Blackhat vs Whitehat?

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I’ve always felt strongly about the lines that exist between spammers and marketers. Those lines are constantly blurring and its getting harder and harder to say what white or blackhat marketing is. I prefer “within search engine guidelines” and “outside of search engine guidelines” – however, search engines do not always take the stance they are themselves enforcing. Web marketers are finding it increasingly difficult to compete with the changing algorithms and guidelines, and the blind-eye that search engines seem to have regarding well established sites. We all know companies like T-mobile buy text links and rank because of it for competitive terms like “Cell Phone“. If Google were really against link buying as a practice then why would they still be sitting top-ten in 2007? Wouldn’t they have been removed by now? Surely…

Manipulation is wrong, but influence is right? Yes, buying links is against search engine guidelines – but many public relations, buzz and viral marketing tactics are a process of “buying exposure” – and they’ve been going on long before the internet came to be.

This isn’t a black and white issue, and I am not the only one asking questions like this, and there are many more.

“None of us are white hat or black hat. We are people. Human beings. Those hat terms are just used to describe techniques, not people. The techniques we use, the policies we develop and the procedures we instruct our employees in does not define us as a person. It may define our business model, but surely we could at least agree that we are all targeting the same market which makes us all pretty much in the same business.

So if we’re all just people, why does this topic always get so heated? What is it that gets people calling other people names and making “over the top” harsh statements? Why is it so difficult for us to find some common ground as a group all engaged in the same business or at least going after the same customers?


I’m sure we could all agree that we have seen dozens and dozens of posts where someone makes some kind of statement like, “ I’ve bought links BUT, I only buy the ones that can send me traffic” . Or, my favorite of course is, “yes, I do sell text links with the price based on Google PR but only if it’s on-theme”. That boggles the mind, how one person can do the exact same thing as another yet see themselves as completely different from the other but of course, some minds are much more easily boggled than others. That is justification. That is survival.” – via

“Any action one takes to increase one’s search engine traffic is marketing. Any deceptive action one takes to increase one’s search engine traffic, is spam.” – via

At the end of the day, in the marketing world, and in the world in general – there are practices that harm people and those that do not. There are practices that push the boundaries of ethics and integrity. There is always an extreme left and extreme right – the truth lies somewhere in the middle.


The web has been built around a market economy, and requires it because people require it to live.

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“The web has been built around a market economy, and requires it because people require it to live.” – comment via David Mackey

Quality information and education. Entertainment and inspiration. Economic gain and social networking.

These all exist on the web, this is the way of the world. People will choose what they want, and I believe those of us promoting quality information and products have nothing to worry about.

“If someone comes up with something better than AdSense and kills it, the world will be a better place.” – Matt Cutts

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Nick Wilson of Performancing quoted Google’s spam warrior Matt Cutts in October 2005 from the Web 2.0 Conference in San Francisco. The statement couldn’t ring truer still today.

“There’s a ton of room left for experimentation,” he said. “If someone comes up with something better than AdSense and kills it, the world will be a better place.”

There is nothing happening on the Web today that provides publishers, advertisers and users with a relevant, targeted platform to interact and easily communicate with each other (other than blog networks, tools and tagging networks like of course ;)). Wandering shopping malls hoping to find what you’re looking for is fast becoming a fun “pre-web” activity, and has not been the primary way consumers shop for quite some time. “Going out” or having “face-to-face meetings” has also not been the only way people communicate or collaborate for years.

Today we look for what we want and we can’t stand clutter. If we want information we don’t want to see products, and we’d rather hear someone we respect recommend a product rather than be bombarded by overly-aggressive ads. If we want a product we’ll either go looking for it, to learn about or buy it – or we’ll go to favorite blogger on the topic and see if he has anything to say about it. Even Time magazine gets it with the person of year for 2006 being “YOU” – the personalized information retrieval and boundary-less instantaneous-and-ongoing-conversation era.

So advertisers want to join the conversations. People talk about products, services, businesses, people, places, things… and they’ll do it if you pay them and they’ll do it if you won’t. Good people will always talk honestly – its integrity and its nothing new – and good people will let their audience know if they are being paid to talk.

We are getting closer to an time not of *information cluttered with ads* but *information we can trust* (because people like us will create and spread it).

Longtail Terms That Convert – “how to get rid of X”

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Ever wondered how you can expand your inventory of longtail keywords? We all know they convert at higher percentages and cost less to rank for or purchase in the PPC space.

Sometimes it just takes a push to think outside the box. The key is action words. For example, “how to get rid of.”

I hope this gets your creative juices flowing:

how to get rid of mouse
how to get rid of acne
how to get rid of flea
how to get rid of stretch marks
how to get rid of acne scar
how to get rid of fruit flies
how to get rid of pimples
how to get rid of spyware

I call them “action words”, they are the added terms people use when hoping to really find something. Quite a lot of people search for “how do i burn fat” and may be more willing to purchase something than the person starting out with searches like “burn fat” …

Think about some of these other “action words” when building your longtail list.

do it yourself
how do i
how to
is ok
look for
make my own
what do i
what is the best
when should i

My Wengo Internet Business Consultant Page

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My Wengo Internet Business Consulting Page

Wengo has created a network of individuals looking for, or promoting, personal services attainable through video phone chat.

Pretty cool.

You can create service listings that put you in a searchable network, attach a picture, video and get a cool little “click here to call me” button that lets interested people pay a fee to talk to you. The payment gets automatically deposited into your bank account.

My first service listed is Internet Business Consultant. I’ll list all my marketing, design, development and psychographic services soon, probably with a cool video of each.

Is Google FORCING personalized search results on us?!

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Ok, I am all for personalization… in fact, its one of the many great things that have come with the evolution of the Web and technology. I prefer to be asked whether or not I want my information to be personalized or not. In fact, I like that Grandma’s searches for “roses” lead to both information on gardening and the band Guns and Roses… if she would like to see only gardening information thats fine, give her the choice, but don’t force it on us Google.