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4:43pm on Monday, 28th February, 2011:



The following articles showed up in my vanity search yesterday:


I didn't bother linking to them, as they're all the same. They're on different sites and purport to be written by different people, but they're basically identical. They contain a particular phrase that makes them quite recognisable: "gameaholics named Richard Bartle and Roy Trubshaw".

I've seen this phrase before. It's the kind of phrase I remember, because Roy Trubshaw wasn't a gameaholic by any stretch of the imagination, so it's basically bad journalism. The text surrounding them changes a little: sometimes we're "two" gameaholics, sometimes we're "a couple of" gameaholics, sometimes we're "a pair of" gameaholics, but the gist is always the same. These articles have been appearing for years — around a decade or so.

I think they go through some kind of synonym-processing to make them look superficially different while actually being the same. One of the words in their dictionary has a mistaken form, too, as you can see from the sentence before the one where it mentions Roy's and my names. This reads (among many variations) "Whilst these types of games are widely well-known nowadays, they in fact have been in existence for quit some time", "Whilst these types of games are widely well-known nowadays, they actually have been in existence for quit some time","While these kinds of online games are widely popular these days, they actually have been in existence for quite some time.", "While these online games are widely popular today, they in fact have been alive for several years", "Whilst these sorts of games have been at large obvious nowadays, they essentially have been in life for give up the little time". As you can see from the last one, this synonym system doesn't always work...

I guess the reason they do this is so the pages look valid to search engines, so the other links on the page have credence, the aim being to boost their profile. Whatever, it doesn't work: as I said, I've been seeing these articles for around 10 years, but only recent ones show up in Google; presumably the earlier ones were detected by Google as being fraudulent and removed.

Every once in a while, though, along comes another batch...

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Copyright © 2011 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).