Good Marketing vs Spam: Getting in Early on New Market Edges

I am sure I have posted about the concept of market edges before, but I am about to go away for a few days and wanted to make one last post before I went on my trip to Bonnaroo for a music filled weekend with Werty, Radiohead, DJ Sasha, Beck and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Each time a new vertical search service or content distribution type comes about it offers a quick and easy opportunity to help you boost your exposure. If you get in a market before it is saturated there is likely going to be

  • less competing content

  • fewer and weaker social barriers to break through
  • fewer signals of quality that are usable to organize information (thus if you title / label it smartly you won half the battle right there)
  • less of a requirement to be citation worthy
  • larger margin per unit effort

So lets say you go to the largest auction. The only way you are going to find great deals there are if

  • the competition is clueless

  • there is a glut of supply that either saturates the market or prevents people from wanting to dig through the noise to find the gems
  • the seller does not know how to describe the value of what they are selling
  • you know a market better than the market does and can accurately predict future performance (I was bad ass at this as a kid with baseball cards)
  • you think you are getting a deal, but are actually getting quite screwed ;)

You can think of search (and the web as a whole) as an auction for attention. SEO is all about maximal ROI per unit effort while using a risk level you are comfortable with.

If you take a typical low risk path and take on investors that may cost you your business.

What has prevented us moving forward is a battle with a group of minority shareholders, some of whom claim to be lead by our ex-CEO Salim Ismail and are, in any case, primarily his "friends and family." This group is using very unusual clauses in our Shareholder's agreements to block mergers or financings. We've found it difficult to determine their motives, however, some have said that they believe that it is in their interest to drive the company into bankruptcy so that they can buy our software and start a new company.

However if you can spread bottoms up stories they will provide marketing so cheap that you can't help but be profitable.

Popular sites like YouTube prove that not only that artists will give away their work for exposure, but that eventually some may even need to pay just for the opportunity to give their stuff away. Writers are going to have to be the same way. When I turned down a major publishing house I did so because I thought I would be able to do a better job marketing than they would. Part of that marketing is giving away some copies of my ebook for review, while other parts of that marketing include sharing a ton of ideas.

When I wrote a long post a couple days ago it only got about 10 links (which is a terrible short term ROI for a 30 page article) but it may have also got me a speaking opportunity at San Jose SES, which is huge huge huge.

To do well with search long-term you have to find the new markets or be willing to over-invest and realize that many of the things you do will not do much, but some of them will do much better than you think they should.

I recently ranted about blogspamming comments being a poor way to win an SEO contest. It is a technique that for the most part came and went. Especially if you are taking the time to do it manually to leave garbage comments on a blog with nofollowed comments that other people are hitting hard too.

When Google Base launched there were stories of people making $10,000 a day from it.

Most of the large web companies are trying to bridge the gap to try to find new and innovative ways to make user feedback useful.

Yesterday I spent about 10 hours looking at eBay. Did you know they have a wiki, blogs, community forums, keywords, profile pages, auctions, eBay express, reviews, guides, market research data (for $25 a month) and stores. Setting up a store only costs $16 and then the per month per item listing fee is only 2 cents.

Surely as they work on integrating all that information they are going to create under-priced marketing opportunities.

I have seen people make Amazon guides that recommended my ebook. I have seen people review other books and tell people to instead buy mine. Amazon also has tagging, product wikis, and Alexa feedback.

Again you can probably find some ways to market your site on there (by reviewing related products or creating guides, etc.).

Google is doing in-line search suggest for related popular searches. They also are providing guided categorization of travel, medical, and perhaps a few other types of search. Each time they split up their traffic on the generic terms and provide a path to more niche fields they help boost those niche markets. The framework with which they set up their categorization might be a good keys for ways to set up internal navigation or what niche sites are worth building.

Now there are a ton of meme trackers that provide free authoritative links to the quickest spreading ideas. Make sure you own a couple blogs you can link from and make sure you have a number of blogging friends on your IM list, so that when you need to spread an idea they can help give you a boost. The web is just a social network.

Not only are their meme trackers, but there are also social news sites that aim to cut the editorial costs out of running a news site. Netscape is looking to clone the Digg model, so again it is worth it to have a number of friends on the IM list.

If you just get a few blog links and a mention on those two sites you might only be a quality link or two away from being able to rank in most niche markets.

Those social news sites are also killing the importance (and availability) of blogs which aim to be first with all the news. And they are going to make it harder to get traffic to sites that lack opinion, because they are going to create tons of boring content on fairly authoritative domains.

With all these market edge type ideas am I suggesting you spam? Nope. I am just saying that at market edges there is great profit potential, and if you look to see where markets are headed and get in early on new markets you can establish a self reinforcing base with much less effort than is required to build yourself up from scratch in an already competitive marketplace. Just look at some of the junky old sites that rank in Google. Why do they still rank? Because in the past less was needed to be citation worthy.

As time passes even MSN Search will eventually get harder to manipulate (it looks like they are going to start manually editing their search results more actively).

