Free SEO Book: Helping Charities and Setting Expectations of Value

If you are not a real charity and desire my ebook (but not enough value to consider paying for it) I recommend grabbing a dated version of the ebook from a file sharing network.

This may sound a bit harsh, but I am trying to keep up my ability to support legit charities as long as I can...and for that to happen some things need to change.

My charity support is going to require more effort from the charities. In the past I have done lots of work trying to help anyone and everyone, but I need to take a little load off the inbox.

If I try to make myself freely available to everyone and they expect fast responses for me giving them my business model free then I am setting up a piss poor value proposition. There needs to be some effort put in on the end of the charity so that I am not a charity verification service and so they value what I am giving them.

Earlier today I got this gem of a comment:

We are an Embassy of India School in Moscow, Russia and requested per your post "If you are a certified non profit, charity, church, open software developer, or school I can provide you with a free copy." for a free copy. It is now more than a week and we are still waiting. If you don't intend to send for free, than do not post the crap about sending free on your site.

And generally I am pretty quick with email, but sometimes I miss a few (and now have about 700 in the inbox to sort through - and get around 100 a day). With the charities I sometimes ask for verification. Based on the initial emails and the lack of follow through with some of them I would estimate that over 50% of the charity requests I get are fake.

Some people have went so far as trying to spoof their sent from email address. Others have created near similar sites and done bait and switch website techniques.

The number of demanding fake charity sleazeballs eating up my time is unfortunate. They are a scourge on my ability to learn and help good people and I am not going to let them change my perception of legitimate good causes. I will simply not waste my time servicing the fake ones.

Going forward for a charity to get my ebook free they must email me the following:

  • my name (if you use dear sir expect sir to be synonymous with spam bin, because that is where it is going)

  • an email with an address that matches the URL of the charity site (if you are an outside consultant helping a charity and you think it will really help you then it should not be that big of a deal for you to set up an email address)
  • some sort of verification that they are a legitimate charity. (ie: see we are referenced by Network For Good here... or something like that...wherever they are referenced that MUST link through to the charity site matching the email)
  • Most legitimate charities create a site and get no traffic before they even realize they could use something like SEO. If you have no website and outside verification then you can get that sorted before contacting me.
  • you must also email me a URL from the charity site where there is a contact form or email address listed that I can mail back access of the ebook to
  • if you have a charity registration number that also helps

Other requirements to get a free ebook:

  • you do not have to be a registered charity if you are a legitimate good cause. If a site like World Changing wanted my ebook and was not an official charity of course they can have it free, but they would need to have content that made me feel like they were a good cause to me and possibly others stating what a good cause they are on their website.

  • Legit open source stuff, legit schools, and things that I just think are cool qualify as well.
  • I am uncertain as to what religions are right or wrong, but I believe many organized religions cause more harm or conflict than good. I feel like I am being fake if I help spread things I do not believe in to promote myself. Thus going forward the only religious institutions I will offer my ebook to for free are those which represent interdenominational institutions (ie: those that accept all types)...and it should say so on your should point me to where it says this.

If you send me a charity request email and it does not comply with any of the above do not expect a reply.

Mail requests to

Love it or hate it please let me know your thoughts :) or :(

Published: December 2, 2005 by Aaron Wall in aaron matthew wall


Waqas Ahmed
April 22, 2006 - 1:42am

Aaron seems like a very generous person and people should not take this for granted.

If he wishes to give a book for free, then he can if he wishes. And if he does not give a book for free (for whatever reason) he is entitled to that also.

Whilst I have not yet bought his book, I admire his devotion in helping other chartities for free and I hope these "demanders" don't discourage him from providing this service.

Take care

November 21, 2006 - 5:10pm

"Aaron, stop giving away stuff for free, period. How many other sites do you see doing that? Less than zero"

I can't agree with this guy.

Both for altruistic reasons and from a position of gaining a positive reputation, helping charities for free is a very good thing.

Here's a (really crap, sorry!) site I did for a guy who's in the property market: - he's big into a Romania Orphans charity (written several books about it) and is donating part of his profit to that charity.

This benefit both the charity and his business, and he's not lying, being misleading or being unethical in any way.

Now, I better go talk to him about doing some SEO on that site (and getting rid of tables, adding an actual design)...


