Thursday, May 24, 2012

When You HIre People That Principle Strength is Fleecing Others, Don't be Surprised When They Fleece You

Response to: JPM is Just a Symptom of Wider Corporate Governance Issue – Why Do Shareholders Matter Less and Less?

I have been outraged for quite some time by actions of corporate leaders taking from the corporation what they don't deserve. Sadly there are very few investment options to avoid insiders dipping buckets into the treasury and using it for their personal desires. Most of the time this is done within the bounds of the law (sometimes it isn't).

But when you want to invest in stocks sadly it is a matter of only excluding the most abusive executives from consideration (which includes any large financial institution I looked at so I never invested in them in the last 15 years). If you tried to exclude all companies that were being ripped off by the executives you can't find enough decent options. So you have to accept a certain percentage of the profits will be lost due to executive shrinkage.

They act like cleptocrate dictators - taking from what is owed to others because they can get away with it - not because it is somehow deserved. I have written about this over the years 2005: Excessive executive pay 2006: Obscene CEO Pay 2007: No Excessive Senior Executive Pay at Toyota or Honda, where Honda has Never had Layoffs and has been Profitable Every Year 2008: CEOs Plundering Corporate Coffers 2009: Another Year of CEOs Taking Hugely Excessive Pay - CEO’s Castles and Company Performance 2011: Taking What You Don’t Deserve, CEO Style 2012: Massively Unjust Executive Compensation Damages Companies and Investments

The issue of shareholders finally getting tired of being ripped off by the executives of their companies reminds me of the statement by Martin Niemoeller "First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out - because I was not a communist... Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak out for me." The executives taking what they don't deserve isn't as important as societies not speaking up as liberty is taken away by police states but the process is similar.

Most of the people running our companies have no business doing so. They don't have the moral fiber to do so properly. They have systemically denied reasonable pay to employees, denied reasonable customer service to customers, denied to pay taxes owed (fleecing foolish tax authorities)... All in the name of taking more for themselves. It is not wonder, when their main focus seems to be how to fleece those they should be providing value to, that they turn on the owners and fleece them as they run out of others to fleece.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Using Twitter Data to Improve Search Results

Doesn't it seem pretty obvious that it would be possible to use Twitter mentions to improve search results?

I understand you would have to deal with people trying to "game the system."  Google seems pretty good at doing this.

The nofollow attribute was suggested by Google as a way of marking untrusted links.  I don't believe the application of that is great, but that was Google's plan.  One weakness is the nofollow name is not the same message as untrusted link.  This might not have mattered to Google originally but when you add confusion unnecessarily you open the door to problems.

Google then added to the problems by declaring paid for links should also be nofollow.  Again Google confusing the issue - if they want paid links noted as paid it is fine for them to say that is what they would like.  And if they want to treat paid links the same as untrusted links that is their option.  I think it is a mistake but it is their option.  Telling people they are suppose to mark links as nofollow when they are paid seems confused and lame to me.

Lately I have heard sources quote Google as saying we can't follow Twitter links because they told us not to.  And those are saying that using the untrusted link text Google asked them to was how Twitter told Google not to follow the links.

So anyway here we are today and there are many ways for a search engine to decide some Twitter accounts are trustworthy and that links from those accounts are an indication of the merit of the site linked to.  Why would you not use this information?  Even if Twitter told you the links were untrustworthy (because they were worried about sanctions Google might impose if they linked to sites Google didn't like without making those links nofollow) that doesn't mean you couldn't use the data from Twitter links to improve results.

Maybe in the decision to use the term nofollow and then set standards for what Google would do around this link Google has put themselves in a position where they can't follow nofollow links and do what they said they would do.  I am not sure about this.  But if they can't take advantage of useful data to make search results better due to their previous mistake of calling a untrusted link nofollow they should correct that failure.

If sites want to tell Google not to follow links that is fine (to preserve server bandwidth or just because they don't like Google or whatever).  But, I believe, most nofollow links are now used to

   1) avoid sanctions by Google
   2) keep "link juice" for the monetary benefit of the site that makes the link nofollow (ironically, that makes the non-nofollow links "follow" links essentially for monetary gain, which somewhat subverts Google's desire to remove monetary incentive from placing links)

It seems foolish to me to not use information that could make search results better.  It seems to me valuable information to make search results better is now clouded by nofollow links.  I certainly would be using that information if it were up to me.  And my guess is you can use a large part of it even if the past decisions mean you can't follow the links (this likely would make the silly use of link shorteners more of an issue - but at least the urls that are actually shown could be used to improve search results).

I am pretty sure Google ignores useful measures hidden in nofollow data.  I woudl guess the other search sites are ignoring it too, but I am not sure.