For those people who consider all aggressive marketing as spam or for those who tie some arbitrary ethical garbage to their marketing methods, don't forget that Google is one of the biggest spammers on the web.

How does Google spam?

  • Profit share partnerships with garbage AdSense sites.

  • Inadequate editorial filtering of their ads such that they have even profited from ads promoting child porn.
  • Accidentally making pre-releases available or listing them in their robots.txt
  • Labeling everything as a beta so they can double dip on news.
  • Relaunching old products as though they are never before seen offerings. Just today they duped the Washington Post into writing an article about Google's *BRAND NEW* government search when the service is actually about 7 years old. How is that anything BUT spam?

The difference between spam and good marketing is perception. Most techniques are not typically classified as spam until after people heavily abuse them. In other words, market timing and unique techniques are all you need to do to succeed, and that is pretty cool since new markets are always forming.

Have a great weekend everybody.

Published: June 15, 2006 by Aaron Wall in marketing


June 20, 2006 - 6:34pm

Yes I will read the whole ebook soon. Now I appreciate your help.
Also can you honostly tell me, do you think my site will end up having a page rank greater than 0 since I blogged alot for my site or are you saying that I will need some quality links in order to rank as a page rank 1 or 2?

June 20, 2006 - 7:34pm

It might be a bit blunt, but it is quite annoying for you to keep asking questions over and over even if they do not relate to the thread at hand.

Please stop doing that.

Read my book. Develop a legitimate holistic marketing plan.

What ifs that do not include investment in reputation or brand or legitimate link authority are a waste of time. Who cares if you have a PageRank 2 if you don't rank for anything?

June 21, 2006 - 5:16am

Ouch. I can see you are making friends here.

Congratulations on your nomination for MarketingSherpa Reader's Choice Blog & Podcasting Awards 2006. Best of luck.


June 21, 2006 - 6:43am

Wow - I am so glad to see I am not the only one that has to deal with the single minded almighty PageRank worshippers.

And what's up with people not GETTING that a blog with powerfully helpful content will rank and be highly prized by many regular visitors?

As soon as you tell people something about search engines and pagerank, the rest of what you say about the quality of info being the real key to success just gets ignored completely, more often than not it seems.

If for nothing other than the chance to vent - in the form of questions no less - thanks!


June 21, 2006 - 5:53pm

Well i've read Aaron's ebook and i find it very informative and very enlightening.

July 6, 2006 - 10:28pm

I think people confuse high-ranking on SERPs with high PR - its not related. some may argue but I live with it - PR might as well just be a link counter - it doesnt determine your position in a results page for any particular word - even your own domain name

nice entry

June 15, 2006 - 8:25pm

I don't know if it's just me, but your posts are so inspiring. I'm constantly worried about the SEO "industry" and how much longer the potential for great profit will exist. As more optimizers develop and the nitch markets get more and more targeted, I worry that the time will come when it will be so difficult to rank for nearly any phrase that it will almost be not worth it.

Anyways, I'm just paranoid... but your posts always remind me that there are always new avenues popping up. Thanks :)

June 15, 2006 - 10:36pm

Aaron you are one cool guy - Radiohead :)

I always learn here and also some of my own thoughts are one's that you post about.

Enjoy the concert


June 15, 2006 - 11:00pm

Kyle with regards to your comment that there will be a time when everything will be so saturatedan d competetive, I say bull shit. Alot of sites out there suck. Only a few are good. For example with regards to SEO sites that one would visit, theres only a handul of seo sites out there that are worth it to come back to everyday (this being one of them), thats why as long as you are smart and come up with something useful it wont be hard. Besides when you search in google for "seo" right now I see 171,000,000 results. But beleive me the numbers of even seo sites are not even close to that number, most of them are nothing.

June 16, 2006 - 12:17am

"s", I agree that most sites could be a lot better. It's just that as SEO becomes more mainstream, there are going to be more and more decent SEO's out there cleaning up all the crap and making it more difficult to rank well for even the most nitch of terms.

I do think that it is nearly inevitable, I'm just curious and concerned about how quickly it will come.

June 16, 2006 - 1:17am

Make sure to check out The Streets at that festival - they're awesome

June 16, 2006 - 3:14am

wisb I was going to see Sasha :(

June 16, 2006 - 11:53pm

Have fun @ Bonnaroo!!! I went in 2004 and had a blast. Dave Matthews, Wilco, String Cheese, and so much more. My only advice is to pick a stage and stay there all day. Don't try and see every show.

