TradeMarks and Keyword stuffing
Trademark Enforcement of a Certain Term Within Open Source
So, I don't want to say the term, but it's clear from this search that a company has been going around to various places and enforcing a trademark. When that happens to open source projects, it gets discussed in public and everybody knows about that action. If they do it to some close-walled company then the discussion is inside the walls and nobody knows. So, thanks to the open practices of open source projects, people can know what kind of a company they are dealing with when they deal with Collabrio.
One of the "tricks" of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) that people will try to use is called "keyword stuffing". Basically, search engines use the frequency and density of certain keywords to determine the importance of a word on a site. It makes sense that if I write a certain word or phrase a high number of times in my pages that it's an important word to me and probably the subject of the page. Webmasters (and SEOs) will take the keywords for which you are trying to get a good ranking and weave them into more parts of the site and content so that your site gets a high ranking. In the "if 2 is good, 100 is better" mindset, this can be pushed too far and the content no longer makes sense. So, what if you could use the word on the page hundreds of times but hide it from users by making the text white on a white background? This would confuse search engines into giving you a higher ranking than you deserve! Search engines don't like to be tricked. Tricking them means that their results are less valuable to their users.
Reporting Keword Stuffers
Search engines are busy writing tools to identify sites that are trying to "game" their systems and then exclude those sites from the results. In order to test those tools and also as a manual check on quality, some search engines use a Spam Report Form (although the folks at Hormel probably wish it were a "Junk Website Report Form").
What is the connection?
The original company that I was talking about - the company that was enforcing a relatively stupid trademark on a term that some marketing idiot dreamt up in 1996 - they were using keyword stuffing with hidden text on their home page.
And, sure enough, they are no longer in the search engine results page, even for a search of their own domain name
My Role in This
And I'm not going to kid around about the situation - I reported them for the keyword stuffing. Me, personally. And my motivation is pretty clear: they were going to a higher authority to enforce the proper use of a trademarked term. That's fine. My response is inline with their own values: I went to a higher authority to enforce proper web standards. Google is pretty clear about the right thing to do in situations where someone is gaming their engine and I followed that advice.
Don't go around threatening legal action for an unimportant trademark when you simultaneously use stupid techniques to try to fool the search engines.
Don't hire an idiot SEO. SEO is easy if you do it the right way, and surprise the right way is also the standards compliant and "good business" way.
Don't do the Chicken Soup Dance, the Straight Leg Chicken Claw is way better.
Don't mess with Texas.