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Say Your Final Prayers, Black Hat SEO’s: Guest Post by Dr. Ken Evoy

Posted June 1st, 2010 by Andrew Goodman

[Editorial note:  Dr. Ken Evoy is one of the most successful entrepreneurs in our space. Back when a great many small businesses (today's "savvier more experienced online businesses") were coming onstream, Evoy's company, SiteSell.com, was providing one of the first "bibles" of Internet Marketing, Make Your Site Sell!. Many Internet marketers cut their teeth on that book. SiteSell morphed into a tool and process providing company called Site Build It!, which over 40,000 customers use to build their own, independent, e-businesses. Recently, Ken and I engaged in some friendly discussion about some of the blackest of black hat tactics that are still lurking around, and the practitioners' ham-fisted attempts to profit from them. Some of them are quite harmful to the ecosystem, but most importantly, after a time they stop working. And the howls and screams begin. We shouldn't listen to those howls and screams. They're about search engines doing their job: protecting consumers and competing businesses from shady, spammy, and often borderline illegal marketing tactics.

--Andrew]

One Day, the SEO’ers Will Get It: But Not Today

[by Dr. Ken Evoy, Guest Post for Traffick.com]

I am constantly amazed by the “psychology of the herd.”  Any herd.  From Bernie Madoff’s super-rich herd to the Toronto Maple Leafs fans (who believe that one day they will win the Stanley Cup — sorry, Andrew), the ability of bandwagon psychology to blind us from seeing the obvious is powerful stuff.

The practitioners of Search Engine Optimizations (“SEO” and “SEOers”) form such a herd.  This herd is the object of this article.

SIDEBAR:  I define SEO as the manipulation of search engines to produce search results which rank their Web pages (or those of their clients) “incorrectly high.”  I do not consider pure “white hat” practices to fall within the definition.

Pure white hats do not mislead the engines. The emphasis is on “keeping it real” (eg., quality content and links, optimal site architecture, etc.). Their practices fall comfortably within search engine guidelines.

Some SEOers fool themselves into thinking they are white hats. Here are two tests to help you find out if your white hat is, in fact, a little gray or worse…

1)  The true white hat NEVER talks about doing anything to “avoid detection by Google.”

2) The truest of white hats can answer “yes” to the following question… ”If Google announced that they are launching absolutely perfect, human-level, Artificial Intelligence tomorrow, will they perform better or worse?”  Only the purest of white hats are ready for such an occurrence.  Their sites should expect to see more traffic, IF their content is original and of high quality.

With that understanding in hand, when I use the term “SEOer,” I include black, gray and all but the purest-of-white-hat practitioners.

From the early days of keyword stuffing and doorway pages to today, the arms race between SEOer and search engines continues. But it fascinates me that SEOers just… don’t… get… it.  It’s not a fair race.

NO SEO black hat trick has ever survived the propellorheads who work for the search engines. They don’t survive because they compromise the quality of search results.

What do you think would happen if an SEOer’s techniques succeed and degrade the quality of the SERPs?  Nothing, at first.  But when the engines find you, and they will, they will hurt you.  Why?  It’s elementary…

If you degrade their quality, surfers are less likely to keep coming back.  Soon, you will be delivering fewer targeted surfers to your REAL customers, the advertisers.  In other words…

If you degrade the quality of their SERPs, you threaten their very business.

Case in point…

I once knew two brilliant black hats.  They were WAY beyond what anyone was doing or writing about.  No one who is SERIOUSLY good at SEO writes about it.

These two guys were math wizards, the types who got 100 in advanced calculus… in kindergarten. Nicholas Taleb type of brains.

THESE guys, I respected.  I didn’t agree with them, but I respected them. They broke no laws. They shattered every search engine guideline ever published (and a whole bunch more, I’d wager). They made 7 figures/year.

I would ask/tell them… “Why don’t you guys just take it to Wall Street? You’re smart enough and you won’t be facing off against hundreds of Computer Science PhDs whose entire lives revolve around making search better. Even if they don’t target your techniques directly, you will get swept away by the ever-improving ability to detect real, genuine and excellent content. You can’t beat that forever.”

I understand why they thought I was wrong.  No one had ever outsmarted them.

But this was not a 1-on-1 fight.  One got knocked out of the box around 2 years go. I can’t reach and have not heard from the other, who used to like to e-mail me about how well he’s doing.

It is simply not possible to stay ahead. The sheer complexity of ARTIFICIALLY ranking high goes up, up and up, making it continuously harder to manipulate.

Recently, a very large ring of sploggers was dismantled by Google.  This ring consisted of thousands of people creating countless mini-money sites.  They admitted that they took content from top-ranking sites for high-paying keywords, then altered it just enough so Google could not recognize it.  They then created huge fake link networks (often coordinating efforts with each other) to prop the “money page up” at the SERP for that keyword.

The amount of spammy content and links must have been staggering.  The major “gurus” had high traffic and they coached countless thousands of others how to do it.  They taught this system publicly, which shows the degree of invulnerability they felt.

Note that this was not high-tech cutting edge like the black hats who should have gone to Wall Street.  This was low-tech link-bombing, the simple overwhelming of one factor, inbound links, by thousands of people.

Well, it turns out they were not invulnerable. Reality is reality. You can recognize it earlier and adapt to it, or you can ignore it until it’s two inches away from your nose, when you can’t ignore it anymore, and it stomps you.  The sploggers have been self-admittedly stomped, their blogs full of the gory stories of rankings and traffic disappearing.

Bottom line? No matter how cutting edge or low-tech-brute-force your black hat may be, it won’t survive.

I was slammed when I published that message in “The Tao of SBI!” in 2005, explaining why SEO is doomed.  Everything in that book is happening. SEOers are morphing their job descriptions, some now calling it SEM, rather than admit that SEO is dead.

Look at just a few trends since then… Universal search, personalized search, Google Suggest, tools to help us search smarter.  We all get something a little different from Mother Google, including influences by your social network, and on and on and on… And what about AI, where Google is doing cutting edge work?

Can SEOer really keep up and manipulate this?  As they say in the Sopranos… fuhgeddaboudit.

And still, SEOers don’t get that it will soon be impossible to manipulate rankings.

There’s good news for all of us, though.  Lao-Tzu (604 BC – 531 BC) said the following in “Tao te Ching”, 2500+ years before I said it in “The Tao Of SBI!” in 2005 AD (so I can’t take the credit)…

One who wins the world does so by not meddling with it.

One who meddles with the world loses it.

The good news?  In the midst of the increasing complexity emerges the simplicity of how to generate free, targeted search engine traffic…

Add Value.  Real Content. What people want. Love what you do, but make sure you can make some money at it (if that’s important to you — if it’s not, it’s a hobby but you likely still want an audience).

Sure, get the on-page stuff “right enough” to let Google know the page is about “Anguilla beaches” and not “chinese restaurants.” Secure some quality inbound links, not article-marketing spam or other link tricks (the next bad group to howl about Google depriving them of a living)….

