Thirty Day Challenge: Why Must Traditional Email List Internet Marketers be so Sleazy?

I recently saw Ed Dale teaching thousands of Internet marketing newbies how to use Market Samurai, a paid tool promoted through their free course. Which, it turns out, is another good example of why many free information sources are worth less than they cost.

As their B case video (showing the free alternative that justifies the month-long sales pitch for various products pitched as free help) they used a poorly configured version of SEO for Firefox to make it look worse than what they were trying to sell. The video reviewing SEO for Firefox was given the title of SEO Competition The Old Way, and concluded that for SEO for Firefox

I am sorta hoping that you never have to use this, but if you do, it is there, and it is available.

Thanks for the faux recommendation. Pretty sleazy stuff there Ed Dale. Thumbs down for you.

For anyone who wants to see how SEO for Firefox actually works with all its features enabled, please check out the following video...and compare what you see to what you saw in that other video (while noting that I took half the time to show a much more comprehensive picture of the actual features).

Published: August 6, 2008 by Aaron Wall in bad tools poorly marketed


August 6, 2008 - 10:48am

I love seo for firefox. Great tool. Hope to see you guys in Palo Alto in the next couple weeks.

August 6, 2008 - 1:48pm


I am absolutely horrified that you felt that was what I was saying about SEO for firefox.

I LOVE SEO for Firefox - Love it

and while I think that Market Samurai is the new kid in town for keyword and competition research - I in no way - NO WAY meant to put SEO for firefox down

If thats what you thought I unreservedly apologise and Ill make sure that I reflect that in the challenge blog.

Like i said in the video that you took that quote on - what I SAID was that reliance on any single research tool was crazy - you need to have many goto tools

Mine are Market Samurai and SEO for Firefox

Now I have to take you task on a couple of your statements
(Now given that you think I was giving you a backhander on SEO for Firefox I can understand some anger but even I have to draw a line)

First problem

"I recently saw Ed Dale and his cronies teaching thousands of Internet marketing newbies how to use Market Samurai, a paid tool promoted through their free course."

Calling my team cronies is just wrong - most volunteer for the month and i'm sure you would take offense at me calling your colleagues cronies - I'm a big boy (unfortunately - quiet literally) and can take stuff on the chin - having a crack at people you don't know is low and Aaron beneath you

Now the "free" thing - I can understand the "air quotes" sarcasm of free - not a week goes buy when someone launches something with "free" this or that.

But Aaron - that's not the Thirty day challenge - I try to make as much money as humanly possible for eleven months of the year (and make zero apology for it). One month of the year - this month - i teach for free with no strings attached - if we use tools that cost money we make deals with the suppliers to provide them free for the month.

Just like we did with the team at Market Samurai.

There is no forced continuity, no functionality neutering nothing. I'm not Pollyanna - of -course they will hope that people will want to buy the tool after the challenge - but people can use it to do what is needed in the challenge - with no strings attached

This is the fourth year we have done this and I can assure you - it's not some set-up for a launch - I'm sure you could fact check me pretty quickly on that.

You then launch into a mini review of the challenge "free information being worth less than what you pay for it"

Given that we are five days in that's a bit harsh

As for me - I'll continue to read what I think is one of the premier SEO resources on the WEB - I'll still use SEO for Firefox too.

I would appreciate an apology to my team.

I for one will be sure to review the video and make it clear in that lesson that I love SEO for Firefox and think it's a fantastic tool

August 6, 2008 - 6:39pm

Eh? How can one go from "I sorta hope you never have to use this..." to "I love this!" Something smells fishy. What are the 30DC folks gonna feel when they see this contrast?

I stay on a few lists to keep abreast of that side of life, but when so many of them say so much of the same thing and use each twist or nuanced pitch technique to try and suck me in, it all feels a little too red ocean for me, with the sharks a circling.

Aaron, cronies is an affectionate term, right?

August 6, 2008 - 10:23pm

Hi Ed
Can you do a follow up video with SEO for Firefox fully enabled (ie: on automatic)? Please show that version (along with the easy to export CSV option) and explain that the SEO for Firefox tool was made to look inferior than it actually is to help promote a backend affiliate commissions or backend sale for the other product you were promoting.

To be honest it feels a bit like getting kicked in the nuts to see someone who is already independently wealth try to get ahead more by...

  • doing a biased review that under-represents the value of my FREE and OPEN SOURCE tool
  • going so far as saying they hope people NEVER have to use my tool
  • and doing so in conjunction with promoting a PAID and PROPRIETARY software tool that was BUILT LATER with similar functions

Some of your partners on Marketing Samurai have already apologized to me via email explaining that they had no idea you would do what you just did. For that I owe them an apology (since they had no idea how you were going to bash my product to promote a paid alternative), but unless you make another video explaining that you were dogging my tool to make profits, I feel it is hard to undo the brand damage you caused me via the marketing you did to thousands of people.

You are likely already wealthy well beyond your needs. Why set the bar so low for yourself? At what point does a biased review descend into lying? And then whats the point of offering free help if it can only be offered when cloaked in such offers with biased reviews? You can't go from "and I hope you will never have to use it" to an "I love this tool" in a day.

