Celiac was a "big winner" in the SEO contest taking home $5,141.50 for Research!
Reasons why you wanted this page to win the V7ndotcom Elursrebmem SEO Contest:
Summary: This web site was in the top-3 for the first month+ of the contest according to MSN, Yahoo, and Google. But in late February, it dropped in Google only - i.e. still ranking high in the other search engines. So perhaps the so-called "Google Bowling" phenomena actually exists and Black Hats can knock a page down in the rankings. We asked Google Girl to help us out (!) ... and on April 7th, we finally jumped back up to #4 and were then battling for the top spots until the end.
Since May 1st, there was a constant churning of the top-5 results as everyone battled for that top spot. The two Swedish teams (Jim & Marcus) were tough, but Scott (from Scotland) bumped Jim out of the first spot on May 11th (we were #3) after we sent a buncha Google Juice his way as he graciousely offered to send half to Celiac Charity.
It was a photo finish at the end as the official results show Scott winning, with Jim's site popping up #1 on a reload a few minutes later. We ended up 4th, although since we were #3 on many data centers (and that reload), I'd give us a 3.5! ;-)
While this SEO contest was fun, it was a ton of work and I figured I was done with them. But the white hats asked how they can raise more money/awareness for Celiac and said "Lets Crash the CarCasherdotcom SEOContest" ... so here we go again! ;-)
The SEO's (Search Engine Optimizers) of the world are having another SEO contest - the goal is to rank #1 in Google for the keyword phrase V7ndotcom elursrebmem (v7n.com MembersRule (backwards)) on May 15th, 2006 with a first prize of $7,000.
As a hobbiest, I can't compete with all those professional SEO's (especially the black hatter's) ... since they have backlinks galore, hidden keyword stuffing, 301/302 redirect trickery, link farms, invisible text, doorway pages, cloaking, etc. but I thought I would toss up this page anyway. And if it wins the V7ndotcom contest, then all proceeds go directly to charity - specifically the University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research and as noted there, they'd be real appreciative.
So if you want to try to win the elursrebmem contest for yourself, all the power to 'ya. But if you want to help win it for charity, then consider linking to this page using some permutation of V7ndotcom and/or Elursrebmem in the anchor text and I'll add you to the list of supporters. And for you black hatters that might try various sabotage techniques against this charity page, go bug someone else - or the HULK will smash you! ;-)
While I'd prefer to remain anonymous throughout this process, I'll share that the reason I'm doing this is because my two kids have Celiac Disease - an intolerance of gluten, which is in barley, rye, wheat, etc. This is not a food allergy, but an autoimmune disorder (like diabetes), so it is not something you grow out of. It is often un/mis-diagnosed, so raising awareness is another reason I'm doing this. Plus I'd love to see a cure so when my kids grow up, I would be able to go out and have a beer & pizza with them.
A supporter from the Canadian Rockies paid for a press release and when I asked how I could thank him, he said: "You can pay me back when your kids grow up and you guys go for beers and chicken wings. Call me and I'll try to be there and we can chuckle over this contest" - thanx Frank!
Matt Mullet wields his Spammer Sword
V7ndotcom elursrebmem in USA Today
In the "(had to) link to V7N" camp is:
Note that the V7N link is actually a google search (don't want to link to 'em) and the others use "nofollow" since I know they weren't looking for more backlinks either - right? The "must NOT link to V7N" guys also say you have to link to Matt Cutt's Blog using a non-www URL. I suspect this respected (and funny!) Google Engineer doesn't need any more PageRank (yea, I get the inside joke - and I'm sure Matt knows how to use mod_rewrite to canonicalize to a single URL), but since the the "had to link to V7N" camp doesn't disallow this link, the Matt Mullet image links to mattcutts.com - whew, at least that part that was easy! ;-)
BTW, Jeremy offered to send John Scott a check before the contest begins; classy move. Would the other competitors be willing to also send their sponsorship dollars to John ... or at least put it some sort of escrow account? Recall that in the "Seraphim Proudleduck" contest, the winner got stiffed and it would be bad karma if someone didn't come through at the end for charity.
Again, if this page wins, payment will be made directly to the University of Maryland Center for Celiac Disease Research - I will never see/touch the money - how often do you see that on all those web sites for charity?
BTW, those are my christmas lights in the background of that USA Today picture - I also do some nifty halloween decorations. You can listen to some free christmas music while keeping an eye out for the Big Red Guy on the Santa Tracker.