A Reader
January 4, 2006 - 7:03am

Here's a comment for you. Hate comes from those who give free expression to their hatred and from nowhere else. Generic anti-religious, especially Catholic-bashing ever popular among your posters. I guess all these secular-minded folks are prepared to defend to their death all the religiously opposed societies of the 20th Century. The unholy trinity of Stalin, Hitler, and Mao come to mind. No siree, Aaron. No religions there. Oh but wait, no. They couldn't destroy religions of peoples NO MATTER HOW MUCH MURDER THEY EMPLOYED. How can that be? They sure used a lot of bullets and gas chambers and shovel handles to kill all those those people. At least there's these people here carrying on the antireligious hatred of the past, disguised in a chucklehead sensibility like sugar-coated cyanide tablets. And you, Aaron have proudly spread their hatred to all the world wide web. You must be so proud providing this forum for their hatred. And aren't you fashionably circumspect about your own antireligious bigotry. Wany my address so you can ask "the blogosphere" to put a contract on my family, maybe? Hey, Aaron, that's the flames you're fanning, Mr. P-C social commentary. Ask any little kid who's recently survived a Sudanese government helicopter gunship attack timed to arive and open fire on a Roman Catholic Church just as the parishioners emerge from Sunday Mass. Great side to pick, you and your little anti-Catholic buddies there. And if you want to call me intolerant, first consider what I'm not tolerating. You and I agree on that: it's called expressing antireligious hatred. The Nazis were known for their impeccable manners.

January 4, 2006 - 7:16am

>The Nazis were known for their impeccable manners.

Luckily I am not...and hence I have the freedom to express my opinions how I see fit...if I think you are a nutter or not.

I am not picking ANY particular side (unless of course if you consider free thinking a side). It is a polarized view of the world which causes many colors to go unseen.

I am not judging anyone's religions. I simply stated I am only willing to help others who are willing to do the same.

January 5, 2006 - 8:42am

We are purely not profit organization from Calcutta, Inda dealing with poor, needy muslim orphanage child. We are giving free food, lodging, education and all other facilities of life to the poor, destitute orphan boys & girls. If we recieve a copy of your SEO book, we build our position in search engine better. It may help us a lot.

January 5, 2006 - 8:48am

>We are purely not profit organization

feel free to email me a proper request with authentication, etc.

March 27, 2006 - 8:31pm

Aaron - many thanks for giving Friends of the Earth a free copy of your book. I really appreciate it.

April 25, 2006 - 12:23pm

What does a certified school mean? Like having a .edu mail address, or what?

January 13, 2006 - 7:22am

Hi Aaron,

How many days we have to wait? If you are not giving charity service we don't mind. Please remove charity link from your site.


January 14, 2006 - 8:37pm

Hi Kurban
As I stated on this page and via email I need some sort of authentication.

How do I know a site in another language with no citations from anywhere on the web is a legit charity?

January 15, 2006 - 2:21am

Another great charity. Got this one from a person with a sales letter website!

Dear Sir,
I am writing to ask for a refund. Not because the book isn't good. My Husband wrote to you asking for a copy for the ministry that he is apart of. We both thought that it might take a long time because your web site said you get lots of email, so we thought you might take a long time to go through your email's, so I rushed to purchase it for them. But two days later you gave them a copy of your book. It is good though, my husband has done nothing but rave about it, and told everybody about it and that they need to get it.

I still don't know how to take that whole "your customer service, product, and help towards charities is too good... so I want my money back" feedback.

I think I would have almost prefered a lie to that refund request reasoning.

Polly Taylor
April 14, 2006 - 10:11pm

Dear Mr. Wall:
Since your current policy is: "the only religious institutions I will offer my ebook to for free are those which represent interdenominational institutions (ie: those that accept all types)...and it should say so on your should point me to where it says this."
... your offer would be clearer up front if you would change the wording ("If you are a certified non profit, charity, church, open software developer, or school I can provide you with a free copy. details here.")
... to, perhaps: "If you are a certified non-profit, charity, interdenominational religious institution, open software developer, or school -- with an existing website and matching email address -- I can provide you with a free copy. Details here."

April 23, 2006 - 2:21pm

I am planning to work from home, am in india.

Pls request your guidance abt SEO


December 2, 2005 - 2:13pm

If they are going to be rude you don't need to go further than the del key, Aaron! :) Just because it is free doesn't mean they should feel 'entitled' to it...

December 2, 2005 - 2:13pm

Well-put, and well-handled. I'm amazed at that gem of a comment you received, and I can't understand why anyone would think a legitimate charity would be so rude when they are, in effect, asking for a donation.

Mark N.
December 2, 2005 - 3:40pm

Why not set some guidelines? If those that apply provide the required info, it should cut down the amount of work on your end. Also, it will probably weed out a few fraudsters and lighten the load on your inbox. In the end, it should save time and still allow you to continue with your offer.

December 2, 2005 - 5:47pm

hey aaron !! of all the things, SEO or otherwise, one thing that attracted is your phrasing " many organized religions cause more harm or conflict than good. I feel like I am being fake if I help spread things ......".

A silent salute in support for your stand.