Update: given the recent bankruptcy filing, it looks like that presumption of wealth a few years back was wrong.

August 6, 2008 - 4:34pm

Aaron, Let me preface this by saying Ive read this blog and used your tools for a number of years now and have the utmost respect for you in your field as a SEO commentator, educator, provider of tools..etc.
So WHY, OH WHY, do you step out of your field of expertise and start commenting on marketing, and especially the marketing of someone you evidently don't know and not understand.
The trouble with being top of the heap in any field is the pressure to always have something clever or profound to say. Its the tactic of the young and immature tho to be controversial just for the sake of it. Or perhaps you just didn't really do you job right this time and failed to do your own research into exactly what the 30DC is about, how its run, and the possible marketing motives behind it.
You sure dropped the ball on this one, and every champion of any cause is allowed mistakes, but yours was a jealous little swipe made out of bad research and ignorance on your part.
I guess thats a symptom of being young, with a lot more growing up to do. Like you did with your tags on this article, I too will file this blog entry under "Bad Marketing"...yours however not Ed Dales

August 6, 2008 - 10:29pm

What was funny about your post Calison is that you take a lot of swipes at me while telling me how childish such activity is. Some examples:

  • WHY, do you step out of your field of expertise and start commenting on marketing
  • young and immature
  • be controversial just for the sake of it
  • you just didn't really do you job right this time
  • yours was a jealous little swipe made out of bad research and ignorance
  • a symptom of being young, with a lot more growing up to do

I could refute them but little point arguing with you given your clearly stated bias.

August 7, 2008 - 2:18am

Feel absolutely free to refure all you like...this blog is on your dime and like I mentioned right at the beginning of my comment I have had and still do have the utmost respect for your skills in SEO. I'm a big boy and have been around for a long time, and it was pretty clear you reacted in a churlish manner to what YOU perceived to be a slur on your product. Nobody connected with 3DC has that same reaction if fact those who hadn't already used your tool were actually recommended to install it due to it being a GREAT backup to Market Samuri.
If you have an issue with what people are perceiving now to be a more automated tool with faster capability then by all means jump up and down. If you perceived Ed Dale as having run your product down also then I'd suggest you misinterpreted.
So take your swipe back at me and refute all you like.
It still wont stop me reading your work and recommending it as in most cases one of the authoritative works on SEO going round and it still wont stop me using your tool as backup.
The fact was you got it wrong as to Ed's intent. Maybe rather than criticize a new development you could spend your time and considerable expertise matching it or improving on it, rather than waste time and bandwidth trying to pull down the people that brought it to the market.

August 7, 2008 - 2:55am

pretty clear you reacted in a churlish manner to what YOU perceived to be a slur on your product.

Actually people in our forums started talking about it and brought it up to I wasn't the first or only person who thought "I am sorta hoping that you never have to use this" was taking a swipe.

August 6, 2008 - 7:33pm

I have to admit I find e-mail list marketers who hawk Internet marketing systems fascinating. Whether it is a long-format sales message or an energetic "I just had to tell you about this time-sensitive news!" or "You'll want to view my latest secrets-filled video," there is a uniform cheesiness that makes it entertaining.

I am not saying all Internet Marketing Gurus who sell systems or memberships are liars. There is sincere value that can be found in the marketplace. But, too many cheesy e-mails is a big fat red flag in my book.

Suffice it to say, I have never seen an A-List SEO or social media celebrity claim that they owe their success to some guru who sends out hundreds or thousands of e-mails three or four times a week.

August 6, 2008 - 9:41pm

I’ve got to say Aaron this seems like a pretty low blow. I don’t think for a second meant to or did put SEO for Firefox down. The fact is he did a whole video about your SEO for firefox explain that it could be used as an alternative to Market Samurai.

What’s more this isn’t the first time he promoted the plugin, he did last year (that’s how I found out about the plugin AND your blog)

At no point do I feel the 30DC is a way for ED and the team to use as a “month long sales pitch”) and the very fact that he showed us SEO for firefox as a free version shows that he’s trying to cover all bases.

I for one have learnt a great deal from a previous 30DC and this year’s challenge, and I have never spent a penny, a lot of this due to the free alternatives that Ed has showed we could use.

August 6, 2008 - 10:34pm

I don’t think for a second meant to or did put SEO for Firefox down.

Then he shouldn't have said

I am sorta hoping that you never have to use this

as to this...

the very fact that he showed us SEO for firefox as a free version shows that he’s trying to cover all bases

If he compared it on an Apples to Apples basis sure it would. But he didn't do that. He left my tool with features disabled then warned that enabling them (and did not mention the optional delay built into the tool) could get your a time out in Google, while failing to state that the paid tool he was promoting was doing exactly what he warned against in my free tool.

August 6, 2008 - 10:12pm

The United States of America is built on the freedom to build business and commerce. Entrepreneurship is more than a dream for many who strive for it.

