Let’s Talk About Spaceships

I have been known to enjoy, and employ, a musical reference, on the odd occasion, and since I’m listening to Say Hi at the moment, I thought I’d go with it, yet again.

We talk about so much utter crap in this industry, and I’ve recently stated that I hate adding to the noise when I have nothing relevant to say. Don’t get your hopes up and think that I have anything relevant to say just because I’m writing now, of course, but I do think it’s quite interesting how we’re saying so much about NOTHING, but we’re not saying anything about what those of us with a bit of sense can do to stop all the massive levels of antagonism that are directed at almost anyone, with any opinion, in this field. Now I will be the first to admit that I do quite love a bit of controversy, especially when black hat SEO is involved, and I respect passion, no matter where it’s directed, but why is it that we feel the need to label another human being according to how he or she runs a business aspect of his or her life? That’s asinine.

“I’ve never before seen so much outward nastiness and I went to a private girls’ school until I was 13.” Jane “Kinky Pants” Copland

These camps that people have established themselves as members of are seriously freaking me out. What happened to being objective, being able to look at a situation and potentially judge it for the actions undertaken without calling the person performing those actions horrible names or likening them to Nazis or KKK members? Why must we judge people by how they do their jobs?

I’m a vegetarian, so go ahead and roll your eyes and gag thinking of tofu, lovely tofu, nom nom nom (Ms. Copland, I’m thinking of you.) When you’re done, think about this: a hunter who kills a deer and feeds his family with it is doing something that I don’t do. He’s killing an animal, and he’s eating it, and that goes against how I live and how I eat. However, I don’t HATE this person. I don’t even think he’s wrong, or bad, or anything like that…I just think he’s made a choice, or been forced into a choice, that I would not make given my current leanings and situation. However, if I were starving and had to kill a deer to eat it and survive, I’d do it wouldn’t I? After all those viewings of Bambi Meets Godzilla, you’re damned right I would.

What if I simply decided to start eating meat again? Would that make me a bad person? Let’s go back to the lovely Jane Copland, an avid meat-eater who enjoys telling me about her carnivorous activities. She and I have different eating habits…you have to eat to survive, of course, just like most people have to work to survive. We have vastly different viewpoints about what we should eat but you don’t see the two of us attacking each other online over it. Yet. That’s obviously a piece of steak cleverly disguised as a kiwi…in case you’re fooled by her innocent look.

Carnivorous Copland

And god forbid we get into religion (HA) or politics here, but do you actually dislike someone who has different beliefs than you do? Since I only enjoy outing people like Jane, I won’t out anyone for being a Republican but I will tell you, with complete honesty, that even though I am a rabidly liberal person who wouldn’t have voted for Joe Strummer on the Republican ticket, I don’t hate anyone who is planning to vote for someone other than Obama. That’s because I happen to be a somewhat well-adjusted individual who simply doesn’t care when other people have a differing viewpoint. I think it’s quite lovely that not everyone I know agrees with me on everything. Otherwise, who would I make fun of?

“I didn’t understand it before, but now I do: Twitter is partially to blame. It’s the high school hallway to Sphinn’s cafeteria.” Jane “Prom Queen” Copland

Is it something like a Michael Moore syndrome that’s making some of you get online, write all kinds of nasty nonsense, and get someone else’s attention for your vitriol instead of your abilities? If you’re a chemist reading this, I apologize, as I am not trying to make fun of your copper sulfate. Being extreme is fine, and it’s necessary in cases like drawing the world’s attention to genocide, for example, but SEO? As long as I have been doing SEO, the angriest I’ve ever been was when my minimum cost per click went from $0.15 to $0.17, and let me assure you that it didn’t make me get on Sphinn and start referring to people as the spawn of Satan.

“When someone mentions ethics and seo in a sentence, I am reminded of a passage in Catch 22, where you can only eat after you salute the flag. Why is that?” Lyndon “Geared Up” Antcliff, quoted from Lisa Barone’s ethics piece

As I’ve said, passion IS needed, all over, but it needs to be tempered a bit. Someone doing a bit of link bait that you think misled someone…god help you if that’s your biggest problem. I WISH I had the luxury of getting upset by things like that. Meanwhile, I can’t always get a cranberry orange scone at Starbucks. Sometimes I have to get a freaking muffin. I’ll save my hateful thoughts for those days.

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81 Responses to “Let’s Talk About Spaceships”

  1. Jane says:

    I’ve resolved to no longer take part in the politics discussion either, as I DO have a tendency to get upset and angry at… ahem… people who aren’t of the same political persuasion as Julie and me. It’s not worth their time or mine.

    But politics and goddamn SEO are on vastly different levels. I cannot BELIEVE the people who judge others, call them names and make personal assumptions about their morality based upon how they interact with search engines. SEARCH ENGINES, for the love of God! I’ve seen people call blackhats “scum”, “jerks” and “bottom-feeders”, all the while trumping their pious, ethical behaviour. That’s far more disgusting behaviour than rigging up doorway pages.

    This industry about whether we can make sites rank highly in search engines and not be banned. How we do that is between us and the people we’re doing it for. And I work for a white hat company.

    It’s the righteousness that gets up my nose. You aren’t better than someone because they write scripts to build links or automate blog comments. You just practice SEO differently.