Watch your snowball grow as Google sends you more traffic because…

You are delivering exactly what they want.  As you deliver more if it, traffic increases further.  Google tracks behavior and sees that visitors like your site, improving your rankings, increasing your traffic. And round it goes, like a snowball gathering momentum.

What started this virtuous circle of success?  You gave Google exactly what their searchers want, which is exactly what Google wants.

And that takes me way back to when I wrote my first book, Make Your Site SELL! in 1997.  Although I had been successful with black hat tricks when “working just for myself,” the critical question I had to answer for future readers of MYSS! was…

“Is this just a game, like counting cards in Vegas?”

“Or are search engines going to turn out to be real important for the folks I’m writing this book for?”

If you “play” only for yourself, you can afford to play a game if that is what you want.  But if you are making business recommendations to people who will act upon them, you can only make one recommendation…

“Stop playing games against the engines and work WITH them.  Give them what they want and you will never have a sleepless night.”

Life becomes so simple and worry-free.

[Editorial note: Ken, I am a Montreal Canadiens fan. -- Andrew]

Brief bio of Ken Evoy:

SiteSell.com sold over 100,000 copies of Make Your Site SELL!, which received high critical acclaim, in the late 90s.  The company self-published several other successful “Make Your ____ Sell” books.  They stopped when Dr. Ken Evoy realized that most people need more than a book to build a business online.

As he says, “They need the step-by-step and the tools to execute.”  SiteSell’s flagship product, SBI!, is based upon simple, “keep it real” principles.  Ken calls SBI! “the living test tube that proved up the decision to give humans and search engines what they want.” But even that, he says, is only one small part of the bigger picture of building an e-business.

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26 Responses to “Say Your Final Prayers, Black Hat SEO’s: Guest Post by Dr. Ken Evoy”

  1. Laura says:

    I tell my students that if they do site coding and copy correctly, they will NEVER have to worry about being torpedoed by Google, because when they focus on QUALITY, the rules never change. They can sleep at night without worrying that they’ll disappear the next day when the rules changed.

  2. Eric Bonnici says:

    Bravo Ken!

    I’ve followed you since you first started out online. And I read and purchased the original version of MYSS. It was one of the first few Internet marketing products I purchased. And it really helped me out. The best part is it was last updated in 2002 correct? And the information still holds to this day. Definitely an evergreen product if you ask me. I suggest anyone involved with Internet marketing read this. I believe its now free!

    And I totally agree that providing quality content for humans is key! Do that and white hat SEO to let the search engines know what topic the web pages are about and you’ll never have to worry about getting penalized now or in the future.

    Sincerely,
    Eric Bonnici

    PS special thanks to Jill Whalen for tweeting this blog post, I appreciate it and enjoyed reading the post. It was refreshing!

  3. aaron wall says:

    Isn’t this the same “sales” material I have been reading from Ken since the day I got into the SEO field? Anyone who is doing it Ken’s way (no matter how ugly the site layout) is doing it correctly, and most other people are “spammers” who’s day will soon come.

    He used to post his trite sales pitches on the likes of LED Digest back then…am sorta sad to see it move onto a blog I have previously enjoyed reading.

    And luckily for people like me, millions (probably billions?) of revenues have flowed to those who ignored Ken’s approach and warnings.

  4. David Jenyns says:

    I’ve always had the up most respect for Ken Evoy. Having had the pleasure of interviewing him I can say he’s well ahead of his time.

    That said, while I did start on SBI stuff I have also merged that with some other more aggressive internet marketing / SEO stuff to great success. I’d like to think I’ve successfully walked the fine line between white and black. I think it can be done but it’s just too easy for newbies to fall to the dark side. For this reason I recommend super white hat SBI stuff for newbies… I think there’s plenty of ways to skin this cat but SBI is a safe option.

    Cheers
    Dave Jenyns

    Ps. If you’d like to hear my interview with Ken download it here:
    http://www.davidjenyns.com/internet-marketing/ken-evoy-the-extremely-rare-interview/

  5. Alec says:

    I have to agree with Aaron. Ken Evoy is a well-known vendor of snake oil and proprietary tools. Every single website you own has to cost you $300/year of hosting and be dog ugly (go and have a look at the sample sites).

    Every week I get inquiries from SBIers begging us to rescue their site. But it’s very difficult as SBI doesn’t even have a site export tool. Which shows you Ken Evoy’s ethics. It’s a one way street into SBI!

    Why you let Ken Evoy post here is a mystery to me, Andrew. Not at all the level of your own work.

  6. Alec, from what you’re describing, you don’t think SBI’s tools are “cool”. That’s a far cry from “snake oil”. And last time I checked “proprietary” wasn’t illegal or unethical either. So what warrants the inquiry into someone’s “ethics” based on a simple disagreement, or finding a product distasteful?

    Dog ugly? Yes and so is your sister. And maybe the first home you lived in. Definitely your first grown-up apartment. See how easy it is to sling mud around? But to what end or relevance?

    It wasn’t a product review. It was an op ed piece motivated (indirectly) by the damage certain black hat SEO’s do directly to the ecosystem. From time to time it’s useful to hear people’s voices (rather than the voices of those talking about them behind their back). So I gave Ken a forum to speak directly. He’s a successful businessman, and of course, by some people’s standards, “uncool” – so I assume naturally there will be haters.

    There will no doubt be more op ed pieces where that came from. Today I’m working on my ClickZ column about so-called “Black Hat PPC”.

    Best,

    Andrew

  7. aaron wall says:

    Proprietary CMS tools without an easy export function are black hat CMS :D If you believe in the quality of the product make switching easy & learn to compete on features rather than on out-bloating the other guy’s salesletter & then locking in people who made a poor decision to buy an inferior product.

    And saying that blogging software costs thousands of Dollars (when the best blogging software is free & open source) to sell people into a proprietary CMS which *will* cost them thousands of Dollars would be clearly and obviously defined as sleazy black hat salesletter writing. (Heads up Ken!)

    As far as search ecosystem damage…one need look no further than cherished Google partners like Mahalo to see who is doing the most damage to the search results. Does Google actually care? Not so far as I can tell, even though Mahalo is the #1 featured case study on BlackHatSEO.com :D

  8. aaron wall says:

    BTW Andrew…I should say I think you rock and are +++ good stuff. No harm or offense meant toward you.

    But Ken would be at the other end of the spectrum. I just don’t trust marketers who put sales & marketing ahead of product quality. Just too easy to get led astray that way.

    If I listened to Ken’s crap when I first got started the current losses would have run at least 7 figures.

  9. Kevin says:

    Seriously? A CMS without an export tool? That’s like a chainsaw without an off switch.

  10. Ken will have to speak for his own tools and his own company, but by defining everything as a “CMS,” aren’t we classifying apples and oranges? I highly doubt the tools are being sold on that basis, as a CMS product on a par with similar products.