Let's say you were an individual with an aspiring dream to be an entrepreneur, to live the dream, to work for yourself. You feel the calling like in your innermost soul, much more than a "normal" man. I'm speaking of a calling way beyond the fleeting thoughts some people have, "some day I'm going to fire my boss". Our thoughts are about the dream and the hope that is the very nature of America! And with the current state of affairs in America, scared people are reaching, dreaming, hoping and trying to still be able to provide their families with security, food, and housing.

Many times, those very same future bosses of America simply don't have the capital to make their dreams come true. They get online (the ultimate research tool). They are faced with many scams and very little real, organized information about how to market online. They are hit with "get rich quick schemes" and rotten business propositions. It can take a year to dig through to the worthy information and find legitimate training sources.

Along comes a fun-loving guy that has been very successful online. Regardless of his motives, which are his own, he and his team provide a blueprint and back it up with actual conversation! People must realize that! So what if we were being introduced to tools and services that we may or may not want to continue after the challenge? So what? We are still getting the exact methods and information required to carry out those actions. We need to step back, get real, and see the value we are receiving here. If people understood how difficult it is to succeed "legitimately" online, they'd see that what Ed is doing for us is fantastic. He is doing us a service by creating more legitimate businessmen/business women online!

Ed and this challenge are saving people a whole lot of money in trial and error, failure, and scam programs. I know!!!

As with all (ALL) things in life - Take what you can use and leave the rest! What is being done for us here is fantastic! We are big girls and boys. It's all about choices! You are not being forced to use the tools Ed provides. (Although, being an ex-programmer - I think it's ingenious and is something I would have created myself) You can make the choice. Learning all methods and using all tools is best anyway. The internet is an ever changing place. Knowing the basics will get you much further in the long run.

It doesn't get any better than this folks! It really doesn't.

Oh! And I like SEO Digger too! I like any tool that will help me do my job and save my valuable time.

August 6, 2008 - 10:38pm

Regardless of his motives, which are his own, he and his team provide a blueprint and back it up with actual conversation! People must realize that! So what if we were being introduced to tools and services that we may or may not want to continue after the challenge? So what?

If it is sold under the guise of helping people get online and make money for free then doing biased half-reviews of some of the best free tools should not be part of the strategy.

I would not have cared if he cloned my tool, added a few features, gave it a new name, and started charging for it...but the fact that he had to do a review to warn people off of my tool sorta undermines his credibility in my eyes.

August 6, 2008 - 11:07pm

Aaron, I am so sorry you feel that way. I like you a bunch. I think you see something that isn't there, I really do.

I can relate to your feelings in the matter though. As an ex-programmer, my projects were my babies. If I ever thought someone didn't like my baby or was complaining about it, it got me in the gut! I understand that feeling, perfectly.

Truthfully, I hope you will re-evaluate the review you're referring to. Maybe look at it from a perspective other than your pet project. I hope that you will see that Ed was in no way disrespecting you or your "baby".

August 7, 2008 - 6:02am

I can understand that being new to Internet Marketing is a challenge itself. We’ve all been there and dealt with that.

Many of us have to learn, unlearn and re-learn everyday. Some people opt to follow a free choice, others prefer to pay for quality information. That’s a personal choice with profound repercussion for personal gains in my humble experience.

The same goes for people supporting whomever they consider best represents their interest. For instance, some folks expressed their support to Ed Dale in this post. Others like me, have no doubts that members of the SEO community have the utmost respect for Aaron Wall as a top SEO, or for what he stands for.

In the years that I’ve followed Aaron’s writing and teaching about the web, there are a couple of things that I can recognize as personal traits: 1) he’s straightforward with no much time for bullcrap, and 2) he calls it for what it is we like or not. And that’s the approach taken on daily discussions at the SEOBook Community Forums, quality discussions with no non-sense garbage.

And that’s perhaps what many of us expect and demand from any Internet Marketer: to be straightforward and clear with whatever they do that affects others. No going around the bushes wasting people’s time, or embellishing basic things with repacked strategies and worthless OMGs! But above all, many of us demand honesty and integrity to their loyal audience.

There are many subtleties that perhaps people new to the web don’t pay attention or understand. Some of us with more experience easily detect when something is not quite right. One example is promoting tools to the masses with affiliate links without making a full disclosure of potential earnings. Another example is to use a free source tool for benchmarking purposes without really presenting all the functionalities that the tool has. There is one more example that has not been mentioned in this post that has to deal with the strategy used to title videos in YouTube, like the ones below, which are not random things pulled out of thin air. That is the result of a carefully thought-out and properly deployed strategy. Otherwise, if the consequences of running a campaign like that one were not considered, then whoever was in charge is straight-up dumb to make a faux-pas like that.

1) SEO Competition Using Market Samurai
2) SEO Competition The Old Way (presentation done with SEO for Firefox)

Ultimately, anyone who reaches an influential position by undertaking the task of teaching newcomers for free or a monetary compensation, has to be accountable for his/her actions and true to his/her constituency.

August 6, 2008 - 10:33pm

I signed up just to post a reply here because even though this is my first time taking the 30 day challenge I feel quite a bit of loyalty to Ed Dale for all the fantastic information I've received in only 6 days.

