The SEO Industry needs to grow a pair

The buzz continues to swirl throughout the search industry since the JCPenney nonsense, and on the heels of that maelstrom, the Forbes penalty for selling links, and then most recently, Overstock was nailed.

This week Lisa Barone added her take on the topic – approaching it by providing tips for finding a legitimate SEO.   Dave Harry let it be known that he’d been contacted by THE WSJ on the Overstock issue in light of that site being slapped in the SERPs.  Dave did a good job pointing out what might be a partial cause to the big O’s subsequent deflation.

Then yesterday, a discussion thread was started over on Sphinn entitled “Is it possible for us to educate the media about SEO?

The Fraternity Mentality

Finally, today, I awoke to read an article by Dave over at my beloved Search Engine Journal entitled “Would You Report A Competitor To Google?“.

In that article, he examines both sides of the issue – do or don’t…  And brings up the “Fight Club” case:

The first school we are going to look at is; Fight Club. And the first rule of fight club? (all together now) Don’t talk about fight club. These folks believe that SEOs are a fraternity and while we may disagree at times, we should never ‘rat’ each other out to ‘the man’.

He goes on to point out that using such language is troubling because of the tone it sets, and the article is balanced without getting too far into one camp or another.  Then he leaves it to comments from readers.  And this is where my head nearly exploded.
Reverse Psychology Nonsense
Tim Biden stated in his comment:
I have to look at the outing other SEOs as a double edged sword. While it may help you or your clients to achieve a higher ranking, it’s also doing a disservice to the reputation of SEOs everywhere. Many people already think of us as slimy cheaters so why we need to add to that reputation? For a better ranking? To look better to our employers or clients?

OMG outing your competitors is doing a disservice to the industry?

Wake Up Suzy, Wake Up

Hell yeah, I report abuse within our industry.  I do so rarely, and only when something is, in my own opinion, severe and egregious.  I don’t, counter to Tim’s belief system, do so for better ranking, or to look better to my clients or anyone.  I do so because I choose to want to contribute to the betterment of our industry.

Self Police Or Government Regulation – You Choose

Michelle Robbins pointed out in the Sphinn discussion that:

there’s a whole lot of shady going on in SEO and we all know it.  Just like in every other industry. And the industries that fare the best are those that self-police.  This business is not unlike the advertising industry pre-regulation.  Key to note there is that they are a regulated industry now – whole other topic – but something that seems to get lost on the cult of SEO.

I agree with Michelle completely.  As I mentioned in a comment over on that Sphinn discussion, we’re either going to learn to police our own or the gov will step in.  It’s inevitable as billions upon billions of dollars are gained or lost based on our actions.

Even WITH regulation, consider what goes on in this country.  AIG, the mortgage industry meltdown, Enron, Madoff, Blackwater and the tobacco titans are all examples of severe abuse of the system even with regulation.

Yet without government regulation, and without a truly strong self-policing mechanism, every industry was even worse.  Unbridled greed led to all sorts of even more problems severely harmful to society.  Sweatshops.  Child labor.  Massive dumping of pollutants directly into the drinking supply…

The Real Causes Of Our Rep Problems

While I treasure the aspects of our industry that come from a “we’re in this together” perspective, hiding behind that shared drunken stupor mentality is harming our industry.

It’s 3rd grade phrases like “tattle tale” and gang-mentality phrases like “ratting out” that contributes to our problems.

It’s those very same blinded-by-greed companies that contributes to our problems.

It’s companies claiming ethics then using asshat tactics on a massive scale that contributes to our problems.

It’s people claiming “everybody does it so don’t be naive” who rationalize and justify unethical behavior that contributes to our problems.

No, reporting a flagrant, severe, and highly abusive issue is the ONLY right thing to do.  It sets the proper example for others.  It fosters an atmosphere of fairness in business.

It might just even ensure we don’t have to face completely unrealistic, expensive and probably even ridiculous government regulation.

But They’ll Come After Me

If you’re afraid that the bad guys will come after you for reporting abuse, then you need to learn how to implement best practices.  You need to monitor client sites for signs of 3rd party abuse.  You need to know how to counter that.  And if you don’t know how to do all of those, please don’t put yourself or your company out there in the first place.  Or at least hook up with people who DO know how to do these things.

Or make a big disclaimer on your offerings that you’re not really an expert, you don’t really know how to help companies in this league.

THAT is professionalism.  Keeping quiet out of fear is not.