  2. Kim Krause Berg says:

    I guess now isn’t the right time to admit I once had an adult site, eh?


    The world is far too divided to be able to have a civilized chat about politics, religion, sex, gender, seo, child rearing and what we should look like.

    Damn shame too.

  3. Julie Joyce says:

    I think the percentage of people who’ve worked on adult sites or gambling sites is much greater than the percentage of those who haven’t…and the thing is, what does it matter honestly? I’m just so tired of people being judged by how they make money. If I can put my children through an Ivy League education by cloaking, I’m sure as hell going to do it.

    You’re right Kim, it is a damn shame.

  4. Jane says:

    “If I can put my children through an Ivy League education by cloaking, I’m sure as hell going to do it.”

    Slightly off-topic, but I am reminded of how much shit I was given during college for having a full athletic scholarship. “How,” people would ask me, “do you justify the fact that the school pays out-of-state tuition for you just because you’re better than most at swimming eight lengths breaststroke?”

    I had no explanation. I didn’t NEED one. I’m not going to turn something down because it offends other people’s sensibilities.

    I hope you do make enough money doing whatever you do in SEO to send your kids to Oxford, so they can board with Stephen. Then you can visit me every weekend.

    Bring Rufus.

  5. Julie Joyce says:

    Yes that’s the thing Flora…wouldn’t it be MORE unethical to turn down the scholarship, not get to go to college, and have a shit life working for minimum wage?

    I was a social worker way way back, when I thought I could deal with doing something noble for a living. It almost killed me. Once you’ve been asked which of your wheelchair-bound clients with cerebral palsy and profound mental retardation brings in the least amount of funding since you need to throw someone out of the program, you realize that something like a bit of spam really isn’t anything to get too self-righteous about.

  6. bloody fantastic blogpost Julie and hear hear! I was just talking to Jonathan Allen about exactly this last night (after the Chinwag event). It is ridiculous what this industry has turned into, a playground, ehm worse, high school!!!! Name calling and back stabbing is just not cool and will NOT further someones career or make them better at their job. Jealousy also seem to be a big problem, if you succeed you have plenty of people that are more than willing to get you down a notch or two. YOU SHALL NOT think that you are better than anyone else!!???? WTF?

    A few LondonSEO events ago I had a guy saying to me “ok so you have built up your profile in the industry, and granted probably every guy in this room wants to sleep with you, but are you ACTUALLY any good at SEO?” For fuck sake, what is wrong with people, my blood was boiling (Hadn’t it been for the fact that he was 6ft 4 I would have had a go at slapping him) Obviously I just told him “no I’m rubbish” as really don’t think I should need to justify anything.

    Without the risk of sounding like Forest Gump “my mama always told me that if you are willing to stick your head out you have to be prepared to be slapped in the face” BUT COME on. Why do people have the right to judge you as a person for what you do.

    The question is “to be a twat or not to be a twat”….People should just stop spending so much time judging others and take a look at themselves instead.

    The only thing I judge is Julie being a vegetarian, being vegetarian just means walking around hungry. I eat whales….

  7. Hear hear Julie and Jane and Lisa and Kim – you guys rock!

    I stopped visiting certain SEO/M sites much at all because I simply had no time in my life for the same s*it that I used to face 8 or so years ago in newsgroups and on Onelist/Yahoo Groups (different vertical though and thus different moniker).

    Too many people wants to be a big fish in a small pond and not have to work at it. They become angry and resentful of anyone who does achieve their goals and thus feel the need to attack.

    I admire any woman who goes out there and makes a name for herself because based on what gets said to me, they must face all sorts of sh*t and raw ignorance.

    You ladies all rock and I take my hat off to you all and bow in deepest respect.

  8. Ciaran says:

    Just what I’d expect from a tofu wearing, sandal reading, Guardian eating pinko hippie. Why don’t you just **** off back to where you came from? You make me sick, you bloody Naz…

    Oh…. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin's_law

  9. Chewie says:

    Thanks for the link to my blog in your post Julie, much appreciated. Also it made me smile, every thing you said is so true.

    I have nothing more to add to the accurate comments above, i bid you all good day :o )

  10. Julie Joyce says:

    Dean!!! I didn’t think you read this blog unless we paid you. You’re very welcome…always glad to see some good black hat posts you know, and good day to you sir.

  11. Hi Julie. I am really digging your posts – couldn’t see the wood for the trees before, but stumbling across your ‘bored of seo’ post was like arriving at a forest clearing. After i was hunting deer… starving hungry in my godzilla suit.

    Anyway enough about me ;)

    All i can say on this subject is that there are winners and there are bitches and neither have time to do the others job. Stay the course! Normality is the only defence against ad hominem arguments – you need to know when not to bother.

    But *If* we were to concede that SEO is still seen to be a man’s world (which i’m not saying it is), i thought SEO chicks might draw courage and hark back to a timeless classic of poetic zero-to-hero advice which curiously now seems to apply to seo, blogging, sphinning and twittering :) Rudyard kipling’s IF :)

  12. Chewie says:

    Hey Julie,

    I don’t actually read the blog i just come and look at the pretty pictures of all you SEO Chicks :o )

    Nah, i find it a good read, keep up the good work.

  13. Julie Joyce says:

    Chewie…I’m going to have to smack you next time I see you. It will give Rob a welcome break.