    It is difficult to accept that methods of building a business that are culturally quite different from what one’s own culture finds acceptable, are, in the end, still ways of building a business.

    There have been many such tools over the years, and they are not for everyone. But again — this wasn’t a product review, nor was the author himself on trial for anything. He’s offering a perspective on whether you should or should not spam the search engines, and the percentage likelihood that the “spammer lifestyle” has a long future.

    Aaron, can you clarify in what sense Mahalo is a “trusted Google partner”?

    Scraper style sites are annoying in general. They may rank temporarily, but Ken’s principle — though perhaps trite to many of you — is that unless consumers find real value in those pages, the search algos will eventually sour on them in favor of better information.

    The problem is, many business owners are not hearing that. They are still hearing “why go white hat when I can join ‘em.” “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” And so we have many companies large and small still devoting too much time to creating semi-automated “content” “for the engines”. Heck Yahoo just acquired a company like that.

    Surprising how Ken’s “trite” stance remains fresh in the cesspool of moral relativism that remains the SEO world.

    Ideally, though, among graduates of the advanced class, this can act as a springboard to advanced water cooler discussion. When I say scraped junk is scraped junk and is always bad no matter what (ergo, Mahalo is generally bad), that doesn’t really address the point that content aggregation is big business, and that the search engines themselves do it better than anyone else and it certainly isn’t *their* content. The advanced class can always riff better on these topics than beginners. But the problem is many beginners are being taught to spam before they are being taught to add value. That’s actually changing what they do for a living — making some business person or writer into a (not very well qualified) gray hat SEO, increasingly full time. The emphasis on it is sad.

  11. aaron wall says:

    “but by defining everything as a “CMS,” aren’t we classifying apples and oranges”

    That wasn’t the way Ken viewed it when he was trashing blogging software to promote his CMS. Ken’s sales letter highlighting how blogging is a mistake sorta does that one-size-fits-all approach. Which is exactly where he fails people who need something more advanced than his paid solution – like many of the feature rich free offerings ;)

    Worth noting this discussion *is* happening on a WordPress powered site & that one can create pages with a regular hierarchy using WordPress. With tools like themespress.com a person can turn any HTML design into a WordPress theme in about 10 minutes for $10.

    “this wasn’t a product review, nor was the author himself on trial for anything. He’s offering a perspective on whether you should or should not spam the search engines, and the percentage likelihood that the “spammer lifestyle” has a long future.”

    He offered almost the exact same perspective when I first got started. And thank GOD I didn’t listen to him. :D

    In terms of “spammer lifestyle” … I think the whole concept is sorta derogatory, and it misses that there is no such thing as pure media. Colleges game the rating systems… are they working a “spammer lifestyle”? How about companies that lie in their public relations publicly? Are those people practicing the “spammer lifestyle”?

    What % of spammer lifestyle can be bolted onto a regular business before the whole business gets re-branded as “spammer lifestyle”?

    Business is gamed…even (or especially?) at the government level.

    Politicians lie to gain support for fraudulent wars. Economic data gets massaged. We rewrite account standards after the fact to allow banking criminals to do as they please & ignore their fraud.

    “Aaron, can you clarify in what sense Mahalo is a “trusted Google partner”?”

    In the past Matt Cutts commented on scrapper sites in the comments on his blog … mentioning a guy called Teeceo. He wrote “In the chat room, I said hello to teeceo, but I know the stuff that he was doing and it’s shoot-on-sight.”

    Scrapper sites are shoot-on-sight. Mahalo is a scraper site. Google is aware of it & yet does not take action. Therefore Mahalo is a trust partner above the rules set out for others to follow.

    Clearly “the spammer lifestyle” has paid off well for the folks behind it.

    “Ken’s principle — though perhaps trite to many of you — is that unless consumers find real value in those pages, the search algos will eventually sour on them in favor of better information.”

    And, if while they rank, the owner makes … say $5 or $10 million from them then do those owners really care that they only brought in 7 or 8 figures over the course of a couple years? Maybe the VC backed spam is more ambitious & needs 9 or 10 digits, but most people don’t.

    Aren’t most high profit margin business opportunities by their definition temporary (until the market catches up with them)?

    “When I say scraped junk is scraped junk and is always bad no matter what (ergo, Mahalo is generally bad), that doesn’t really address the point that content aggregation is big business, and that the search engines themselves do it better than anyone else and it certainly isn’t *their* content. ”

    The big *practical* differentiations in the above comparison are
    1.) the search engines offer an opt out function (which Mahalo does not)
    2.) the search engines (well outside of Ask.com) don’t hide your scraped content below the fold and try to outrank you against you for your own content

    “But the problem is many beginners are being taught to spam before they are being taught to add value.”

    I don’t really see it as being that way. In my most recent SEL column (should be out today I hope) I highlight how providing value without doing any form of push marketing is generally self defeating, because people often steal the work of others. Look at how all those journalists snagged Danny’s story recently.

    And with search engines paying people to write 3rd grade rewrites heavily wrapped in ads (and to fear linking out to anything) it isn’t getting any easier.

    Where Ken’s polarizing pablum really goes astray is when he wrote “No one who is SERIOUSLY good at SEO writes about it.”

    That observation was one written either in complete ignorance of the topic at hand, or with intent to be rude and offensive to those who have shared quite literally millions of Dollars worth of their time and information publicly.

    One doesn’t get to become a Ph D & work in marketing for over a decade while stating something like “No one who is SERIOUSLY good at SEO writes about it” on an accident. Nope. Ken Evoy is intentionally and deliberately a jerk who goes out of his way to (mis)inform people to sell his wares. A virtual traveling salesman of sort, who markets by chronically barking about the death of everything else – rather than improving his own product.

    And there have been past instances of Ken giving out SEO advice that was counter to what a simple scientific split test would prove. I would give an example so he could correct it, but I would rather let his customers lose money by following his bad advice. If they buy from him they deserve it.

  12. Ken Evoy says:

    Interesting comments! I’ll reply to them all.

    Some are quite negative. In the course of replying to them, it will likely sound like I am trying to sell SBI!. Andrew’s audience is not ours. I just want to set the record straight.

    Laura, keep doing what you’re doing and your students will NEVER lose sleep at night. :-)

    Eric, thanks so much. Yes, MYSS!’s last edition was 2002. Thanks very much for the kind words. I’m amazed at how many Internet Marketing careers that book launched, some really smart and successful people in IM-related areas today.

    But I was depressed that “everyday/non-tech-oriented” people were able to read it, and not use it. That’s where the idea for SBI! came about — combine process, information, tools, updating/upgrading and business and tech support all in one place.

    NOW, my greatest pride is to see regular people build sites that build hundreds and then thousands of visitors per day that grow into real e-businesses — the vast majority of SBI! e-businesses are about anything from home theatre to Anguilla. THAT is what keeps me excited so many years later.