Save The Cheerleader, Save The World

Google makes too much money off of crappy AdSense sites, and too much money selling AdWords to the asshats to take severe steps against the asshats.  They’re just not going to do it in a massive way in short order.  They have to do what they can through incremental soft steps.  Which allows the asshats to adapt readily.  Cat and mouse, needing each other. So don’t count of Google to be the hero.  They’re not going to save us from ourselves.  Or from government regulation.

And unless we take responsibility in a much bigger way, the cheerleader’s going to die.  And then we’re really screwed.

About Alan Bleiweiss

Just another guy. Who happens to have a lot of experience living, breathing and sleeping organic SEO. So that's my primary focus - high end SEO audits and consulting for sites ranging from thousands to tens of millions of pages. In my spare time I blog, rant, write eBooks, and speak at industry conferences.

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  1. Jim Rudnick says:

    my head is nodding so much here Alan, that I must look like a bobble-head…but a bobble-head that is in bloody TOTAL agreement with this great post! gotta get my pom-pom’s polished, eh!

    so….step-up, should be our new SEO mantra….and google? forgetaboutit…they’re adsensing their way to the bank….



  2. Hi Alan, thanks for getting your thoughts out on this. Since there are no standards or regulations officially set by the Internet Marketing industry regarding SEO practices and such, the industry needs to regulate itself through whichever means possible.

    If a ‘don’t snitch’ mentality does exist, then those people are doing the disservice. If I am doing something wrong or unethical, I hope that I would be called out because I will sure hell sacrifice a peer/competitor rather than the reputation of the entire industry.

    I think this industry needs to lose the I’m Cool attitude. You have suits, use them! Bring a sense of professionalism to the industry because that’s what it’s lacking.
    Nate Schubert´s last blog ..How To Avoid Success at All CostsMy ComLuv Profile

    • Well Nate,

      I don’t own any suits. I’m also gutter-mouthed a lot of the time. So from that regard, I can understand the “lack of conformity” mentality that drives some people’s decisions.

      Where I’ve got a beef is with those who are the worst offenders, and those who want to remain silent out of some sense of buddy mentality…

      • I don’t have a problem with not wearing suits. I work from home and I’m not sitting here in a three piece either. SEO’s absolutely have the right to dress or talk as they please but it doesn’t change the fact that professionalism is generally more appreciated in a professional environment. Maybe a guy like Alan Bleweiss can walk into a business casually and get done what he needs and that’s great, that speaks to your accomplishments in the field. But that doesn’t mean we can all do that an expect to be treated with the same level of trust and respect.
        Nate Schubert´s last blog ..How To Avoid Success at All CostsMy ComLuv Profile

  3. Tim Biden says:

    Wow, thanks for the call-out. I should probably take a bit longer to compose my comments to be certain that they are completely thought out before hitting the “Submit” button.

    That being said, I still will not out a site for my own gain.

    However I cannot and will not disagree with your position and reasoning. Maybe more within-the-industry policing is necessary. It would certainly be better than industry regulation.

    New stance… Policing to prevent cheating: Good Idea. Policing to improve one’s own position: Still a Bad Idea.
    Tim Biden´s last blog ..VillageAdsSeo- @DigitalMktgGirl Just got another RT for your message but without mentioning you If I hear back- Ill let you knowMy ComLuv Profile

  4. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jill Whalen, Matt Siltala, Monica Wright, Alan Bleiweiss, Greg Shuey and others. Greg Shuey said: RT @AlanBleiweiss: New Article: The SEO Industry needs to grow a pair […]

  5. Halvorsen says:

    Alan my friend, you have everything nailed.

    I can’t stand all the ‘industry heads’ in our field who get upset when SEO gets a bad rep. We should not stop beating the drum when we point things out and “win”. Things should not die when the mainstream media stops talking about it because it’s real obvious they have no clue what they’re talking about.

    If we don’t point this kind of stuff out, no one will. The SEO companies working on behalf of a client will almost never admit to using blackhat tactics and even if they did, they don’t educate the clients that their tactics are against Google’s webmaster guidelines. The clients are usually in the dark. If the kind of crap that happens keeps happening and we don’t speak up, who the hell will?
    Halvorsen´s last blog ..Mustache ConsultantMy ComLuv Profile

  6. pmac says:

    Government regulation of the SEO industry? You can’t be serious. A bureaucracy that tells us which linking practices are acceptable? LOL

    Trying to make an argument that we need to report sites that don’t adhere to YOUR quality guidelines because big brother is going to swoop in and regulate our business is laughable.

