The Importance of Hiding Success on a Competitive Network

Brendon Sinclair, one of my leading affiliates, mentioned Ugg Boots in his review of SEO Book. Today I got a blog comment spam for Ugg Boots. Last week a guy stole a friend's site. This week another person stole the same site, then was stupid enough to comment spam the sister blog supporting the site. One of the reasons it is hard to give specific examples of successful SEO is that the landscape is ever-changing, but another equally important reason is that some ideas only remains successful because few people know about them. There are far more entrepreneurs than there are successful entrepreneurs. As a well known SEO (or insert your field here), if you mention your sites publicly you run the following risks

  • search engineer thinking that it must be spam because you own it, without even considering site quality (if you doubt that, read Matt Cutts comment about shoot-on-sight)

  • asshats cloning your sites, then spamming you to promote their copy of your site
  • larger players with older domains, more authority, and more money hiring staff or paying consultants to clone the best portions of your site and outrank you

I have probably been a bit naive with my worldview, but business is exceptionally dirty, so it is best to keep your sites out of the limelight unless they are nearly impossible to knock down. Competitive research tools are making it faster and easier for competitors to find you, but there is no reason to go out of your way to let Google AdSense pay people to steal your content.