Gordon Sands Threatens Seattle Bubble with Google Disavow in Misguided Attempt to Clean Up BankruptcyAction.com Comment Spam

Last week I got an email from Gordon Sands, “a principal” of BankruptcyAction.com—a website I’d never heard of—claiming that Seattle Bubble contains “link(s) to BankruptcyAction.com.” The claimed reason for this random email was to remove a link on my site “because the links are not in the same niche as our site,” but the real reason was obviously that the proprietors of this site had previously engaged in link-spamming, were punished by Google, and are now scrambling to get publishers to remove their comment spam links (via BoingBoing).


I especially enjoyed the big, red, bold text at the end of the email threatening to use Google’s Disavow tool as some sort of weapon against me should I not comply with his demand. Despite the vague claim in the email (no specific link to the post or posts in question) and the unnecessary threat, I decided to look into it, because to my knowledge no spam comments have ever gotten through on my site thanks to Akismet.

As best I can tell, there exists a grand total of one link to BankruptcyAction.com on Seattle Bubble. It was placed by a long-time reader in a 2008 comment. Since I’m not in the habit of editing reader comments unless the person who posted the comment requests it or it violates my comment policy, I politely declined to modify or delete the link in my reply:


This did not please Gordon, who indicated that he intended to follow through with his big scary threat:


Since Gordon seemed to be operating under some sort of false assumption that I care whether or not BankruptcyAction.com disavows my site to Google, I thought I would clear things up for him.


In reply: more veiled threats from Gordon.


I thought it only fair that I give Gordon a few tips, like if you want someone to do something for you maybe don’t lead off with giant bold threats.


Gordon’s final word on the matter confirmed my original suspicion: he’s trying to undo the damage done by comment spam.


That the comment in question on Seattle Bubble is obviously not spam is of no concern to Gordon Sands or BankruptcyAction.com. And because apparently he felt like his threats did not go far enough, he decided to close our conversation by calling me “a sensitive woman,” which I assume was meant to be an insult. But I am the one who “can’t handle your business.” Right.

Good luck to you as well, Gordon Sands and BankruptcyAction.com! You’re going to need it.

Oops, I guess Gordon Sands decided he wasn’t done “wasting time” after all!

Keep digging, Gordon.

Don Adams, 86 in Get Smart & Inspector Gadget

I got the recently (finally) released “Inspector Gadget Megaset” for Christmas, and I noticed a familiar number on the box…


Don Adams’ “Get Smart” character Maxwell Smart was Agent 86.

Don Adams’ voiced the goofy 1980s cartoon character Inspector Gadget in a total of 86 episodes.

I just thought that was an amusing and random coincidence.

Also, I love Don Adams. He was great.

“Would you believe…”

Markline Catalog: Holodeck workout

The Amazing ’80s Technology Gems of the Markline Catalog

A few months ago one of my coworkers at Redfin unearthed a long-lost treasure lurking in his garage: The Fall 1983 Markline Catalog. This amazing book contains a cornucopia of cutting edge technology from the early 1980s. I was able to borrow the catalog for a day to take it home and scan the entire thing in glorious high resolution.

Here are just a few of the amazing ’80s tech gems in the Markline catalog…

Credit Card Calculator

If you like calculators, Markline has you covered. Is it a credit card, or is it a calculator?!? Who can say?!?
Markline Catalog: credit card calculator

Wristwatch Calculator

Or maybe you don’t carry a wallet? No problem, strap a calculator to your wrist!
Markline Catalog: wristwatch calculator

Checkbook Calculator

Or perhaps you’d prefer not to flaunt your calculating prowess to the world… how about a calculator in your checkbook?
Markline Catalog: checkbook calculator

Printing Calculator

Maybe you need a calculator that can print tiny color charts? NO PROBLEM!
Markline Catalog: printing calculator

Mr. Disc

Sometimes after a hard day of calculating, you need to take a break. Behold: Mr. Disc!
Markline Catalog: Mr. Disc

Holodeck Workout

Gotta keep in shape, ’80s style, in the holodeck!
Markline Catalog: Holodeck workout

So Much More

The fun goes on and on and on… for over 40 pages. Just a few more examples:

  • Take A Look Into The Future With Casio’s Large Screen Pocket-Sized LCD TV!
  • The Miracle of Remote Control—In A Watch.
  • Any Watch Can Tell Time… Only The Casio TS1000 Can Give You The Temperature Too!
  • Revolutionary Storage Idea For All Your Tapes.
  • Koala Makes Your Graphic Dreams Come True With The Friendliest Innovation In Personal Computing.
  • The Phone Of The Future Is Here Today.
  • How Do You Buy A ColecoVision Virtually For Free?
  • At Last A Rechargeable, Voice Activated Microcassette Recorder.

At last!

Where’s My Fall 2013 Markline Catalog?

When this was brought into the office, another of my coworkers tried calling the toll-free ordering phone numbers mentioned throughout the Markline catalog. Unfortunately, one number was disconnected and the other went to some other company who had never heard of Markline.

So what happened to Markline? I dug around online a bit and was able to find this article, published about 10 years after this particular catalog hit the presses.

Catalog Age | October 1993: Markline ‘disappears.’ (Markline International goes out of business)

WEYMOUNT, MA—By all indications, gifts cataloger Markline International is out of business. Markline’s phone lines are either out of order or they go unanswered. Sources close to the company say it has ceased doing business, and “disappeared off the face of the earth,” according to founder and former owner Herb Klein. Klein still runs a business called Markline Business Products in Weymouth, MA, where Markline International had been based.

Gene Bellotti, whose direct marketing agency Harper Bellotti produced catalogs for Markline, says owner Robert D. Montague has “stopped mailing [the catalog], and he’s trying to sell it.”

Sad times.

But fear not! You can still enjoy the entire Fall 1983 Markline Catalog in convenient pdf format by downloading below or simply browsing the embedded version below.

January 2015 Update
I had the good fortune this month to receive the following email, reproduced with permission of the sender.

My daughter found your posting of the Markline catalog online. I was the vice-president of catalog planning (77-85) which included merchandising the catalog. I left the company before they were sold.

It probably was the most fun job I had during my career. Finding new and unusual items. In fact, we introduced the Sony Walkman in the U.S. We imported it from Hong Kong because Sony U.S. didn’t think it would be a hit. They changed their mind after they saw how many we sold. I’ve kept several different catalogs including the one you posted.

Thanks for the memories,