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Search Engine Guide Publisher Robert Clough says "Opinion or not, when someone with Jill’s stature makes incorrect negative comments that portray our site and advertisers in a poor light, it’s important to respond in order to sort opinion from fact."
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from toddmintz 2613 Days ago #
Votes: 3

Robert’s statement is a textbook example of the best way one can respond to criticism / attack...use plenty of facts to buttress your argument and keep the emotion out of it.

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from RobertClough 2613 Days ago #
Votes: 3

Thank you, Todd.  I appreciate that.

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from St0n3y 2613 Days ago #
Votes: 3

As Robert said in the post, a lot of people saw Jill’s original article ( http://sphinn.com/story/10895 ) and considered it an attack on SEG. It may not have been intended as one, but perception is reality.

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from toprank 2613 Days ago #
Votes: 3

I didn’t personally take Jill’s comments as a specific attack but it did raise an eyebrow. She’s prone to being abrupt. However, I guess there is a difference between how you’d write to a finite audience in a forum or your own newsletter compared to an article for a site like SEL. Is it possible she’s not that familiar with the kind of advertising sold on SEG? Was she being lazy? The part I agreed with is the idea that marketers need to continue appreciating tried and true web site marketing tactics that work.I agree that Robert did a fine job of clarifying things in his response.

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from bartimus 2613 Days ago #
Votes: 0

This Google glitch has sure made for some interesting reading.

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from cre8pc 2613 Days ago #
Votes: 2

I didn’t view Jill’s article as an attack at all.  It was her perspective at that time, and Robert did a commendable job addressing points of concern and correcting possible incorrect information.  There are folks like me who just know SEG has no "link farms" and yes, like Lee, I did raise an eyebrow or three at that :)Robert, I loved this from you:"<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Knowing we’ve done nothing wrong, why should we bow to Google’s demands that we make changes that have no benefit to our visitors and are solely for the benefit of a search engine? On principles’s sake, we shouldn’t."</font>

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from RobertClough 2613 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Thanks Kim. :-)

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from blackhatdomain 2613 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Watch this in case you really want to understand what happend: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHeD3WymWa0I promisse you: it’s the best 1 min you could ever spend tonight!

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from flyingrose 2613 Days ago #
Votes: 2

I totally agree with Robert and suspect that those who are equally sure that Jill Whalen and Doug Heil are correct are viewing this from a strictly SEO link value perspective. In my humble opinion, links on a Web site are primarily for the benefit of the human visitors. Whether they are also good for SEO and PageRank or not are secondary considerations (at least for some of us).

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from Kalena 2613 Days ago #
Votes: 2

I’ve known Jill a long time and I read her remark about SEG as a quick off the cuff comment, not a deliberate attack. I think it sounded more shocking than she meant it, probably because she was typing as a response to first impressions of SEG after not seeing it for so long and because (being so busy) she was probably in a hurry. So the comment itself didn’t raise an eyebrow. BUT I was concerned about how the general webmaster community would interpret the comment. Being who she is and the industry reputation she’s built up, Jill has incredible influence over a large number of webmasters and SEOs who absorb her material. No matter her intent, her remark definitely has the power to hurt SEG and their reputation. I think Jill should have considered this and worded her comments much more carefully. Robert, I thought your post was very restrained and logical. (Have you been borrowing Alan Perkin’s bionic tact implant? heh heh). You should blog more often!

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from Halfdeck 2613 Days ago #
Votes: 0

"How much PageRank value could a single link from that page really provide? I don’t even pretend to be an expert on PageRank but it seems obvious to me there is very little, if any PageRank value."You claim you don’t know much about PageRank yet you assume that a link on a TBPR 7 page with 200-300 outbounds will pass very little PageRank value?If you aren’t an expert why are you jumping to conclusions about something you don’t understand? As you plainly stated, you are not an SEO."she doesn’t know a thing about traffic patterns on our site or what our audience looks at."So how much traffic exactly leaves the site from those home page links? Jill obviously don’t know. But do you?

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from Halfdeck 2613 Days ago #
Votes: 1

BTW, one of your "sponsors" you link out to from your home page is linking from his blog sidebar to usaonlinecasinos.org [USA ONLINE CASINOS]adultinteractivechat.com [ADULT INTERACTIVE CHAT]freecasinos.ws [FREE CASINOS]So you are literally linking into the porn/casino neighborhood. Anyone who links to SEG is taking chances with joining that online ghetto.

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from Halfdeck 2613 Days ago #
Votes: 2

I hate to triple post, but I asked John Scott, an advertiser on SEG, exactly how much traffic he was receiving from SEG on a monthly basis. His response:" You can quote me on this, but do so in full, not taking anything out of context. My traffic from SEG is less than 1,000 UV per month. It’s pretty steady, except for this month. Slightly higher, but I haven’t looked into why. I do not however advertise there for the raw traffic. I advertise there, and have for over a year, because when I track my conversions, good ones are coming from SEG. That is, they are converting. I first bought an ad placement for v7n Directory, but since the referrals were such high quality, I bought another ad package for my forums. Both are still on SEG and I have no plans to cancel."

