Saturday, February 24
At a recent reception for a visiting scholar, I witnessed this conversation between a grad student in my doctoral cohort and a recently-retired senior faculty member from our department.

grad student: Oh, Dr. _______, I just found out the other day that you had a blog! I've been reading it. It's...uh...interesting!

retired faculty member: Oh, that, ha ha. It's nothing. I put it up because the consultant I hired to improve my web presence told me the thing I needed was a blog.

grad student: The consultant you hired for...uh...what?

retired faculty member: Well, basically I hired her to make my name come up higher on the list of google results when you search for things related to [academic specialty]. She said to start a blog, and use the same key phrases over and over and over, and then whenever anyone searched on those phrases, my name would come up in the google list.

grad student:

retired faculty member: Yeah. And she told me which other blogs to link to that would most increase my traffic. And she told me that there's this other blog, that's the highest rated in [specialty], that will link to your blog on their blogroll for a fee.

grad student: [stunned silence]'re really making the most


Here's the worst part. The professor only recently started to get interested in the subfields he was talking about, and there are loads of other more knowledgeable researchers out there who have been working in the field for much, much longer. I went home and googled one of the phrases Dr.______ mentioned, and his name came as the 8th google hit. So his schemes have worked, and have boomeranged him and his ideas to the front of the virtual line.


Chartreuse Circe said...

That's possibly the funniest thing I've heard in days!

fraud, in denim said...

I wonder if his consultant writes his blog too? Geesh. It's really amazing the lengths that some people will go to, isn't it?

He might need a consultant to work on that public presence as well, or at least watch what he says after a few drinks. What's the protocol for sharing information like that?

strawberries said...

what a loser. seriously.

Tuquoise Stuff said...

Fraud, if you're wondering what the protocol is for others - like thistle - to actually out this person, that's a good question. I tend to assume one-on-one conversations (whether face-to-face or on email) as private unless I check with the person whether I can quote them. But lots of people don't think about it that way. Plus, if this was a fairly general party environment then I'm not sure what expectations of privacy this person could have.

Fascinating story, to be sure. What I'd like to know is how I can make some money consulting with people on these issues. I mean, seriously, people get paid from academics for this kind of advice? Sign me up!

Anonymous said...

I love overheard conversations. Thanks for sharing.