This won't be a long reply though:

- I've seen plenty of sleezy internet marketers, Ed Dale and his team are not it.
- It doesn't seem fair to judge a program if you haven't taken part in it (which I'm assuming from your comment and of course your business you haven't)
- I've used the SEO for Firefox tool but never really understood what to do with it (my own fault for not really paying attention), now, I understand the tool much better AND have a way to do things fast when I need to - win, win :)

So far for me the thirty day challenge rocks :)
Angela Wills

August 6, 2008 - 10:43pm

My Firefox recently screwed up and updated minus SEO for Firefox. I was going nuts trying to get it back (got an error 203 repeatedly, and even left a comment here a little while back) in through all sorts of techniques and nothing worked.

For about a week I tried doing by hand what it did automatically. I wasted hours and hours of time.

Finally, with the help of Matt Inman I got SEO for Firefox back. But it cost me my bookmarks and user profile data. And you know what? It was worth it? Cuz SEO FOR FIREFOX IS THE SHIT AND A HUGE TIMESAVER. SO HUGE, I HAD TO CAPITALIZE BOTH THESE SENTENCES.

Thanks Aaron for providing that great resource.

p.s. @ SEO in Seattle: I delayed buying the seo book for about a year due to the loooooooong sales letter. Thought: "Hey, if he's so legit, why's the sales page so spammy?" Then when I bought it I realized a year of experience and constant reading taught me what was available much more easily...

August 6, 2008 - 10:43pm

(This is back when the book itself was being sold ... long time back.)

August 6, 2008 - 10:44pm

I'm way new to all the search engine stuff, but I think you may have misunderstood. Perhaps you haven't been following allow with Ed's 30 Day thing....

I didn't at all think he was saying anything about your tool being negative or bad...

All I can say is that to me, the normal, average new-to-it-all kind of girl I took what he said as

"This is how you use it, I hope you don't have to use it today because I hope that today the Market Samurai works for you so you can go to the next day..."

I totally didn't think he was saying that he hopes we don't ever use it, just that for today we need to do our homework and get ready for the next day.

I think maybe you just took that one sentence/phrase of his out of context, he meant for "that day's video assignment".

I don't know, I can't speak for Ed or anyone, all I can say is that I didn't at all take it to mean your tool was bad. The objective isn't and wasn't to use the Market Samurai or to use the SEO tool, the objective, as I see it, is to get the data and these are 2 tools to help us get that data...

I don't want to make you mad or hurt your feelings. I just want to say that I think this is a misunderstanding. It wasn't really about what tool to use, it is more about "you have to get these numbers/data and here is a couple ways to do go do it quickly, tomorrow you will have to learn and do something new..."

Ed must think that this is a good tool or he wouldn't have us download it and use it.

Anyway, I think the tool is good and I'm trying to use it right now. And I never thought for a minute that Ed was putting it down.

blessings to you

August 6, 2008 - 10:52pm

"This is how you use it, I hope you don't have to use it today because I hope that today the Market Samurai works for you so you can go to the next day..."

That is the whole point...he did a hammed up review of my product to make the paid alternative look relatively better, which is a bit deceptive.

August 6, 2008 - 11:51pm

I'm sorry you take that wrong, perhaps I'm stating it wrong...

I just wanted to convey that I didn't think he was putting the seo tool down and that his "i hope you don't have to use it" was more in reference to hoping the other tool worked...not as a poor reflection of your tool.

I'm cautious about saying anything else. I don't want to say something wrong.
I'll just say, I'm sorry your feelings are hurt.
Ed obviously likes the tool or he would not have told us to download it and use it.

I haven't heard any 30dc'ers or ed say something that would make me not want the add-on tool.
I think his comment was less about the add-on tool than you realize.

I'm sorry you were offended, angry and your feelings are hurt.

I won't post anything else because I'm afraid I'm making it worse.

I wish you well.

August 6, 2008 - 10:59pm

Dear Sir,

I am learning how to make a living online. I have signed up for and read/watched about everything I could find for free. I have also purchased many products from various famous "gurus."

I am thankful I am starting to succeed after only a few months. Out of all the training I have found, paid for or free, the 30 day challenge has provided more information than I could have dreamed of.

I personally uninstalled SEO quake and installed your plug in, because of Ed's recommendation. Did you not watch the preseason video on required add-ons? Did you get a spike in the last 30 days because he recommended your add-on?

I have used your site for months and love what you provide for free. However every tool I use reminds me to become a Premium member. I do not believe this is free is it? Even for thirty days?

Looking through your site, your "free tools" are watered down versions of the what you get when you pay. I have no problem with this. You should make money for providing a service. I am grateful for a free version, and use them with amazing results and frequency. I perfectly understand I will get more if I pay.

So, how dare you condemn someone for what you are unabashedly doing yourself! That is hypocrisy at it's worst.
You, sir, should be ashamed.

August 7, 2008 - 1:11am

Looking through your site, your "free tools" are watered down versions of the what you get when you pay.