    • Paul,

      My message may have been communicated incorrectly in this instance. I’ve always advocated self-policing. Countless articles on the subject.

      I do not take the actions I do out of fear of big brother stepping in. I do so because it’s the right thing to do ethically. The fact that big brother has always stepped in when big money is involved and too many companies cause havoc just happens to be an additional reality in this country and I just happen to believe that would just make things worse.

      If you happen to stand in the camp that wants to pretend the wild west is a perfectly acceptable arena, which allows people to do whatever the hell they feel like, that’s your choice.

      Personally, I think it’s bullshit.

      • Ben Cook says:

        Alan, I mention it in my comment below, but this is the second or third time I’ve seen you say it’s the ethical thing to do.

        I would love for you to explain that stance as I respect you but can’t for the life of me figure out how there’s an ethical element to whether or not you abide by Google’s arbitrary (not to mention incredibly selectively enforced) guidelines on your own website.

        As you mentioned earlier, Google is hardly innocent. So what makes their guidelines the ethical bar to clear?
        Ben Cook´s last blog ..How to Salvage a Taken Twitter NameMy ComLuv Profile

        • Ben, see my reasoning below. Also note that I don’t stand in the way of clients who want to use methods I personally believe are unethical. They’re free to do so. I just won’t participate in it.

          Much of what I stand for does come from the fact that I’ve seen countless sites using multiple tactics to cause an unfair advantage. Both within my own clients industries and others.

          Not only is it unfair to fair-minded businesses trying to compete in an already difficult economy, which directly harms their ability to put food on the table, it’s bad for users.

  7. Ben Cook says:

    I wonder how many times we’re going to have this debate.

    Personally, the only thing I’d be comfortable reporting is something that’s illegal such as hacking etc.

    The rest isn’t an ethical issue just because Google’s guidelines ask you not to do that. If they want to punish you, that’s their prerogative but to compare breaking Google’s guidelines to sweatshops and child labor is ridiculous.

    If you perform tactics that can get you banned in Google without your client’s knowledge, that’s unethical in my book. If you inform them of the risks & they still want you to proceed, there’s no ethical implication.

    In the end though, as I mentioned before this debate has been raging for years and will likely continue for years more. The only thing exposing practices & sites will do is drive people with knowledge further underground and make them more hesitant to share their information.

    Who would you rather learn from, someone who can manipulate Google so much that Google asks for webmasters’ help in policing their own rankings, or someone who whines & complains that the playing field is unfair and they can’t compete with those big bullies who don’t care what Google asks?
    Ben Cook´s last blog ..How to Salvage a Taken Twitter NameMy ComLuv Profile

    • Ben, here’s just one reasons I put it in terms of ethics.

      If I recommend tactics that clearly violate Googles TOS, and if that client site gets slapped or banned, that company stands to lose millions of dollars in revenue.

      If I recommend tactics that cause a site to gain an unfair advantage given an otherwise fair playing field, that by itself is unethical.

      If a company knowingly engages in activities that violate Google’s terms of service while seeking financial gain through Google rankings, that too can be considered unethical.

      What it comes down to also is that regardless of who sets up the rules for participation, Google or another company, anyone who chooses to not operate within those rules is crossing the ethical line.

      And as far as gross manipulators going further underground, I couldn’t give a rats ass. Honestly. I have no desire to learn their tactics and then offer those to my clients. I’d much rather continue to learn, as I have all along, the best methods for achieving the maximum results possible while staying within the rules.

      Sure, I need to stay on top of other tactics. Except for me, it’s purely to understand what’s happening so that I can counter that with even more focus on best practices. And so I can help clients who get slapped or banned.

      • At the end of the day I’m only going to do what I feel comfortable with. I’m not going to base my code of ethics on what Google does or does not allow, I’m going to base it on my personal beliefs and opinions. I will let my clients know when I believe a practice is unethical and if they want to proceed, they can do so at their own risk. Without me. I would hate for some “just following orders” task to get dragged out years later so that my reputation can be called into question.
        Nate Schubert´s last blog ..How To Avoid Success at All CostsMy ComLuv Profile

      • Ben Cook says:

        “If I recommend tactics that cause a site to gain an unfair advantage given an otherwise fair playing field, that by itself is unethical.”

        I’m sorry, WHAT!?!?

        I mean, I guess it depends on what you think is an “unfair” advantage but in business or any other place there’s a playing field, if I can get an advantage that’s within the rules (or in business what’s legal) I’m going to take it.

        “If I recommend tactics that clearly violate Googles TOS, and if that client site gets slapped or banned, that company stands to lose millions of dollars in revenue.”