2006/01/15: John Scott announces keywords of V7ndotcom elursrebmem ... and this site had exclusive live coverage (via the paint dry webcam) of the incredibly exciting 2 hours before/after the release of the keywords - choose either the 9 second abbreviated and/or 28 second expanded time lapse video. John also amended his rules so alternatives to the linking requirement are available. I'll update the rules above once the other sponsors chime in and the dust settles.
2006/01/16: Got a PR8 (yowsers!) link today from someone who wishes to remain anonymous along with some website design tips from Steven Rainwater who wrote the N-U FAQ. Greg Boser from WebGuerrilla has posted re-affirming his tossing in $1,000 for the contest and ditto for the other $1,000 each from Todd and Mike. Has been interesting to see how the search engines handle the influx of websites with V7ndotcom Elursrebmem in 'em. First, they have to "find" you ... which they do with their spiders. In the 24 hours after this page went live, I counted the number of times the various SE spiders came by (yes, I did reverse lookups since people spoof the User-Agent) and the number of hits on this page and the top-level W-P-D page were 10/1 by Googlebot, 6/3 by Yahoo!Slurp, and 0/3 by Msnbot. They then have to "digest" the spidered data, add it into the search index, and then push the results out to the bazillions of data centers. So 24 hours after the announcements, here are some screen shots: MSN with 0 results, Google with 10 results (no sign of this page ... yet!), and Yahoo with 274 results ... with this page currently #1 - YAHOOOOO - now I just need some Google love! ;-)
2006/01/17: Looks like the big "G" gave me some love - several datacenters are showing this page is #2 outa 12,600 results ... Ho-Ho-Ho! Dropped to #2 outa 741 in Yahoo - ironically, a web site supporting me is now #1. And MSN still has zero results. And the site that is currently #1 in Google (v7ndotcomelursrebmem.net) wrote to me this morning "if my site ended up first then I would give half of the V7N $4000 first prize which would be $2000 to you and probably give the other half of the money to a local charity here. You can quote me on that." - now THAT is a classy move. I would have them send that $2,000 not to me of course, but directly to the Center for Celiac Research - good luck to them in the V7ndotcom Elursrebmem SEO contest.
2006/01/18: Free iPod Giveaway! If I win that 30 Gbyte iPod, I decided a good way to handle that is to have a random drawing of all folks who sent me PR6 or higher links and give it away. I haven't read about ANYBODY doing this yet, but expect some copy-catting pretty quickly. Also had our first hacking attempts. And on Day 3, this page is #1 in Google outa 32,500, #1 in Yahooo outa 12,900, and MSN has ... ZERO results - where are you Bill? Update: MSN is showing some results now (surprising that it took more than 3 days) and the top-level W-P-D URL is ranked #14 out of 41,216 results - doesn't appear to have index'ed this contest page yet. I've added the v7ndotcom elursrebmem contest stats section above to track/consolidate data presented here along with a count of hits on the robots.txt file - this is a psuedo measurement of search engine interest. Also added unique IP's and inbound search engine requests for the magic v7ndotcom words. And get ready for a full-on PR assult by the Canadian Mounties Thursday morning! ;-)
2006/01/19: Lots of Emails from people wanting to help out ... and thanx to a supporter from the Canadian Rockies, a Press Release went out this morning that got widespread distribution on sites such as Yahoo.
2006/01/20: Google has this page #2/235,000 and Yahoo has it #1/254,000 ... great start 5 days into the contest. No sign in MSN, but it had previousely index'ed the top-level URL, so I just don't think it has found the contest page yet. As implied by the dates on the stats table, the initial flurry is about over as we honker down for the 4 month contest ... so while I'll continue to track things closely, expect less frequent updates here.
2006/01/23: Number of Google results is about half a million, and while this page has dropped a two spots, MSN now has it #2 and Yahoo #1 ... looking good as we settle down for the long haul. Jeff over at Syndic8 was nice enought to send a PR8 link to us which is awesome. And while we're all tired of seeing "million dollar home page" copycats, there is an absolutely hilarious elursrebmem pixel site - go check it out!
2006/01/25: Google has this page #5/960,000. Contest organizer John Scott wrote "SEO's are the most infighting, acrimonious, petty and dishonest group to walk the face of the earth" and the mud-slinging has started early & deep as I've seen a bit of jealousy from a few folks. I guess some would rather the $7,000 go into their pockets than to charity - just motivates me more to win this for a good cause. I have gotten several really nice Emails from folks with Celiac who want to help out. Yahoo backlinks are now over 5,000. And I put the HULK in front of the webcam - here is some time-lapse vidoe 9 seconds and 45 seconds.
2006/01/30: Another press release has gone out thanx to a generous supporter who helped prepare and released it.