    THAT is the core of what I’ll be defending below, a truly wonderful product that impacts people’s live in positive ways. Speaking of defending…

    Aaron Wall, hi. You always say the same simplistic things in response to my detailed posts. You did the last time, too, in 2005. But you never respond to the real issues — we are talking about the (non)-future of SEO here, not SBI!.

    I don’t understand the insults to me (or Andrew, although you later withdrew those). I do love and appreciate intelligent debate — why don’t you show me where “The Tao of SBI!” was all wrong, instead of calling me names? Why don’t you dissect my post?

    I’m sure it’s because it doesn’t deserve it or some such excuse. But you would have so much more credibility rather than attacking me personally.

    And believe me, there’s no “sales copy” here. I am NOT talking to our target market. There is no reason for me to “sell” here. This post arose out of a friendly conversation between Andrew and me.

    You may not agree, Aaron, and I understand. You depend on selling SEO advice and/or tools for your living. So you feel attacked. I’m sorry, but that does not prelude me from posting about SEO. The fact is that what I predicted is coming to pass and the rest is happening and will continue to.

    To pretend not to see the 15-year trend is simply disingenuous.

    If you consider your tactics “black” or “gray” hat, Aaron, I understand your anger. But it’s misplaced. It is reality that you are angry at. I am merely the messenger.

    Consider, instead, the advice you are giving clients. If they want short-term results, it may work. And if they’re happy making money while they work, you’re not breaking any laws.

    Up above, I told folks to subject your tactics to the 2 self-testing questions. I did not consider the fact that folks may not care if they pass. “As long as I make some bucks now, who cares about the future” is not a reply I anticipated.

    I reply to your later posts as I reach them.

    David Jenyns — Thank you for the kind words. I think that what you understand what Aaron does not… Most of the world is NOT made up of people who are as highly smart, tech-savvy, and tech-oriented as you.

    There are barriers that block people. YOU grasp that, but folks like Aaron don’t, or have not tried to, or don’t care. But it’s important if you want to understand our business. YOU have taken the time to get into SBI! you have taken that foundation further. So you see both sides.

    SBI! believes in KISS — simple approach, with all the tools to execute it. That does not make it EASY to build a business.

    It’s not, it’s hard work. SBI! is a big product because it will never be EASY to build a business. No games, this is work.

    But the process and tools do work. And the engines will never ban it because SBIers give the engines and humans what they want.

    Then we get to folks like Alec who called me a “well-known vendor of snake oil and proprietary tools” and offer the same old criticisms which are either wrong, out-of-date, irrelevant, etc.

    Anyone who knows me, knows that I don’t do “snake oil.” I’m not sure what is wrong with selling “proprietary tools.”

    But it’s the follow-up wrong statements that continue to propagate from one uneducated (about SBI!) person to another…

    For example, he says that “Every single website you own has to cost you $300/year of hosting.”

    SBI! is for people who want to start an e-business. When done properly, you grow a large authority site, where your visitors help you with Content 2.0, building hundreds and even thousands of real Web pages for you. It takes time and energy and you put that time and energy into growing ONE business.

    And yet, over half of SBIers, once their first business is well underway, start a 2nd. Some SBIers have several more. But they start them each one at a time. And they are DELIGHTED to pay $299 for each, because they understand the value and the results.

    On our side, an SBI! site costs us way more than regular hosting. We spend millions on ongoing product dev. That’s a lot for a relatively small company. And SBI! sites consume CPU (all the software, tracking, and reporting) and bandwidth (traffic), unlike regular hosting. I just came out of a meeting where one of the passing items was yet another major increase in bandwidth and SANs expenses.

    SBIers succeed. The tools, the dev, their success costs us money.

    Those folks with 50 domains at cheap hosting? If they succeed to any degree, the hosting won’t remain so cheap. They’ll get contacted for more money.

    But really… who starts 50 businesses at a time? We do not promote games. We promote the building of a real e-business, one that enables you to reach whatever goals you may set (a mom adding to the family income, up to people who have passed 2 million visitors per month)>

    Bottom line on building 50 sites for the price of one? I don’t know why anyone would want to build 50 businesses. The hosts don’t care, as long as you don’t suck much bandwidth, if you have 1000 sites. But wait to see what happens if you build any significant traffic at those “cheap hosts.”

    E-businesses take time and energy,. In the long run, you build something of value, not a bunch of mini-sites on a variety of topics. That said…

    For those who want to have 50 Websites instead of one authority site that grows into a real business that you can sell because it has equity, SBI! is not for you. That’s fine. Just don’t take it personally or get upset or call me a “fish oil salesman” because we deliver tremendous value for $299 (see tools.sitesell.com).

    And, if you are not succeeding with all those sites in a year or two, then re-consider the SBI! approach. Some of our best customers have bounced through it all.

    As for transferring a site, Alec, all SBI! sites are static HTML pages. Webmasters have no trouble sucking them down and uploading to FTP. I’m not sure why you would. SBI! sites are totally transferrable.

    Now, let me make something clear…

    We don’t claim that all SBIers succeed. Some don’t. For example…

    1) Some want the total freedom of FTP instead of the structured approach of SBI!. That’s OK, if you can make your approach work. Most can’t.

    2) Others don’t really want to work at all, they were looking for an easy way to make money. That does not exist.

    3) And some SBIers do make mistakes — many succeed on their 2nd or 3rd try, but many give up. I hope you fix their mistakes — but remember, their mistakes may not be our advice. We work hard to continuously improve and cut down those mistakes.

    Oh, the SBI! “Look and Feel”… As for “ugly,” we have so many ugly sites with thousands of visitors per day. But “ugly” is their choice. There is a range of templates they can choose from, and they can customize as much as they like. And over 120 CSS/DIV-driven 3-column templates exist.

    But beyond that — you can design your own with Photoshop. You can buy any template on the planet.

    Forget that the “ugly” statement is misleading. I’ll take a plain-looking site that is making significant income over a pretty one that is not any day of the week.

    Andrew, yes, I’m amazed. Instead of a debate on SEO, this turns into an attack on SBI!, which has over 40,000 delighted users. And I mean Mac-like devotion. I can defend SBI! in any public forum successfully all day long if I had the time. I don’t, but this has to be my one and only post.

    Andrew — if you want to organize a public debate, I’d be glad to discuss SEO, SBI!, or whatever, rather than answer the same old wrong stuff about SBI! over and over in writing. It’s just to easy to toss out nonsense that requires me to write paragraphs that dismantle it.

    I LOVE what you called me, Andrew…

    “Uncool.”

    Now THAT is a compliment. :-)

    We don’t try to be cool. We suggest blogging to SBIers for specific purposes. We don’t chase the latest “what’s hot.” But we do use important technologies and trends like RSS and Web 2.0 and Social Media and incorporate those into SBI! in the form of tools that make it click-easy for SBIers.

    Not cool. But effective.

    But it’s disturbing that “an op-ed piece” turns into an attack on SBI!. They’re the kind of accusations that are so sound-byte easy and dead-wrong that require long, detailed answers. OK, I’m complained about that, but it’s taken up much of my morning.