    Jonathan…nice comment, especially the Kipling reference. Oh, the godzilla bit was nice too.

  14. the only reason Chewie visited was because he saw the link to his blog and curiosity got the better of him and he had to see what we were saying about him? Don’t worry Julie, I’ll slap him for you ;)

    Hey Julie did you know Donkey is in Hong Kong, his twitter update said something like “Hong Kong girls rock! I better put on some Sex Panter…” Think someone forgot to pack his medication again…donkeys shouldn’t be traveling alone.

  15. Julie Joyce says:

    Yes I spoke with the Donkster while he was in Hong Kong today…he was admiring the wimmins. I guess the bull is now out of the, well wherever bulls usually are.

  16. Chewie says:

    You’ve got me alllll wrong, i subscribe to the RSS… *clicks subscribe* See? :o )

  17. Julie Joyce says:

    Chewie you are ever so clever…I’m still going to slap you when I see you in November though.

  18. Tony says:

    I spoke to Donkey and he is practicing safe sex. Told me:

    “I just got drunk instead – more reliable.”

  19. Chewie says:

    Julie: I look forward, normally i have to pay for that shit… Like Max Mosley but without the Nazi informs.

    No seriously though, i am looking forward to seeing you all in November, rainy rainy November.

  20. I turned my back for one second….

  21. Abductee says:

    This post sucks! I came here to talk about spaceships and maybe find a way to get over the trauma caused by my recent abduction. Instead I read about dietary habits, politics and some guy having donkey sex in Hong Kong. Don’t you seo’s have something better to do?

  22. Julie Joyce says:

    @Abductee: um, no, actually, no we don’t. Hence, this post.

  23. Julie this post was amazing!! You are a good person and your Momma obviously brought you up right.

    You are right…. no one should ever judge one or the other for having different beliefs, different values, different religions, different color skin, etc… And,when this comes to what we do online professionally it should be the same. Even if you and I have different ideas of what will work and what is allowed in SEO, Marketing, Social Media, etc doesn’t mean that it should be taken into an online battle. I totally agree.

    I treat the members of the online communities I frequent just as I would in any community I frequent in reality…. respect, honesty, and care. We are humans and what makes me who I am is because of my beliefs, morals & values. And, what makes you who you are the beliefs, morals, and values…. even though they may be different than mine I respect you for you. And, it would be down right nasty for me to announce your differences online and label them as wrong.

    Thank you Julie for this amazing post. :)

  24. Julie Joyce says:

    Shana!! That was an amazing comment. You were obviously brought up right as well. Thank you.

  25. Jim says:

    I agree with what you’re saying here. I don’t understand why so many people get overly worked up about something so silly. Everyone has a different approach to marketing and business models…but so what. I am an SEO for a large Internet marketing company that represents hundreds of major corporate sites, so most of the “tricks” I read on social media/networking sites is not applicable to my clients. However, I’ve found that consistantly doing the basics and staying on top of any and all changes in the industry as best I can proves advantageous most of the time. But I am always interested in hearing how people promote their sites and think it would be quite infantile to start name calling if I disagree with someone else’s tactics. Aren’t the constant evolution and broad spectrum of opinions part of what make SEO interesting? My favorite part of my job is research. I don’t think there would be much research to do if there weren’t so many different opinions.

    Obviously name calling and bashing is juvenile, but healthy debate is always exciting.

  26. Julie Joyce says:

    Yes the name calling is a bit much for people over the age of 12. I like the healthy debate, too, because that’s how you get better at what you do every day.

  27. PPC Frank says:

    What is spam anyway? Networks such as StumbleUpon delete accounts of people that are only publishing their own articles. And what if I wanted to read THEIR articles and not the junk they found on the web and had to bookmark just so they would not be considered as spammer?

  28. rumblepup says:

    I hate it when I miss the stuff that goes down that sparks such and excellent post. Bravo Julie. I’m so freakin’ busy buried under heaps of excel docs that I never get a chance to to just surf my favorite blogs and catch up on what’s going down.

    And, this year has been quiet a year name calling all over the place. I don’t get into it ’cause luckily nobody knows who I am and I don’t want to be know for being a bullshit asshole.

    Great post!

  29. Julie Joyce says:

    I love Rumblepup! Holy cow that’s the cutest dog on earth. I may smack my three dogs simply because they are NOT that cute.

    Oohh excel docs…I am jealous. Yes, I’m serious.

  30. Yura says:

    I’ve always thought that a person is judged by what he does, not by what he says. Do you disagree with this completely?

    Maybe you simply mean that we shouldn’t publish our negative emotions? Yes, focusing on the positive is more enjoyable.

  31. Julie Joyce says:

    Yura: I think a person should not be judged by something as silly as what he or she does for a JOB. We’re not killing small puppies in SEO, as far as I know. We’re marketing websites.

  32. Yura says:

    To me, it depends on how much value a SEO provides to his clients’ clients, when doing his job. My opinion is that a person can choose what he does for a living and if he chooses not to deliver value, it tells me something.

    I am not saying spamming is equal to actually killing a mosquito, just it is radically different from building engaging content. I usually respect those, who build content that makes my jaw drop. I might respect spammers as as professionals in their field, if they are the best, though.

    This topic isn’t black and white, and the only thing I agree with is that extremism doesn’t do well to both sides (except link baiters, ofc :p ).