Really? Can you show me the upgraded versions of SEO for Firefox, the Rank Checker, or our keyword tool? You can't, because they do not exist.

The truth is, (unlike most internet marketers who sell junk software aimed at newbies) I actually create software products and tools that I like to use. Many of them are open source and free. There is no premium paid version of SEO for is the only competitive research tool I use everyday.

If you look at my SEO tools section you will see that I recommend the best tools on the market and most of them are free.

August 7, 2008 - 3:58am

Aaron, I think you need to do more research.

In the preseason of Thirty Day Challenge Ed recommeded everyone use your add-on in our Flock browsers. He praises it to the highest order.

Take a look back over the videos. Take a look at the discussion your tool gets on the TDC forums.

Zgirlie was exactly right. We were given a new program to play with. We were shown how to do the research without that tool, but the comment was I hope you don't need this today and that the software works for you.

If you hung around long enough you would hear Ed say double check everything manually. You would hear him say that your add-on rocks.

Oh, and you would hear him say that everything in the #30DC is free but if people choose to use paid tools then YES those are affiliate links because, guess what? The Thirty Day Challenge costs them thousands of dollars to put on every year and that way they get a few costs back.

I for one had no problem using their affiliate link for my new Hostgator account.

Please, check out all the videos and the forum before making statements like this.

August 7, 2008 - 5:23am

Please, check out all the videos and the forum before making statements like this.

If only Ed would have looked over how to use my free tool efficiently before he reviewed it then I never would have made this post in response.

Why is it my job to review everything someone else does in depth and give them the benefit of the doubt when they go out of their way to give my product a crappy review with quotes like "I am sorta hoping that you never have to use this".

August 6, 2008 - 11:09pm

I am pretty new to Internet Marketing and have paid my fair share so far to actual 'sleazy Internet Marketers' and to date I had never been introduced to your product!

I have learned more in the last six days and the pre season completely for FREE than I have through all the ebooks and downloads I have paid for!

Mr. Dale and his Team have on offer full and complete disclosure regarding any costs that might be involved in this 30 Day Challenge and have absolutely made it clear that there was NO OBLIGATION to buy anything.

Unlike the real sleazes out there, they have given FREE option like your tool to use instead of or to compliment Market Samuri.

From what I can tell, there are many many 'newbies' out there like myself that may have never found you if it weren't for Ed Dale. On his advice, I saved your site to my favorites and registered with you.

I may have eventually found you but thanks to Mr. Dale's mention of you as alternative to Market Samuri, I am here today. I am sure the same is true for many of the other 30DC participants than are brand new to this.

In my opinion, for what it is worth, you should be saying "Thank You" to Mr. Dale and his team, not insulting them. The potentially have sent targeted traffic to you that may end up your customers!

Mr. Wall, you should really give consumers more credit then you have through this post. Mr. Dale is an expert, but as consumers, we are intelligent beings.

Market Samuri is a free trial. You have both free and paid products. Before I make a purchase, I would take the time to make sure I was getting the most for my money.

I have to say, I try to work with companies that have integrity. This post you have made clearly will sit in the back of my mind when I am in the position to make a purchase.

Mr. Wall, you may want to take a good look in the mirror and see where the word 'sleazy' can be seen. The mud slinging here was unnecessary. I have to thank Mr. Dale and there Team for all they have introduced me to so far...including SEObook and when I make my first $1.00, I will think very, very carefully as to where I will spend it!

August 7, 2008 - 1:05am

Mr. Dale and his Team have on offer full and complete disclosure regarding any costs that might be involved in this 30 Day Challenge and have absolutely made it clear that there was NO OBLIGATION to buy anything.

Did you realize that some of the free products you signed up for and got a free trial for were through affiliate links? And if you continue to use them you get charged (and someone is getting an affiliate commission they did not disclose to you)?

Unlike that other tool, SEO for Firefox is free, and there is no back end commission.

August 7, 2008 - 4:29am

Guess you haven't actually watched the videos. It was made very clear that there were affiliate links right down to the dollar amount made.

Again, as consumers, we have control over our own credit cards and how we use them.

The time and effort that Mr. Dale and his team are putting forth deserve the pay back.

August 7, 2008 - 5:19am

I saw no mention of affiliate links in the video trashing SEO for Firefox.

August 7, 2008 - 12:52am


I've been attending your live postcasts, and unfortunately have got to tell you that you’ve got into a field that you clearly expressed is not within your realm of expertise. So, if SEO is not what you know well, then why not allow other people to teach things properly? I am not talking about the SEO guru you got by your side. I am talking about real SEOs.

i teach for free with no strings attached - if we use tools that cost money we make deals with the suppliers to provide them free for the month.

Oh really? Why aren't you upfront and tell the newbies that you and Samurai are using Affiliate links to benefit each other. Your link redirects to
When you go to to download the tool anyone will find that this link will redirect to

So you enthuse newbies for 40 days telling them that's "a ground breaking new analysis software" while putting down an a FREE SEO tool, just for you guys to make a buck in the long run? I hope not. Nice guys don't do that.

