A-2: Why are you doing this and who are you?
A-2: (2006_01_15) My kids have Celiac Disease, so this is a way of increasing awareness (it's often mis/un-diagnosed) and also raising some money to help find a cure. I prefer to remain anonymous because the contest is not about me - thank you in advance for honoring this request.
A-3: What is Celiac Disease?
A-3: (2006_01_15) Celiac Disease is an auto-immune disorder (similar to diabetes - so you do not grow out of it) that is an intolerance to gluten - i.e. barley, rye, wheat, etc. Ingesting even very small amounts of these grains causes a reaction within the body that interferes with the absorption of food and nutrients. My kids have Celiac Disease, and when they grow up, I would be nice to be able to go out and have a beer and pizza with them.
A-4: Which charity are you supporting and why?
A-4: (2006_01_15) I'm supporting the University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research (CFCR) because they are doing leading edge research to learn more about Celiac Disease and hopefully find a cure for it.
A-5: So you are going to donate that thousands of dollars of prize money to Celiac Disease?
A-5: (2007_01_13) Technically no, since I'm never going to see/touch the money and if this website wins, the contest sponsors will pay the CFCR directly. While this site came in fourth (and won a few dollars for Celiac directory), the site that won pledged it would send half, so they will donate it directly and/or have the sponsors pay the University of Maryland directly. And that is exactly what happened with the $5,141.50 that was raised for charity from the v7ndotcom contest and another $1,000 from the Carcasherdotcom contest.
A-6: How do I know this is all legit?
A-6: (2006_01_15) There are all sorts of charity claims on the Internet, so it's good to be skeptical. As outlined above, I'll never see the money - 100% will go directly to CFCR. The CFCR website itself states their appreciation and I encourage people to contact them directly if any questions ... or if you want to donate! ;-)
A-7: Has the media reported on this contest?
A-7: (2006_05_10) Tons of discussion/reporting online, with the first mainstream writeup by The Boulder Daily Camera on February 4th, 2006 and the second mention being the Wall Street Journal on February 15th, 2006. The Washington Post, Florida Daily News, and a Swedish publication are among other MSM that have chimed in too - see details on the news page.
A-8: Is that really a webcam watching paint dry?
A-8: (2006_01_15) YES - the Paint Webcam is for real. It's a D-Link DCS-6620g wireless webcam that takes snapshots every couple of seconds. For grins, I put some clocks down there for some "action" ... along with a recent newspaper; check it out! Sorry, no satellite photos or my 40th birthday ... but there are video of halloween decorations, christmas lights, stamping concrete, and even watching grass grow!
B-2: How many people are competing?
B-2: (2006_05_17) There is no registration requirement for the contest, so it's hard to say how many people are competing, but it is probably in the hundreds, if not more as this as gotten wide-spread publicity in the SEO community and even mainstream media. One metric is the number of web sites returned by doing a Google search for v7ndotcom elursrebmem. When the contest started on January 15th, 2006, there was zero results. Two weeks later, there was over three million! Carcasherdotcom doesn't seem to be as competitive ... so far.
B-3: Where are people competing from?
B-3: (2006_05_17) Since the Internet (and Google) has no geographic boundaries, competitors are coming from around the world. Some examples are: Belgium - China - France (Team Taggle Black Hats) - Germany - Israel - Poland - Swedan - Republic of Boulder. Similar world-wide representation is seen in carcasherdotcom.
B-4: Where are you from?
B-4: (2006_02_25) I live in Colorado, USA and the Web Server is located in Texas. Ironically, while Google is an American company, the top-10 results are dominated by non-USA contestents - sometimes I'm the only Team USA one listed - so maybe Google has outsourced the results overseas! ;-)
B-5: How does one rank #1 in Google?
B-5: (2006_01_15) Google has over a 100 factors in their sophisticated computer algorithms that automatically determine how well a page ranks for a certain term. It basically tries to determine which web sites are most relevent based on words on the page, and how many other web sites link to that page. Think of the later as a "popularity contest"
B-6: Can't someone just pay Google to rank #1?
