Register – ‘Googlebomb’ blows up in Daily Mail hack’s face

[UPDATE (06 Sep) – Exciting NEWER link! –> The Daily Mail (actually, genuinely) responds at last! <-- Even more thrilling than the last link.]








Posted by Tim Ireland at August 11, 2008

Category: Old Media

*sigh*

It seems like only yesterday the papers were one-upping each other with ‘proof’ that the McCanns killed little Madeleine. Now they’re all falling over each other with ‘proof’ that she’s alive.

Septicisle offers you this glimpse into the future.








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