  33. Julie Joyce says:

    Yura, you’re definitely right when you say the topic isn’t black and white. This post wasn’t about black and white hat, though, it was about why we judge others by how they do SEO. The WHY bit is what interests me. In terms of providing value, I’d like to point out that some clients actually request some sketchier methods…if we’re doing what the client wants, is that really a bad thing? That is a different argument though. I don’t think we should call someone horrible names online simply because he or she does black hat or controversial link bait. That’s it really.

  34. rumblepup says:

    @Julie Joyce – cute doggy, Yes. Not to be messed with, definitely Yes. His name was Rufus Jones and a great bully (bulldog.) Sadly missed.

    Yeah, the excel documents for all the e-commerce feeds I have to manually do because my backwards e-commerce engine doesn’t. I’m starting to hate excel.

  35. Julie Joyce says:

    I have a Rufus!!! He’s a c^&% of a bloodhound but I love him to bits.

  36. Yura says:

    My initial comment was on you saying that people shouldn’t be judged on what they do in this quote:

    Why must we judge people by how they do their jobs?

    Other than that, I do agree with your latest comment.

    Btw, if you don’t educate your client on more efficient methods to get better results, while at the same time delivering value (the key to results, in any case), then do you consider your job done well? I guess this question is for another topic, though :)

  37. Julie Joyce says:


    If I had to compare black hat to white hat methods in terms of being efficient and getting better results, I would have to argue in favor of black hat for the immediate…there’s a lot at stake when you start using those methods BUT I have clients who do both black and white hat campaigns, and I really see nothing wrong with that. Some of my most SEO-educated clients are the ones wanting black hat, as well. If I get my client to rank well and make him or her a lot of money, then I consider my job well done.

  38. Doug Heil says:

    Thank goodness I found this post via the learning seo basics blog.

    This is a joke, right? I don’t know where to begin or end. LOL

    Julie wrote:
    “why is it that we feel the need to label another human being according to how he or she runs a business aspect of his or her life? That’s asinine.”

    Huh? The way a human being runs their very own business says a heck of a lot about that same human being….. now tell me you disagree? LOL

    Heck Julie; from my angle of this CRAPPY industry; the damn industry is waaaaay to nice to each other and eager to get down and kiss butt at every opportunity. It’s sickening.

    Sorry Julie; while I have agreed with you on things in the past,…. not this time. Matter of fact; I can’t agree with anything you wrote.

    As far as a client wanting blackhat stuff from you? Well gee wiz; how about teaching him/her a few things? How about telling that client NO? How about walking away if they insist?

    Give me a break…..

  39. Julie Joyce says:

    Yes Doug thank goodness you found this post!

  40. Jane says:

    Doug, if you’d rather agree with a bizarre hate-post-writing name-caller, I’m pleased you disagree with us.

  41. Yura says:

    And for once I agree with Doug :)

    Jane, surely you wouldn’t call Doug bizarre :)

    Do you have any substance to counteract Doug’s arguments?

  42. Jane says:

    Yura, I am talking about the person who wrote the post by which he found this. She is bizarre. See his link, above, and read the hateful things she spews.

  43. Doug Heil says:

    Hi Jane; Well sure; she could have been “more nice” about it, but what she wrote was actually the truth. I would have put things much differently for sure by leaving out the personal “cute” stuff. But the facts are; this industry is simply too nice. The industry allows spammers to speak at conferences. The industry allows cheaters to get praise and podiums everywhere for being, hmm, erm, well cheaters. You see this everywhere.

    Tell me how this is a good thing?

    Also; Both Jane and Julie never responded to my comment so I will post it again:

    “Huh? The way a human being runs their very own business says a heck of a lot about that same human being….. now tell me you disagree? LOL

    Heck Julie; from my angle of this CRAPPY industry; the damn industry is waaaaay to nice to each other and eager to get down and kiss butt at every opportunity. It’s sickening.”

    Do you disagree with that? If so, explain exactly why you do disagree please.


    I really think this is a huge generation gap of sorts. When I went to school….. in high school in the 70′s, teachers could actually bring their own wooden boards with holes in it. If a student was being bad, they asked that student to come to the front of the class and bend over. They proceeded to give that student a damn spanking. YES; that’s a fact. These days? … heck; kids in school get away with most anything and cannot be touched or even scolded by the teacher. That’s crap. I really believe this is the mindset of the 20 somethings these days. They really feel anything is fair game… cheating or not… ethical or not. Anything goes on the internet. If you say a bad thing to these young people, they get all wishy-washy and start crying about being too hard on them. Paaaleeeease.

    Get out in the real life and slave for awhile like people in my generation did “before” the web.

    I want to know if you all disagree with my comment. If so, please tell me exactly why you disagree.


  44. Julie Joyce says:

    Hi Doug!

    First of all, the real question is this: why does almost every one of your comments that I see mention someone getting a spanking?

    Moving on:
    “Also; Both Jane and Julie never responded to my comment so I will post it again:

    “Huh? The way a human being runs their very own business says a heck of a lot about that same human being….. now tell me you disagree? LOL”

    Um, well yes I disagree. See the POST.

    I disagree for a variety of reasons…the main one is that I simply do not think that how we practice SEO reflects on our character. You can disagree all you want, but most of the rage and name-calling that I see going on is done by sanctimonious white-hats. You can call it cheating, but to me, it’s all cheating. It’s all manipulation.