    It’s out of respect to you, Andrew, that I answer these. I know we won’t generate an extra sale. But anything by you deserves a balanced and complete answer so folks who don’t know much about us don’t get the wrong impression about you or us.

    So, I’m sorry I chose the lengthy route to answer malicious sound bytes, but I do hope to convince the unbiased reader.

    I refer to Aaron’s “lock-in statement about SBI!.” Aaron, it’s EASY to suck a site and transfer it. It’s really very simple. Any Webmaster knows how to do this. The reason we don’t have it as a feature is that we have no demand for it — it’s simply not hard to move an SBI! site, which is made up of static HTML pages.

    On the other hand, I’m sure you know that it’s not so easy to transfer WordPress over to other platforms, especially if you’re using all sorts of plug-ins, which everyone does. Is that easy? You know it’s not – there is a whole lot of stuff that you have to do. They NEED an export function. We don’t.

    Also, SBI! is NOT a “CMS system.” SBI! is an e-BUSINESS building system. Building a site, whether you do it with our own block-by-block building tool or with whatever HTML editor you like, is merely one step out of 10 big steps needed to build a business.

    Too many people equate site-building and business-building. If you asked me what we REALLY got wrong, it’s the name… “Site Build It!.” We outgrew that many years ago…

    SBI! builds businesses.

    But here’s the real question…

    Why are we talking about EXPORT functionality (which you oversimplify about SBI! and get wrong like others who know nothing about SBI!) when the topic is the dismal future of SEO?

    And this statement, Aaron, just does not do you justice…

    “And saying that blogging software costs thousands of Dollars (when the best blogging software is free & open source) to sell people into a proprietary CMS which *will* cost them thousands of Dollars would be clearly and obviously defined as sleazy black hat salesletter writing. (Heads up Ken!)”

    I’m not sure who said that, but you’re implying it’s me. Wrong.

    And as for this…

    “Ken would be at the other end of the spectrum. I just don’t trust marketers who put sales & marketing ahead of product quality. Just too easy to get led astray that way. If I listened to Ken’s crap when I first got started the current losses would have run at least 7 figures.”

    Aaron, you’re welcome to go into our forums and ask if they think we put marketing ahead of product quality. You’ll find out how wrong you are.

    Outside of the forums, you WILL find folks who didn’t like SBI!, as I mentioned. No product is for all. We refund them and move on.

    But this was a post about SEO — I’m not trying to sell SBI! here. I’m defending it against the usual inanities about SBI!, but I’m not selling it. Andrew’s audience and ours has virtually no overlap (a few people like David Jenyns and that’s about it).

    And I’m sorry, Aaron, that my advice would have cost you 7 figures because I’m sure you do make a lot of money selling SEO advice. You do well selling SEO advice.

    I must conclude, by your anger and the attitude, that you include yourself in the grey-black hats that I was talking about, and not like Jill Whalen, who I admire as a pure white hat who adds to the ecosystem while advising her clients wisely.

    Your very replies call yourself out. But again…

    Why are we not talking about SEO and how it is getting more and more complex. Why are you not ATTACKING all that I said above?

    THAT is the topic here. Is it so hard to debate that you have to attack me instead?

    As for your statement, “Does Google really care [about black hat SEO]? Not so far as I can tell.”

    Wow. You missed the entire splogger story. You’ve missed every Google dance. You’ve missed the entire history of search engines.

    Of course they care. Google may not seem to care, trying to solve everything algorithmically, but yes… year after year they get smarter and they eliminate more and more black hat stuff.

    You obviously fail the two self-testing questions I posed up top and don’t care. So be it. You will have made your money by the time others get hurt.

    I feel no need to call you sleazy or all those other names, Aaron. I just point out certain facts and let folks draw their own conclusions

    Andrew, you answered really well for me, thank you, at…

    http://blog.traffick.com/2010/06/say-your-final-prayers-black-hat-seos-guest-post-by-dr-ken-evoy/comment-page-1/#comment-371

    And yet, Aaron refuses to understand the difference between CMS and a true, business-building system.

    While I’m sure we lose business to WordPress due to many false beliefs and misunderstandings, we are not in competition with them as a CMS.

    SBI! literally changes lives by enabling everyday people to build e-businesses that grow long-term profits. I posted earlier today in the SBI! forums to a long-time SBIer who had just taken early retirement and credited SBI! with enabling him to do a 5-year circumnavigation, then retire to a Greek island.

    THAT thrills me more than anything.

    THAT is what we do. Not CMS.

    We figure out where the next important trends are, which are real, and how to integrate that into SBI! to keep SBIers ahead of the competition. We don’t worry about export functions that no one asks for.

    It’s a world of difference and Aaron does not get that. As you said, Andrew…

    “It is difficult to accept that methods of building a business that are culturally quite different from what one’s own culture finds acceptable, are, in the end, still ways of building a business.”

    And yes, thank you for this…

    “Surprising how Ken’s “trite” stance remains fresh in the cesspool of moral relativism that remains the SEO world.”

    And it always will. Like Laura up top, if you keep it real while doing it right, you will sleep at night and stand out from the crowd.

    Aaron, your reply to Andrew somehow runs off into yet another direction rather than discuss SEO’s dismal future. Are you afraid to debate that, or just so angry that I am correct that you want to use the old trick of misdirection to take people’s minds off my original post?

    Just for the record, I don’t attack blogging. I think that most people use it for the wrong reasons, and fail at an astonishing rate compared to SBIers.

    We build an excellent case for that at blogorbuild.sitesell.com. No one has dismantled those arguments on that page. The best they can do are the usual oversimplifications and by saying things like you say, Aaron…

    “…he was trashing blogging software to promote his CMS.”

    No, there’s no trashing going on. And yes, believe it or not, we try to sell. So do you… (From your site –> “Learn. Rank. Dominate.” and “Improve your rankings, traffic, and profits today.” and “We Love Our Customers But more importantly, …. Our Customers Love Us” and “Free Course “7 Days to SEO Success”).

    There’s nothing wrong with selling, Aaron. It’s OK. Don’t feel bad about it and don’t trash the fact that we sell, too.

    But we don’t trash blogging or WordPress. We point out when blogging is appropriate and what is missing if your goal is to build a long-term profitable e-business, why SBI! delivers far better success rates.

    Aaron, you also attack me for offering “almost the exact same perspective when I first got started. And thank GOD I didn’t listen to him.”

    It does take statements like that, for me to truly understand your anger. I chose the “other road”… No tricks. Keep it real. I don’t need to adjust, nor do SBIers, when Google adjusts its algorithms (300-500 times per year, some of them major). But while our perspective has remained the same, the message has grown from a book (which most people cannot master) to SBI! (a constantly evolving combination of process and tools) that most people can.

