Saturday, 18 September 2010

#386 - Is Google Growing Evil-ish?

So far I've used this new 'Blogger' blog mostly to apologise for the fact that I post so few messages here - but then again I'd like to think that I usually have a good excuse... 

Like this time. I had to upgrade to a new PC last month and strangely enough, such a relatively simple 'domestic' procedure also affects the Malt Madness and Malt Maniacs web sites. Because the foundations of these sites were laid in 1995, simple things like transferring files from one computer to another can cause some technical problems. 

So, I have to admit that one of the reasons for starting this "external" whisky blog was that it would allow me to keep sharing my thoughts with other whisky lovers, even if something went wrong with the main sites. Since Google generously provides all the services behind this "Blogger" blog for free, I guess I really can't complain to loud when something goes wrong. Nevertheless, some very colourful words were shouted in Google's general direction when I found out last week that all pages on Malt Madness had disappeared from Google's index. 

This effectively meant that novices in the confusing world of whisky would no longer be able to find any of the precious nuggets of whisky wisdom that are littering the pages of Malt Madness. And that wasn't even the worst part of it. Unless I'm sorely mistaken, Google did more than introduce 'Google Instant' last week. (Google Instant starts offering search results before you hit 'enter' - significantly increasing the amount of web traffic in the process...) I'm not sure yet, but it seems Google used this opportunity to change their search algorithms as well. Many pages on Malt Madness used to score quite high "organically" with Google on whisky-related searches, but even now that most pages seem to be back in Google's index, they score much lower than they once did.

So, I'll have to make some changes to the structure of the site to try and make Malt Madness easy to find again. This could mean that parts of Malt Madness will be temporarily off-line in the days and weeks to come. Fortunately, I'll still be able to vent my spleen via other channels like this blog, the Mixed Messages mailinglist, Malt Maniacs, Facebook and Twitter

So, watch this space for updates in the weeks to come. As far as the news over the past few weeks is concerned: we've already received more than 150 bottles for the MM Awards 2010, our annual whisky competition. And there's still one week left for participants to join the competition, so we should get over 200 bottles again. Yumm.... Furthermore, we've received an interesting E-pistle about taxes on whisky in Europe from foreign correspondent Keith Wood. There are a few more E-pistles in the pipeline AND Rich Howard has been making some steady progress with the Malt Maniacs Database. The demo of the new MMMonitor is fully functional, so that should hopefully keep you suitably entertained for a while. 

And if that isn't enough, here are a handful of links to some enjoyable music I found on YouTube. Since YouTube is owned by Google, I figured that my enjoyment of the music they so generously provide might diminish their increased evilness a bit in the grander scheme of things. I'd like to encourage everybody to help me reduce Google's evilness by enjoying this small but eclectic collection of some home grown Dutch music... 

Johannes Heesters - Ode aan de Westertoren (An antique pre-WWII song)
Caro Emerald - Back It Up (The Original Videoclip)
Caro Emerald - Back It Up (A funny Kraak & Smaak Video-remix)
Veldhuis & Kemper - Volkomen Kut (Funny videoclip & lyrics) 
Room Eleven - Hey hey hey! (Just some happy music)
Zangeres Zonder Naam - Ach Vaderlief, toe drink niet meer (1959)
Bløf - Mooie Dag (lovely spacy music to my ears)
Jurk! - Tram 7 (Live)
Jurk! - Verloren (Beautiful melancholic lyrics)
De Lenco's - Het Grote Brandweerlied (Dutch Uber-folk)* 

(* Voor de Nederlandse lezertjes: in het laatste lied spreekt me met name het tomeloze enthousiasme aan waarmee de Lenco's over "een brandende hel" zingen...)

Eauqui-deauqui - enjoy....