For those of you who signed on very early this morning, you saw the link of the week taking you to a different site. Something about a dovetail jig review site. In my zeal to provide you information about dovetail jigs, I grabbed that one and posted it today.
Boy, was I shamefaced when Stuart of Toolguyd.com wrote me a note pointing out something I should have seen all along… the site is – how shall I put this – less that reputable.
Basically, what the site’s author had done was to copy and paste a great deal of background information about dovetail joints from Wikipedia to the site, with a number of links his Amazon affiliate site. He also copied and pasted many of the user reviews from Amazon and listed them. Of course, the big drive was to have unsuspecting woodworkers (like me) Google, check out the info and then click through to buy the jig, netting the site owner cash. Marc Spagnuolo of the Wood Whisperer’s site pointed out that these types of sites are commonly known as ‘link farms’, and with the amount of content he puts out, he has to watch the web carefully to ensure his material isn’t being used for this purpose.
It’s a very deceptive way for someone to set up a site, making money on the work of others without their knowledge or permission.
How can you tell if you are on one of these sites? Both Stuart and Marc told me to check the site’s content against the Wikipedia entry – if it is lifted word for word, you know someone’s not doing their homework.
Also, look for an excessive number of affiliate links all over the page. On the page for one dovetail jig alone, there were eight links back to Amazon to that one product. On ONE page.
Was this the only site out there doing this? Nope. There are many sites out there misappropriating online content for their shady dealings. I addressed similar sites in my Monkey Business article at Wood Magazine, and Steve Ramsey did an awesome video about fighting online piracy at his Woodworking for Mere Mortals site.
The current link of the week takes you to the About.com site on dovetail basics – an awesome read.
As for me, I want to apologize for posting that first link today. This isn’t the first time I’ve made an ass of myself on my blog, but I’m hoping it will be the last.