        Again, I would say that all depends on whether you informed the client of the risks & possible consequences. If that same company could gain millions of dollars in revenue through use of tactics that could result in a Google ban, it might be worth it for that company. Especially if that company isn’t earning much from Google currently.

        Also, I should point out that Google is the one that chooses to index my site. I do not have to agree to their TOS to have them rank & index my site. That’s why they call them the webmaster GUIDELINES. They are recommended best practices, not behavior that you agreed to.

        Violating them has absolutely zero ethical implications in my book, unless of course you stray into illegal activities such as hacking etc which isn’t any color hat of SEO in my book. That’s just breaking the law.
        Ben Cook´s last blog ..How to Salvage a Taken Twitter NameMy ComLuv Profile

        • Ben

          “if I can get an advantage that’s within the rules (or in business what’s legal) I’m going to take it.” dude, that’s half the problem right there. Just because something is legal does not mean it’s the right thing to do.

          Here’s where I will probably lose half the crowd. I have a spiritual belief system that guides my life out in the world. Some people have no spiritual guidance driving decisions.

          If you can live without one, fine. great. just don’t get upset when Jesus walks into the temple and turns over the table and points out that you’re missing the spirit of the law by being caught up in the letter of the law.

          • Ben Cook says:

            I think this where the discussion can very quickly go off the rails but I’ll try to constrain my response to the topic at hand.

            I absolutely agree legal is not the same as moral or “right.” But in this case, I don’t see how manipulating the results through, say link spam, is unethical OR immoral (it’s certainly not illegal).

            Again, I think it all goes back to what you think is “unfair.” Is it unfair that I use your services when my competitors don’t?

            Is it unfair that I know things that my competition doesn’t?

            Would it be unfair of me to leverage connections my competition doesn’t have in order to improve my rankings?

            In fact, I think the argument could be made that reporting your competitors is actually the least “fair” thing you can do. Everyone is playing in the same Google algo, by reporting people you’re tilting that playingfield in your favor.
            Ben Cook´s last blog ..How to Salvage a Taken Twitter NameMy ComLuv Profile

  8. Dave says:

    Man, where to start?

    I guess we’ll go with; Glad to see this conversation continuing. That was part of the goal with the SEJ post yesterday. It was a contentious issue among Dojo members, thus I decided to ‘go there’.

    Ethics; I will (to a degree) go with Ben here that as long as clients are informed of the risk, ethics are pretty much off the table. Your spiritual stance seems more about morals. For example I was asked to participate in a handful of sites targeting the [pay day loans] market. I said no because I have a serious problem with pay day loan companies preying on the weakest in our society with a never ending revolcing debt. Shit, I had the time I’d take them all apart and report any evil-doers (SEO wise). But that is my personal moral stance on it.

    I don’t believe my moral compass should be everyone else’s.

    Now, just as I didn’t like the tone created with words like ‘rat’, I also think we need to be careful with how we think about search engines (being clean). I know Googlers and I know black hats. I can say uncategorically that Google has acted in ways that would shock many and have them pointing fingers saying AH HA! There are contradictions and unspoken actions that make me wonder. They are a business though, it is what it is and they have a corporate responsibility. I won’t be ‘outing’ them either.

    Google is not always innocent either.

    This conversation and flavours of it have been going on longer than I can remember. I have always struggled with the ‘fight club’ mentality beacuse it is VERY unique to our industry. I know of no other that protects those using suspect methodologies. Shit, even Google tried to ‘out’ Bing (lol). And even criminals, there is no ‘honor among thieves’ that’s for sure. So, if your in my way in a query space, using seriously crappy tactics, beware. I do understand both camps, just get confused with the ‘fight club’ mentality.

    My larger concern is for the industry I love. We may never get beyond being considered spammers and low life if we don’t create more of an atmosphere of what is acceptable and what isn’t. Furthermore, as many know, I believe that SEOs should have a certain level of understanding of how search engines (IR) work. I get resistance there because I am told “I don’t need to know that stuff to rank client sites” – which usually means, ‘ I know how to create shit links’ and game the system.

    My knowledge of how search engines work allows me to get the most of so-called ‘white hat’ techniques (I don’t believe in the hats crap btw). All of this big brand outing has actually improved my business because they are coming to me as they know I ‘do things the right way’.

    Anyway, rambling again… all in all I think it’s good to have this conversation now and again. Will it lead to SEOs getting beyond the adversarial ‘them against us’? Sadly no. We’ve been down this road many times before and it seems to mean very little. Sad, but true.