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from Kalena 2613 Days ago #
Votes: 1

I can also vouch for the good traffic and conversions from SEG. We too have ad sponsorship with them with strong conversion rates over time. I can assure you that the decision to advertise was all about value for money exposure and nothing to do with PageRank.

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from thejenn 2612 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Halfdeck,You have my word that I am in process of contacting Robert to check on that ad. Robert reviews every single advertiser that goes live on our site, but we obviously can’t check back in on them on a daily basis. (To note, we actually turn down quite a few advertisers for being irrelevant or for having links like the ones you pointed out. Anyone who knows Robert and I personally knows he’s not lying when he says that.)If someone now has those text links running on their site, there’s no way Robert would link to them. (Due to the adult links.) As soon as I get in touch with him, I’ll have him stop by with an update.

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from RobertClough 2612 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Halfdeck,I’m in the middle of getting the kids fed and ready for school so maybe you could throw me a bone and let me know which sponsor you are referring to?  robert@searchengineguide.comThat way I can dump the advertiser and have everyone fed, dressed and off to school asap. :-)Thanks,Robert

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from thejenn 2612 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I’ve been working my way through all our advertisers...haven’t found it yet. As Robert said, if you could drop us an email with the name, we’ll get it taken care of. Otherwise, it may have to wait until this afternoon since I’m chasing my two toddlers around this morning.

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from Halfdeck 2612 Days ago #
Votes: 0

"so maybe you could throw me a bone and let me know which sponsor you are referring to?"Sure thing. Email sent.

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from thejenn 2612 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Thanks Halfdeck, that advertiser is no longer an advertiser with Search Engine Guide. We do (sincerely) appreciate you pointing them out because as I said...while Robert screens EVERY advertiser, we can’t always go back and check them on a daily basis to see what they add down the road.As for Jill’s post... I appreciate the apology. Jill’s entitled to her opinion and it’s no skin off my back if it differs from my own. That’s why I made the editorial decision to run her article. I still disagree with her on many points, even from her most recent response above, but there’s no sense going in circles.I don’t mind if she’s wrong. ;) (Sorry Jill, couldn’t resist.)

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from Halfdeck 2612 Days ago #
Votes: 1

I like to add one last thing.First, Robert, if you are not selling PageRank, there is absolutely no reason not to use nofollow on your ad links. If your advertisers don’t care about link juice at all, they wouldn’t mind the nofollow. I pay daily for Google AdWords. Why? I get no link juice out of AdWords, but I get a 1000% return on my investment. Every $1000 I spend turns into $10,000. So it doesn’t bother me one bit that AdWord links flow no juice.If you are selling PageRank as part of a package, then nofollow would make no sense. I sell links on my sites. I do not nofollow them. Why not? Because my buyers are paying for link juice. Using nofollow would be cheating them out of their money. So I have two choices - keep selling nofollow-free links or pull the links. Nofollowing them is not an option.But you cannot insist that you don’t sell PageRank on one hand and then refuse to use nofollow on the other. It just doesn’t wash. I don’t care about the fact that you don’t use nofollow or the fact that you sell links. I do the same thing. It’s business. But I do like to hear people thinking clearly about the issue instead of twisting reality out of convenience or personal interest.Second, there’s a benefit to being limited to SEO tunnel vision, in that its obvious to me that *some* "advertisements" (some, not all) pollute the web. As a marketer, you’re focused on your business and serving your customers. That’s a good thing. But you cannot remain blind to the fact that what you do regarding paid links can negatively impact not only your users or your business but the web as a whole.Sure, you gotta cut down a few trees to make paper, and you gotta create a little pollution to build cars. But when you have everyone doing it, completely oblivious to the consequences, throwing rocks at the ones trying to do something about it (i.e. Google, whos getting the short end of the stick), then houston, we have a problem.Is Google SERPs your problem? SEOs’ answer to that is a resounding "no." Is Digg’s user experience an SEO’s problem? No. Is Wikipedia spamming our problem? No. Is someone using multiple accounts to spam the hell out of Sphinn our problem? No.But then you become Wikipedia’s problem. You become Digg’s problem. You become Sphinn’s problem. And you become Google’s problem. At that point, you don’t have a ground to stand on to say that Google is evil. They are trying to protect their own turf. They are trying to protect their community. And they are trying to protect their business model.You would do exactly the same thing if SEG came under attack.

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from thejenn 2612 Days ago #
Votes: 2

Jill, that was a perfect response! LOLHalfdeck, I think we’ll just have to agree to disagree. I can’t speak for Robert and I can’t say we’ll never nofollow them.But personally, it’s more a matter of principle to me. The kid in the school ground can easily avoid getting beat up by handing over their lunch money. The dry cleaner in a Mob-controlled neighborhood can easily pay for "protection." Doesn’t make it right or mean they SHOULD. Search Engine Guide has spent nearly a decade fighting for small business owners. We aim to make sure they understand an industry that often gets confusing and that doesn’t always see the bigger picture. My biggest issue with nofollow is the fact that small business owners are most likely to be hit by this because they are the LEAST likely to read Danny or Matt’s blog and to KNOW about the entire nofollow issue. Google doesn’t bother to tell them that they have to take ACTIVE measures to avoid a penalty. This will be the first thing Google penalizes for that small business owners stumble into. You don’t "accidently" cloak your site, include hidden text or seek out eleventy billions links...but a small business could EASILY sell legitimate ads on their site without knowing Google expects them to nofollow those ads.THAT is my issue here. Part of me feels like I’d be a hypocrite if I felt so strongly about Google being wrong on this but went running to Robert to try and talk him into nofollowing every ad on our site. It’s not about losing advertisers. We’ve already heard from enough industry folks (Kalena, John Scott, David Wallace) who’ve confirmed they’d advertise with us even if we were PR0 t leave me confident. It’s about standing up for what we think is right.

