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Matt Cutts Encourages Guest Bloggers To Take The High Road

April 9, 2014

Recently I had a chance to team up with Angie Pascale on a post about guest blogging. Angie did the hard part (the writing), I provided the visual support (illustration). You can see the post here.

Angie’s the social media director at Location3 Media. She writes about social media, SEO, paid media, and digital marketing for her company blog and a number of other sites, including ClickZ. And she’s as nice as she is knowledgeable.

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Guest blogging is more complex than you might think. It has a dark side. Matt Cutts, Google’s top spam fighter, recently concluded that many guest posts are, in fact, spam, written only to boost the page rank of the contributor’s site. Google has taken steps to penalize such posts.

Done in the proper spirit, however, guest posts are a force for good: a chance to share knowledge, demonstrate competence, attract attention (“brand awareness”), and, ideally, pick up new followers.

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My illustration showed Matt Cutts manning a roadblock, and a guest blogger choosing
the “true path.”

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ClickZ illustration guest blogger choosing path toward brand awareness Matt Cutts Google blocking road to spam to boost SEO and page rank

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My original rough sketch just showed a fork in the road. Angie suggested making the left side dark and dreary, and the right side bright and sunny– which gave the illo a lot more punch and visual appeal.

Here’s a detail image:

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detail image for ClickZ illustration guest blogger choosing path toward brand awareness Matt Cutts Google blocking road to spam to boost SEO and page rank

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How good is the caricature? Here are a couple of pictures of Mr. Cutts. He seems to like white tee-shirts.

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Two photos and caricature of Google spam watchdog SEO page rank expert Matt Cutts

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I got a kick out of mimicking the Google logo and colors. I used the Calluna font, which provides a fair approximation.

Colored letters can be hard to read, however. Can you see a difference in the two signs below? The sign on the right has darker letters. You can see it most clearly in the blue letters.

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Two signs saying Closed by order of Google one sign showing darker letters by adding Photoshop Color Burn layer

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I used a very simple Photoshop trick to darken the letters: I simply duplicated the text layers, set the layer mode to Color Burn, and adjusted the opacity slider until I liked the result.

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Two signs saying Closed by order of Google one sign showing darker letters Photoshop Layers Window showing darkening effect achieved by adding Color Burn layer

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I had great fun working with Angie, and I certainly learned a lot.

If you’re interested in the relationship between social media and marketing, and the intricacies of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), you might want to follow Angie
on Twitter
.

Here’s the final again:

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ClickZ illustration guest blogger choosing path toward brand awareness Matt Cutts Google blocking road to spam to boost SEO and page rank

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Have you ever done a guest post to build awareness for your brand and services?

Have you ever decided to follow someone after reading their guest post on a blog?

When’s the last time you strolled down a path lined with skulls and bones? Did you whistle??

Hope you’ll leave a comment.

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Baby Takes Stand, Leaves Puddle In Witness Box

April 1, 2014

But not just any baby. I’m referring to Baby Murloc. Or one of them anyway.

If you’re not an online gamer, you may not be familiar with Baby M.

Baby Murlocs are aquatic humanoid creatures in World of Warcraft. They first came to my attention back in 2012, when I was doing a wacky lawsuits feature for Inside Counsel Magazine. I first mentioned Baby M’s in this post.

What does a Baby Murloc look like? That’s one on the witness stand below. The judge, prosecutor, and jury are all WoW characters, too.

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courtroom scene for lawsuit involving the online game World of Warcraft and voice and song for aquatic creature called Baby Murloc

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What was the lawsuit all about? I knew you were going to ask me that.

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World of Warcraft is owned by Blizzard Entertainment. An employee (now ex-employee) sued the company for copyright infringement and misappropriation of her voice.

The employee developed the voice and created an original song for the Baby Murloc character. However,  she claimed that her role at the company (“game master”) was a customer service position, and that providing creative content was not part of her job description.

Hence, she deserved additional compensation for her contribution. The company disagreed with that scenario. She sued.

So was the above illustration for Inside Counsel Magazine? No. The commission came from a surprising source.

Here’s a detail showing the main characters in our little drama.

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detail image for courtroom scene for lawsuit involving the online game World of Warcraft and voice and song for aquatic creature called Baby Murloc

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When I did my original Strange Suits post back in May, 2012, I noted that the Baby Murloc case was one of four contenders for the Inside Counsel feature that month. But
it was not selected by the editors. It only got as far as the “rough sketch” stage.

Then a funny thing happened.

The case dragged on for more than a year. The company finally won– the court ruled the ex-employee was not entitled to additional compensation.

At some point, the lead attorney for the company sat down and googled “Baby Murloc lawsuit” to see if the case was sparking any commentary online. That’s how he came across my rather messy rough sketch.

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sketch for a courtroom legal cartoon about someone who is suing Blizzard Entertainment which owns electronic game World of Warcraft, plaintiff says Blizzard stole the voice and song of the Warcraft game's Baby Murloc character

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The case was still pending at that point. After he won, he contacted me and commissioned the illustration. I sent him the digital file, and two printed copies. He planned to hang one on his wall and present the other to his client, Blizzard Entertainment, as a momento of their hard-fought victory.

Here’s the final again.

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courtroom scene for lawsuit involving the online game World of Warcraft and voice and song for aquatic creature called Baby Murloc

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Are you a gamer? Ever heard of a Baby Murloc before?

Do you have any oddities hanging on your wall to commemorate special “wins”?

Ever had a guest leave a puddle in your living room witness box??

Hope you’ll leave a comment.

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If you enjoyed this post, please click the Like button below.

If you’d like to share this post with others, please click Tweet or Facebook or StumbleUpon or one of the other Share buttons.

I also invite you to get updates. Just click the Get Updates button in the sidebar below the Portfolio Thumbnails, or click + Follow in the blog menu bar.

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