Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

I've just decided on a new policy for myself...

Everyone knows that you can google bomb or google wash terms by writing your post in a way that emphases certain keywords people will probably search for. I've been writing about Goffman, gender, and lots of other things I really don't know anything about. I'd hate for some of the entries I'm writing to end up with too much google ranking.

I'm going to make a point to have cryptic titles for entries where I'm talking to my regulars and not to Google.


Joi, I agree and think this is a very important subject. I just blogged about it.

Joi - don't corrupt your metadata to fix their algorithms.


One route could be to use meta tags to prevent Google indexing those pages.

To do this, you could easily set-up an additional category within MT of stuff that isn't to be indexed. Or perhaps more easily, you could write a macro to include the meta tags within Kung-Log. (I use Kung Log to author one of my blogs.) Although I am not sure if this will work because I think the meta tags may need to reside with the HEAD of the page.

This reduces the cognitive cost of you changing the way you write so Google won't index a page.

The meta tag specification for robots is here:

I've been using robots.txt to selectively deny search engines (and searchers) the chance to find certain posts. Nothing incriminating, but I just don't want the business of people searching for certain things, and certain posts got a lot of hits because of certain words.

There was an idea a while back that argued search engines should have a type of 'negative keyword' registry, where webmasters can say "we don't want people searching for these words to find our site". It was counter-argued that this would mean a lower exposure of their site, but sometimes forgoing exposure to some people is not such a bad thing.

I wrote a plugin for JSPWiki that essentially obfuscates a given link *if* the user-agent is recognized to be a known search engine bot.

This way you can talk freely and link to things that you do not wish to be known for, or possibly seen as endorsing.

The same technology should be easily modified for other blog or wiki platforms as well.

More information is at
and my blog

Yeah, and it is a horrible way to fix the fact that there's no way in HTML to describe your relationship to a link - something that RDF might help us to do.

Yet a few days ago you willfully participate in the Bush google washing by linking Misserable Failure to the white house site, just like all the other bloggers out there who think it's fun and cool to fill the web with dis-information?

Not that i think Bush deserves better, and I also don't think you should change your real posts because Google can't figure out what's what, but to willfully participate in a campaign of mis-information and misleading google searchers for your own political gain? Sounds like something Bush would do... can't you try to be better than that?

btw, did anyone notice that google has started tracking click througgh on search results:

Interesting that in both cases you are alluding to shaping your behaviour, with your tool, to the way Google functions. Hmmm....

i came to look at the comments to this because i wasn't sure if it was a joke. and i'm still not sure, but i'm with kevin on this. google is a reflection of what's on the internet. it's not a perfect reflection, but we shouldn't reshape our world so that it looks more realistic in google's warped mirror. we should look for better mirrors.

I just read an article about Joi's website, and it said that if you post a stupid comment that everyone will "shout you out." Just thought I would test it out, here goes: Blogging is fucking retarded. I await your shouts.
your truly, the devil

I think the Bush thing was just proving a point and isn't really causing any "damage". It was the Bush thing that got me thinking about my policy. I sort of agree with people about not adapting my behavior to the tools, but as a practical matter, I hate that I get tons of comments on "Habbo Hotel", "GPS Jammer" and "diet coke". I think the robot.txt thing might be the right answer...

Azeem, blogged about the google redirect here.

The Devil: Hmm... I think these days most people have just started ignoring stupid comments...

Thanks for clearing that up, I guess that magazine article was wrong. Have a Merry Christmas while I am burning in hell!!!
yours truly, the devil

I fail to see what sexual congress with the chromasomally challenged has to do with blogging, you chucklehead.

BTW, quit leaving your cheese-imbued gym socks on the couch you simpering mouth-breather, else I'll feed you to Cthulhu again. And you know just how hungry he is these days.

Yours truly, one of the Oldest Ones.

Open systems tend to be abused more. I am not sure what the answer is. I do know that the Florida Update shook things up a bit on competitive keywords. I did a post on it today with a flow chart speculation on the new filter process.

I would agree though, changing your metadata sucks. We build knowledge collectively. I need starting points. I don't always need the finish.

What an amazing discussion...

I was not aware that there are people that phrase their blogs for not being found via Google or other engines...


I'd can't imagine not wanting my blog(s) in google.