Interview with Wikipedia Founder Jimmy Wales

When Jimmy Wales launched Wikipedia in 2001, many thought he was laying the foundation for disaster.  Some even felt the whole concept was borderline insane. “A public encyclopedia that anyone can write and edit, even without being logged in?!  And this concoction will serve as the sum of all human knowledge! Madness!” the critics wailed. Today, it’s hard to imagine life without Wikipedia, which has blossomed into the 7th most popular website in the world¹ and inspired the creation of some 2.8 million articles on the English version of the site alone.  Recently, Jimmy “Jimbo” Wales was kind enough to feed my questions about the Wikimedia Foundation’s goals, likely future, and ballooning cultural relevance.  I also gave him an opportunity to respond to Wikipedia’s “professional troublemakers”–er critics. How do you think Wikipedia will evolve as technology evolves?  Can you foresee, by say 2020, a way for Wikipedians to create editable, interactive videos about a topic? I think we’ll see a lot of advances in video.  One of the things I like to point out is that Wikipedia is a social innovation, not a technical innovation.  All the tools necessary to create Wikipedia existed in 1995 when Ward Cunningham invented the wiki editing concept.  Webserver, web browser, database, wiki. What technologies already exist today for collaborative video editing that no one has created the social structures to use? Well, having said that, I will also say that words are far more fluid than video, and always will be.  If I don’t quite like what you have written, I can adjust it slightly until we are both satisfied.  But once a...

Google’s Estimating Algorithm

As always you have to take anything from Google with a grain of salt, espeically since most of their ranking algorithms are closely guarded secrets. However you really have to wonder when their estimating algorithm has trouble counting to 17 as illustrated below with screenshot snippets from the first two pages of results I witnessed...

The Twitter CNN Breaking News Bot: A lesson in “Good” Trademark Infringement?

With over 70,000 followers, the CNN breaking news bot (@cnnbrk) is the third most popular “user” on Twitter.  The bot posts stories sent through CNN’s breaking news email alerts, but, contrary to what the average Twitter user might believe, the account isn’t owned or operated by CNN.  It’s actually the creation of London web developer James Cox, who built the bot simply because he wanted a way for CNN breaking news alerts to be delivered directly to his cell phone.  I had an opportunity to catch up with James and ask him about the account’s creation and rampant success.  I also got to the bottom of that burning question on the minds of Twitter users in the know: why is CNN allowing someone to infringe on their trademark? Talk about the genesis of CNNBrk.  Why did you decide to make it? Back before @cnnbrk, I was looking for a way to get breaking news alerts onto a mobile device in any way possible; I wanted to feel connected even when I was out. It was sort of systemic from 9/11–knowing when to go find a TV set began to make more sense. It took me a while to find the CNN alerts.  Back then it was all desktop tickers or other more convoluted streams (I even spoke to Reuters to see if access to their output was feasible). With the advent of Twitter, especially when it still delivered to my cell phone (I’m in the UK), it seemed like the easiest way to solve that problem, and so @cnnbrk was born. Did you actively promote the account at the...

Big Oak SEO Christmas Party

Big Oak SEO is now five years old and to celebrate our success and the Christmas season we had our Christmas dinner on December 13th. We rented out a facility at a local restaurant, Shacklefords and had a wonderful party for our employees, some of our closest vendors. Many of our clients are not in our local Richmond, Va area and therefore have never seen us in person. So, if you are a client or intend to become a client, here are some of the only pictures of our wonderful staff available on the Internet. George may have more candid photos on other mature sites, but that is none of my business. 😉 All kidding aside, my partner Chris Alexander and I started Big Oak on January 1, 2004 with the two of us working from our home offices. Little did we dare hope or dream we would be a successful SEO business with 7 employees just 5 years later. We both feel very blessed and fortunate to have a business that is thriving, especially in this tough economic environment. Of course we have great employees (Alyssa, George, Will, Eric and Bradley) who have helped us become the company we are today; excellent partners and vendors (Julia, Charlie and Tom) to support us and we have some of the best clients you could hope for that continue have faith in us. So thank you from Chris and I for a great year; we are already excited about the possibilities for next year. Of course, we do need to take off a week or so to ready. Enjoy these very...

Twas the night before Google

Twas the night before Google Twas the night before Google when all through the net the users and SEO’s were all upset, Search Wiki, and GMail Themes were rolled out in style Lively was nuked and GOOG sat with a smile. Matt Cutts and the Spam team were out on the prowl, with visions of Black Hatter’s on a moonlight howl. Comments and Blog post were active indeed Tweets and Diggs until some fingers did bleed. Pushing the Chrome, the browser of GOOG Collecting the data of the unknowing newb. Signed into Google for a Search Wiki rating Seeing spammers explode like a round of speed dating. Knowing that Search Results are the victims of Change, Exploring the options and manipulating the range. There is a way to succeed with out a Adwords Budget Social Book Mark Me Please for a Link Back, Nudge (it)! Webmaster tools now showing me data, my info is delayed come, back Later. The Capcha’s not working on Signups for things, Google Local Maps verification not giving me rings. Twas the Night before Google and Tool Bar Page Rank still not Updated the Indian outsources were on alert for some projects we stated. The Ranked Hard Seo Comic issue explains it all well It’s all Will‘s fault,  What the… So Digg me, Tweet me, This Link Bait attempt At humor towards Google et al,  I am feeling a little...

SEO Celebs Lampooned in Comic

This month’s Ranked Hard Comic, SEO Squares, launched on September 8th, 2008, a day that will live in comic infamy.  The comic satirizes famous SEOs by plopping them into a game show reminiscent of Hollywood Squares.  Ah, Hollywood Squares.  The show Whoopi Goldberg couldn’t leave because she was locked into a one million year contract. You can check out the comic here And don’t be shy about leaving comments. If you have a concept for a  SEO comic you’d like to see us create, write it out and then send it to us at contact [at] bigoakinc [dot] com.  Please try to keep the comic within 5 to 6 frames.  We’ll have our illustrator draw it and give you full credit. So if you have a comic idea you’d like to send to us, don’t hesitate to shoot us a line.  Now onto a more pressing matter.  A few people have inquired about advertising on RankedHard.com.  We’ve thought about putting ads on the sidebar and possibly even allowing ads to appear in the comic itself.  How do you feel about...