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Published on May 22nd, 2012 | by 011100110110010

21

Outing & Anonymous SEO Confessions

I read two posts today. The first one was a 4,000 word article about outing another SEO supplier and probable competitor. Unfortunately once again an article about outing certain SEO techniques gained a lot of attention via social media (particularly Twitter).

I used to try and avoid these types of posts but actually I’ve decided that reading about them and discussing them is better than reading it, pretending that you haven’t read it, wanting to talk about it and not bothering (it’s tough being cool). I’m not going to link to it from here because the guys a bit of a twat and he’s probably got enough traffic/links recently anyway.

The second post was written by David Cohen. A brilliant, honest post called - An Outing Post: I’m Outing Myself – I’ve Done Crappy Marketing - If you haven’t read it (you should) David has decided to out himself before anyone else does.

Outers, let me save you the trouble

In the highly unlikely event I ever get some name recognition or do anything that would make me out-bait, I figure it might be wise to just go ahead and out myself now:

Looking through his list I have definitely read/seen (done) worse than anything he has mentioned so he shouldn’t worry too much. When I read about outing I always think of SEOmoz’s ‘transparency’. I like what Rand and the guys are doing but I can’t help thinking that there are a few SEO skeletons in the closet. Maybe we’ll hear about them someday? Anyway…

Another thing I thought about when reading David’s post is the secret site where people can anonymously post their deepest, darkest secrets. Opportunities to unleash personal longings, mistakes and regrets online.

Wouldn’t it be great if someone set up a similar page/website where people could confess to their awful inbound/outbound marketing tactics for online karma and multiple lulz? Until someone comes along and does this I would be more than happy to add any confessions in the comments section below (remember to make them anonymous!)

If not, read David’s post and good luck out there :)

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About the Author

One day I will make a living out of this industry, until then I'll carry on writing here.



21 Responses to Outing & Anonymous SEO Confessions

  1. Anonimouse says:

    I confess, I once came to this site looking for decent, actionable SEO advice.

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  2. Pingback: Outing & Anonymous SEO Confessions | Inbound.org

  3. David Cohen says:

    Thanks Sean for the kind words and links. I guess I’ll make a few more confessions… I’ve done about 6 searches on Yahoo in 2012.

    I gave a blogger a $50 Wal-Mart gift card for writing a blog post about the company where I am the marketing director (think we’re both ashamed about that).

    I used to believe everything Matt Cutts said.

    Probably the worst confession of all: I don’t know how to code.

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    • Cheers for dropping by man and no problem, it was the muse for this post (and my next one) so thank you :)

      I was going to comment on SEO and coding but have decided to write a post on it instead.

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  4. Rand Fishkin says:

    I actually did a whiteboard friday about a bunch of the dumb stuff we’ve done over the years back in 2010: http://www.seomoz.org/blog/whiteboard-friday-the-biggest-seo-mistakes-seomoz-has-ever-made

    And I agree – David’s post was excellent and very enjoyable.

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  5. Gene M says:

    I lolled at the last statement! Sorry…

    Hey, it’s never too late to learn anything. I still suck at it.

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  6. SEO Sinner says:

    I once got outed on Reddit for my karma whoring network, I have paid bloggers to write about my clients, I once bought an email database from a PR company & sold it for a small profit. I
    once told my mum to f##k off. I have been known to swap people’s keys on their keyboards to spell rude words. Last year I wrote 80085 on a calculator, laughed & showed it to my friend. I troll the interwebz with memes & fake social profiles. I once danced the Macarena at a wedding.

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    • See, don’t you feel better? Dancing to the macarena and swearing at your mum (how is she by the way?) just isn’t on though…

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  7. Simon says:

    I let my cat do my SEO whilst I play Xbox. This lets me turn a blind eye to the shady tactics my feline friend likes to employ.

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    • Good idea, send an email to Matty C afterwards claiming ignorance! My cat did it!

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      • Simon says:

        He’s a ‘Black Cat’. See what I did there? (I’ll get my coat).

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        • There’s no room for racism on this site. I think you better leave.

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  8. Alessio says:

    I once thought that keyword density was important.

    I once said to a site: “Wow, I really like your site, you have room to do something great”. and inside I was saying “you’re going to die because you’re calling yourself an entrepreneur but you are simply an asshole”

    I once called myself an expert, when clearly I am not, just to tweet about this.

    I once wrote to my twitter bio: “tweets are on my own” just because I think it’s dumb.

    I like to do stupid things to prove that they are stupid.

    I have the movie of Chris dancing the macarena at the wedding.