Btw, what's different, from the competitive analysis perspective, between your Samurai Tool vs SEO for firefox other than the red, yellow and green? What's the awesomeness with a similar tool that many ahead of the Samurai team have already launched? One answer: Your tool leaves trace marks all over and fetches all the data in real time too.

Or how about the over-the-roof sale-pitches pushing your advance course at

Better yet, how about pitching the awesomeness of Samurai keyword tool when it does exactly the opposite of what you were advising NOT to do with SEO for Firefox.

Come on people get real. Using the masquerade of a nice guy is not enough to mislead thousands with inaccurate information. Or isn’t it true that some people in your forums are straggling with SEO information because of the lack of results your awesome promoted tool provides?

Please tell your geishas to stop polluting the web with junk.

August 7, 2008 - 12:59am

Thanks for the comment Kroll.

This is the part that is bogus...crapping on perfectly free open source good tools (and going so far as doing biased reviews stating that "I am sorta hoping that you never have to use this") to promote products through affiliate links is a wee bit dishonest...sorry we had to be the ones to call you out on it Ed, but someone had to...and if you hadn't done a bogus review of my product I would not have even noticed you.

The only reason I noticed this incident (and the surrounding issues) was because one of my members saw it and told me how angry they were at you for it. They felt offended and though it was an attempt to mislead I wasn't the first person to notice this.

August 7, 2008 - 6:02am

I have to make one thing absolutely clear

You saying that we hide affiliate links is just WRONG (of course we track them )- If your thinking "smoking gun" your just ...well wrong - I always disclose and did so at the start of this challenge as i do every year.

Kroll - what part of "Getting SEO advice from me is like having Forrest Gump as your phone-a-friend on who wants to be a millionaire - didn't you get?

I dont pretend to be an SEO Expert - some of my best friends are SEO experts - but me - nope.

Which is what is disturbing about this next bit...

Aaron - you keep using the word REVIEW

Mate - that was not a review - it was a quick video showing people where to find the relevant data discussed in a previous video if Market Samurai was not working. I have spoken glowingly of your software on multiple occasions - as recently as the preseason videos were I recommend people install it

I apologized for any misconceptions and am happy to reshoot the video - in fact if you give me your permission I'll put your video up as well

But the problem I still have and one that you have avoided - is that you called volunteers and my team "cronies"

I apologized for my offense - I'm wondering why you have not?

August 7, 2008 - 6:28am

Ignoring the line where you said "I am sorta hoping that you never have to use this," the title of the video series seems unexcusable and far beyond an accident. You are still trashing my free product to earn affiliate commission through promoting the other tool. As Augusto mentioned above, your video names for the videos on YouTube are as follows

1) SEO Competition Using Market Samurai
2) SEO Competition The Old Way (presentation done with SEO for Firefox)

Above I said for that I owe them an appoligy...which was my way of saying sorry. I also *promptly* took the cronies part out when I woke up. That Youtube video (in title and content) still misrepresents and trashes my free open source tool without justification (other than, of course, to promote the similar commercial offering that you get a kickback from).

The difference between our appoligies was that mine was authentic, but then you probably knew that already.

August 7, 2008 - 2:55pm


Let me just say that I am a regular reader of your blog and your ebook was pretty much the first thing I bought online.

I greatly respect your knowledge of seo which you demonstrate everytime I read your blog posts.

BUT, I've got to say that your comments and responses to Ed's posts here remind me of my 7 year old son who sometimes refuses to accept an apology because the restitution offered by his brother is just not good enough. I can only imagine that my comment is going to really to drive you nuts.

Really, it's like you don't want to accept his apology and so you set such a high standard for one just so you can maintain the rage.

Ed put me onto your product..has ALWAYS endorsed it...I will still use it even though it may have been superseded by the Samurai.

Lets face it..your product is a free firefox plugin and does a specific task well. But the Samurai does that plus a little bit more and I am not a dumb consumer such that I don't know that the guys will want to upsell me into the paid version? Of course they will and I will buy it because my business and my clients are already getting tangible benefits.

I can understand how his video may have offended you but honestly, he's been here twice to apologise...the big thing would be to meet him in the middle and shake hands don't you think?

The more you up the ante and say "well he should have said this or that", the the more readers like me are going to say "well Aarons a smart bloke" but he just doesn't understand compromise and how to play well" and choose not to visit the blog anymore.

Thanks again for your great book and plugin.


August 8, 2008 - 12:44am

I am not a dumb consumer such that I don't know that the guys will want to upsell me into the paid version?

The target market is people who need a walkthrough on how to register a domain name...those people are probably in a different category than you are in.

August 7, 2008 - 4:56pm

I'm disappointed I wasted 10 mins scrolling through this p*ssing match thread and didn't get a good comparison of Market Samurai with SEO for FFox.

So I might was well spend another 10 mins posting...

Aaron I had been using your plugin for a while but turned it off for some reason and thanks to Ed I just updated and activated it again.

I also am using Market Samurai, which is just in beta.

As for costs and affiliate links etc. I think the discussion is a red herring. Free tools can "cost" more than paid tools in other ways, and so what if people recommend products using an affiiate link.

