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Greedy Bastards at The New York Times

I admired the New York Times for their SEO efforts in the past, and even followed up when some SEO people whined about unfair competition from the New York Times SEO efforts. But now The new York Times is demonstrating the greedy behavior that some of those SEO whiners feared. It’s not just The Times, but many other newspapers, magazines, and private websites getting to be Greedy Bastards these days.

The case in point is an article (linked on TechMeme) covering a sexy new open source digital video device from Neuros Technology. The device is newsworthy. It’s sexy, well designed, and in a hot niche. It enables individuals to handle video the way technology allows, sans the crazy DRM copyright crap. It’s a social and technological experiment. And the New York Times is all over it, with coverage that includes pictures and commentary and information no doubt willingly provided by Neuros. But there’s no link.

None. Nada. Zilch. Web coverage of a hot new device, designed to enable consumers at the dawn of the Age of Digital Video, and no link. What the….?

Actually, there are a few links in the article… but they are self referencing spam links with anchor text “Google” and “iPod”. What are those for, eh New York Times SEO Team? Gimme a break. The Neuros guys provided the great content and opportunity for your publication to look good in front of viewers, and you don’t even provide a website address or link. Greedy Bastards, plain and simple.

Dear New York Times: if you think the disdain we showed towards your paid subscription attempt was “off putting”, and if you were uncomfortable suffering the BugMeNot phenomenon, why the hell are you polluting the web with attribution-free content? It stinks… it has that bad smell of greed and disregard for what made the web a success. I still see a count of 11 million URLs from in Google. Isn’t that abuse enough, or is the New York Times really so hard up?


  1. Todd Mintz wrote:

    Fortunately, the head of the NY Times SEO effort Marshall Simmonds will be at Searchfest and you can speak to him there (and I’ll hopefully be around when that happens)…

    Sunday, January 6, 2008 at 7:14 am | Permalink
  2. David Temple wrote:

    Didn’t want to bleed any of that valuable link juice? Scared of Google so their theory is no link is a good link no follow or not? Couldn’t get Nerous Technology to pay for the link? Just did it for linkbait purposes and knew you would write about it? They’re just greedy bastards at the NY Times?

    Sunday, January 6, 2008 at 8:15 pm | Permalink
  3. Marshall Simmonds wrote:

    Hi John,

    Yeah unfortunately that was one of the articles that honestly wasn’t as good as we’d like. Actually the piece you referenced originally had no links and through Teragram’s TK240 product the NYT has been using for the past 5 years (long before I or the SEO efforts started) links proper nouns (persons, places and things) to a page of resource.

    Be it known our SEO policy is absolutely to link out to legitimate, useful and appropriate sites whenever possible (that odd reference to the CNET iPod review isn’t my idea of good linking, cross OR off-site or good user experience). Our linking strategy is obviously evident at and stems from a very useful conversation I had with Jan Pedersen in 1998 about “the bow-tie affect.” This is the idea of good links in, good content, good links out – a concept internalized and executed well at About and getting much better at the NYT. It also wouldn’t be good SEO practice to trap a crawler and only helps an article from a user and search perspective to link out. Ultimately this ship take a while to turn, there’s a lot of people and software still to educate on best practices and not every one of the 1500 per week articles and 22 million in the archives can be scrutinized.


    Chief Search Strategist
    The New York Times Company

    Monday, January 7, 2008 at 12:39 pm | Permalink
  4. john andrews wrote:

    Thanks for the comment, Marshall. Unfortunately the NYT leads from the front, and the local papers (who obviously refuse to link out) don’t share your vision. They see what they see, and say “see?”

    Monday, January 7, 2008 at 4:06 pm | Permalink
  5. john andrews wrote:

    For comparison, here’s a piece in today’s BusinessWeek.

    Tuesday, January 8, 2008 at 12:59 am | Permalink