February 28, 2006 - 7:40am


There are some serious nutbars out there. Aaron, it is well known that any successful business person gives back to their community or sources of their choosing. A common phrase in networking is "givers gain". It is not always about profit.

Thank you for continuing this practice. It is just too bad that some try to take advantage of your generosity.

December 2, 2005 - 7:24pm

Agree with Neel and your position - you're taking the right path with this choice.

December 2, 2005 - 7:39pm

Aaron the pope just called and he's wondering if this applies to him...
Just kidding
About all this, I say 'Right on!', and take pleasure in it if you can, this means you've got a great product that people will try all sorts of crazy things to get.
You should post the URL of the Embassy of India school guy, and let the blogosphere give them some feedback...

December 3, 2005 - 3:41am

Aaron sent us a free charity copy a while ago, thanks again. It is very helpful for the legit requests. The SEO Book & Blog have been key learings along the way to lots of search engine traffic to the site: www dot

Hopefully you can sort out a way to keep making the offer for legit charities... but that many emails per day is really crazy.

December 4, 2005 - 2:35am

Thta sucks that people are like that. Maybe asking them to fax you a copy of their tax exempt status or something?

A Reader
December 4, 2005 - 5:42am

Aaron, stop giving away stuff for free, period. How many other sites do you see doing that? Less than zero. If you want to be somewhat benevolent, give a discount based on the honor system. Then it will all even out. Do you really want to hassle with some sort of "authentication" process, etc.? Not worth it.

I'm sure most organizations can find someone to spot them 50 bucks or so for something useful.

You need to better value your time and talents. If you don't, others won't. You also need to repurpose your content more and have additional products. A good idea is special reports, perhaps interviews you do with various well known pros on specific topic areas, that you can sell for $20-30 or perhaps more (downloadable). You've got lots of income opportunities you aren't exploiting. And you've got a nice focal point to tie it all together (this site).

So, stop giving stuff away, always be thinking product extension, and be much more aware of where you are spending (giving away) your time on a daily basis. In fact, be ruthless about these things!

I expect this will all come together for you over the next few years, and you'll be doing great.

Jeffrey Wise
November 25, 2006 - 11:37pm

If anyone does read down this far in the posts I can tell you that Aaron’s book is worth the money. I am a novice at SEO and I would have paid twice as much for the information. He definitely cuts through all the garbage that you tend to find online down to the core meat of what you need.

As for the jerks that try to rip Aaron off I have this to say about you. If your character is that poor and you view your company or efforts so cheaply then you are bound to fail anyway.

The religious comment that was made by someone anonymously was uncalled for. There are fanatics on every side of every fence in this world. Where there are people you will find problems. You have to draw a line somewhere and decide to help those that are really trying to help others.

December 4, 2005 - 9:33am

"How many other sites do you see doing that? Less than zero"

--It's good to be the only one, but you are correct about giving away TOO much.

Geoff Digan
December 4, 2005 - 10:07am

Time is a finite commodity.A better way to maintain your Kharma and your bank balance would be to offer each buyer of your time i.e. the SEO book ,the oppurtunity to nominate the charity of their choice to receive a free copy. eg I buy your book and then I nominate say CHILDLINE in the UK for you to send a free copy.
That is the way I do it on my site.

September 13, 2006 - 1:44pm

Ever thought about getting an assistant to help you leverage your time better? Surely there has to be a reliable student or two that you can have weed through some emails, or do some of your other more mundane tasks.

Just don't let them follow you around with one of those lame bluetooth headsets. That would not be cool. You should however say, "I'll have my people call you." That would be cool ;)

December 7, 2005 - 4:59pm

What a bunch of idiots. Thats a lot of work to get an electronic file in the age of P2P networks.

June 16, 2006 - 1:43pm

I wonder if I can get the book, my wesite is a free site for th traveller and its non profit , if you decide to offer it free I would be greatful.

December 11, 2005 - 10:42pm

Hello Aaron,

Don't listen to these "maximiser" guys. It's people like that who have made the world a worse place.

Offering to help charities in a direct way is a wonderful idea. You just have to figure out a way to keep the scammers out without losing too much time on it. Insisting on correspondence from an email address with a link to a legitimate charity website would be a good start. As you point out, SEO Book is useful to those who already have websites. It's not First Steps in HTML or How to Start Your Own Non-Profit Organisation.

As webprofessor points out, any real pirate just goes out to the P2P.

Understand what you are saying about organised religion. You might exempt religious organisation whose primary purpose is first line aid - charity hospitals, etc...

June 19, 2006 - 10:49pm

Most websites are free.

Travel is an inherently commercial and spammy category and probably accounts for about 20% of web commerce.

If you have enough money to afford to travel then you are being cheap and inconsiderate at best if you would like me to give away my business model to you for free.

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