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Jul 17, 2012

Kids Suffer From Offline Black-Hat SEO In Bnei Braq

In Hebrew we have a term called "Atimut HaLev", which means insensitivity, or perhaps some sort of emotional numbness and a level of emotionlessness.

Bechadrei has the story of two young girls in Bnei Braq who decided to make a camp for the summer vacation. To advertise their camp they made signs and hung them up on sign-boards in the streets around their part of town.

Sure enough, city inspectors noticed the signs and called the telephone number in the advertisement. they did not want to send their daughters to the camp, but to punish the kids for hanging signs without a license. the inspectors told the mother that they had so far found 5 signs for this camp, and the cumulative fine is, so far, 5000 NIS.

If this was the sign of an adult advertising his or her "pirate" business, selling socks out of the house, selling esrog and lulav sets, or teaching an extracurricular activity class or advertising oneself as a driver or whatever, I would be ok with that. The adults running off-the-books businesses know to either be careful or be caught. They should realize advertising costs money and publicizing one's business like that exposes one to being noticed (the point of advertising).

Kids, however, don't know that. They see a board of signs, so they put their sign up. How should they know that they have to pay to put it up? I think they should even be commended for putting the signs on the board rather than tacking them to trees and bus-stops, as many other people do. Give the kids a break. They found a way to turn a long and boring summer into something productive. Maybe give the kids a warning to remove them and explain that next time advertising costs money. Even with speeding tickets the police will at times make an exception and give the offending driver a first-time warning.

Or maybe, this was a great example of offline "black-hat" SEO. "Black-hat" both because of it being in Bnei Braq and because of the negative style. One method of black-hat SEO is creating negative links to your competitor, so his website will get punished for those offending links. The mother, or the girls, should have responded to the inspectors that maybe their competitors had put up the signs with their phone numbers so they would get in trouble..

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  1. Is there a permanent notice on the board that you need a license to post something?

    If not, then OF COURSE no one should be fined for posting anything.

  2. Unfortunately this is a sign of the times. (Sorry for the pun) In his latest book Mark Steyn details how food inspectors in small town America frequently crack down on homemade lemonade stands run by little kids because they don't follow the local health and food preparation bylaws.
    A small mind with small power causes big trouble.


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