  45. Julie Joyce says:

    OK I am really, really sorry about the above comment.

    Instead of “why does almost every one of your comments that I see mention someone getting a spanking?”

    I should have said “why do almost all of your comments that I see mention someone getting a spanking?”

    Poorly, poorly worded, and I apologize from the depths of my cold black heart.

  46. Jane says:

    People get so hot under their collars about ethics in Internet marketing, but at the same time, some tend to forget what really makes someone a decent person. Calling someone simply awful names, stating that they’re ugly and implying that they were beaten as a child is the real violation of ethics. There is no excuse for that woman’s blog posts. They’re despicable.

    This has little to do with how Julie and I practice SEO and has descended into us pandering to a woman whose version of ethical behaviour is nothing but absurd.

  47. Doug Heil says:

    Julie wrote this:

    “I disagree for a variety of reasons…the main one is that I simply do not think that how we practice SEO reflects on our character. You can disagree all you want, but most of the rage and name-calling that I see going on is done by sanctimonious white-hats. You can call it cheating, but to me, it’s all cheating. It’s all manipulation.”

    You don’t huh? If how someone conducts business does not reflect on their character, then what exactly would reflect on their character? If they cheat the public by submitting a fake news story to news outlets in order to dupe that same public, what the heck do they do if it’s not business related? Are you kidding me?

    Come on now Julie; surely you cannot condone cheating and tricking the general public for a quick buck, can you? Are you telling me that person who did exactly what I describe does not reflect on the type of person he/she is? That cannot be what you are saying, but it sounds exactly that.

    Jane; I’m not going to debate with you about that other blog post at all. I AM debating with you about your defending of THIS blog post and the fact that you have not answered my question. I have already responded to your concerns of that other blog, so it’s your turn to respond to my comments.

    And Julie; my spanking comment in here was to prove my point that young people these days, which you are one of them, want their cake and eat it as well when it comes to the web. You seem to think that it’s perfectly fine for anyone to lie and cheat their way to success without anyone at all saying one darn thing to them with regard to their personal makeup and character. I say that’s crap. Period.

    If this industry does not want any standards whatsoever, and wants everything to be fair game in business “on the internet”, what the heck will eventually come of that mindset? What? I’ll tell you what; Governments from all over will have their noses into everything you do online. Everything. If you think your personal stuff is becoming more public now, IE: the Google trash talking going on, you have not seen anything yet if the government gets her nose into the SEO industry in a big way. Just wait and see.

    To those of you who want ZERO standards in this industry, and who want ZERO accountability for the ways you conduct yourselves, and want no one to ever call you a bad name because of that business conduct…… just wait, as it’s all coming down.

    Too many people in this industry are flat-out babies.

  48. Excellent reply Jane. Honestly, I’m quite baffled by that post because as far as I can determine there was nothing done on Julie’s part to instigate it. It appears to be nothing more than a personal attack that’s come out of nowhere. An attack that speaks more to the type of person who wrote it than to the person she attacked.

    As to ethics, I agree with you. The blogger’s are absurd, if not utterly lacking.

  49. Julie Joyce says:

    The fake news story chatter is getting a bit old. Lyndon did something that a lot of people, including myself, thought was quite brilliantly done. The whole IDEA of it was marketing genius, whether or not you agree with it. I’ll stand by that opinion, no matter what. No dolphins were harmed in the writing of his linkbait as far as I know, either.

    I don’t think the way someone does (neon lights here) SEO reflects on his or her character. Period. It’s SEO!!!

    We aren’t talking about someone coming to his work as a surgeon drunk out of his skull and molesting patients, potentially also running over squirrels in the parking lot in his haste to get in and grab the mints. In that case, I’d say that yes, that might indeed reflect a tiny bit on his character…I mean, that’s just plain wrong. We’re talking about…um, what were we talking about?

  50. If someone is going to write something that bad, I think people should have to work at it to get at that bile so I’ve removed the easy URL and left the words.

    *I* did that, my change to the URL for the original comment from Doug – BLAME ME.

  51. Doug Heil says:

    Brilliantly done?

    Wrote a fake story.
    Submitted it as “news” to everywhere he could.
    Put in on a financial news site that was otherwise a trusted source of financial banking information.
    Made it out to be a REAL story to the world and to the visitors of that financial site.
    Did all of this in order to trick and deceive the general public, the seo industy for links, the news outlets for links, and did so in order to gain more link juice from Google.

    OK; you say brilliant? I say criminal. period.

    This shows me how much of the young people today were brought up. Brought up in schools. Brought up by parents. Not having any experience in real world business at all. If they did; there is totally no way you would think of that as “brilliant” by any stretch of anyone’s common sense.

    My goodness.

    “It’s just seo”.

    SEO IS a business. There are business ethics involved with EVERY damn industry in the world. Get some please.

    I’m done with this conversation. I have a daughter your age, and I can tell you for a fact that she would not have the same mindset for any type of business. If she did, she knows she would also get a spanking,…. just like the one you and others need as well.

    The world is going to “H” in a hand basket.

  52. Jane says:

    So criminal. I’m going to call the police.

    “Hello, Seattle PD? Someone wrote a fake story on the Internet. Hello? Hello?”

