When I read must we piss in every public fountain by Dan Thies, I thought it was a great post. But at the same time, as an internet marketer you have to be pragmatic. Which is why I was unsurprised when 6 months later StomperNet sent out an email suggesting that readers could
visit propeller.com and open up 10 unique accounts using different usernames, email addresses, etc.
Use free email accounts from Yahoo, Gmail, etc. to open up the accounts.
Repeat the process for each of the 29 Social Bookmarking sites listed at SocialMarker.com
and then the next email claimed
Are they borderline? Yeah! We said they were. We pointed out in the email that you need to be careful when walking the line with social marketing. Do spammers use similar techniques to the ones Jeff outlined? I'm sure they do - Spammers are always on the lookout for new exploits... but they usually don't need to learn from legitimate marketing teachers to uncover them.
The difference between an ethical marketer and a spammer is a matter of intent. The ethical marketer seeks to profit by providing real value to real individuals. The spammer seeks only pure profit based on the laws of statistics - throw enough people at any offer, and someone will bite.
So you don't think you are telling people to be spammers when you tell them to set up 10 Propeller accounts? What exactly separates those "10 legitimate accounts" people from spammers? I would love to see an explanation about where that line in the sand is drawn.
If you are sending out an email offer for everything under the sun just because you need to trade publicity to be profitable, are you building a real business or actually providing any real value?
primarily what I got was sales pitch after sales pitch, and “new program” after “new program”, and far too many different forums that offered practically no participation by the original faculty members that were the catalyst to my joining.
Almost every internet marketer explains how other people are spammy, but what they do is somehow legitimate. When I was new and naive I may have bought that crap, but how can people claiming thought leader status still be dishing out such blatant lies in 2008?
I see that as silly. Techniques are either effective or they are not. And they carry an associated risk level. I chose to be technique agnostic because it is the only way you keep learning and keep growing faster than the market. Sometimes you only learn to appreciate the opportunity cost of risk after you get a site burned. But then it factors into future decisions.
At least once a month there is a story about how someone got caught spamming. The Guardian ran a story about how Matt Inman got over 100,000 links to a payday loan site by adding links in viral widgets.
That story did not appear because somebody spammed, it appeared because the marketing was so aggressive and overt. Anytime you have thousands of people embedding something someone is going to notice it. If it was done on a smaller scale it could have lasted for years. A few years ago, for about a 2 year period, one of the top ranked mesothelioma sites was there based on links syndicated with web counters.
Forbes sometimes writes stories about how SEOs are spammers and stories about how Google is clamping down on spam. And then they publish a bunch of cheesy lead generation pages on their site that are linked to nearly sitewide via a dropdown box that hides the links.
Do publishers need to keep content and ads separate to be legitimate, as demanded by this random commenter on a story about Ron Jackson working in a domain start up? No they don't. That is just the lie the media needs to push to be viewed as credible. Almost every popular website does reciprocal promotion and has editorial guided by their business interests. But when people can't follow their own advice and create profit, or they need to lie to just to make a buck, they have headed down the wrong path.
I enjoy helping people. But how I was doing it via endless emails was not working. I was worried that I might get some blowback when I changed my business model, so I could offer higher customer value. But largely the reaction was positive. I got numerous emails like this:
I have admired you and your work for a very long time, and not just that, but also your honest no-hype, no-crap approach to doing business online.
it's been my observance that some aspects of SEO and also 'net marketing' are so sleazy that it's not to be believed. even some people who started out 'legit' and made a bit of a name for themselves now have seemed to let themselves get sucked into the hype and associated with some less than ethical behaviours all to make money.
you know what is kind of funny? i keep encountering all these so-called experts, some in person, but most online, and i always ask them: "hey, did you get that book from Aaron Wall? you know, the SEO Book. what do you think of it?" and you know what? almost none of them have bought it. some of them even ask me, 'Aaron who?'. for me, you set the standard, so i find it really odd.
One member instant messaged me telling me "the community is like heaven for SEOs." I have learned a good bit from the forums too. I am surprised how well it has been working out so far. Are some of the suggestions considered spammy? Of course. Use the right tool for the right job.
Back to that topic of identifying spam. If you replaced the word spam with the word profit you would better understand how and why it is policed. Matt Inman's spam simply consisted of using push marketing, viral marketing, aiming it at a large audience, and embedding promotional value for other company assets in it.
When Google partners with large political parties are they actually looking out for your best interests? Google is using push marketing, viral marketing, aiming it at a large audience, and embedding promotional value for other company assets in it. Hmm. Sounds familiar.
Do you have a health records problem? Or is Google solving a marketing problem, helping pharmaceutical corporations push drugs at you based on your genetic flaws? If they are doing push marketing for large established bodies how can they expect anyone else to compete with them without using push marketing?
Build it and they will come...to someone else's site. Be aggressive and use push marketing, or earn 25% of your real market value. Almost everyone who tells you not to spam does not listen to their own advice, or changed their outlook AFTER they got a market leading position. But they didn't get where they are by following their own advice.
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