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from RobertClough 2612 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Halfdeck, thank you for sending the email with the sponsor in it!  They are gone and gone. :-)I’m going to take this a bit out of order...If you are selling PageRank as part of a package...This reminds me of those "buy a star" certificates where you send $15 and the company will send you a nice certificate with "your" star named after you.Did they really sell you that star?  No.  They don’t possess it, they can’t deliver it, and you can’t collect it.  So all they are really selling you is a fun little story.I don’t possess PageRank.  I can’t deliver PageRank.  And a buyer can’t collect PageRank from me.  And I’ve never even tried to sell the fun little story.  Why, because I don’t know how to sell stories.  But, I am pretty good at selling advertising.  With advertising, I can track traffic delivered and I can take customer feedback on conversions and work with them to continually improve our ability as a team to improve their results.First, Robert, if you are not selling PageRank, there is absolutely no reason not to use nofollowYou may think it odd, but I totally understand your sentiment.  But I think an equally valid viewpoint is, I’m not selling PageRank so why should I be considered guilty simply because I don’t make changes to my site that have ZERO benefit to my users?I understand your point of view, now do you better understand mine?  I’m not asking you to agree with it, just hoping you’ll better understand it and consider the fact that there are a lot of us out here who bristle a bit at being declared guilty of something we haven’t done.I’ve been selling graphic/text ad packages the same way since before Google existed.  Was I selling PageRank back then?  I think we’d both agree the answer is no.  Am I selling PageRank now.  I know with 100% certainly that I am not.  Of course, you may speculate that I am and that is your prerogative.Now, I left this until now because I believe my previous points needed to be made first.  I can give you a concrete reason not to use nofollow when I’m not selling PageRank. I used to do everything in notepad so I have hundreds (a thousand?) hand coded pages that I would need to go back and change all the ads to fully comply with this.  That will cost time and money.  Yep, this is my problem and no one else’s.  But, now you know a reason why someone who isn’t selling PageRank would not want to implement nofollow.Aside from the points that I mentioned above there is a big issue that if addressed would probably be enough for me to be willing to go through the effort of putting in nofollow.As far as I know, Google has not published on their site the information regarding their stance on nofollow and why and how we should implement it.  If I am wrong and they have published this, please correct me.  But by not officially publishing this on their site, Google is doing a disservice.  The vast majority of small businesses out there who we serve, have no clue about this.  I can’t point them to a page on Google that explains their position and how to implement it.I would have a lot more respect for Google if they would simply make this information officially available on their site instead of thinking people should just hear about it through the grapevine.  Ignorance of the law is no excuse if you break the law.  But never publishing the law for all to see is an abuse of power.So, Halfdeck, always interesting to read your perspective and perhaps I’ve given you better insight into mine.

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from thejenn 2612 Days ago #
Votes: 1

The problem Jill is that even the sites who were penalized and will talk about it are only read by a small portion of the Internet.My mother is incredibly internet savvy. I mean incredibly. She understands what I do for a living and can even tell you a little about social media. But she’s and my dad asked me just last weekend "So, what do we tell people you DO for a living?" because anytime they’ve tried, people look at them blankly.My dad works with dozens of vendors who are small business owners. Many of whom do business online. I can promise you, none of them read Matt Cutt’s blog. (Though one or two now read mine, so they may find their way there.) I suppose if the Washington Post, New York Times or Wall Street Journal write about what happened, the word might get out a bit more...but still... I go with what Robert said. To penalize those for not doing something you haven’t even told them they should do? That’s abuse of power.

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from RobertClough 2612 Days ago #
Votes: 0

So for anyone looking for an out and out mud-slinging brawl, it’s not going to happen here!I don’t know, if Google drops the bomb on us I’m going to need something sensational to draw some traffic. :-P

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from LisaStewart 2611 Days ago #
Votes: 1

 Had the flu all week and came up for air. What a slow week... :-)Well, facing the carnage that is my own site(s) I am still in a daze. I read Jill’s comments and was confused. She really should’t have singled out SEG...  for which she has apologized.I am still thinking about this means, Jenn’s comments regarding most website owners adding nofollow tag to their advertiser links are well made.  Most website owners don;t know what page rank is. Working with clients it has been difficult to explain process to them- this just makes things more difficult and DOES penalize small business ownerwrting their own website. I am baffled by this move from Google. If anything it devalues concept of page rank becausenow it REALLY doesn’t matter.

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