2006/02/01: Currently #6/3,140,000 in Google - not too shabby and hoping we can hang in there with the big boys & black hat SEO's. And some very creative people are running some really funny Adwords that you can see in the results.
2006/02/04: Todd Neff from the Boulder Daily Camera writes the entertaining and informative "Googling in the name of Celiac Charity" with photo by Cliff Grassmick. You can listen to the 18 minute V7ndotcom Elursrebmem MP3 Podcast now.
2006/02/14: Have been bouncing around in the SERP's between #1 and #6 ... currently showing at #3 in most of the Google datacenters.
2006/02/15: The second mainstream media mention of the V-E SEO contest is from Lee Gomes at the Wall Street Journal who writes "Contest Players Vie to Top a Google Search" - currently no subscription required. It mentions that there are charity entries, but nothing about this site - well shucks. Some good quotes from Jim Westergren from Sweden (a pleasent chap I've had a few discussions with) who is currently #1 in the contest. According to the WSJ, "he has paid hundreds of dollars for links" (Jim said to me that he actually said "about a 100 dollars" - still more than the zero I've spent), so there is big bucks in play for this contest! Jim has a great quote at the end as he makes a play for a PR8 link from the WSJ "If you link to me in your article, that would be very nice" - fortunately for the rest of the competitors, they did not ... but nice try Jim as all of us would have said that! ;-)
2006/02/16: Surprisingly, the Google results continue to bounce around quite a bit - I would have thought they would have stabilized more a month into the contest. One datacenter shows watching-paint-dry.com in the #1 and #2 spots - would be nice if that was the final result on May 15th - wish me luck.
2006/02/20: Since Monday was a holiday, I took my kids (7 & 4) skiing - they are just learning, so we were on the green slopes, but a lotta fun. And speaking of green, Google is going a PageRank update ... and it appears this page will be PR7 - Holy PageRank Batman! The V7ndotcom Elursrebmem Supporters page went to PR6, so I'll be reviewing the URL's listed and updating as appropriate with backlinks for those sites that moved up.
2006/02/22: I periodically check a couple of dozen Google datacenters to see how this page is doing in the SEO contest. While these bounce around a bit (puzzling that Google hasn't stabilized more by now), I dropped from the #3 spot to #6 or so based on an eyeball average - this is the most dramatic difference I've seen. No significant changes on my end and odd that I would get leap-frogged by several sites since I doubt all of them did much. Some evidence suggest that this may have been due to some v7ndotcom elursrebmem black hats taking a swipe at this charity page - perhaps in a fit of steroid induced rage! ;-)
2006/02/24: Another reason I'm participating in this contest is increasing awareness of Celiac Disease. Research by Dr. Fasano at the University of Maryland (the folks I'm trying to win for) indicates that one out of 133 people have Celiac Disease. From personal experience, I can attest it is often un/mis-diagnosed ... spending 4 days at Children's Hospital with your one-year old son and being told he has "failure to thrive" (which is a generic diagnosis meaning we don't know why he is wasting away) is no fun. So it was satisfying to get this Email today from someone in the SEO contest. I was watching 9 news this morning and saw a bakery that is run by a lady with two boys that have celiac disease. Everything is gluten free. At first I wondered if it was your wife and then she said her last name was Pool so I figure it was not. Looked like some really good food actually, pizza and everything. You probably already know about them. Funny i probably would not have batted an eye at this before, but I was have awake and heard them mention celiac disease and was wide awake! Funny what a little awareness can do to you. If nothing else I think this contest has taught some people about it. My wife was actually at Deby's Gluten Free Bakery and Cafe just a few weeks ago - her comment was that it was sooooo nice to walk into a place to eat and just order off the menu without having to worry about stuff.
2006/02/26: Definately some "GoogleBowling" or something going on as I have dropped down to about #8/9 despite continueing to get inbound links. I'll have to poke around to see if I can narrow down what/who did this - be interesting to see if Google can figure it out. While I assumed there would be some Black Hat SEO in this contest, I was hoping they would not target a charity page.
2006/03/01: Updated positions for Google/MSN/Yahoo that show this site as ranking 2/3/1. I was fortunate to get a Google data center that has the site showing as 2. But as alluded above, most of 'em are showing the site between 9 and 11; so I'm not sure what is up.
