When Good Tweets Go Bad: Matt Cutts Burned on Twitter, Hilarity Ensues


When Matt Cutts speaks, people listen. As one of Google’s most influential figures, Cutts has a loyal following that hangs on his every word. Unfortunately for him, this doesn’t always work out so well, as a recent tweet demonstrated.

 Cutts took to Twitter yesterday to announce the launch of a new reporting tool designed to make it easier for site and content owners to flag instances when scraped material is ranking higher than the content’s source. For many site owners and content producers, this was welcomed as a step in the right direction. However, for Cutts, the backlash was swift.

Dan Barker was quick to point out that Google’s own Knowledge Graph is the biggest content scraper on the web. To add insult to injury, Barker included an image of a Google Knowledge Graph SERP for the term “scraper site,” complete with two very helpful purple arrows highlighting that the Knowledge Graph definition was scraped directly from Wikipedia.

Matt Cutts Burned on Twitter

Barker’s example was extremely “cutting” (sorry, couldn’t resist), as the definition reads, “A scraper site is a spam website that copies all of its content from other websites using web scraping. The purpose of such a site can be to collect advertising revenue…”

The irony was most definitely not lost on the web community. As of this morning, Barker’s response has been retweeted more than 13,000 times and favorited more than 11,000 times. Of course, even though I was the first person to retweet Barker’s biting reply, I can’t take all the credit – but Dan did send me a note this morning thanking me for the retweet. No doubt he’ll take the time to do that for each and every person who retweeted him.

The incident wasn’t limited to the confines of Twitter, either. Predictably, it’s currently the most upvoted story on Inbound.org, and will no doubt continue to embarrass Matt Cutts for the next several days.

What do you think? Was Barker too harsh, or was it all in good fun?

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Thomas Rosenstand
Feb 28, 2014

Absolutely not too harsh. Google is probably the biggest scraper in the world and often scrapes content and put it above the fold and above the original in SERP. Matt should respond though - would do him good! 

Larry Kim
Mar 03, 2014

he's been ignoring it. all 20k retweets...

Dan Kern
Feb 28, 2014

I could not agree more with the hypocrisy of Google's Knowledge Graph, and I've never felt right about supporting it.

Alex Adekola
Feb 28, 2014

15,000 retweets now. This is epic.

Larry Kim
Mar 03, 2014

I was the first retweet on that post. i feel like i have witnessed something incredible.

Azizul Yusof
Mar 01, 2014

Google has been unfair more and more lately when it's involving their decision on Search Results/SEO.People are just waiting the opportunity to let the 'unsatisfied' feeling to out. That incident was the perfect example.Can't blame Matt and the Team 100% though, as they have to follow their employer's plan/instruction too. 

Mar 02, 2014

Thank you very much for Sharing Information.

Keith Brown
Mar 02, 2014

Hopefully Matt got a decent laugh out of it. Great thinking sharing on inbound.org, would be hilarious if this eventually makes the top 10 most voted posts there of all time.

Larry Kim
Mar 03, 2014

it's currently in the top 4 of all time. check it out (and up-vote it!) -- http://inbound.org/articles/all/votes?tags=&query=

Frank Ambat
Mar 03, 2014

"Oh irony!"... That was the first thing came in my mind after reading that reply of Dan Barker! xD

Mar 03, 2014

Matt Cutts didnt expect this either to go viral: http://googlein10years.wordpress.com/2014/03/03/googlepedia/

Mar 06, 2014

Great article! I plan on scrapping this page...been looking for some content :)

Mar 06, 2014

may be he can defend himself based on the creative commons license but anywise this is amazing #caughtintheact

Mar 15, 2014

Google is the biggest scraper in the world this should be a lesson for them... and for their hypocrisy...

May 14, 2014

Omg.....Doesn't know about this......great post....thanks for sharing Larry...........:-)

Santi Navarro
Jul 31, 2015

Lol! Google a scraper! I can't believe what i seeing :)
Great post Larry and thanks for sharing.

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