RizWords – Daily Politics and Tech
Episode 25 – download nowsubscribe now

Listener Mail:

D G Christensen wrote:
Hello,

I’ve read some of your blog posts, and I believe I met you at a rantmedia event, earlier this year.

I don’t agree with everything you have to say. However you express your views with a great deal of intelligence and articulation.

I really like the values of Christianity. I don’t however believe there was ever a(n) historical Jesus who walked on water or rose from the dead.

Contrary to what it might look like, I didn’t write for an argument. I think that people who spend time and effort converting those they believe do not share their values are often fools. If you believe in missionary work, I mean no offense.

I’m writing because I’m curious about your opinions on red letter Christianity, which I believe to be a good thing.

Listen to the episode to find out what a Red Letter Christian is, and Art’s response to his viewer mail.

Turning to Tech News, in the Google Acquisitions department:

Along with Schmidt’s announcement about Google’s web-based PowerPoint rival, Google is now announcing today that it has acquired Tonic Systems, a San Francisco and Melbourne-based company that specializes in presentation creation and document conversion. The site’s product pages now redirect to Google “not found” pages, while the main site redirects to an FAQ about the acquisition.

The terms of the acquisition are not being disclosed.

In an interesting tidbit of Business News:

World’s oldest business ends 1,428-year run
Mark Frauenfelder: A Japanese temple-building company founded in the year 578 is going out of business. Here’s Business Week’s article.
The circumstances of Kongo Gumi’s demise also offer some lessons. Despite its incredible history, it was a set of ordinary circumstances that brought Kongo Gumi down at last. Two factors were primarily responsible. First, during the 1980s bubble economy in Japan, the company borrowed heavily to invest in real estate. After the bubble burst in the 1992-93 recession, the assets secured by Kongo Gumi’s debt shrank in value. Second, social changes in Japan brought about declining contributions to temples. As a result, demand for Kongo Gumi’s temple-building services dropped sharply beginning in 1998.

By 2004, revenues were down 35%. Masakazu Kongo laid off employees and tightened budgets. But in 2006, the end arrived. The company’s borrowings had ballooned to $343 million and it was no longer possible to service the debt. In January, the company’s assets were acquired by Takamatsu, a large Japanese construction company, and it was absorbed into a subsidiary.

Link (Via Japan Probe)

Make money now! Sue a Spammer… well… sortof:

Anti-Spam Suits and Booby-Trapped Motions
Slashdot contributor Bennett Haselton writes in to say “The last few times that I sued a spammer in Washington Small Claims Court, I filed a “booby-trapped” written legal brief with the judge, about four pages long, with the second and third pages stuck together in the middle. I made these by poking through those two pages with a thumbtack, then running a tiny sliver of paper through the holes and gluing it to either page with white-out. The idea was that after the judge made their decision, I could go to the courthouse and look at the file to see if the judge read the brief or not, since if they turned the pages to read it, the tiny sliver of paper would break. To make a long story short, I tried this with 6 different judges, and in 3 out of 6 cases, the judge rejected the motion without reading it.” The rest of this bizarre story follows. It’s worth the read.Read more of this story at Slashdot.

This is a big thing in the paid-blogosphere as well as the SEO field. Tune into the show to find out why:

How to report paid links
One thing I heard at SES London was that people wanted a way to report paid links specifically. I’d like to get a few paid link reports anyway because I’m excited about trying some ideas here at Google to augment our existing algorithms. Google may provide a special form for paid link reports at some point, but in the mean time, here’s a couple of ways that anyone can use to report paid links:

– Sign in to Google’s webmaster console and use the authenticated spam report form, then include the word “paidlink” (all one word) in the text area of the spam report. If you use the authenticated form, you’ll need to sign in with a Google Account, but your report will carry more weight.

– Use the unauthenticated spam report form and make sure to include the word “paidlink” (all one word) in the text area of the spam report.

As far as the details, it can be pretty short. Something like “Example.com is selling links; here’s a page on example.com that demonstrates that” or “www.shadyseo.com is buying links. You can see the paid links on www.example.com/path/page.html” is all you need to mention. That will be enough for Google to start testing out some new techniques we’ve got — thanks!