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Britney Spears, Promises Rehab and Unsavory Linkbait
Posted by Alexander Fowler on March 10, 2007 at 09:34 AM Pacific Time
Looking for inside information about Britney Spears and her rehab at Promises Malibu? Look no further!
As I mentioned in my first post, Promises Treatment Centers is one of Geektime's search engine clients. The same Promises where Ms. Spears is currently undergoing rehab for drugs and/or alcohol. Of course, I am precluded by my contract with Promises and basic human decency from disclosing this information, but I have a sneaking feeling that its pretty much common knowledge now.
Promises is an interesting client as far a search goes. I love the owner, Richard Rogg, and volunteer my time for the Promises Foundation out of respect for his mission. Unlike many other treatment facilities in Southern California, Promises cares about treatment first and luxury second. For sure, it is upscale rehab at its finest, but treatment always comes first at Promises. Furthermore, the main site is in Flash. Entirely in Flash. Under one URL. For those not intimately involved in the search industry, this is very, very bad. And it will likely stay bad for a while as the Flash designer has a closer relationship with Mr. Rogg than I do. These two factors conspire against Promises and their search rankings. With an entirely Flash site and the marketing restrictions due to the sensitive nature of our service, it often feels like I have one and a half hands tied behind my back. Looking back at Promises analytics numbers, traffic (and search traffic in particular) dropped off a cliff last August when the new Flash site was unveiled. My first act was to restore the previous iteration of content and link it under the main Flash stage. You can see this clumsy arrangement at Promises home page. Thankfully, it stemmed the bleeding and I am seeing the site rising in the SERPs.
All of which brings us back to Britney and that inside information I promised. As of this morning's review of analytics data, since February 23rd, promises.com has experienced the following:
- Unique visitors up 4300%
- Pageviews up 3600%
- 541 new inbound links
These numbers tell me that a LOT of people are interested in Britney Spears, interested in where Britney Spears is rehabbing, and really don't care about Promises. Traffic is traffic; however, and I certainly won't turn down all the inbound links we have been getting. Unquestionably, Ms. Spears has aided our search efforts, serving as unintentional linkbait. Which brings me to my ultimate point...
These stats, and the assumptions that can be made from them, give rise to an interesting question. Would it be possible to find a way to use a celebrity as linkbait without appearing exploitative and losing future business? My position is no for two reasons. First, Hollywood is a very insular community and blacklisting is a very real possibility. Second, and more important - Ms. Spears is a human being undergoing treatment for addiction and quite possibly post partum depression. To exploit that would mean a reservation in one of the lower levels of hell. I am curious if anybody has a different take on this.
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