Thursday, April 18, 2013

Others are picking up on the Melbourne ghost sign theme

Well it had to happen. After the recent flurry of publicity about ghost signs in Melbourne, it seems other enterprising folks are jumping on board.

An established Melbourne walking tour operator has started a ghost sign tour of the Melbourne CBD, referring in his webpage to the seminar we ran recently plus related media articles. I'm more than happy to promote an enterprise like this if it means that the interest in this topic is nurtured. So here's the link I just stumbled on whilst trawling the web:

It needs to be emphasised that this operator is well respected and has been running Melbourne history tours for a long time, including ones on signs and street art. So this is more a continuation of his existing activities, just with the addition of the 'ghost signs' name.

On the tour note, a number of people have asked me if I plan on running Melbourne ghost signs tours myself. It's tempting but it's really a question of time - there ain't much of that at the moment. I think I might do a couple of impromptu ones and invite friends and reader of this blog when the time is right...possibly even a bike tour of the inner north. Stay tuned.

More problematic than the walking tour is a Melbourne-based ghost signs website that has sprung up in the wake of the recent ghost signs publicity. It looks at first glance like an exercise in web traffic mining/onselling/monetisation. The creator (who posts under a pseudonym) is associated with a web hosting outfit that also seems to specialise in creating website shells on a range of topics. So far the site has posted my and other ghost sign creators' photos without permission, then taken them down when we pointed this out,  claiming it was a unknowing web developer who posted the photos. But since then, there have been more photos posted on the site - a cropped one of me from the Age article, plus a photo taken either from this blog or from the ABC photo gallery, which also used this pic but asked me first (if someone does ask, I'm usually more than happy to let them use it).

Besides a few photos of signs in Collingwood and North Fitzroy, the website in question only has content from Wikipedia and links/references to our stuff. This guy is now on Twitter as well, and his website plus Twitter account seems to use classic SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) tricks to drive traffic his way - the words and phrases in the domain name and copy, as well as links. Maybe he is genuine in his interest (we'll give him the benefit of the doubt for now), but I and fellow ghost sign aficionados are wary - we'll see what happens over time.  I won't provide the link here (for obvious reasons)  but just ask people to be aware when planning to contribute ghost sign pics, information or comments to websites that don't seem to have much history or content, and that don't disclose in a transparent manner who they are created by and why.

And lastly, this little blog has now received some 5,000 page views - not a lot as far as websites go overall, but, for a very niche interest, I'm chuffed. So thank you for tuning in :)

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