    • Ah so semantically speaking I’ve been implementing the incorrect word all this time. Lack of morals rather than lack of ethics. Except, according to Merriam Webster’s, ethics is a set of moral principles. So I guess I’ll just need to disagree with you and Ben on this aspect of the dialogue.

      I don’t make the rules, the government doesn’t. Google does. Sure, they’re ever changing and they contradict their own rules. Yet it’s a Google based world we in the search industry live within. For now. And regardless of who the leader is, whether it’s Google or some future Google replacement, it’s their rules that are there to be followed or broken best on best capacity interpretation. If I knowingly violate Google’s rules, whether my client wants me to or not, I believe that is unacceptable. If my client does so, it is their choice to do so, and I will not participate in that.

      Whether we argue about whether it’s ethics, or morals isn’t going to change my stand. That’s for sure. Because to me, knowingly and intentionally breaking the rules of the playing field is most definitely NOT the right thing to do in my opinion.

      The larger point of my article is definitely that we need to break up the Fight Club. Into tiny little shimmering shards of glass. That we can then melt down and reform into a glorious mosaic of individuals and entities that, for the most part, reflect that atmosphere you describe.

      The biggest barrier to that however, is the fact that too many people have financial gain, at all costs their primary motive. Which is a condition of our society as a whole.

      And as I communicated in the article, it’s that same mentality that inevitably leads to government regulation. People who laugh that notion off have no true historical understanding of business and government in America. They will continue to abuse the system (and make no mistake about it – violating Googles TOS IS abuse), until they are either caught or move on to some other way to take for themselves without participating in a civilized manner.

  9. Great article Alan. I couldn’t agree more. “Asshat” might be my new favorite phrase in SEO. It’s the asshats and people who have no idea what they’re doing and throw “SEO” because it’s a ‘buzzword’ that makes our jobs more difficult than it needs to be. I’ve seen so much garbage slip through Google’s cracks that I personally had to raise a red flag on some – and it wasn’t because I was looking for better rankings. Maybe it’s because I work too hard on websites that I believe effectively serves my client’s targets, and we all are striving towards creating better websites. Or the fact that when I come across websites that are deliberately seeding and ranking for it – nothing frustrates me more. There’s just no way to sugarcoat it.
    Tim Eschenauer´s last blog ..5 Tips for Facebook PagesMy ComLuv Profile

  10. I foresee issues. Big Issues. The government is gonna step in and in their ignorance the bureocrats are gonna think “We need to create a committee of top Seo! Hey, look for “Top Seo” on google!”…and guess what gonna happen…
    andrea scarpetta´s last blog ..La grande guerra delle mappe e del local search 2- Facebook dealsMy ComLuv Profile

  11. I forgot another interesting issue: if the government is gonna step in i expect it to split google in half, possibly two different companies. Since Bing is obviously in cahoot with google (copying results? come on!) they are enforcing a cartel on Search.
    This must the stopped at once, so the government should seize the google patents and split them evenly on the newly created companies.
    I’ve never seen a monopoly lasting so much without government intervention 🙂
    andrea scarpetta´s last blog ..La grande guerra delle mappe e del local search 2- Facebook dealsMy ComLuv Profile

  12. Doc Sheldon says:

    ‘Fraid I’m in Ben’s camp on this one, Alan. While I do respect your reasons for your stance, I feel you’re giving far too much reverence to Google’s guidelines. I got my moral outlook from my Mom & Dad, family pastor and a lot of years of banging into walls. I don’t see laws, rules, codes or guidelines as my ruling factors… I figure I have to make my own decisions about what’s the right thing to do.
    And arbitrary “guidelines” tossed out to attempt to control those that might affect a corporation’s massive earnings are just a little too biased for my taste.
    Doc Sheldon´s last blog ..RDFa is Coming of AgeMy ComLuv Profile

  13. Alan,

    I’m right there with you. I have always followed along with the Google guidelines and been able to get good rankings, even with competitive terms, with white hate SEO methods.
    To me, the only reason to use the other methods is because you’re too lazy to figure out, and execute it, the right way.
    At the end of the day I need to know that I’m still going to have a good reputation tomorrow and be able to sleep without worrying if I’m going to get caught doing something.

  14. Steve Wilson says:

    Ill make it real simple why you should never report competitors.

    What if I point links, obviously paid links, at you or your clients Alan? Sure you’ll deny it but don’t they all?! If google reacted by anything more than disregarding those links we would have huge problems.

