Before I dive back into our big product revamp. I would like to write down takeaways from a notable recent startup news item.
Oops is the word. Rapgenius is a music lyrics site that features an annotation tool to attach interpretation of specific lyrical lines. It got caught soliciting links which is a violation of Google’s TOS hence a Black hat SEO technique which costs you a major ranking penalty in search results usually from 1st page to past 6th page results which only old Uncles clicks through. Takeaways:
- Do not mind that its founders talk in a very weird bro/hiphop/gangsta wannabe fashion – it does not matter.
- There is a thin line between growth hacking and black hat SEO so only do them when you are in Google top 10 Ad spenders like Expedia.
- Be careful with building a startup that have too many dependencies. Rap Genius has a lot. Copyrighted content from labels and artist, Google Search for traffic, Breakout hit songs for traffic spikes, interesting interpretation from smart users (this is their unique user-generated content which cannot exist without being attached to a lyric.)
- Personally, i like the product – I use Rock Genius (alongside SongMeanings.com) so I would not count them out yet.
- Obviously the response to this would be to build their iOS and Android app quadruple times faster (surprising to see they don’t have them yet) and playing nice-r with Google going forward.