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GHOULISH: The Age uses traffic tricks to cash in from death

theageprofiteers The Age online has been busted using search engine optimisation and manipulation tricks to boost traffic to stories about the ongoing tragedy of Victorian bushfires.

Ordinarily the headline of a story would appear in the title.

However, Age online insider whistleblowers have told VEXNEWS they were ordered to replace the title tag – that would normally have the headline of a story – with a selection of keywords designed to tap into the strong search engine interest in the Victorian bushfires.

In one story headlined “Victorian towns on alert as bushfires still rage” the title tags were:

<title>Victoria bushfires | CFA alerts | Yarra Valley | Yea-Murrindindi</title>

Another – pictured above – includes the words “Victoria bushfires”, “victim search”, could it get any more ghoulish? On that page they are advertisement from an insurance company, an online education provider and job ads.

Online marketing experts told VEXNEWS this afternoon that there is only one reason for them to modify the normal title tags to include popular keyword search terms related to the disaster: to boost their Google results and the amount of traffic they receive. He explained:

“Google pays a lot of attention to title tags in understanding what’s in a page, clearly this is part of The Age’s marketing strategy, after all they’re selling ads on those pages about bushfires so it makes sense, at least commercially if not morally.”

Sickening isn’t it?


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  1. herald sun is doing exactly the same thing. Give it up Andrew. God youve become a sad case over the years.

    Posted by solly | February 11, 2009, 18:16
  2. Another storm in a teacup!

    Posted by Conspiracy Theory | February 11, 2009, 19:58
  3. Solly, if that is indeed your real name, the Herald Sun do no such thing. Nor does any other publication we could find and we looked at a few.

    Posted by VEXNEWS | February 11, 2009, 20:01
  4. wow. this is pretty biased even for you andrew. you should try exercising some judgement some time. Yes, yes… the Age…Bad; Solomon Lew… Bad; Lefty’s…Bad. We get it – move on!

    Posted by anon | February 11, 2009, 22:03
  5. Is the use of ‘CFA Alerts’ a deliberate effort to interfere with people trying to access genuine CFA Alerts?

    Why are The Age again putting profit before people?

    Posted by Top Shelf Tony | February 11, 2009, 23:28
  6. Solly have you shat yourself again!!

    Posted by Phew Lew | February 11, 2009, 23:33
  7. You might also note their preference for running many bushfire stories on 2 pages, when they are clearly short enough to be and normally are on 1 page. Clicking to page 2 or single page view means more ad impressions and more revenue. Very sneaky.

    Posted by anon | February 12, 2009, 1:07
  8. The Fairfax Brisbane daily on the net has this to say about Pastor Danny Nalliah. The SMH and the Age are in the same stable. Interesting comments from a man who thinks Peter Costello should be PM. Read on:

    Abortion to blame for fires: Pastor
    Rick Feneley | February 10, 2009

    The Catch the Fire Ministries has tried to blame the bushfires disaster on laws decriminalising abortion in Victoria.

    The evangelical church’s leader, Pastor Danny Nalliah, claimed he had a dream about raging fires on October 21 last year and that he woke with “a flash from the Spirit of God: that His conditional protection has been removed from the nation of Australia, in particular Victoria, for approving the slaughter of innocent children in the womb”.

    Pastor Nalliah said he was helping to co-ordinate fire relief, including providing trucks to distribute clothes and food and giving his own blood, but he said he must tell “the truth”.

    Asked by the Herald if he did not believe most Australians would regard his remarks as being in appallingly bad taste, he said today: “I must tell people what they need to hear, not what they want to hear.”

    He said it was no use “molly-coddling” Australians.

    Asked if he believed in a God who would take vengeance by killing so many people indiscriminately – even those who opposed abortion, Mr Nalliah referred to 2 Chronicles 7:14 to vouch for his assertion that God could withdraw his protection from a nation.

    “The Bible is very clear,” he said. “If you walk out of God’s protection and turn your back on Him, you are an open target for the devil to destroy.”

    In the New King James version of the Bible, 2 Chronicles 7:14 states that: “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

    Mr Nalliah said: “In my dream I saw fire everywhere with flames burning very high and uncontrollably. With this I woke up from my dream with the interpretation as the following words came to me in a flash from the Spirit of God: that His conditional protection has been removed from the nation of Australia, in particular Victoria, for approving the slaughter of innocent children in the womb.”

    The former Treasurer, Peter Costello, sent a video message to an Australia Day prayer meeting organised by Pastor Nalliah.

    He quoted a headline describing the fires as “The Darkest hour for Victoria”. “A few months ago the news media should have reported ‘the darkest hour for the unborn’, but unfortunately the ‘Decriminalisation of Abortion bill’ went through parliament and was passed, thus making many people call Victoria ‘the baby killing state of Australia,’ ” Mr Nalliah said.

    Pastor Nalliah said there may be criticism. But he said he did not send out his media statement thoughtlessly. “We spend two days working on it.”

    He had previously said drought and the world financial crisis could be partly blamed on human sin.

    Posted by Anonymous | February 12, 2009, 9:51
  9. Andy, this one’s pretty lame – the page tag reflects the content doesn’t it ?

    Posted by squeaky | February 12, 2009, 9:53
  10. re: Danny Nalliah – “Catch the Fire”..geddit ? huh? wocka wocka wocka

    Posted by squeaky | February 12, 2009, 9:55
  11. Can someone please stop this [deleted]: link

    His name is Iain Lygo and he is a failure/failed Greens candidate from Jan Juc and he continually shows contempt for common sense in pushing his obscene leftard agenda. His Brokenleftleg blog doesn’t allow non-compliant comments yet spouts ridiculous shit like condoning the idea of banning fuel reduction burns in the wake of 300 people dying basically in Melbourne from a fire. Can you please keep your eye on this dickhead, Andrew?

    Posted by Anonymous | February 12, 2009, 10:39
  12. The Age online has been busted using search engine optimisation ????

    using SEO = smart !!!

    surely, the title tag is relevant. its not that the age put a porn page using “bush fire” title tag.

    maybe vexnews should follow…

    Posted by Patrick | February 13, 2009, 15:37
  13. also,

    why this comment link using rel=”nofollow” ???? the ONLY reason to use rel=”nofollow” is don’t want to Keep the Google PR of the site/page..

    *also got busted using SEO….

    Posted by Patrick | February 13, 2009, 15:40