The Magic Café
Username:
Password:
[ Lost Password ]
  [ Forgot Username ]
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Right or Wrong? » » Online Ethics (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Chris H
View Profile
Inner circle
Melbourne, Australia
1364 Posts

Profile of Chris H
OK...I'll be interested to see whether this gets deleted.

I want to bring to your attention something that I've recently read about in another online forum. This isn't a question of whether it is OK to use someone elses material, but something I feel is far more important.

I was recently alerted to a well known magician who, via his website, appears to be riding on the success of his peers.

The website has a black background, and the name of the magician in big, bold print at the top of the page. Immediately beneath this, written in black text, are the names of more than 40 other working magicians residing in the same area as the owner of the website. The names aren't visible when you look at the website due to the black background, but if you highlight the logo and continue to highlight the rest of the page, they can be seen. Which means that a Google search for any of the mentioned performers is likely to guide the searcher to the above mentioned website.

Now, before you dismiss this to quickly (and this revelation is what may get this thread deleted), the responsible magician is considered a guest of honour on this very forum. He has since removed the names from his website, but it is still viewable through Google's cache. I obviously have no intention of revealing said website here (I don't wanna get sued, or worse...banned from the forum), but I would like to hear what other people think of this issue. Is it wrong, or is it just business? Would love to hear your thoughts.

Cheers!

-- Topher
Mr. Muggle
View Profile
Special user
999 Posts

Profile of Mr. Muggle
The term as I know it is 'hidden text' which is a 'no-no' with most search engings. If Google finds it his site will be banned. Web designers used to use it to improve the sites web ranking but most of the webcrawlers don't use keywords for ranking like they used to- so it is a useless tool.

This link isn't the best but you can do some reading if you like.

http://www.seologic.com/faq/hidden-text.php
"Now you're looking for the secret... but you won't find it because you're not really looking. You don't really want to know the secret... You want to be fooled." - The Prestige (2006)
Bill Palmer
View Profile
Eternal Order
Only Jonathan Townsend has more than
24221 Posts

Profile of Bill Palmer
You need to flush your cache and revisit the site. Since this was originally pointed out on the other forum, the magician in question has made the text visible. Originally, the invisible text said: "Also Available" and listed all of the other magicians.

Bear in mind that the complaint on the other forum was brought by a magician the magician in question had worked with and featured in some shows.

While the motive might be to gain extra hits when someone's name is googled, the approach taken now is completely legal, unless, of course, these performers are not booked by him.

Then it's a different matter.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
Payne
View Profile
Inner circle
Seattle
4572 Posts

Profile of Payne
Quote:
On 2006-02-27 17:20, Bill Palmer wrote:

While the motive might be to gain extra hits when someone's name is googled, the approach taken now is completely legal,



But the question was, is it ethical? Legal and ethical are different sides of the same coin.
This most likely would not have been an issue in the first place had not the owner of this website made such a to do about the ethics, or lack therof, of others in the magic community.
You know, mote in ones eye and all that.
"America's Foremost Satirical Magician" -- Jeff McBride.
Bill Palmer
View Profile
Eternal Order
Only Jonathan Townsend has more than
24221 Posts

Profile of Bill Palmer
That's true, but if he is actually acting as a booking agent for these performers, then it seems to me that it would be very difficult to fault him over this, other than keeping the original form of the type invisible.

I hate to bring up the other forum, but the gate was opened by someone other than me. The original post about this on the other forum was by one of the magicians he has apparently booked into some venues.

I would really like to hear from the guy who made the original post over there to learn what the real motivation was. He may have been p.o.ed because of a lack of permission.

Maybe someone will ask him.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
Tim Ellis
View Profile
V.I.P.
Melbourne, Australia
1224 Posts

Profile of Tim Ellis
I agree with Payne who said: "This most likely would not have been an issue in the first place had not the owner of this website made such a to do about the ethics, or lack therof, of others in the magic community."

The points which some people seem to keep ignoring are:

1 - Motivation - The text was not "hidden" in order to get extra hits. It was black because I can only redesign my site online and I was half way through adding the names to make it clearer to our clients that our company represents acts other than ourselves. Most of the names were acts we represented, five were acts I was going to approach before finalising what I wanted to put up. After the hoo-ha generated by certain people, there's no way I can approach those acts now. We've been operating as an agency since the arly 1980's and we have employed every single one of the people listed at one time or another. (Except for the person who originally brought this up as an issue on the forums, his name was not listed, nor have we ever employed him.)

2 - Reality - By adding names to your website does it actually help me? Kent Blackmore tried a dozen or so of the names of google, guess what, their sites came up, not mine. If I was trying to steal their business, I was failing miserably. Also, if a client came to our site looking for 'Al Cappuccino' for example, they'd email us asking for him and we'd book him for them. If they came looking for someone we didn't represent... would they just book us instead? I don't think so. If they emailed us asking for someone we don't represent, we pass the magicians contact details on to the client.

3 - History - It's very easy for people to cause trouble by throwing allegations about what my motives "appear" to be, and easy for people who don't know me to believe them. However, magicians who have worked for and with us know how ethical we are in our business dealings. Agents who have called us looking for other magicians we don't represent have praised us for our willingness to share information and contact details. We don't see other magicians as competitors but as colleagues and our track record of over 25 years stands to show that.

I am aware of how eager a small but vocal minority are to "bring us down" and how carefully they are watching our every move ready to judge. This incident has made me even more concious of how "squeaky clean" we have to stay.

