Thursday, August 11, 2005

Pseudo Web Sites

Pseudo Web Sites.

What are they?

How does one determine if a web site is a fake, fraud, sham?

To the trained or experienced eye, it's easy.

A pseudo, or phony, web site (or blog) is one that is of little value, and has a selfish or greedy motive. Now I'll explain what I mean.

Little true content, lots of ads.

You get an alert in your email inbox, or you do a search on some word or phrase.

You see an interesting title, like "Business Blogs: how businesslike are they?" or "How to Wreck Your Blog". The name of the site this article is at sounds good, though you've never visited it before. You go ahead and click on the article title.

You go to the site. It downloads slowly: bad sign. Or it has a "splash page", a page that contains a "Enter Site" or worse, a large full screen ad, with a little line of text that takes you to the actual main page of the site. Not good.

Then, you see why it downloads slowly. It's full of ads.

As the text of the article appears, you're disappointed. It is either short, with old news, quotes from people who may be thought leaders, but seem to be a copy and paste job. You feel cheated. There is no real meat. No new information.

Then you start to get really angry when you see the final insult: content hypertext spam.

Content hypertext spam is a link within the article that goes to a page that is promoting or selling something. The hypertext link does not lead to substantiating information or a source document. It leads to more advertising or to a marketing gimmick. Or it opens a popup window that contains a link to an ecommerce site.

Such a link is spam because it takes you to unwanted sales pitches or commercial sites, when what you wanted was simply a definition (like at Wikipedia), an online resource, or some further information on the topic represented by the link text.

What is going on here?

What is this web site?

This is a pseudo web site that pretends to provide information or news. It doesn't. It just provides some copy and paste text or hurriedly written material, posing as "research" or "information".

An example of this crap

is CIO Today.

I got a Google alert in my Gmail inbox on the key phrase "business blogs". Here's what the link was:

"Corporate Blogging and the CIO"

Check it out.

You'll probably see more garbage on it that I didn't take the time to identify. The thing is a cluttered mess and a good example of what NOT to do.

When I click-selected the article link, the URL took me to a full screen ad for Symantec, a company with which I do business. But that doesn't mean the site is legitimate or valuable.

I clicked on the tiny text above and to the right:

"Go Directly to CIO Today [dot] com"

Notice that on this site are many violations of usability and credibility:

(1) No "About" page.

(2) No "Contact" information or page.

(3) No "Bios" or "Staff" page.

(4) No affiliation with any reputable organization or network.

(5) Lots of ads, including ads that break into the article text.

Here's a sample of the boring, inaccurate "information" contained in the article:


At first, a blog was nothing more than a new direction for sharing personal diaries over the Internet. The concept, however, quickly caught on and became a way for pundits to offer regular commentaries online. Much like a guest-book feature on personal Web sites, servers catering to bloggers provide an interactive feature that lets readers enter their own comments on the main posts.

Blogging has become so popular that what began as a personal diary is now turning into a focused online publication outlet for political and business messages. In fact, the craze is now so hot that some corporate information departments are serving up the next chapter of company newsletters and stockholder reports through the medium.


Error: weblogs did NOT begin a diaries or journals. They began as link logs, lists of relevant sites, with brief or no commentary.

Notice, in other paragraphs, the annoying content hypertext spam.

You'll see text like "Sun Microsystems" as a link within the article. There's also a little "magnifying glass" icon next to that link text.

When you hover your cursor over the company name, a URL for the company site appears.

When you hover over the magnifying glass this appears: "Latest News About Sun Microsystems" as a tool tip.

Clicking on the magnifying glass for "Latest News..." takes you to a list of articles that contain the company name "Sun Microsystems" in the text, but may be articles on other companies or other topics. And the articles are simply press releases or promotional pitches for products.

Some may argue that this is a conventional tech web site that's just trying to increase search engine page rank, or make money off ads and hypertext sponsored links.

I say they're full of it.

This is a worthless web site, a pseudo site.

Be smart: avoid such horrid web monstrosities.

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate


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