As local search evolves, it raises a lot of opinions. Another topic that raises many opinions is Tim O’Reilly and Jimmy Wales’ Blogger’s Code of Conduct. In an interview with WebProNews, SEO by the Sea’s President Bill Slawski and Loren Baker of Search Engine Journal, spoke with us about these very issues.
Local search depends on how involved a community is in it. Major search engines such as Yahoo and Google get their information from about three different local directories. They then, create categories based upon the directories they pull them from. Sometimes a local band may not have their own website, but information can still be found on them. According to Slawski and Baker, the growing trend is to have a MySpace page or something similar to it, instead of having their own website. Although these changes bring a lot of opportunities for a search marketer, he needs to pay very close attention to the growing trends. Baker recommends that businesses get customers to fill out reviews on the search site that they found the business on. As a result, the business will know if they are marketing in the right areas and which areas need improvement. Slawski recalls the growing trend in which many local businesses put their URL’s on the back of each receipt and offer a promotional prize if the customer goes to the site and completes a survey. The search marketers need to keep a steady focus on the consumer’s actions in order for them to react in a positive, effective manner.
The outbreak of Tim O’Reilly and Jimmy Wales’ Blogger’s Code of Conduct certainly caused a ruckus. Although the code was merely a suggestion, it still received a bad review. The code was in response to the Kathy Sierra situation in which Tim O’Reilly calls “cyber-bullying.” Sierra claims she received questionable, anonymous comments and pictures about herself. As a result, she has decided to quit blogging altogether, and she has cancelled all her speaking engagements. Despite the Sierra incident, the code was not received well at all. Baker and Slawski discussed alternatives to the code. Bloggers can moderate their comments by requiring approval before they go “live.”
The question has been raised if this code should be applied to Digg. Baker and Slawski both agree that the community should determine the ethics. It’s a self-governing community because people can post or bury comments. One factor that should be studied is the fact that comments are reflective upon the subject matter. Certain material hits home with some people and they respond passionately about it. Although everyone is not always going to agree, bloggers should try to apply basic ethical standards such as being courteous and polite to one another. Criticism is part of the blogging game, and sometimes bloggers may post comments for pure entertainment. Baker tries to be very selective with his comments, and offers the advice of emailing a blogger before deleting a comment to explain the reason.
Slawski and Baker respect what Tim O’Reilly and Jimmy Wales are trying to do, but they don’t believe O’Reilly and Wales have the right to tell them how to run their blogs. They want their blogs to remain the same.