@Ed thanks for great course so far - has taught this old dog some new tricks - and for pushing the "free line" in internet marketing and pointing us to more than 1 tool.

@Aaron thanks for the great plugin and keep up the good work.

I'd love to see you guys kiss and make up so we can all move on and give us some objective pros/cons re the 2 tools and if there's a way we can use BOTH of them working together?

I can suggest one reason to use both of them is that the plugin points out SEO information in the browser as you go, whereas Samurai is more "search" based as part of an active research project.

So you see things with the plugin that you might not have thought of with Samurai.

That's why I use them both.

August 8, 2008 - 4:33pm

Great thread!

There's that word 'freedom' again that so many Americans are trained to say and drone on and on about.

I like Americans don't get me wrong, but the chant of 'freedom', 'freedon', 'freedom' gets so boring, and it's not as if you're that free anyway - looks more and more like a Police state to me.

But keep quoting it, takes your mind of the fact that it's not that true anymore.

Talk about 'Orwellian'.........:)

August 8, 2008 - 6:01pm

I find this interesting -

Everyone, on both sides of this discussion, says they will continue to come to this site, continue to consume Aaron's information & continue to recommend him...

However is NOBODY recommending the "free" 30 challenge except for admitted newbies who say that Ed is really nice.

Hmmmmmm.... the totally free information is beating the hyped "free" (but not really) information.

I guess if you want incorrect and misleading information from a really "nice guy", you to to 30 Day Challenge.

If you actually want to learn something and make money, you go to SEOBOOK.

Clear enough to me.

August 25, 2008 - 4:43am

well, this discussion thread has topped page 1 of google for keyphrase "thirty day challenge"

ed dale's domains and mike mindel's blogs still hold the top results.

not sure if was attempting to share the spotlight with that keyword phrase thirty day challenge ... but you guys at havent ranked above the Pastor giving a thirty day challenge...that is a thirty day SEX challenge to married couples. sex is ranking higher than seo. ;)

August 25, 2008 - 7:08am

I didn't do any active link building for this I would not say it is fully optimized. When it was a new post that was linked to from the blog the post ranked #2 right below the official site. I could easily maintain that ranking but have no care to.

September 8, 2008 - 3:00pm

Is there another program (paid or not) you endorse that also teaches us a blueprint to make money (e.i. taking you from a-z like 30DC)? It doesn't have to be total beginner (I can setup and customize my blog).

January 3, 2009 - 5:50am

Hi there...

What I can say here is that both 30DC and SEO Tools are doing great favors to the internet community. Both of you are into internet marketing and it's obvious that you are here to ultimately make money. Providing some free tools or part of service free, is a standard practice, so I don't think either of you are doing anything unusual.

However, there's one difference that I have noticed as far as 30DC and SEO Tools are concerned is :

30DC recommends SEO for FireFox and it's in the action list of pre-season to download the tool.

Ed (and other expert users of 30DC) suggested to check "things" manually even after using Market Samurai. In fact, it is also told that whatever data is available through Market Samurai, is also available through other sources. Market Samurai automates and puts it into one place to save time. If SEO for FireFox was unnecessary, he had no reason to put it into action list. Ed has mentioned so many times that Market Samurai is constantly improvising.

Aaron, if Ed said something that you disagreed with (and you might have enough reasons for that), I feel he didn't mean that. In fact, when he says in one of the previous posts that he loved SEO Tools, I can feel his genuineness.

30DC has done a fabulous job and has helped lots of people to really understand the subject of internet marketing.

I think that both of you are doing a marvelous job and deserve to be saluted.

Peace, please!


January 14, 2009 - 9:29pm

Very interesting conversation. I did check out thirty day challenge a while back, and obviously it is for newbie marketers who may or may not make it (if you have trouble registering a domain you've got a lot of catching up to do. Sorry). I don't know Ed but I like him, and I think he comes off as a gentleman. I don't personally know Aaron either. But I'd have to go with Aaron here. I have created free tools before, and I know how it hurts when folks come out and try to put them down.

Marketing is a very strange business. But sometimes you have to make tough decisions to sell your product. When I checked the thirty day challenge, I was under no illusion that there was a purpose to it all. There is nothing FREE in this world. Everybody has a goal, and nothing is wrong with that. But in case of Aaron, he has created this great tool that you can use without having to buy his books or use his consulting services. With Ed, if you are too new to the game, you may not know better and sign up for the hosting and the software, and all the additional stuff.

What I was really surprised about was the number of folks who actually took sides with Ed on Aaron's blog :) I guess we all know what that means. My take is, Aaron has a right to feel the way he feels, and Ed has apologized. Sounds like a deadlock... :) I am sure they have patched things up now...

January 14, 2009 - 9:42pm

Note that there parasites feeding off the newbies. The comment above from a member named "30DC Hosting" really shows the parasitic nature of the approach and the ineptness of the target market.

January 16, 2009 - 8:08am

Hey all - i just found this thread via google. I bought aaron's book last year and i'm a big fan of your tool (nice work on the new toolbar btw).