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    • I see what you did there with that first one… ;)

      Everyone’s an expert! Stupid things can also be fun :)

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  9. The most annoying thing about the industry is the politics. David your post is pretty tame compared to what most have tried along the way.Being a good SEO is a learning process, theres no training as such. Results are based around experimentation and previous experience and of course if you are experimenting your going to get it wrong sometimes or do something unfavourably. In the end we need todo this things to know whats right and wrong and what works and what doesn’t.

    Anyways im not for Outings im a firm believer in these things coming around and biting them in the ass in the long run. A vital skill that any SEO needs to learn if how to beat competitors no matter what tactics they use.

    You can learn from seeing both successful black hat and white hat tactics in operation.

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    • The most annoying thing about the industry is the politics

      Yup, the blatant lying in the pursuit for more business and money is understandable but fucking irritating.

      In terms of being an SEO, I like how Aaron Wall put it in a recent post:

      Just about any independent SEO worth their weight who publishes a number of websites has at least once hit a snag & been filtered or penalized. A person can say “not me” but how do they operate optimally in both the short term and long term if they never operate near limits or thresholds?

      The thing that annoys me most about outing is the grassing/snitch side of it, what is the point? Well done on making yourself 100% untrustworthy! There is however a part of me that enjoys seeing a website outed (try and deny that!) especially if it is a large site :) I do however feel sorry for Mike. I mean he’s been at Iacquire 5 mins and it’s put at his door?!

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  10. Fernando Valdez says:

    The problem with David’s post with all due respect is that those items he listed were all just mistakes that are not particularly contrary to the core values or assumed core values of his business. Where iAcquire bills itself as a completely authentic white-hat SEO and linkbuilding company, it’s done some shady tactics such as explicitly buying links and creating shell businesses which even the average consumer would understand would not be good business practices considering the name of their company. David’s unsuccess with certain marketing tactics is not outing in any way or form. Outing would be if he listed some actual skeletons in the closet.

    Now I’ve practiced some shady tactics in the past in experimentation and youthful ignorance as a way to get ahead and no SEO’s are completely clean, but I just think there’s a major difference between iAcquire and David’s post.

    Also, it throws me off how much some SEO’s hate outing when overall it should make us better and question our tactics more. It’s basically the same as investigative journalism and we’re coming across as shady corporate bastards if we are calling these people twats.

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    • David Cohen says:

      You raise a valid point about my post, Fernando. In my haste to publish it I failed to communicate what I really wanted to say – it was all about intent. The intent behind those ‘crappy marketing tactics’ was all wrong so that’s why I qualified them as crappy, not just because they bombed.

      So, getting 6,000+ people to spam 1,700,000+ people on Facebook, for example, had all the wrong intent. I knew what I was doing was wrong because I was forcing it and it wasn’t adding any real value.

      Last summer I built a lead gen landing page, launched it, and sent 5,000 unique viewers to it in a week. Sounds OK but because the intent was all wrong, I really got burned on that. 85% bounce rate and 0 conversions. It didn’t fail because those 5K people knew my intent was wrong, they just felt something was wrong.

      As a marketer, I want to provide value and the intent to be about building trust and long-term viability and sustainability. Hopefully this makes a little more sense.

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    • Fernando, thanks for taking the time out to comment.

      1 – When you put it like that I totally agree. There is a difference between admitting a few small wrongs and creating a link network…

      2 – I think that the industry will change their tune in terms of outing as SEO’s become more used to seeing people outed and do so themselves. I think (eventually) outing poor quality SEO will become the norm.

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  11. David Kelly says:

    Before I became a doctor I was involved in SEO, I used to use the crappy lists of auto approve blog comments, I used to produce around 10 articles per week for clients, I have bought followers and facebook fans.
    The crazy thing about seo is what is white hat today is black hat tomorrow, see the trust google penalty post.

    Outers , hmm if they are big arsed “SEO Agencies” hang em high and whip there corpses, small one band or small teams 9 out of 10 times are just working for clients that have a small budget that unless they run what works wont rank and therefore go out of business. For these arse hole A list SEO Gurus to preach outing lil guys as they work for big brands, I would like to cut off your feet and hands , SEO THAT mother f*8ker.

    Oh I look back in fondness and wonder if I had just stayed in SEO I would probably still be alive today. But alas I became a doctor and got involved in some real blackhat shit with an arsehole called Tony Blair and now I am dead as someone decided I wanted to commit suicide.

    Please dont forget me I was forced to lie about Saddam he was really a nice guy.

    PS the my cat does seo while I play xbox :) I taught my 7 year old so I can play BF3 50 p ROI Motherf@#kers

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