B-6: (2006_01_15) You are probably thinking of the "paid listings" that are on the right side of the search results which are paid for. This is not the case for the "organic listings" on the main page which are all determined algorithmically.
B-7: What about the so-called link farms and stuff like that?
B-7: (2006_04_25) While some people own hundreds (or even thousands) of websites, I can count the number I own on two hands. Fortunately, lots of other people would like to support the charity entry, and so have added links on their web sites.
B-8: Do you think you stand a chance against the professional SEO's in this $7,000 contest?
B-8: (2006_05_17) Normally no. However, my hope is that since I'm donating any/all contest winnings to charity, that people (especially those with Celiac) will support my effort by linking to my contest web site and spreading the word as it is a long four month contest. A month into the contest, this website was #3 out of 3,170,000 results which ain't shabby ... but at the end if February, it got Google Bowled and dropped down to about #17 ... but then in early April, that penalty must have gotten lifted as it popped back up to #4 out of 6,950,000 results on April 7th. As of May 10th, it is #4 and occasionally pops up as high as #2. Yahoo likes us a bit better as we have been #1 for a while with them. Update: We finished fourth in the official results. Sure, I would have liked to have done better, but that ain't shabby. We also helped the VE.net site take the first prize and since the graciousely offered to split half of the winnings with Celiac, combined with how the awards were dealt out resulted in $5,141.50 going toward research - cool!
B-9: Is anyone helping you out?
B-9: (2006_04_03) About a dozen folks graciousely volunteered to be on an Email list where I could bounce ideas off of, solicit feedback, and get general assistance. Check out the V7ndotcom Elursrebmem White Hats.
B-10: Is everyone supportive of your efforts?
B-10: (2006_04_12) Heck no - there's a lot of people that want to win this contest and the $7,000. So discrediting a competitor is one tactic and expect all sorts of black hat moves such as Google Bowling which happened to this site. Not surprisingly, those negative people fail to mention what the CFCR itself says about me and their appreciation. While it's annoying that people would try to sling mud at a web site for charity, it actually just motivates me more to win.
B-11: How have you historically done in the contest?
B-11: (2006_01_15) I've been tracking various metrics since the inception of the contest.
B-12: What about Google Images?
B-12: (2006_04_05) Google finally does an Image Update on April 5th so for the first time since the contest started on January 15th, Google Images shows some (232) results - nice to see that this domain has the the #1 and #2 spots.
C-2: I'm not a web dude/dudette - how can I help?
C-2: (2006_05_17) Spread the word about the "Carcasherdotcom SEOcontest for Celiac charity website at http://www.watching-paint-dry.com/carcasherdotcom-seocontest/" If you have any media connections or other ideas, please contact me.
C-3: What's in it for me?
C-3: (2006_05_22) Nothing except knowing you helped out a good cause. If you have a "significant" web site (PR5 or higher), I'm happy to list you on the Carcasherdotcom SEOcontest supporters page for possible fame & glory! ;-)
C-4: Can I send you money to help you out?
C-4: (2006_01_15) No. I welcome/encourage people to send donations directly to the CFCR using their donation page.
C-5: How much money have you spent on this so far?
C-5: (2006_05_16) Total spent was zippo! The Press releases were paid for by generous supporters out of their pockets, I had someone donate $20 for some extra-size graphics on the funny pixel page. And I already owned the Watching Paint Dry domain. And I don't buy/sell text links. It's been heartwarming having all sort of people offer to help out.
C-6: How much time have you spent on this so far?
C-6: (2007_01_16) A *ton* of time (more than I did on my deck designs) as I gave it it my best effort to win that first prize of $7,000 on May 15th, 2006 for Celiac Disease. While this site finished fourth, I was happy to toss some last minute support to the VE.net site and help it eke out a victory for #1. I spent a fair amount of time in the trying to win for charity in the Carcasherdotcom seotcontest but am not competing seriously in the awareness2007 contest - wish us luck!