The other day I was submitting one of my recent articles to the (very small) handful of article submission sites that I use. The last stop on my list is Ezine @rticles, one of the largest and, in my opinion, best of the kazillion article submission sites on the web (though I readily admit that I'm not keeping up with the newer players.) I've been submitting my articles to Ezine @rticles for a few years now and they are the only site I submit my articles to that is not specific to web development or SEO/M. I have great respect for them, but lately, well, they've been riding the short bus drinking crazy Uncle Joe's home made Koolaid.

I know this because more often than not lately, my articles are being rejected for not meeting the submission guidelines. Yeah, I'll admit that I'm not always up to speed on their ever-changing rules that include such things as "we do not accept articles with active or inactive links in the first sentence, first 1-3 paragraphs or above the fold of an article." (The redundancy in that rule is mind numbing. I especially love the distinction between first three sentences and first three paragraphs, as if you could get a link in the former without it being in the latter. It's like saying that you're not allowed to commit murder in California, the West Coast OR the United States!)

But I'm convinced that the bigger culprit in my routine article rejection (and then later acceptance) is the liquor-laced, banana eating monkey they must be using to review articles (no offense if this description matches any actual human beings working at or for Ezine @rticles. I really am describing a monkey!) Or maybe it's just editor laziness (...if the shoe fits!). Seriously. Over the past several months I've had a number of articles rejected for a variety of reasons that simply were not true. The most recent rejection is a clear example of some of the absurdity going on over there.

Last Tuesday I submitted my article "Link Bait is the New Reciprocal Link" which had already made it's rounds, including being published right here on Search Engine Guide. The following Thursday I got my rejection letter:

We would like to help you get this article approved but there is an issue which needs to be resolved first.

Per our Editorial Guidelines:

...we allow a MAXIMUM of 6 ACTIVE links/URL's per article of which 3 can be to sites which you own, control or have an interest in.

My articles never contain more than six active links. I know this because I've gotten this notice frequently over the years so now I make it a habit of double checking (and counting) my article links. Depending on the article, I've been known to cut out a bio link or two in order to keep the relevant links in the article. But maybe... just maybe... I miscounted.

I logged back into my account and counted the links on this article. Not surprising (again, this has happened before) the article, as submitted to Ezine, contained only four links, two in the body and two in the bio. Counting certainly isn't somebody's strong suite. I replied to their email, letting them know that I only count four links (two to my site and two to a site that I don't control) and patiently waited for a response. Here is what I got...

I am unable to approve the article, as we do not accept articles providing information on link baiting.

This is great! The article was rejected, but not for reasons they originally stated. Now they got something entirely new. I even checked their guidelines and don't see anything in there about link baiting.

MUST NOT contain information on: hacking/cracking content, bomb creation, support for terrorism/ radicalism/ religious fanaticism, illicit drugs or drug paraphernalia, steroid use or advocacy, weapon/ firearms/ ammunition/ balisongs/ butterfly knives or brass knuckles, or the promotion of hard alcohol/tobacco-related products or prescription drugs.

Nope, that's not me. But I did enjoy this particular guideline:

MUST NOT contain information that promotes: Term papers or essays for sale to college students, PLR (Private Label Rights) articles as a good thing (it's not), the promotion of email Safe-Lists as a good thing (it's not) or bulk email spamming as a good thing (it's not), advocacy for paid auto-surf programs as a good thing (it's not), advocacy of click fraud or clicking on Adsense ads as a good thing (it's not), advocacy of creating MFA's (Made For Adsense) sites as a good strategy (it's not), or advocacy of Adsense Arbitrage (this policy is created to protect our advertisers interests)

Still not me, however. But I understand that these policies are hard to keep updated, especially in the world of the internet. Besides, which paragraph does link baiting go with, firearms or their list of topics that are are not "good thing[s]"? Somebody has a tough decision ahead of them.

Even if that is their policy they certainly are not enforcing it. A search for "linkbait" and "link bait" turn up over 300 articles, one of which was submitted and published just under two months ago. But if the monkey puffing on the banana pipe in the back room had actually read the article they would have realized that this wasn't an article suggesting that link bating is a good thing (its not). (teehee, just kidding.) Heck, even the title of the article, had it been read, might have clued someone one in as to the direction I was going with it. Sigh.

So yet another email later, explaining the content of the article (which they had in front of them already) I finally got the article approved. The article you see there is the article as submitted. Nothing changed, despite two separate rejections.

Hi Stoney,

I apologize for the confusion.

To clarify, we do not accept articles which promote any black hat SEO tactics. It seems that the editor may have mistaken this as a black hat tactic.

This isn't the only time something like this has happened. In fact, I was actually surprised a couple weeks back when I didn't get a rejection notice from Ezine @rticles. Not sure who's running the show over there, but they need to take a look at their review policies as well as their reviewers. They got a good thing going, the last thing they need is to DMOZ themselves.

Let this be an appeal to Ezine @rticles to stay off the fast track to irrelevance. And perhaps they need to dial down the discriminatory nature on certain article topics that are relevant to the online marketing community. Oh, and perhaps they should read the articles before rejecting them!

Note: By Ezine @rticles submission guidelines, this article would be rejected. Too many links! Does that seem right to you?

July 10, 2007

Stoney deGeyter is the President of Pole Position Marketing, a leading search engine optimization and marketing firm helping businesses grow since 1998. Stoney is a frequent speaker at website marketing conferences and has published hundreds of helpful SEO, SEM and small business articles.

If you'd like Stoney deGeyter to speak at your conference, seminar, workshop or provide in-house training to your team, contact him via his site or by phone at 866-685-3374.

Stoney pioneered the concept of Destination Search Engine Marketing which is the driving philosophy of how Pole Position Marketing helps clients expand their online presence and grow their businesses. Stoney is Associate Editor at Search Engine Guide and has written several SEO and SEM e-books including E-Marketing Performance; The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!; Keyword Research and Selection, Destination Search Engine Marketing, and more.

Stoney has five wonderful children and spends his free time reviewing restaurants and other things to do in Canton, Ohio.

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