    I have a mother your age, and I can tell you for a fact that she would regard you as an old cranky pants.

  53. There’s a whole heap of shite being flung here and despite not wanting to c*ntribute to it I am entirely unable to let this go:

    “I’m done with this conversation. I have a daughter your age, and I can tell you for a fact that she would not have the same mindset for any type of business. If she did, she knows she would also get a spanking,…. just like the one you and others need as well.”

    A fake story is illegal, but you are perfectly happy to state for the world to read that you’d spank your grown-up daughter???

  54. laura callow says:

    hmmm… I see some value to this topic, but I also think that as an industry we need to be very careful where we tread. Simply saying it’s OK to do something because the end justifies the means is neither ethical nor considering the long-term consequences of such behavior. Both traditional and web based advertising have to – by law – adhere to rules laid out by the FTC http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/buspubs/ruleroad.shtm

    Sure, SEO is only a part of search marketing, and SMM is a related field. Practitioners envisaging long term business gains and brand recognition in either field should take a step back and consider whether their actions will stand the test of time.

    I’m no way judging people for how they conduct their business, or how they practice SEO, but I might not recommend them to a friend or business partner needing SEO services if I found their means to be wanting in terms of what is generally considered to be acceptable, responsible, ethical business practice.

    Doug, I understand your frustration here, but I think you may have gone off on a bit of a tangent :)

  55. Doug Heil says:

    Andrew; I think people knew what I meant real well. I think it’s highly unethical business practices to think that’s it’s quite OK and even brilliant if a person puts out fake stories for the perceived gain they will receive from it.

    Well said Laura. Oh yeah, I get frustrated for sure, but you know what people with some kind of common sense and logic are dealing with in this industry right now.

    Make no mistake; what the learningseobasics blog said was not right by me for sure. I do not condone that type of name calling whatsoever. I do however know what she is saying and agree with that part of it. I don’t agree with how she made her case at all. You won’t see me call people those types of names, but I will call you a blackhat lover and a person who condones search engine spam if that is exactly what you are. I know a few in this blog are exactly that. No mistake from me about that at all. Anyone who does not know the law and who does not know the very simplest of business ethics needs to go back to school to learn them, or get a real job at a brick and mortar business to find them out for yourselves.

  56. Julie Joyce says:

    Being called a blackhat lover is fine with me…some of the most brilliant people that I know in this field are of the darker persuasion.

    That being said, my having no issues with how they do SEO and my having no problem doing something a bit dark for a client who’s asked for it (and been told about the risks–so please don’t assume that just because someone does STOOP to doing blackhat, they have not warned the client of the risk because in most cases, that simply isn’t true) does not mean that I have zero ethics period. I simply view what I do for a living as a way to make a living.

    There is a common belief that anything blackhat is spam. I wouldn’t go far enough to say that I condone spam…I don’t produce it, I am forced to tolerate it, and overall, it doesn’t really get me too upset because it’s easy enough to wade through isn’t it? So calling me a person who condones search engine spam may not be all that correct. I am a person who simply doesn’t go into a proper fit when confronted with it.

    Lastly, I do have business ethics. They just happen to be different from yours. It’s a semantic argument, and anything to do with ethics always is. We say a lot of silly things on this blog, to keep the humor and the lightness there, and some of us are younger than others (and I’m not one of those) but don’t make the mistake of thinking that anyone who writes on this site is someone to be talked down to, or treated in a condescending manner. We do have business sense, and we all have quite respectable jobs doing this for a living, so don’t assume that you’re dealing with a bunch of little girls here.

    You can, and do, disagree with us but seriously, stop talking about how I need a spanking. I may, but rest assured that you aren’t the man who’s gonna do it.

  57. Doug Heil says:

    Thank you for being civil and having this discussion.

    I never said that search engine spam or blackhat seo was ok as long as the client was informed of the risks. What makes you think that is perfectly ok? It’s not. I think you may believe that informing or risks makes things dandy, and that you are only hurting yourself and your client if you get caught. Not true. How about those sites who are competitors and play by the rules of the se’s, and who do not cheat them? It’s OK if you cheat them though, right? How’s that stack up? It’s OK as long as you inform the client?

    It’s not OK on so many levels Julie. Not at all.

    You say you may not condone blackhat/spam, but yet you stated in your article post that you would spam on behalf of your client, right? I’m not getting that, sorry.

    Your blog has rules in here, correct? If someone doesn’t follow ‘your’ rules, what happens? If someone does not follow my rules on my forums, what happens? Is it ethical for someone to continue to spam my forums even though they are warned about my rules and simply disregard them anyway? Is it ethical to come to my house and trash the place even though I told you not to?

    If that answer is no; why is it that many feel that a search engine’s rules are there to be broken? What is the mindset that thinks it’s great to be a blackhat and get praise and cheer for being one, when that same person does not want unwanted spam in their very own blogs? I guess it must be a site origin thing or something. It’s like well; it’s ok to spam certain sites but not ok to spam my site, or some other site? Where is that line drawn BTW? I’d love to find out where that ethical line is in order to go ahead and spam the crap out of the sites who fall on the wrong side of that line.

  58. Julie Joyce says:

    Doug, thank you as well for having a civil discussion.

    Regarding this bit: You say you may not condone blackhat/spam, but yet you stated in your article post that you would spam on behalf of your client, right? I’m not getting that, sorry.

