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USA Today's Red Headed Step Child Users

Venture Beat points out an interesting fact about the USA Today relaunch that I didn't see elsewhere. Apparently they have turned on robots.txt (or enabled a java script equivalent) for the new user generated content that is now prominently part of their site. In other words, user submitted stories and comments will not be indexed by the search engines. Of course, the obvious question is why?

VentureBeat contacted Steve Kurtz, director of IT at USA Today......[this] "was intentional, explaining the company is being careful about what content is associated with the brand....We're still a newspaper."

I have to admit I am a bit puzzled by this one. Isn't the point of adding content to a site to have it be seen and read? Presumably whatever brand issues there are with this content are overcome by the site when a user is actually on it, otherwise it wouldn't be added at all. But their are brand issues when the content is on display as a result of a search query? Hmmmmm. Not sure I get it. There's an analogy here - you can't get a little bit pregnant? Embrace your new insect/ user overlords? If your going swimming your gonna get wet?

Not sure of the right one, but in my mind, if you open your site to user generated content, go for it and don't keep it hidden in the basement.


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Comments (1)

Perhaps what they're thinking that if you get to their content from their site (since it's not on google), they can message the transition (read link) and warn you that it's of questionable quality.

Also, you can always let the googlebot come in later, once you're confident of your ability to keep the quality of the posts high. But, to use your analogy, you can only unscrew a light bulb.

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