Would you support an SEO-spam company?

I was asked this question on a mailing list I’m on by a poster there in relation to the current WordPress hosting spam story which is doing the rounds.

This was my response:

I would never support an SEO-spam company.

In this case however, there are a number of caveats. First off, WordPress is not a company – this is more than simply semantics. A lot of the hosting costs etc. involved in keeping WordPress going have been borne by Matt Mullenweg – the principle author of WordPress. Matt made a decision to host articles on the site for commercial ends (to earn some money to offset the costs the success for the software was incurring). The articles were generated by another company and were spam for various high cost Adwords. WordPress’ high PR was being leveraged. There is no doubt that this is a sharp practice and Matt should have known better.

Matt is on holidays at the moment but has promised to respond with an explanation. In the meantime, Google has banned the WordPress site and the articles in question have been removed from the WordPress site.

So, to return to your question –
I, and many WordPress users like me, have never supported WordPress – perhaps if we had donated a couple of Euro to WordPress, Matt wouldn’t have made this mistake. I think Matt has learned from his mistake but we’ll know more about that as he responds during the day.

In the meantime, will I continue to use WordPress (a different question, I realise)? Hell yes. The fact that Matt made this mistake doesn’t take from the quality of the product. If Matt continues these kinds of practices, I will remove the link to WordPress on my site – as that is the only form of support I have given WordPress since I started using it, I’m ashamed to say.

By the way, how many people on this list pay to use (i.e. commercially support) products by Microsoft – a company which has been convicted in the courts of abusing its monopoly to kill off competitors? Not just an unethical practice, but an illegal one.

2 thoughts on “Would you support an SEO-spam company?”

  1. Good on him – the response hits just the right note – a mix of humility and forthright at the same time.

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