    You cant stop people linking to you.

    White hat, black hat its all rubbish. Its about money, not ethics. Not glory or rules. The guys top of real money making serps will laugh at the “i wouldn’t dare step out of line gang” who get by making no serious cash whilst feeling like they followed the rules (whilst pretending to be real earners etc).

    Talk is cheap.

    • Steve,

      Of course there is always the concern regarding someone seeking to sink a competitor by pointing paid links at one of my clients sites. Whether I out somebody or not, it’s another aspect of this industry. Personally I choose not to make decisions based on fear or threats. Beyond that, I never reveal to the public who my top clients are so anyone seeking revenge because I call them out for blatantly egregious acts is not going to ever be able to target my clients.

      As far as the chest-thumping “my dick is bigger than yours if I only care about money” references, that just validates the position I hold regarding what this is all about for people who implement bottom-feeder tactics. It’s all about money obtained through wreckless business practices and the very heart of why this industry is perceived so poorly by mainstream media. Personally I’m happy bringing in the revenue I do working 20 – 30 hours a week, and referring out a million a year to companies that offer services I don’t specialize in. If it takes a Shoemoney to fit in the “serious cash” column for you, you’re welcome to believe that.

  15. […] The SEO Industry needs to grow a pair – while I may not agree with all of Alan’s suppositions in this post, there are many that I do. There’s also some healthy discussions going on in the comments, as such, a worth addition to this edition. […]

  16. Pashmina says:

    Alan, awesome post. Your thoughts here on your ethics and comment responses only serve to confirm how highly I think of you.

    This whole debate on ethics, seems to be the crux of the disagreement, and I’m sure a few participants are already thinking what you point out, (and others have said to me repeatedly):
    “Everybody does it so don’t be naive.”

    I’d like to suggest that there are stages to a person’s maturity and development of ethics. You have a very high level ethical standards, and that come from you having success and the freedom to choose. For a another marketer just trying to survive or get that next pay check, his freedom is limited, and he’ll rationalize what you perceive to be unethical as an opportunity that he must take advantage of. Sure, you can say he still has that choice, and he can refuse, but unfortunately financial security (or survival) often trumps ethics. If you put someone in an extreme survival situation, ethics is the first thing to go out the window, and some sociological studies claim that no one is immune from this.

    Then there’s the distinction between ethics & morals. Sometimes used interchangeably but I think morals apply to beliefs about individual behavior, and ethics apply to reasoned justification of a social systems or standards. Your stance suggests an ethical framework, not a moral code. And I think you’ve made your justifications clear. And I agree with them!

    • Pashmina,

      Thank you for providing your insights on this issue. When we first met at the Blueglass conference, it was clear your life maturity goes beyond your years on this planet.

      And now that you’ve weighed in, I’ll take this concept, and my position on it a step further. Making decisions on the premise that freedom is limited, or financial security as a motive just reflects the emotional fear that drives such thinking.

      From that perspective, I can definitely say I’ve been there in my own life, though it wasn’t until I had the willingness to look beyond the curtain that I was able to see the root cause. And at this point in my journey, fear is a lot less tempting. Not because I’m wealthy in financial terms, because I am not. Instead, it’s because I have no willingness to be slave to the fear when it comes to business decisions.

      Ultimately however, I appreciate your reminding me of these things, because it helps me to also remember that attempting to help the walking unconscious (not to mention the desire to shake them awake) is just that – attempting to wake up people who are not necessarily ready to waken.

  17. Jason says:

    I liken the battle between Google and SEO practices to card counters in casinos. Sure, they are guilty of breaking house rules, but is it really cheating? Or is it just finding ways of beating the house at their own game. I’m not saying there aren’t SEO practices that aren’t shady and shouldn’t be looked down upon, just that it’s not as black and white as some might think.

  18. Jesse Green says:

    I equate SEO reputation troubles to the same issues the public relations industry faces (another industry I am part of). I think outing those that are doing wrong is entirely sensible. Naturally outing these people is a double edged sword – but only to a degree. While a public indictment of wrongdoing will cast further doubt on our industry, the fact of the matter is that SEO is unregulated, and thus an open lambasting shows that white hat SEO experts have no tolerance for cheating the system. And if we keep doing this, the grey and black hat guys will start to disappear (hopefully anyway), and eventually we should start to gain a greater level of trust. Character is doing the right thing – even when no one is looking.
    Jesse Green´s last blog ..How a Few Used Social Media for the Betterment of Many – quakebookMy ComLuv Profile

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