As many of you are aware, I’m a fan of Adult Swim’s Rick & Morty. I’m also a pirate. So when the first two episodes of Rick & Morty leaked on torrent sites, I decided to start covering the show.
It was an SEO play, as I knew all the media sites couldn’t post reviews due to their information embargoes. I already posted a recap of the first season and decided there was no reason for me to honor any embargo when I’m not involved in all that Hollywood bs. Justin Roiland never called me or asked me not to, and I never signed anything, so I decided to cover the leak and recap the episodes prior to their premiere.
My calculated risk paid off, and I was able to preempt coverage from IGN, the AVClub, and all those other nerd mags out there. Since I submit my stories to many of the same entertainment news aggregation sites they use, they noticed and even stole my Auto-Erotic Assimilation screenshot (posted July 30, 2015) above for their reviews (Here’s the same pic featured in AVClub’s Aug 10 review).
I even went so far as to troll these sites by not only posting my usual recap of the episode, but also a review of Auto-Erotic Assimilation declaring it (and I still believe this) one of the best episodes of the show. The reason I did this was so when they submitted their reviews, it would show as a duplicate. It made me smile, and I noticed both sites very quickly upped their games starting with episode 3, which they could watch before me.
I don’t have cable, so I have to wait for the episodes to stream online, and typically this happens after the airing. This leaves me at a disadvantage with all future episodes that aren’t leaked, as again, I don’t get a media screener from the studio.
I do still keep up with what’s being said about Rick and Morty online, not just because the show has now become a part of my blogging business, but also because I’m a true fan of the show.
This one leak didn’t cause me to write about the show – if it did I would’ve also covered Key & Peele and Game of Thrones when they leaked. I chose to cover Rick and Morty because I was already spending a noticeable amount of time searching online for discussions, clips, and news about the show. It only made sense to monetize that time.
But this is the Internet, and of course my SEO play was noticed by more than just IGN and AVClub. In fact, Rick & Morty is becoming a more and more popular show as time moves on, making a cameo on The Simpsons, inspiring a possible VR game, and becoming a sci-fi reference in its own right. At Phoenix ComicCon, I counted over 10 references to Mr. Meeseeks alone, who also can be loaded into Dota 2.
I’m not saying I caused the show to blow up, because this was clearly going to happen anyway. I had nothing to do with that.
The monster I fear I may have contributed to creating is more along the lines of noobs who never even watched the show trying to jump in and make the same SEO play I did, boosting their search rankings by basing entire stories off the 2-sentence episode synopsis Google displays on the right of the search results.
When I searched this morning for Season 2 Episode 9 in order to set up my blog for when I watch it tonight, I read the quick synopsis. I also did a quick check for news and leaks. That’s when I noticed two sites discussing the show that looked as though they’d seen something, though I couldn’t imagine how.
The first site I checked out was Realty Today, which just seemed weird to be covering this show. I was actually surprised at how detailed and accurate their report was. The author seemed to be a fan, and referenced the Vine Report article, which Google News labeled as highly cited.
Vine Report sounded like a legitimate site, so I was excited to read their report that was apparently worth citing. This is where I got irked – I only had to read through the second paragraph to suddenly realize not only has Vine Report’s author Pam Tan never even seen the show, but the whole thing is an elaborate SEO ruse to bring traffic to Realty Today and some Christian site.
What Pam is quoting about Ice T and Water T being featured in Rixty Minutes is a complete misunderstanding she had from reading one of the AVClub’s articles previewing Interdimensional Cable 2. She misunderstood an offhand comment about the Ice T plotline being the weakest of the season for meaning that it was actually included in the season one clips show.
In doing so, I now realize Pam Tan is actually working with an SEO firm that was hired to raise SEO ranking and traffic. Having to show results, Pam (or her firm) studied search traffic and saw Rick & Morty trending upward, and she (they) decided to jump on it.
These people aren’t fans of the show – and I’m willing to bet this bitch hasn’t even seen an episode.
So now, instead of relaxing and enjoying my Sunday, I have to write this blog up to bring transparency to what’s happening. Both Pam and I pulled an easy SEO play, but the difference is that I actually watched the episodes I reported on.
This snake-oil salesman is not only scamming her real estate client by bringing in cold-lead traffic that isn’t likely to have any interest in real estate, but also disrespecting Rick and Morty fans by selling garbage information in the hopes of leading them astray online.
I may be a troll, but I won’t let some ridiculousness like that happen without calling out names. Pam Tan clearly wrote that stupid article on Vine Report based on the Google synopsis. Then she or her tried making it sound as though she were important when linking to some dumb Christian site and referencing it on Realty Today and saying she didn’t want to reveal anything so as not to spoil it.
You have no idea about the details because you’ve not seen the episode, Pam, and it’s also very likely you’ve never even seen any episode. The only thing you spoiled was my mood.
And that, my dear readers, is why I wrote this blog and will post it on her article for her to read, right below the comments where I already gave her the proper episode recaps to quote the right information from next time.
What else would you expect from a whistleblower?
Brian Penny is a former business analyst and operations manager at Bank of America turned whistleblower, troll, and freelance writer. His work has appeared in Huffington Post, Fast Company, High Times, The Street, and Hardcore Droid.