    Throughout all of this, you have not debated a single part of my post above, which is NOT the same as whatever I posted in 2005 about “The Tao of SBI!.” It builds upon that. It explains how it turns how to be true and will continue to, despite your laugh-it-off-evoy-is-a-sleaze answer back then, too.

    I now understand the simplistic attack and “laugh-it-off” attitude. You chose not to debate but to demean me instead. And you do the same now.

    That, Aaron, speaks for itself.

    Thanks very much to those who understand and support our approach.

    All the best,
    Ken Evoy
    Founder, SiteSell.com

    P.S. I won’t touch the rest of Aaron’s last message. I simply can’t go near his view of the world…

    It started by his replying to Andrew who interpreted my message accurately as…

    “Ken’s principle — though perhaps trite to many of you — is that unless consumers find real value in those pages, the search algos will eventually sour on them in favor of better information.”

    To which he replied…

    “While [black hats] rank, the owner makes … say $5 or $10 million from them then do those owners really care…”

    “Aren’t most high profit margin business opportunities by their definition temporary (until the market catches up with them)?”

    “… people often steal the work of others.”

    “Ken Evoy is intentionally and deliberately a jerk who goes out of his way to (mis)inform people to sell his wares. A virtual traveling salesman of sort, who markets by chronically barking about the death of everything else – rather than improving his own product.”

    After basically saying that “wrong is right,” Aaron takes one last all-time insult shot.

    And then, just to end it all off…..

    “And there have been past instances of Ken giving out SEO advice that was counter to what a simple scientific split test would prove. I would give an example so he could correct it, but I would rather let his customers lose money by following his bad advice. If they buy from him they deserve it.”

    I am always willing to learn, Aaron. Feel free to document the ab-split test, Aaron. (There are, of course, too many variables in the Google algo, not to mention the ones you do not know, to isolate all of them and do such a study. But why quibble when a paragraph like that sounds so good?)

    Meanwhile, NONE of my post has been discussed. Aaron has not addressed the (lack of) future of SEO, and since he’s put a lot of effort into his replies and insults, I must assume that this omission is intentional. Aaron, anytime you want to argue about that, please do let me know. I simply can’t return her to reply to accusations about a product that is loved and used successfully by tens of thousands.

  13. Bonita Jones says:

    @Aaron Wall

    Your posts speak volumes for your character. I hope your jerking knee didn’t give you a black eye.

    Seriously Aaron, either you can’t read or you have selective reading abilities.

    You took this out of context:

    “No one who is SERIOUSLY good at SEO writes about it”

    What Ken actually said was:

    “I once knew two brilliant black hats. They were WAY beyond what anyone was doing or writing about. No one who is SERIOUSLY good at SEO writes about it.

    “These two guys were math wizards, the types who got 100 in advanced calculus… in kindergarten. Nicholas Taleb type of brains.”

    Is Ken’s statement true? Well, just do a Google search.

    Black Hat SEO experts are a dime a dozen, each one claiming to be the authority on the best technique, the newest trend, the secret to Internet riches. But if one thinks about it, if these guys knew so much, why would they sell these supposed “secrets?” If the secret works so well, why don’t they just use it themselves and get filthy, filthy rich?

    The answer: Because they make more money off selling the “promise” of wealth to others.

    Those who REALLY know aren’t writing about it. They’re the geniuses writing the algorithms. (AKA: propellorheads)

    Ken also goes on to say –

    “It is simply not possible to stay ahead. The sheer complexity of ARTIFICIALLY ranking high goes up, up and up, making it continuously harder to manipulate.”

    Now I suppose that in your opinion, Aaron, if people keep an eye on your blog or buy your book or your service, they’ll be just fine . . .

    Now for what You said:

    “Business is gamed…even (or especially?) at the government level.

    “Politicians lie to gain support for fraudulent wars. Economic data gets massaged. We rewrite account standards after the fact to allow banking criminals to do as they please & ignore their fraud.”

    Give me a break. What are you doing that you are trying to justify here?

    “Because people often steal the work of others.”

    Is that what happened to you, Aaron?

    It’s heartbreaking, I know. Putting all that time and energy into creating your work to have it ripped off by others. And what a great solution! Go black hat and advocate the practice of stealing with wild abandon. (Well that’s the garbage being sold down at the local Black Hat store, anyway.)

    I guess if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, eh? Or perhaps it’s more fitting to say, “Those who can’t write, steal.”

    “In terms of “spammer lifestyle” … I think the whole concept is sorta derogatory . . . ”

    I think you almost started to catch on here.

    “And, if while they rank, the owner makes … say $5 or $10 million from them then do those owners really care that they only brought in 7 or 8 figures over the course of a couple years?”

    O-o-o-okay, if you say so. How many people would that be? One, two . . . YOU? And are the other two, plain old Average Joe’s on the street who bought the “SEO secrets” book you try to sell? Or is it the rare, privileged few who got lucky?

    “Aren’t most high profit margin business opportunities by their definition temporary (until the market catches up with them)?”

    Make sure you include the banks who unscrupulously lent billions of dollars on high risk loans which inevitably crashed the economy, yet blame borrowers for their own criminal greed.

    Or the companies that got government bail outs, yet dispensed millions in bonuses to their execs.

    Or those like Enron, who use creative methods to “enhance” their company’s portfolio.

    You’re right, I guess as long as a few (YOU) make a buck, it’s okay in the end.

    Ken said: “If you “play” only for yourself, you can afford to play a game if that is what you want. But if you are making business recommendations to people who will act upon them, you can only make one recommendation…”

    What you do is your own business. But when Black Hats sell their solutions to others, then it becomes endangerment. Is that why Ken’s viewpoint makes the competition so rabid?

    The fact that Ken Evoy’s moralist view of the Net is viciously opposed is very telling. And I notice those screaming the loudest are the competition with a product to sell. They use the generality of “their secrets” to attack the specificity of Ken Evoy’s message.

    I am just a person. I don’t really care what anybody else does on the Net.

    However, don’t ruin it for the rest of us. We’ve seen it painfully frequently in the past decade – those who do business selfishly and unethically DO ruin it for everyone else. (By the way, how many people do you know still have a job?)

    Teaching people to steal content, scam the engines, ripping off other people’s work, will backfire on everyone.

    I sure hope Ken’s right and the Powers that Be will keep guys like you from turning an incredible opportunity like the Internet into a foul, steaming trash heap.

    So let me point out something that obviously hasn’t occurred to you –

    Morality DOES matter.

  14. aaron wall says:

    all sales, all the time = “moralist view” … really? :D

    “Teaching people to steal content, scam the engines, ripping off other people’s work, will backfire on everyone. I sure hope Ken’s right and the Powers that Be will keep guys like you from turning an incredible opportunity like the Internet into a foul, steaming trash heap.”

    Nice to throw illegal claims right next to “guys like you” there Bonita, which insinuates that the illegal garbage was done by me in an attempt to defame me. And you do that while writing on morality. Congrats on having a dictionary. Too bad you don’t know how to use it.

    Look in the mirror my friend!