Related: Viewing Unpersonalized Google Search Results - Google Rank Patent for Delegation Authority Factors

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

PageRank Updates for May 2012

Pagerank is a value given to the links coming into a web page on a logarithmic scale. So a PR of 2 is 10 times greater than PR 1 and 100 less than PR 4. MozRank is a similar measure, developed by a separate company that is updated much more frequently. See more details on this topic in my previous post: Google PageRank and MozRank of some of my pages (Oct 2011)

Google updates the visible PageRank occasionally (often about every 3 months). The real pagerank Google updates much more frequently (it is only the pagerank shared with the rest of us that is only updated occasionally.

Check the current pagerank on your sites using our related site: Multiple Site PageRank checker.

SiteMay 2012
Oct 2011April 2011Dec 2010Dec 2008July 2008
PageRank 5 and MozRank > 5
Curious Cat Engineering and Science Blog5 [5.6]
Curious Cat Management Improvement Connections*5 [5.5]5 [5.5]5433
John Hunter5 [5.5]4 [5.4]4444
Curious Cat Engineering and Science Blog5 [5.4]6 [5.3]6455
CSS 4 Free5 [5.4]4 [5.4]4445
Management Dictionary*5 [5.3]5 [5.4]5433
Public Sector Continuous Improvement Site*5 [5.1]5 [4.97]54
PageRank 4 and MozRank > 5
Curiouscat.com4 [5.6]4 [5.6]5433
Curious Cat Investing and Economics Blog4 [5.5]4 [5.3]4344 - internship directory4 [5.3]4 [5.2]4444
Investment Dictionary*4 [5.3]4 [5.2]4
Management and Leadership Quotes4 [5.2]2 [5.2]22
Curious Cat Travel Photo Blog4 [5.1]3 [4.9]3-
Lean Management Resources*4 [5.1]4 [5.0]44
Six Sigma Management Resources*4 [5.0]4 [5.0]4
Alumni Connections*4 [5.2]4 [5.0]4445
Statistics for Experimenters4 [5.0]3 [4.5]3434
The Future is Engineering*4 [5.0]4 [4.7]55
Credit Card Tips4 [5.0]4 [4.6]3
Economic Strength Through Technology Leadership*? [5.0]4 [4.7]544
PageRank 4 and MozRank > 4
PDSA Improvement Cycle*4 [4.9]4 [4.9]4
Life and Legacy of William Hunter (my father)4 [4.8]4 [4.5]444
Rocky Mountain National Park photos*4 [4.7]4 [4.8]43-2
Multi Site PageRank Checker4 [4.7]3 [4.7]2213
Curious Cat Code (programming)4 [4.6] **new url4 [4.2]00
Living in Singapore4 [4.5]3 [4.0]-
Curious Cat Gadgets4 [4.5]--
Mortgage Rate Article*4 [4.4]4 [3.8]4
Curious Cat Web Directory4 [4.3]4 [4.7]**334
Hexawise Software Testing Blog3 [4.3]----
Curious Cat Management Comments4 [4.1]
PageRank 3 and MozRank > 3
The Engineer That Made Your Cat a Photographer*3 [5.0]4 [4.7]543
Deming's Management Method*3 [4.6]4 [4.5]44
Living in Malaysia3 [4.6]3 [4.1]-
Architecture and home design inspiration3 [4.4]--
Good Process Improvement Practices*3 [4.1]3 [3.8]
Management Improvement Resources3 [4.1]3 [3.8]333
Justin Hunter (my brother)3 [4.0]2 [2.9]222
Curious Cat Comments (this blog)3 [4.0]- [3.8]-33
Best Research University Rankings*3 [3.97]3 [3.8]334
PageRank 2 and MozRank > 3
Johor Bahru Real Estate2 [4.2]--
Parfrey's Glen, Wisconsin Photos2 [3.6]2 [3.8]22-
Curious Cat Travel Destinations 2 [3.2]-----
CuriousCat Wordpress2 [3.1]-----
PageRank 2 and MozRank > 2 (or non MozRank - new pages)
Curious Cat Travel Destinations: France2 [2.4]-----
Curious Cat Travel Destinations: Australia2 [-]--
Curious Cat Travel Destinations: Marina Bay Sands (Singapore)2 [-]-----
No PageRank
My Kiva pageu [4.0]- [4.0]-3
Reddit management*u [4.0]4 [u]740

* internal pages
** new url, old url forwarded
- didn't exist yet
u unranked
[blank] I don't know what the pagerank was, sometimes the site didn't exist yet.
*** Google doesn't say they use a scale of 10 for the logarithmic PageRank. It seems as good a guess and any and is easier to picture so I use that until we have some new evidence.

I have noticed a continued trend over the last 6-12 months for more instances of internal pages having Google Page Rank of 3 and above. For several years this seemed to be greatly reduced, in my experience.

The displayed pagerank is mainly a fun measure, rather than a measure of much importance. But I still find it fun to look at the pagerank values - except when they go down for my sites :-( Now I can take some solace if the MozRank goes up :-)

Related: Web Page Authority - PageRank Distribution - Google's Search Results - Should Factors Other Than User Value be Used