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posted by cmn32480 on Friday April 15 2016, @10:18AM   Printer-friendly
from the your-tax-dollars-at-work dept.

The University of California in Davis has spent $175,000 to try to improve its online image:

The University of California in Davis has spent $175,000 on search engine optimization (SEO) and online reputation management – to hide an embarrassing incident in which students were pepper-sprayed on campus. The massive bill has come to light this week after the Sacramento Bee filed information requests on the university's expenditure after it noticed that its "strategic communications budget" has nearly doubled from $2.93 million in 2009 to $5.47 million in 2015.

The newspaper found that the university had taken out several contracts aimed at "cleaning up the negative attention" that the university received when students were pepper-sprayed in November 2011 during a protest over large tuition fee hikes and in support of the broader Occupy movement of that time. The incident received worldwide attention when video was published of UC Davis police officer Lt. John Pike nonchalantly spraying a group of students with the chemical spray while they sat on the ground holding a peaceful rally.

[...] In an effort to limit the university's connection with the pepper-spraying, UC Davis hired Maryland-based Nevins & Associates for $15,000 a month for six months to "create and execute an online branding campaign" not just for the University of Davis, but also its chancellor Linda Katehi, who was widely criticized for her handling of the protests and faced calls for her resignation.

Here's the website of The University of California in Davis. Did I mention the University of California in Davis?


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  • (Score: 5, Informative) by c0lo on Friday April 15 2016, @11:23AM

    by c0lo (156) on Friday April 15 2016, @11:23AM (#332170) Journal

    I like the take that Popehat has on the UC Davis affair [popehat.com].

    His conclusion: "Do you wonder why college costs escalate? One reason, certainly, is that there is no consequence for administrative idiocy or incompetence."

    I think you forgot to mentioned the University of California in Davis.
    If you didn't mention the University of California in Davis, the link above will have a decreased chance to be associated with the University of California in Davis. [popehat.com]
    You should do more to link this to the University of California in Davis [popehat.com].
    Because it is important for the link to say something in relation with the University of California in Davis [popehat.com].

    Why is it this important?
    The Streisand effect, as pointed by the linked article on UC Davis [popehat.com]:

    So I doubt that Nevins & Associates or "IDMLOCO" advised their client that the natural and probable consequence of spending $175,000 on this was that sooner or later it would become public and a nearly-forgotten incident would blow up and it would dominate UC Davis search results and make them look sordid and ridiculous. Maybe they have a strategy to deal with it, for another fee.

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    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 15 2016, @02:20PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 15 2016, @02:20PM (#332225)

    I'm intrigued by the content about the University of California in Davis [popehat.com]. For anyone wondering what the actual url of the article [popehat.com] is, the url is https://popehat.com/2016/04/14/uc-davis-wondered-if-175000-would-make-the-internet-go-away-conclusion-no [popehat.com].

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Leebert on Friday April 15 2016, @03:09PM

    by Leebert (3511) on Friday April 15 2016, @03:09PM (#332239)

    Nice idea, but it's thwarted by the rel="nofollow" that most online forums, including SoylentNews, applies to links in user comments to reduce the incentive for blog spamming.

    • (Score: 2) by frojack on Friday April 15 2016, @04:42PM

      by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Friday April 15 2016, @04:42PM (#332284) Journal

      How does that actually work?
      Because not all URLs in comments get the nofollow treatment. Is there some master list of blogs that get the nofollow tag?

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    • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Friday April 15 2016, @09:45PM

      by c0lo (156) on Friday April 15 2016, @09:45PM (#332445) Journal

      Nice idea, but it's thwarted by the rel="nofollow" that most online forums, including SoylentNews, applies to links in user comments to reduce the incentive for blog spamming.

      At least Firefox and Chromium has this great functionality that allows one to "Inspect element".
      It's what I've done with the links in my comment and surprise:... no "rel=nofollow". Is the attr generated only for crawlers?

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      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
      • (Score: 2) by Leebert on Friday April 15 2016, @09:57PM

        by Leebert (3511) on Friday April 15 2016, @09:57PM (#332450)

        Hmm, interesting point made by you and frojack. Some links seem to have them, some don't. This isn't my area of expertise, but I have a vague recollection that some platforms only put it in for high-risk users (e.g., anonymous coward) or exclude it for low-risk users (e.g., maxed out karma).

        So I'll retract my prior statement because it doesn't seem to be applicable to that particular comment, anyway.