June 17, 2006 - 12:23am

Ya well kyle if you aaalready have a niche website or build one now that actually succeeds then you will be a a step ahead of all the other people who will be building niche sites after you do. This one of the reasons why I think the value of the domain name is going to sky rocket in the future. The people who build quality niche sites will not rank as good as someone who already built a quality niche site before they did. This i why for example will continue to rank well even if someone else comes out with a btter seo ebook than aaron. Personally I found aaron's seo book very basic and I found that most of the info he had in his back could be found by merely scrolling threw the internet for some quality sources which will give you the same info. Aarono will continue to rank in the future and it is obvious why. Not one other seo site on the first page of google for the reults 'seo" are worth coming back to day after day, only this one is worth it, because of the blog and reading aaron's daily articles. is definitely a damn good domain name with alot of natural value to it, meaning it would be valuable even if aaron did not develop a site on this domain. MY domain is not worth alot but its decent and in ten years from now names on this caliber will all be gone.

June 17, 2006 - 1:02am
June 17, 2006 - 4:00am

It would be very difficult to beat Aaron Wall for the phrase "SEO" but it is not impossible if someone wants it enough.

Mr. Wall studies trends and always blogs about current ones either first or soon after. Other individuals who do this are Rand Fishkin, Lee Odden and Peter Da Vanzo at the V7N blog.

I am looking to improve the enviroment we live in, I guess you could call me an SEO but with a plan for the success of the renewable energy industry. Who needs SEO and backlinks if you were there first. ;)

June 18, 2006 - 8:55am


I've got a question that is a bit off topic.

I rank #2 in Google Canada for a popular keyword but my ranking on Google USA is wayyyy lower. It jumps around between #50 and #200

My site is hosted in Canada and I'm wondering if Google takes this into account. Would it make a difference if I hosted in the US?

Can anyone recommend an excellent US host that is cheap and is not I've looked but there's so many choices it's overwhelming.

Thank you for any advice!

PS BTW can anyone tell me what obvious marketing faux pas I have committed at my upholstered headboards site at (besides the flash of course)

June 19, 2006 - 11:26pm

Personally I found aaron's seo book very basic and I found that most of the info he had in his back could be found by merely scrolling threw the internet for some quality sources which will give you the same info.

When chatting with you I found your knowledge rather basic, as though you never read the book and only bought it to see if you could get me to give you a 3 hour consult with it.

excellent US host

I like Dreamhost.


I meant to see him, but the sun comes early and the tent gets hot. I was up till about 3:30AM, but could not stay the course through 5:30AM. I love his song Requiem.

The Streets

I missed them too. I didn't read this comment until I got back :(

But the concert as a whole was fun fun fun. I still got about 400 more emails to go, though. doah!

June 20, 2006 - 2:03am

My knowledge is very basic yes. And before I bought your ebook I knew nothing. Its just that now after reading your book and posting at places like searchguild I realize that your ebook was basic. It was well written just very basic. And in addition you should know that I am not the only one in the world who says this. Other search guild members have posted about your book saying that's ebook is good if your a very beginner. I don't mean to start a fight here.

June 20, 2006 - 2:08am

Well I also think that part of it is that many people new to the market do not pick up on some of the social elements mentioned in the ebook. And I think the information density is quite high, so if you are not really focused in on it when you read it is easy to miss many good ideas.

I have had people tell me they have read my ebook a half dozen times and learned something new every time they read it.

June 20, 2006 - 2:19am

Yes perhaps. I only scrolled the the book and read certain parts I was interested in. But yes I did end up learning the basics. The book is definitely something to want to have for the future when you update it with new trends in google and stuff like that. I'm happy with it. The reason I think that it is basic though is because I used the book in order to find more exact info and to sum up the book, "The sites that are useful are the one's that get the most links, so think of useful ideas if you want to rank". Then of course the book will state certain trends in google which are useful because they help lead an seo to doing the right thing to promote the site. Maybe the reason it is so basic is because it is so simple. It didn't give specifics like if you want to use black hat seo use this special code or use my custom software and bombe google with keywords or somthing.

June 20, 2006 - 2:33am

One of the interesting comments you posted in your ebook is that if you post on your blog then you will probably end up with a page rank of 2 withing a couple of months. I blogged all over the place for my site. I am really curious to see if it will get a page rank. All I want is a page rank greater than 0. I know your very pro blogging, certainly you stressed the importance of being useful with a blog in your book. I remember you mentioning to me to have a coupon site with a blog in which people can go to ask for coupons. I think it was a good idea, and definitely something you would think of. I never mentioned to you though that I wanted the site to be more of a store than a coupon site. Although I was not sure of anything at the time. OF course I could have ran with your idea. Well anyhow when I first started out I was trying to get the most info I can out of you since I knew nothing.
Well thankyou aaron,

June 20, 2006 - 8:22am

One of the interesting comments you posted in your ebook is that if you post on your blog then you will probably end up with a page rank of 2 withing a couple of months. I blogged all over the place for my site.

Yet another thing I reworded in my book because people were just looking to generate low level spam and not understanding the social interactions part (although it was HEAVILY stressed for those who did not skip over it).

I never mentioned to you though that I wanted the site to be more of a store than a coupon site.

It is really hard for me to help you if you only skim my ebook and then are not even certain as to what you want to create or how you want to market it.

Add new comment

(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.
(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.
(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.