  15. aaron wall says:

    BTW… SearchEngineLand just published my article which is a counter view to this one :D
    searchengineland.com/is-this-just-another-arbitrage-opportunity-43384

  16. Ken Evoy says:

    I see you jumped to a safer blog, Aaron, one that is a community of SEOers, where lots of SEOers will be happy to agree with you.

    I love Danny Sullivan and his writings and subscribe to his blog. His businesss model is perfect for blogging, by the way. I’m not against it, just claim that it has its place.

    Over here, though, where you have to debate fairly and with a balanced audience, the fact remains that you still have not debated the real issue of this post… the dismal future of SEO (as I defined it in my first post).

    That speaks far louder than you running over to searchengineland.

    I do like your first paragraph over there, though…

    “I love organic search. The idea of building up from nothing to create something which is fairly sustainable and eventually has its own momentum behind it is an awesome feeling.”

    Yes, that is the starting point of SBIers. We seem to sift people with a positive attitude and motivation to succeed. If they bring that, along with a knowledge about something they can use to create real value, and if they follow the Action Guide, they succeed at remarkable rates.

    Unfortunately, you then proceed to knock it down due to all the bad guys out there on the Web. Well, SBIers don’t worry about content rip-offs because…

    1) they know how to deal with them– most can be stopped, but even if they are not…

    2) SBIers are not overtaken by those who copy, for two reasons…

    a) while the immoral minority out there steal content, the originator keeps moving ahead, further and further, with his/her original ideas and content. That’s not pie-in-the-sky.

    Yes, some SBIers get copied with varyng degrees of skill. Meanwhile someone like the owner of a child-oriented family of sites has grown from a small site to a one-man content empire, with 2 million visitors per month and growing. He is too busy building a business to worry about a few leeches wasting their time. (Content 2.0, a module unique to SBI! where visitors write entire pages for SBIers, fuels most of his growth nowadays as his hours drop.)

    b) Google constantly improves at finding duped-and-changed-copy and recognizing the originator. I can see the day where copiers of content actually give weight to the original content since it’s a “vote” (like a link) of being good material.

    As a result, SBIers just keep on working and moving ahead, succeeding at rates that no other company can objectively document.

    Aaron, if I’ve learned something about you in this non-exchange of ideas on the future of SEO, it is your cynicism. The fact is that most people in this world are good, honest and ready to work hard for a future if you give them the ability to do so.

    The rotten eggs get the press, yes. But rotten eggs do not justify your practices. And, in the long run, they don’t survive. These statements are simply way below a man of your stature in ANY field…

    “And, if while they rank, the owner makes … say $5 or $10 million from them then do those owners really care”

    -and-

    “Aren’t most high profit margin business opportunities by their definition temporary (until the market catches up with them)?”

    -and-

    “providing value without doing any form of push marketing is generally self defeating, because people often steal the work of others.”

    -and-

    “Business is gamed…even (or especially?) at the government level.”

    -and-

    “Politicians lie to gain support for fraudulent wars. Economic data gets massaged. We rewrite account standards after the fact to allow banking criminals to do as they please & ignore their fraud.”

    -and (from searchengineland)-

    “Even if you do something that adds value to the web then many people will start cloning it right away, and if they have more distribution than you do, they will take ownership of your idea.”

    -and-

    “The business world is full of fake investors, fake friends, fake partners, and publicity stunts. That perhaps sounds cynical, but it is a reflection of how the web works. In other words, creating value by itself is a hollow and pointless process.”

    If these are the role models you use to justify your practices, well, as they say in the legal profession (with just a slight twist)..

    I rest your case.

    -Ken Evoy
    Founder, SiteSell

    P.S. I’m also not sure where you got this (also over at searchengineland)…

    “Anyone using his system (no matter how ugly the site designs look or how poor the content) is doing things the right way. Whereas almost everyone else is a spammer whose day will soon come.”

    I infer that you are quoting me, given the context, although you do not name me.

    But I never said anything like that. In fact…

    1) Poor content loses.

    2) SBI! is NOT the only way for people to succeed online, just the best way for most people.

    3) And no… everyone else is not a spammer.

    Only YOU, by calling yourself out here, has defined himself as a “black hat.” I just never realized how black, given the emotion and distortion in your posts and your complete failure to debate on the matter of SEO’s future (although you do hint at it in your sel post — good to see).

  17. aaron wall says:

    Also worth quoting your own words, from your most recent email newsletter:

    “It’s hard to tell a serious company like SiteSell with over 100 people involved from a 1-or-2-person GRQ pitch.”

    I don’t think we could ever agree any more than we do on that sentence. +1 to you!

  18. I’m one of those people Ken Evoy talked about, someone who has passed 2 million visitors per month with SBI!.

    Aaron, you have managed to ruin whatever persona you had and replace it with one that is sadly cynical, all by your own hand through multiple self-inflicted wounds in this thread.

    I hope that not many people read this blog.

    I do draw one other major conclusion from this. SEO MUST be dying, since the man who screams most vehemently here, even calling Ken Evoy all sorts of names, has yet to rebut a single word of the original post.

    I have met the man. He’s not snake oil salesman. And SBI! is for real. But that is not the topic here. It is SEO and its demise.

    As for you, Ken, I also have a hope. I hope you stop replying to this man. You are so far above his level of thinking and his way of doing business that you do yourself no favors returning here.

    Beside, this non-debate is done. Everyone has made up their minds.

    Elad Shippony

  19. aaron wall says:

    “someone who has passed 2 million visitors per month”

    Odd then that Compete.com shows about 5,000 monthly unique visitors to the site you linked to in your signature. :D

    A few thousand here, a few million there… hehehe

    “yet to rebut a single word of the original post”

    You missed the point. There is no debate. The numbers are in (and they are in my bank account). This man was full of crap when I got on the web, and he is still so today. But you did remind me of a relevant salesmanship-oriented quote that fits your delusional view of the world:

    “A lie told often enough becomes truth” – Vladimir Lenin

  20. Eric says:

    “SIDEBAR: I define SEO as the manipulation of search engines to produce search results which rank their Web pages (or those of their clients) “incorrectly high.” I do not consider pure “white hat” practices to fall within the definition.

    Ok, so this is issue #1. You can certainly shape any argument to your advantage, while discrediting others, if you get to arbitrate the language.

    “Pure white hats do not mislead the engines. The emphasis is on “keeping it real” (eg., quality content and links, optimal site architecture, etc.). Their practices fall comfortably within search engine guidelines.”

    Optimal site structure? What is that exactly? And how did you arrive at the definition? By figuring out which works better in search engines or what displays properly in search engines? Seems to me there’s some inherent manipulation in “optimal site architecture”.

    Also, what is quality content and links? Those are quite high on the platitude meter. Again, when you define the argument’s parameters and offer no specifics it’s quite hard to have any sort of “intelligent” debate when there’s only thin predictions (which were wrong 5 years ago) and no real factual information other than a desperate hope to be right.

