Creating Controversy Out of Nothing?

Controversy can help build or destroy your brand, but either way it can also help build your linkage profile ;)

Whenever you start a new site where you want to sell direct advertisements sometimes it makes sense to list a few temporary ads pointing at some of the top sites to make others think your ad inventory is useful and they need to be there. Of course, if you do this with blogs using their graphics, while targeting the blogging community you can expect it to backfire. Being evangelical, and creating a bullshit ethics cause leads to many links.

If you create a cause and get that story syndicated on Boing Boing you will get a lot of links out of it. Ironically, Boing Boing even linked to the site that was being hated on. Silly move for how tech savvy they are supposed to be over there. Anyone who thinks that leveraging names or the brands of other companies is something new to the web is simply naive to the business world. Leveraging real brands or names and then using that to sell ad space or a magazine is done in the publishing world often as well, by well known "prestigious" companies like Eli Research.

They contacted me to ask me if I wanted to be on their advisory panel for Search Engine Marketing Alert
elifinancial [dot] com/search_engine_marketing.htm

After they talked it up they never contacted me again and started mailing people things that sorta looked like bills. Some of those people later bitched me out for it, as if I knew they really didn't want my opinion, just my name to throw on aggressive marketing.

You need only look at their page title on their sales letter to know I was not involved with it. I did give them my name though. And that was a mistake. After you get established you really need to be greedy with what you agree too. Most people looking to leverage your name are doing just that, often with more aggressive marketing techniques you would never approve of.

But companies set up shop near other shops all the time. One can go to far with it, and there are instances when it is absolutely wrong, like one guy that used a picture of my ebook to linking to another one of his blog to sell a different ebook about SEO - that is obvious consumer deception.

I can see how some people would say using their image without permission is wrong, but if it references your own site in a non derogatory way where are the limits to fair use? Is someone giving you free marketing for your own site such a news item that you have to post it shortly after hating on people trying to control words? Words are like tags, and because of search we have the ability to rank for the things we write about.

I get a bit perplexed when people like Darren Rowse make statements like this:

the ends wouldn't justify the means in my books. They are using the hard work of others to launch their own business off.

That perturbed me enough that I had to reply:

As opposed to search engines which build an ad system over the top of others contents? Or bloggers who heavily cut and past content, and then scatter AdSense ads around the content to where it is hard to find the content?

Much like the SEO ethics crew, the blog ethics crew push the issues so hard because they don't want people to dive deep into what is really going on, seeing that what they advise others to do and how they directly make their money are often not one and the same. Without social currency the other pieces do not work.

If you are an evangical blogger, and rush quick enough you can register or and are already on Sedo for $250 each. I am half tempted to build a network which will rely on idoit ethics blogs to provide it enough free marketing to make it a success.

Please link at me. Rest assured all the unethical people are elsewhere.

Published: March 26, 2006 by Aaron Wall in seo tips


March 26, 2006 - 3:51pm

Finally a big name blogger tells it like it is. I have to agree with 100% of what you are saying. One thing that drives me nuts in the blogosphere is the hypocrisy of it all. Hell I freely give away my content mainly because I don't care anymore. I have honestly have gotten tired of all the rules that have been made up by a few bloggers. Escpecially when they do not follow their own rules.

I did an experiement and wrote my cellounge blog for one month just like a prominent problogger and I went from 6 dollars a month to 36 a month. Not much you say, but I did no SEO, and had no original content at all.

My blog still has no original content and I know that and freely admit that. So that's why I put my code in java script and will allow any one to freely place the code on their blog. To go around waving the moral high ground and doing something else is blatantly wrong.

March 26, 2006 - 5:29pm

I'm troubled by this holier-than-thou attitude that some of the blogs are spouting. What's the first rule of adsense... blend in your ads to the content.

March 26, 2006 - 9:32pm

This really is just an old concept re-packaged for the web. Here are a few examples:

Islamic terrorists aligning themselves with the Quran even though the its questionable what Islamic teachings really say about what they are doing. These are the guys that spoil the "brand" of the religion. They create controversy through terrorist attacks, which results in counter-offensives that drive even more people to their cause, thus dramatically increasing the terrorist groups political power.

Advocacy groups do this all the time. Does being all over the news speaking out against Grand Theft Auto 3 really hurt the game, or does it help its sales? Either way, the advocacy group gets free publicity which ultimately translates into money to keep them alive.

There are plenty of business owners that intentionally stir up controversy, both online and off.

I think blogging is just helping make this artificial controversy and PR more transparent. On the other hand, I don't know if it really is any less transparent than it was 50 years ago; I'd need someone a lot older than me to answer that one.

March 27, 2006 - 1:08am

The first rule of Adsense is "blend in the ads" eh? And all this time I thought the motto for Adsense publishers was "Quantity over Quality". ;)

March 28, 2006 - 2:36pm

How funny those A-list bloggers are indeed... Scoble does it again - gives link love to those who talk shite http: //

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