Daily Mail newspaper plants job advert in robots.txt file

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Daily Mail robots.txtPerhaps unsurprising for a newspaper that probably has more SEO staff than, well, actual journalists, the UK’s Daily Mail is hiring a new Search Engine Optimization manager.

Interestingly, however, the job advert itself in fact appears in the newspaper’s website robots.txt file, which isn’t usually designed to be read by humans but is targeted at search engines bots to tell them what content shouldn’t be indexed and other related information.

The idea being that only particularly geeky SEO types would be snooping around in said file, the type of candidate that the Daily Mail hopes to attract.

Here’s the ‘advert’ as spotted by Malcolm Coles, an SEO guy himself:

Now this is either clever, proof that SEO types have a sense of humour, or the best example of newspaper content being written for a search engine that we’ve seen yet.

I’ll let you decide.

Update: James Bromley (@jamesbromley), MD of MailOnline, tells us that the idea for the job advert was his, and in a tweet sent shortly after publication, was at pains to point out that “For the record, MailOnline has one SEO employee, and a lot more journalists”. That, of course, depends on how you define journalist, but we appreciate the clarification James.

(via paidContent)

  • http://favit.com/infographs Marfi


    • pleisahs

      Pretty cool, but as you all are aware, Google’s SEO algorithm can be manipulated and if your site tends to be on the top of the food chain (1k alexa below) Chances are only those one to two tail keyword are the ones you can dominate.

      This is to pave way for other smaller sites to dominate on 3-4 tail keyword.

      Unless, if you will bid a certain keyword on Adwords. See the conspiracy of Google’s SEO Algorithm.

  • http://benwerd.com/ Ben Werdmuller von Elgg

    Daily Mail in “displaying nous and intelligence” shocker. If only that extended to their actual content …

    • http://www.ajgraham.com Alex Graham

      +1 The Daily Mail is for xenophobes, to work there you either need to be one as well or be willing to be a modern day version of Hitlers henchmen. Some of their content is just blatantly racist, and above all, awfully written.

      • http://twitter.com/nine_L Lenin

        Can’t agree more.

      • http://www.blueclaw.co.uk blueclaw seo company

        “That, of course, depends on how you define journalist”


  • http://www.twitter.com/abishk_d AD


  • http://mustafaturan.net/ mustafa turan

    creative idea :)))
    let a bot get the job :p

  • Conor Ogle

    Something similar was done by an Australian(?) firm recruiting a new accountant/financial controller years ago.

    They placed a job offer in the narrative text accompanying small unexpected payments – payments which might have been missed by all but the most diligent of accountants.

    “If you find this message, you’ve got the attention to detail that we want – call us on xxx-xxxx to talk.”

  • http://webexplainer.com Brian Christner

    Very clever. Obviously if you found it before it hit Tech Crunch you would deserve the job right away now I’m sure the HR manager is getting hundreds of emails and doesn’t know why all of a sudden.

    • Bimbo

      It’s called “making it viral”.

      Welcome to the Internet.


      • http://www.danj.me/ Dan Jeffrey


        Didn’t you know Techcrunch was owned by Associated Newspapers?

      • http://www.danj.me/ Dan Jeffrey

        Poor, form parser stripped my <grin>

      • tmhcks

        You win the Internets!!111111111

  • http://cosp.org.pk/blog/shoaibi Shoaibi


  • zb

    I say clever.
    “…if you found this then you’re the kind of techie we need!….”

  • http:///www.triphunter.co.uk Andrew

    Nerd alert!

  • http://www.pzyche.com Jason Duke

    Or go and read a blog in a robots.txt from Brett Tabke, owner of Webmaster World.


  • http://www.techboy.co.uk Techboy

    As it’s for the UK Daily Mail, it should be ’12th August’, not ‘August 12th’.

    Maybe Holly Ward should write her own job advert and then resign? hehe

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  • http://twitter.com/thameera tham

    Now at least Daily Mail will see the number of subscribers grow

  • http://paulbjensen.co.uk Paul Jensen

    Cool idea, just a shame its for the Daily Mail!

  • http://twitter.com/nine_L Lenin

    But techcrunch would create a bunch of fake nerdy applicants by publishing this post :P

  • Techgirl

    Techboy – no one likes a smart arse or should that be ass?

  • Shealan Forshaw

    This robots.txt is more accurate I think…


  • Nathan Totten
  • http://ironsoftstudios.com Andrew Fernandez

    Zappos does the same thing…except they put job ads in every single header of each file from their site. They also put their core values as an attribute in the header.

  • http://twitter.com/nine_L Lenin

    According to Sealan Forshaw, Daily Mail’s previous robots.txt was different. And thats interesting :)

    Check out this: http://twitter.com/Shealan/status/22000457519

  • Tom

    You are all mistaken.

    The website has gained sentience and that robots.txt is a cry for help. Those SEO people are screwing with its code causing problems, so the site itself is trying to find replacements for those fools messing with the site.

  • Janet

    Techboy – Maybe she is American and it seems only you have a problem with that!?

    • http://www.techboy.co.uk Techboy

      @Janet – It is a UK newspaper. The nationality she is doesn’t make any difference. If she was Japanese I wouldn’t expect her to write the date in Japanese characters (not that you could in an ASCII based robots.txt file anyway).

  • http://thewellrunsite.com Michael Johnston

    WordPress.com does this too. From a Linux command prompt:

    curl –head wordpress.com

    You’ll get:

    X-hacker: If you’re reading this, you should visit automattic.com/jobs and apply to join the fun, mention this header.

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