    You wrote in platitudes, used a “story” about 2 black hat people you “knew”, and then made a statement like this:

    “The major “gurus” had high traffic and they coached countless thousands of others how to do it. They taught this system publicly, which shows the degree of invulnerability they felt.”

    No…actually it shows the ignorance of the beginner market and how incredibly easy it is to exploit it. The ROI (cost and time) is much higher for those guys/gals selling those expensive courses to thousands and thousands of people versus creating site after site after site + maintaining site after site after site.

    “Bottom line? No matter how cutting edge or low-tech-brute-force your black hat may be, it won’t survive.”

    That’s how business is, variables change. Doesn’t mean the fundamental model is dead or dying, it just means that there are new variables in play. Nothing stays the same but not everything dies. Pretty simple if you know anything about business.

    “SEOers are morphing their job descriptions, some now calling it SEM, rather than admit that SEO is dead.”

    Again, another factually baseless statement. We are going to decry that an entire industry is dead because variables like social media and PPC now play a big role, as does SEO, in being part of an online branding presence?

    So an entire industry is dead or dying because SEM makes sense for companies/freelancers to use as description of qualifications due to the advent of other industries which they can now layer on to their (in this case) SEO offerings to benefit the client in a more holistic way?

    You seem to be a predictor grasping at straws, the boy who cried wolf, or something similar. I can say facebook will be gone or dead in 5 years…then come back and do it again..and again..and again…until it is gone then say “HA! TOLD YOU SO”.

    The problem there is, much like this situation, no one is going to listen or care about what you have to say unless they are so incensed by the sheer foolishness of the position that they do things like this.

    “Can SEOer really keep up and manipulate this? As they say in the Sopranos… fuhgeddaboudit.”—-”

    Manipulate? There is inherent manipulation anytime you factor a search engine’s view of your site into how you build it.

    But to answer your question, yes….the variables change and the best players in the game adapt and continue to win, just like any other industry. Rules change, big deal…happens all the time.

    “And still, SEOers don’t get that it will soon be impossible to manipulate rankings.”

    That’s assuming there’s no algorithm. Good luck with that.

    Oh, no one who knows SEO writes about it?

    That’s really just wrong. I can think of at least 8 off the top of my head.

  21. Aaron, surely with your incredible prowess, you must be able to:

    1) consider that maybe, just maybe, I have more than one site

    2) find ALL of my sites and total up the traffic.

    Or did you do that research and leave it out of this thread, knowing it would not help your case?

    I have no idea what Compete.com says about my sites, but I do have traffic stats from our own log files AND from Google Analytics, which are far more reliable than Compete, Quantcast and Alexa.

    You see, Aaron, I don’t need those metrics sites for my own sites because I KNOW my traffic. As you know very well, they are not very accurate for actual traffic numbers. Those traffic metrics sites ARE useful for comparison purposes against others in a similar industry, for example how you rank versus your competition.

    But don’t take one site (my lowest traffic one except for the brand new one that we are adding) and call me a liar.

    As for this statement of yours:

    “You missed the point. There is no debate. The numbers are in (and they are in my bank account). ”

    Ken is right. You are an immoral person who is angry at him for writing an honest op-ed piece on the demise of SEO, the product that you sell and depend upon to make a living.

    You feel the debate that “SEO is doomed” (a future-looking statement) is trumped by your claim to have made millions of dollars off people who have bought your stuff in the PAST (which is behind us, Aaron).

    Basically, you would be using this same argument if you had sold the worst swampland in Florida and had made millions off of that. The fact that you can SELL something does not make it good, Aaron. And it certainly says NOTHING about its future.

    It does not mean that, Aaron. It only means that you were able to sell a lot of swampland. Now, SEO was not swampland years ago, but its future is seriously compromised. I do hope you’ve managed to save some of the millions that you claim to have grossed over 15 years or so in the business.

    You are a desperate man, indeed. I understand now why you call names, lie, and distort throughout this thread.

    And it’s never good to debate a desperate man, since they will say and do anything to keep what they HAD.

    However, I guess I will repeat it again:

    Don’t debate how much money you have made. Good for you, if it is true. Your product may even have been useful a few years ago, I don’t know.

    THAT is not the debate.

    Aaron, debate the future of SEO. You can’t can you?

    And now, I must follow my advice to Ken and leave, not to return.

    Elad Shippony
    http://www.coolest-birthday-cakes.com
    http://www.coolest-kid-birthday-parties.com
    http://www.coolest-homemade-costumes.com
    and several more sites all built with pure SBI! “snake oil” :-) Go ahead, check the numbers on “your” Compete, Alexa or whatever else you use.

    P.S. I must admit, you are excellent at deflecting and attacking in order to avoid debating the issue on the table.

  22. aaron wall says:

    “your claim to have made millions of dollars off people who have bought your stuff in the PAST … The fact that you can SELL something does not make it good, Aaron. ”

    1.) that is not what I claimed
    2.) we do more business as publishers than as people who sell access to information
    3.) other than past & current performance, what should someone grade themselves on? should I give myself a feel-good grade for how many star stickers I deserve 3 months out?

    “our product may even have been useful a few years ago, I don’t know.”

    the funny thing is…while looking at how brutally ugly your website designs were I…
    1.) had to put the fires out that were burning up my eyes
    2.) thought the same thing about SiteSell…those designs are anything but modern or beautiful.

    “debate the future of SEO. You can’t can you?”

    As long as there are algorithms people will influence them. Some will influence them directly, whereas some will influence them indirectly through influencing other people.

    Done.

    It really is that simple :D

  23. Bonita Jones says:

    @Aaron Wall

    Once again Aaron, your faulty reading skills are at work -

    You said:

    “our product may even have been useful a few years ago, I don’t know.”

    Elad Shippony said:

    “Your product may even have been useful a few years ago, I don’t know.”

  24. aaron wall says:

    Dropping one letter off a cut and paste (with no editing preview option) is nowhere near the crime as making websites as ugly as those I just looked at was. :D

    “Correct spelling, indeed, is one of the arts that are far more esteemed by school ma’ams than by practical men, neck-deep in the heat and agony of the world.”
    - Henry Louis Mencken

  25. Bonita Jones says:

    @Aaron

    Oh. Well, there you go.

    For a second, I almost thought you were attempting to be “clever.”

    I’ve noticed you seem to be continually making reference to Ken’s business- as though promoting one’s business is an evil practice. But I keep wondering, if that’s the case, why you are even on this thread to begin with?

    If your intentions were to merely argue the points, your demeanor would be much less inflammatory.

    You sure look like a pot calling other kettles black to me! It’s all over this thread.

  26. aaron wall says:

    Nice try.

    But notice that of all the people commenting on this thread I never put a *single* live link in any of my posts & I did not link up my signature link a single time. Someone else *did* link theirs up.

    And, no, marketing isn’t evil & it doesn’t have to be sleazy. I just wish Ken would figure that out. Some day… ;)


 


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