I am fairly new to internet marketing and i purchased the niche blueprint product earlier this week from steve clayton and his group. one thing they advocate is the use of market samurai. it actually seemed pretty cool in the trial version and had a lot of things integrated well i thought w/more coming soon.

so were you guys commenting on the earlier versions? it sounds like it's gone thru a bunch of iterations. or are you saying that i can get the exact same info using the new shiny seotoolbar?

please may save me $149.


p.s. love this site Aaron. Keep up the good work. we all appreciate your efforts.

January 16, 2009 - 1:19pm


The answer is very simply. You are already a big fun, because you are familiar with the quality info in this blog and the book. You already got the book and are ahead of the competition for reading it.

If you've already been using SEO for FireFox, like many of use do on a daily basis, you've probably seem the ongoing improvements this free tool undergoes. Why? because people doing professional SEO needs to be up-to-date with the changes.

So, why not invest $149 in learning more advance techniques in the SEOBook Community Forums that will help you maximize the use of this very nice free tool than wasting it in a paid version? Remember that the key is to learn how to interpret the information provided by the tool and what to do with it. A pretty tool by itself will no do you any good if you apply the wrong strategies or have no clue what to do with it.

Let me ask you some questions. Who would you hire to learn how to play tennis? A top tennis player or the garbage man? What would you use to play tennis, a nice racquet or a broom? The choice is yours. You've been advised :)

January 21, 2009 - 9:36am

GlobalFusion, I appreciate your enthusiasm but you're giving a pretty strong sales pitch w/o telling me how i would use the free product to get the same info. do i do get the same info out of the seotoolbar that i can easily get out of MS? if you can help guide me that would be great.

I'm looking for specific example of value and now you're giving me a sales pitch. establish value of the tool first and help me and then we'll go from there.

Here is specifically the piece that MS makes it easy for me to do. I'm doing competitive research and want to quickly be able to assess this information. So after i start with a keyword and drill down and get a list of the top domains is there an easy way to pull up a grid of info like this to evaluate if the sites meet my specified criteria:

for example:
*PR - pagerank
*backlinks (total)
*Yahoo! Listing - Whether the site is listed in the Yahoo! Directory.
* Title - Keyword in Title Tags - Whether the web-page tag contains the keyword.
* URL - Keyword in URL - Whether the web-page URL contains the keyword.
* Desc - Keyword in META Description - Whether the keyword appears in the "description" tag.
* Head - Keyword in Header Tags - Whether the keyword appears in
etc. tags within the page content itself.

January 21, 2009 - 3:45pm

Watch the intro videos and read the instructions for a free tools on the download pages. Either of these should fit what you need.

June 19, 2009 - 8:34pm


For all the negativity that you have perceived and shouted out in this thread, you should know that 30DC STILL recommends your product. In fact, they recommend it as a required plugin to use during the challenge.

Ed and company have obviously accepted that you will never understand how the public viewed the video that started all this nonsense. Despite this, they still recommend your product as a requirement prior to using MS.

I am not as forgiving as them. Although I have been using your tool since before discovering 30DC, I will no longer use it simply because of your comments in this discussion. In fact, I'm going to purchase MS after I send this comment.

I realise that this won't affect you or your business a single bit. I will know the difference, and that's all that matters to me.

June 20, 2009 - 12:50pm

Well if you are dumb enough to pay extra for something that is freely available then all the power to you.

The FACT is that they did try to mis-represent my FREE product to sell newbies another PAID product. You may be dumb enough to trust them. I am not.

September 7, 2009 - 4:46pm

I have read all this banter and I feel that I need to weigh in.
Now that the 30DC is over I can tell you taht it was worth every minute of my time.
You see, I am 63 years old and for over three years tried to become a successful interpreneur.
I spend money on courses and I signed up to more newsletters than I care to remember. I wrote to a number of those asking for information and two of the best known called me andwanted to sell me their help for $ 5000, another three wanted $ 97 per month,all out of reach for me.
Of course I learned that I ought to do better research and use the web 2.0 and social bookmarking. The net is filled with what one should do.
Along comes the 30 day challenge.
Sorry Aaron, Ed Dale and his "cronies" showed me and others not only what to do but step by step how to do it.
I have a number of websites and I used the 30 day challenge information on three of my sites. all three sites show a marked improvement and I am so grateful for that.
So, unless you plan to teach us inexperienced readers,how to actually do the things you talk about and what to do with the information you really should call Ed and apologize, better yet why don't you work with him and produce an even better 30DC for 2010.
Michael G. Schurmann

September 7, 2009 - 6:56pm

I already have created something far better than 30DC. But rather than using hidden affiliate deals to monetize we charge for entry. And it is so popular / so well received that in spite of charging for it, we have reached full capacity and are currently closed to new member sign ups.

BTW if a few hundred or a few thousand dollars are out of reach then odds are social bookmarking will not help you build value and income as quickly as spending that effort on building a great site of your own and developing lasting social relationships in your marketplace least for most people anyhow. For most small businesses social bookmarking is at best a distraction.

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