Updated to add: Hoyden about Town will still at times link to articles at Alas A Blog, because of the many strong feminist voices there, but will undertake to always provide the option of a link to a googlecached page instead, and always with an attached disclaimer. Readers will thus be enabled to make their own choices about whether to visit Alas, A Blog or not. Pony called us on this and was right to do so.
This is my first public de-linking. Renowned “pro-feminist” blogger and cartoonist Ampersand aka Barry of Alas, a Blog (yep, not linking) apparently sold his amptoons domain in July, and only fessed up in September in a post which I missed and which did not allow comments.
He sold his domain to a Search Engine Optimiser, who used the domain’s pages to put up link farms to porn sites. So, every time a feminist posted or linked to Alas from the beginning of July until Barry put up that post, was unknowingly helping Alas’ high site-ranking bring business to those porn sites. Considering the number of anti-porn feminists who post to Alas, the lack of transparency is troubling, to say the least. So Barry’s blog is no longer on my blogroll (or at least won’t be as soon as blogrolling.com is back up).
Witchy-woo has harsher words.
UPDATE: Chris Clarke has some words on the phenomenon of ritual condemnation and other aspects of blogging, which offer a worthwhile counterpoint. Barry has reposted his original announcement, with some added responses to various criticisms, and this time has allowed comments. This I will link to [link].
Categories: gender & feminism
I’ve read Witchy-Woo’s and Heart’s discussion of this, and while I understand it, I have to say that it’s perfectly hidden from the Alas site. (Yes, I went, just to see. But I won’t go back, I promise. Cross my heart.)
I don’t really see how going to the Alas site drives traffic to the porn sites, and I haven’t found any links to any porn sites from Alas, but I guess I don’t get how a link farm works.
In any case, making the sale secretly really was underhanded.
As I understand it, it’s all about making the porn sites linked to on the farm pages have a higher page-ranking in search engines because they’re associated with the high traffic that the blog pages get. It’s an attempt to manipulate the search engine algorithms.
Some of the discussion got incoherent, but as I understand it the worst sense of betrayal arises thus: as the discussions on Alas often revolved around the same words people search for in porn, especially of the most violent and misogynistic sort, the blog entries and comments on the most troubling matters actually make the porn sites on the link farm with those themes rank the highest.
Of course, someone’s reported it now to Google et al so that those pages have been blacklisted as far as the engines go. But because Barry said nothing they got several months of higher page ranking in the search engines. I admire many of the articles he’s written but I find this underhandedness very troubling, thus the de-linking. I particularly wonder how some of his cobloggers who have provided much of the material on the blog for the last six months feel about it.
This is one of the worst things I’ve ever seen in the blogosphere, no question. Appalling from start to finish.
Chris has a point in that bloggers are eminently entitled to do whatever they want with their own blog and domain, and that some of the criticism of Barry is most intemperate (particularly from those who say “why didn’t he ask for financial help from us?” when they have been criticising him vociferously for years).
His readers have no right to demand veto power over his domain. But they are right to feel angry about his secrecy on this issue. Informing his cobloggers and readers was a basic courtesy owed them at least, especially when he knows many are adamantly anti-porn, and he was wrong to not be open about the sale and take the criticism at the time it happened.
Heart has just typed the words “Amptoons Sale” into Google. The Amptoons Review page, “Honest Reviews of Movies, Retailers, Products, and Websites, where all the misogynist, racist, lesbophobic hardcore BangBros, XXX, porn reviews are, came up as result number 11. Not all that ‘hidden’