2006/03/09: Looking at a couple of dozen data centers, we are still hammered down to #9/10 - maybe Google Girl can help us out ... ;-)
2006/03/15: Still puzzled by the abrupt drop in Google as it has slid to #12 despite having a PageRank of 7 (although PR is over-rated) and ridiculous number of backlinks from supporters - most of which are anchor-text'ed for V7ndotcom Elursrebmem. Per the ongoing stats table, this page continues to rank in the top-3 for MSN and Yahoo, but has dropped to the second page of results in Google. My only guess is the so-called "Google Bowling" phenomena may actually exist. I.e. it may be possible to knock a page down in the rankings using external factors as Google may penalize the target page due to what it considers unnatural linking. Normally a technique used by black-hats ... but in my case, it could be the natural exuberance of my (great) supporters - both may apply here (?) My hope is that Google will eventually sort this out in the next two months before the end of the contest on May 15th.
2006/03/18: John Loch, a competitor in the V7ndotcom elursrebmem SEO contest, wrote a nice article about my effort to win some dollars for Celiac Disease and raise awareness - thanx John.
2006/04/01: I've updated the contest stats page and good news is this page is #2 in MSN and #1 in Yahoo. Bad news is that it is #17 in Google. 45 days left in the contest - hoping I can somehow get Un-Google-Bowled.
2006/04/05: While Google updates its "Web Results" daily (hourly?), it updates its "Image results" only a few times a year. The v7ndotcom elursrebmem contest is a good test of this, since, when those keywords were announced on January 15th, bazillions of pages and images were generated. However, it was not until April 5th (almost 3 months) later that Google Images finally showed some (232) results - nice to see that this domain has the the #1 and #2 spots. The previous image update was actually December 20th, 2005 so it has actually been 3 1/2 months since the last update. Google has been accused of censorship because of the slow image refresh, but it doesn't seem like they have speeded it up much. But the other search engines aren't doing much better as MSN still returns zero results and Yahoo returns one (!) result. A notable except is MSN's live.com which showed results on March 9th and currently returns 14,096 results. Wonder why the search engines don't update their image results more often - heck, there could be some new satellite pictures, deck designs, or Paris Hilton & Brittney Spears photos available, 'eh?!? ;-)
2006/04/07: BIG CHANGE as we climb a dozen spots to #4 in Google. Backlinks jump from 842 to 5,090. So we may have been un-Google-Bowled. Lets hope this positive trend continues.
2006/04/15: While we continue to be #1 in Yahoo, we slipped two spots to #6 in Google with a month left in the contest. Google results are now pretty consistant across the data centers. It should get interesting in the next 30 days as the mad scramble for links ensues.
2006/04/16: I added a column on the stats page that shows how frequently GoogleBot spidered this page. In the first 3 months of the contest, there were 1,209 hits from 85 unique IP addresses. However, 30 of those don't appears to belong to Google (i.e. people are spoofing the User-Agent), so the real V7ndotcom Elursrebmem spidering numbers are 815 hits from 55 unique IP addresses - i.e. almost ten times a day - WOW!
2006/04/17: Related to the Googlebot Spidering frequency, I added a "!" to the title tag the morning of 4/15 ... and two day later, most of the Google datacenters (and Yahoo, but not MSN) show it in the SERP's - that was fast!
2006/04/18: For grins, I enabled the X10 power controls on the Paint Webcam - this means you can turn the drying fan, lights, and beer sign on & off via the Internet and see the results on the live webcam - too much excitement. I had fun writing this Perl code as I used CGI::AJAX to make it kinda spiffy. Oh yeah, this web site has moved up to #5 in almost all of the Google Data Centers - lets hope that trend continues ... ;-)
2006/04/23: Marcus Westburg has been a strong competitor (and nice guy) throughout this contest. But he recently had some problems with his hosting service ... and they replaced his page with a directory index (Google Cache) - pretty funny to see this #4 in Google. He subsequently was able to semi-straighten things out and is now actually 301 redirecting to his Donkey Kong page which is ranking #10. I've assumed all along there would be some 301/302 redirects at the end of the contest as people consolidate their multiple pages in the contest (I only have this one) ... but I guess Marcus was forced to start early - be interesting to see how quickly Google reacts to this change and how the result change.
2006/04/27: According to most of the Google datacenters, this website has moved back up two spots to #4 - a nice positive trend that I hope continues. Leslie Walker from the Washington Post chimes in with "How to Juice Up a Site's Rank" but says her "favorite [site is] The Grand V7ndotcom Elursrebmem Hotel" - guess she prefers hotels over charity - well darn ... :-(
2006/05/01: I fiddled with the title tag by adding a "link HERE" as a whimsical statement in the SERP's. This on-page change may have been why it dropped one spot to #5 out of 5,290,000. With two weeks left in the contest, I'm seeing tons of links building on several other sites. Plus more 301 redirects and teaming arrangements (where folks will split the winnings) are starting to emerge - i.e. everything AND the kitchen sink is being tossed out there - actually quite entertaining to watch if you are into Search Engines.