It will not stop me speaking about ethics, but I certainly will be very sure about my facts before making any statements that could make me look like an idiot.
Bill Scarlett
View Profile
Veteran user
Vermont
365 Posts

Profile of Bill Scarlett
I saw the original allegations about this issue and wrote them off as an attempt to discredit someone who is doing a lot to stand up for ethics in magic (and ticking some people off in the process). I question the motives of "magic topher" in bringing this up, considering it isn't even certain that the allegations are true. It is probably a good idea to get your facts straight before you start repeating rumors.
Chris H
View Profile
Inner circle
Melbourne, Australia
1364 Posts

Profile of Chris H
Note my initial post. No names were mentioned. If I wanted to discredit anyone, I would have been name dropping from the very start. This was not about "bringing anyone down", but merely to discuss what I thought was an interesting topic.

Quote:
On 2006-02-22 03:12, MagicTopher wrote:
I obviously have no intention of revealing said website here (I don't wanna get sued, or worse...banned from the forum), but I would like to hear what other people think of this issue. Is it wrong, or is it just business? Would love to hear your thoughts.


So don't tax my gig corcruster.

-- Topher
edh
View Profile
Inner circle
4698 Posts

Profile of edh
Why is it that when one questions anything about another magi it is questioned as a "degrading comment". People were concerned. And magis responded. I might add respectabale ones at that. It was just a concern that had to be cleared up. And it was.
Magic is a vanishing art.
Tim Ellis
View Profile
V.I.P.
Melbourne, Australia
1224 Posts

Profile of Tim Ellis
Topher,

If your intention was to merely discuss the topic, you would not have needed to say: "the responsible magician is considered a guest of honour on this very forum."

You also omitted the fact that "the responsible magician" represents magicians as an agent.

To give you the benefit of a doubt, the situation - as you described it - is not ethical and, as pointed out, anyone caught doing it would be dealt with by Google. It's not illegal, but it is simply bad business all round. To use "hidden text" would not neccessarily work effectively with search engines, and any clients who chose to click on a search result which lead to a different magician's website would most likely try another search result.

However, the situation you described, and implied "the responsible magician" was involved in, was not accurate. That is why is certainly appeared that your innocent question about ethics may not have been so innocent after all.


I do hope your corcruster was not overly taxed.
Chris H
View Profile
Inner circle
Melbourne, Australia
1364 Posts

Profile of Chris H
At the present time, there are over 23000 members on the forum. The reason I mentioned the "guest of honour" status, was so that the topic wasn't dismissed immediately. I would have imagined that this kind of tactic would be used by newbies in an effort to try and score a couple of extra gigs, not by a respected professional.

-- Topher
Beth
View Profile
Loyal user
Missouri
277 Posts

Profile of Beth
You know I saw this on a site recently. They had hidden text at the bottom of their homepage ( it was a lot of text) and really they were listing everything under the sky to get googled... famous magicians, well known magic sites... this one included actually. I think it is a cheat, and I don't think it's ethical at all. Basically it is just a way to get the advantage of someone elses name that they did not earn.

I used the link above to report them to google and yahoo who have a page just for this. I don't know how effective that is, but it would be nice if they would pull them off their search engines. One can hope haha.

BTW the link for that specific page is http://www.google.com/contact/spamreport.html for anyone that needs it.
Peace Beth
"All creative art is magic, is evocation of the unseen in forms persuasive,enlightening, familar, and surprising."
Tim Ellis
View Profile
V.I.P.
Melbourne, Australia
1224 Posts

Profile of Tim Ellis
Quote:
On 2006-03-08 02:51, MagicTopher wrote:
I would have imagined that this kind of tactic would be used by newbies in an effort to try and score a couple of extra gigs, not by a respected professional.

-- Topher


Topher, your tone suggests that you either haven't read my earlier posts, or you simply are determined that my motivation was "to try and score a couple of extra gigs".

I PMed you about this, but you haven't replied.

I hate to tell you this, but it really looks like you're simply out to stir the pot. What have I done to upset you so much and what can I do to make you happy?
Tim Ellis
View Profile
V.I.P.
Melbourne, Australia
1224 Posts

Profile of Tim Ellis
BTW: I just discovered 12 entire PAGES of hidden text on my website. Due to a change in theming in our design, 12 pages of articles written in black on white ended up hidden in a black starry background.

I'm glad I found them and fixed them before certain people started sending out emails that I was "at it again".
Chris H
View Profile
Inner circle
Melbourne, Australia
1364 Posts

Profile of Chris H
I've already said it dude. This wasn't a personal attack. I was just questioning the idea, and wanted to hear other people's opinions. I think you're comparing this to the time when I enquired as to why your company was selling an effect through Penguin Magic, when you have publicly slammed the same organisation for "unethical practices". This is different. If I really wanted everyone to know who you were, I would have come out and said it (I've already proved that).

-- Topher
Tim Ellis
View Profile
V.I.P.
Melbourne, Australia
1224 Posts

Profile of Tim Ellis
Yes, I remember. You were wrong then too. We have a good relationship with Penguin no matter what you say.
Tim Ellis
View Profile
V.I.P.
Melbourne, Australia
1224 Posts

Profile of Tim Ellis
Here's a question for you Topher, seeing you don't respond to PMs.

How ethical is it to try to discredit a professional performer by making up a webpage that says he was arrested for selling crack to elementary school students?
JackScratch
View Profile
Inner circle
2151 Posts

Profile of JackScratch
Ethical? That's slander, or libel, I always get them confused.
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Right or Wrong? » » Online Ethics (0 Likes)
[ Top of Page ]
All content & postings Copyright © 2001-2019 Steve Brooks. All Rights Reserved.
This page was created in 0.22 seconds requiring 5 database queries.
The views and comments expressed on The Magic Café
are not necessarily those of The Magic Café, Steve Brooks, or Steve Brooks Magic.
> Privacy Statement <

ROTFL Billions and billions served! ROTFL