    Well, no, I don’t do spam but that’s where our definitions of spam probably differ. I’d do blackhat on behalf of a client, if asked, if I thought it was warranted. I don’t, always, actually, and I’ve said no many times in cases like that. Spam, to me, is useless crap. Manipulating the engines in order to move my client up a bit is not creating spam, to me.

    Whether it’s ethical or ok or whatever, my point is that if my client pays me to do something and it will get the results they’re after, in many cases, I’d do it. There are, of course, cases where even a horrible person like myself will say no.

    I don’t think a search engine’s rules are there to be broken. I just might happen to break them, knowing the consequences.

  59. Doug Heil says:

    Yes Julie; you and I differ greatly as to what is spam. There are two types of spam. One is email spam, which is well, email spam. Another is search engine spam, or blackhat stuff. I gather from you there must be levels of blackhat that draws some kind of line. If it’s over that line; it’s spam. If it’s under that line, it’s not spam and just called blackhat. Interesting take on things. I must say I’ve never heard of that kind of definition in this industry for eleven years now, and I thought I had heard it all.

    So in summary; you believe that is it’s ok in certain situations and circumstances to implement Blackhat stuff on behalf of the client as long as you inform that client of the risks involved. Further; you don’t give any regard whatsoever to certain websites, such as search engines where you and your client wish to achieve free search engine listings in, and will do whatever it takes to get there. Further; you don’t give any regard to all the competitor sites your client may have in his/her market, and who may be actually playing by the rules set forth by that certain website/search engine. You don’t care about them at all as long as you and your client feel good about things, and want to make money. Making money for you and your client is the top priority, and you or your client does not care how you get there, nor do you care which competitor you beat out in the top ten because you implemented blackhat and the other site played by the rules.

    I got it Julie. Thanks for the discussion.

  60. Black hat, White hat, SHITE HAT.

    The whole “Lyndongate” nonsense is just that, nonsense.
    Ultimately it is entertainment. In the same way that IrnBru has entertained with their advertisements over the decades (google “irn bru ads” to see what I mean for the non UK/ Scottish amongst us) it is entertainment at the same time as being advertising… If people are entertained and amused by it the brand profits from it, end of discussion.

    The in-fighting smacks of jealousy in lieu of respect.

  61. Dave (original) says:

    SEO = Fake news story, AKA lies in its non euthenism form?

    The SEO industry has already given itself a black-eye over the Years, Lyndon’s stunt simply broke the nose and blackened the other eye while HE made some money. That’s “brilliant marketing”?

    Trust me, spreading lies as the truth is NOT “brilliant marketing”.

    ALL SEO SHOULD be within the SE guidelines so we ALL have a level playing field. Most Webmasters are online to make money AKA a wage. Those who cheat are cheating money from those who should be on page 1 based on the merit of their content (dirty word for blackhats, I know) as defined by the SE.

    Would YOU play cards for money with a blackhat?

    Would YOU think it OK if your child didn’t make the cut due to some cheating on a final exam.

    So, as long as the “professial” (cough) informs of the risks, anything goes? Hmm, sure sounds like a slippery slope to nowhere to me.

  62. Julie Joyce says:

    I’ve never been asked to use any blackhat techniques in an industry where everyone in the top 10 was not doing the same. That, to be, is fair game, and a level playing field.

    Yes it is about money. Not being the recipient of a lovely inheritance, I work to make money. Again, just because I have no issues with blackhat techniques does not mean that I go through life spamming the engines and running over old people in crosswalks. Honestly, being lectured on ethics by a man who longs for the days of corporal punishment and wants to give his grown daughter a nice beating…well, that’s just the slightest bit ironic.

    Thanks to everyone for your comments. I now have chickens to sacrifice.

  63. Julie Joyce says:

    Damn it I have typos in my comment!!


  64. Jane says:

    Julie you silly bird, you’re a moderator. Log in to WordPress and edit them!

    Right, I’m off to pray to Satan.

  65. Dave Snyder says:


    We don’t know each other, but I agree with you on this post.

    All negativity begets is more negativity.

    This industry needs to behave like an industry. Stop with the high school drama nonsense, and pretend we are educated grown ups.

    We have a group of people here that float from blog to blog, never really leading any thoughts, never really adding anything to the conversation, and strangely enough never talking about SEO or Internet marketing.

    They just bring people down.

    They just spend their time polluting social media, while talking about how polluted social media is.

    I never really understood people that simply wanted their viewpoint to be the only viewpoint. Or their methodology to be the only methodology.

    The only answer I have is fear. Either that or incompetence.

    Again Julie good post, and Jane good use of “cranky pants”


  66. Dave (original) says:

    RE: “I’ve never been asked to use any blackhat techniques in an industry where everyone in the top 10 was not doing the same.”

    “everyone”? I doubt that. So you are sheep, just like all the blackhats.

    RE: “Again, just because I have no issues with blackhat techniques does not mean that I go through life spamming the engines”

    You just admitted to “spamming the engines” now you are denying it.

    Tell you what, Julie, when you have figured how to use WordPress, you can start a REAL “SEO” business. LOL!

  67. Julie Joyce says:

    I really do need to learn to use WordPress properly…

    Likening blackhats to sheep? That is truly a strange point to attempt to make.