2006/05/05: We have moved back up to #3 on many of the Google datacenters. BTW, one interesting/useful tracking page is John Loch's Movers & Shakers page. I've reset the title tag as we enter the last 10 days of the contest and have had tons of people come forward with links/Google-Juice to try to help us out - lets just hope it's not too late.
2006/05/08: When searching for "V7ndotcom Elursrebmem" at a couple of dozen Google data centers, we seem to be mostly #4 and #5 ... but I occasionally see some oddities, both negative (like Google Bowled again - yikes) ... and positive - check out this #2 spot on www.google.com - needless to say, bring on the later!
2006/05/10: This V7ndotcom Elursrebmem web site is now a solid #4 across dozens of data centers. I continue to see #2 results pop up in the API and occsionally using www.google.com - like to see more of it!
2006/05/11: The V7ndotcom Elursrebmem SEO contest is going to be a photo finish as JimW, who has been #1 for over a month, is bumped by VE.net - here's a screenshot that also shows us moving up to #3. We sent a lotta Google Juice toward Scott's VE.net site in the last week as he graciously offered to send half to Celiac Disease Research and that seems to be helping.
2006/05/14: With 30 hours to go, the Google results have stabilized with this site still in the #3 spot ... but anything can change. As noted in the 2006/01/17 update above, the #1 site graciousely offered to send half of the prize money (if it wins) to the Center for Celiac Research, so there's a good possibility charity will benefit well from the V7ndotcom Elursrebmem contest. I'm visiting my wife's family in Baltimore, and fortunately it was the same weekend as the CFCR's 10th anniversary. It was nice to meet in person Pam King (the Operations Director who has been a pleasure to work with) and Dr. Alessio Fasano, Medical Director - here is a picture. As part of the tour of the University of Maryland, they had a display of the history and various activities of the center ... as I walked down to the row reading 'em, I said "hey, I recognize those pictures" as they had my efforts to win $7,000 up there on their display boards - cool! ;-)
2006/05/15: I spent most of today with my wife and two kids checking out the Baltimore Inner Harbor and aquarium - the "Splash Zone" where we sat for the dolphin exhibit was especially fun. So I was offline for most of the day, with only a few minutes online at the airport before I got on a plane two hours after the contest ended. So I missed all the excitement and live Media coverage. We finished 4th ... although a reload 5 minutes later showed us at 3rd (along with many other data centers), so I'd score us a 3.5! Scott's VE.net site, which we tossed a lotta Google Juice toward, took 1st place (2nd on the reload - close!) so almost $4,000 should go toward research - i.e. Celiac Disease was a big "winner" in the SEO contest! Congrats to all participants, thank you sponsors, and a special thanks to the white-hats & supporters who helped us do so well.
2006/05/16: Greg Boser's "camp" will announce their prize awards late this afternoon or tomorrow. I spent a bit of time when the contest started reviewing & documenting the rules (see above) and making sure this web site was compliant with both "camps" in order to maximize the earnings potential for Celiac Disease Research. Greg's rules were pretty simple: "No link to v7n.com and link to mattcutts.com." My guess is many people didn't read this since 7 of the top 10 sites failed that test when I checked with a few days left in the contest. One of those did make a last minute change by removing the links to v7n.com - be interesting to see if Greg notices and how he rules.
2006/05/17: Looks like Greg noticed. He awarded his 1st place prize of $3,000 to VE.net which was compliant with his rules. The 2nd prize was $1,000 and $200 each for 3rd, 4th, and 5th. However, this site (which came in 4th) was the only other one compliant with his rules, and they had previously decided that any unclaimed prize money would go to the highest ranking charity site. It's a little complicated how it all added up, and even more complicated how the money was shuffled around to minimize PayPal fees. VE.net won a total of $4,000 from the John Scott camp and $3,000 from the Greg Boser camp. VE.net graciously donated half of that to the Center for Celiac Research (minus $58.50 pro-rated PayPal processing fees) for a total of $3,441.50. BTW, Scott Jones from VE.net just ROCKS by not only saying he would donate half to charity, but paying promptly and even before he has received all the money. This web site won $100 from the John Scott camp and (adding the numbers above) $1,600 from the Greg Boser camp. So the total for Celiac Disease Research was $5,141.50 - not shabby!
2006/05/18: While this SEO contest was fun, it was a ton of work and I figured I was done with them. But the white hats asked how they can raise more money/awareness for Celiac and said "Lets Crash the CarCasherdotcom SEO Contest" ... so here we go again! ;-)