    If I need to spam the engines, I will. Period. I don’t do that currently…I HAVE done it, I will most likely do it again, but as I said, it’s not part of my daily routine. Extrapolate (look it up) that all you want to.

    Dave, when you figure out how to say something that you think is funny without including “LOL!” well, maybe you can make a comment that I’ll take seriously.

  68. Julie Joyce says:

    @Dave Snyder: thank you. I owe you a latte. Jane’s use of “cranky pants” was truly inspired. In fact, I’ve asked her to marrry me. Wait, no…

  69. Yura says:

    Julie, if you really think that stooping to the level of blackhats, even if they own top 20, is ok, then I’d rather recommend you learn some insight from Ammon Johns on the topic. Some quotes:

    “You obviously dislike the way they have gone about getting content on to their homepage. What have you done to beat it with a more elegant and useable modern method?

    Getting yourself into a state about the spamminess is the tactic they may well be relying on. It seems to be preventing you doing your job, which is to beat them. Not at their apparrent own game, but at SEM. One expects sites like this to confuse the clients. Poor clients tend to say “well that’s working, so we should do that too”. That’s precisely what the other competitors of theirs probably did, which is why the other spammy sites aren’t there to see.”

  70. Julie Joyce says:

    Yura, and everyone else…

    Again, just because I would use blackhat techniques when warranted does not mean that I need to learn any insight from anyone on whitehat techniques. Trust me, I know those well. I just don’t happen to have a rabidly puritanical attitude about marketing.

    When I was head of search at a previous agency, I recommended and oversaw the transition of every single client we had (which was around 40) into purely whitehat campaigns. I’d inherited most of them from someone else, and they were cloaked. Some did better than before, some got completely sacked, and some had very little notable change.

    It is a huge mistake to assume that anyone who does or condones blackhat techniques is someone who must know no other method. It’s also a mistake to label any site using blackhat as a spammy site.

  71. Jane says:

    Oh my God, SEO Chicks may cross the 100-comment threshold with this.

    I invite you all to calm down a bit, aside from Julie, who has indeed kept her cool and could be forgiven if she didn’t as she is a redhead. A fake one at that, but who am I to judge? This hue of blond is straight out of a bottle. The REST of you need to calm down and see past your own piousness. I suggest a good lay. Okay that WAS childish, but it really can help.

    In a more serious vein, it would be healthy for us to remember that search engine guidelines are search engine guidelines and that they belong to–ahem–search engines. It isn’t a heart-palpitation-inducing moral issue, and this comes from a white hat who works for a white hat company that practices and recommends white hat SEO. I’m now going to do what really makes me a decent human being and go walk my dog.

  72. Julie Joyce says:

    Jane, you nasty troll, saying mean things about me like that, and publicly no less…

    I’m going to be a decent human being and eat my orange scone that I actually bought to give to someone else, then changed my mind when I saw that it had frosting on it.

  73. Jane Copland says:

    Oh well THAT is evil. See that, people? Have at her now, the dirty scone thief.

  74. Look.

    I have to call a stop to this.

    All this talk of chicken sacrificing and satan worshipping…

    You’re giving away the secrets of top rankings and not charging the usual $500,000 fee. That pyramid scheme I so carefully built is going to be RUINED!

    Therefore, before the entire SEO world goes broke because you’re giving away *all* the secrets, I suggest we stop this comment storm right here


  75. [...] 5th Birthday Party, held at the Absolut Ice Bar, in central London. I took my good friend Decabbit along, you’ll see her in my flickr [...]

  76. Dave (original) says:

    RE: “Again, just because I would use blackhat techniques when warranted does not mean that I need to learn any insight from anyone on whitehat techniques. Trust me, I know those well. I just don’t happen to have a rabidly puritanical attitude about marketing.”

    “when warranted” = money is offered.

    “rabidly puritanical attitude” = those who don’t NEED to lie, cheat and steal when marketing.

    RE: “Likening blackhats to sheep?”

    Yep, just tell all you buddies that a new directory has PR 7 or above and watch them flock :)

    RE: “It is a huge mistake to assume that anyone who does or condones blackhat techniques is someone who must know no other method. It’s also a mistake to label any site using blackhat as a spammy site.”

    1st statement is partly true, but ANY SEO “professional” who “condones blackhat techniques” is a SEO “professional” who the industry would be better off without.

    2nd statement is totally false. SE decides and label sites that use spammy ways as “a spammy site”.

    RE: “Dave, when you figure out how to say something that you think is funny without including “LOL!” well, maybe you can make a comment that I’ll take seriously.”

    Sorry, no prize for 2nd, kiss my arse and run 3rd :)

  77. Julie Joyce says:

    As Judith has closed this thread and asked me not to continue engaging in this argument, I’d like to say thanks for your comments Dave but I am done responding.

    In closing, I’d like to say that I particularly enjoy your use of smiley faces. Not one, but two!!

  78. Jane says:

    I shall be done with this right after I tell Dave to drink a nice tall glass of chill the fuck out.

  79. Dave (original) says:

    RE: “nice tall glass of chill the fuck out”

    Sounds like someone should take their own advice.

  80. Yura says:

    Never did I say that you no other method, than white hat.

    The Ammon’s post that I linked to refers to viewing the bigger picture and persisting in using white hat techniques, when your competition is using black hat ones, which is contrary to what you have been saying, really.

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