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There's been a lot of attention in recent months on (mostly) large companies that violate search engine guidelines (mostly Google's), and it's getting mainstream media attention now, too. But "outing" has been going on for years via industry blogs and articles, forums, etc. In our new "Discussion of the Week," we want to know -- do you support the outing of SEO companies/consultants that violate search engine guidelines? The floor is open for your comments!
Comments50 Comments  

Comments

Avatar Moderator
from JulieJoyce 1224 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I absolutely do not support it in any way. I like to save my tattling for calling the police on the teenagers across the street who get drunk and sing loud emo songs.



Avatar Moderator
from nickfb76 1224 Days ago #
Votes: 2

The way this question is phrased it's really hard to give a stern yes or no answer.  I don't under and circumstance like or appreciate outing individual websites.  Unless your link profile is 100% sqeeky clean then you shouldn't be talking.

However, the question asks if its ok to out SEO Companies that partake in techniques that violate the guidelines.  Part of me says NO because I like to believe that all companies discuss the risks associated with the different techniques potentially used to achieve rankings.  However, I know there are an absolute ton of companies that go behind the clients back and do whatever they have to do to get results.  If the campaign goes bad and the site banned they simply lose a client.  The client however is stuck with a penalized domain and who knows how much it could be effecting their profits.  Because of the second situation im actually leaning towards YES.  Outing shady SEO companies sounds like your looking out for the clients.



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from netmeg 1224 Days ago #
Votes: 2

No.  If I started down that road, I'd never have time to do anything else. I also adhere (somewhat) to the golden rule - it's not a behavior I would care to have applied to me or my web properties, so I'm not going to participate in it myself.

I out malware, out-and-out theft, and, in one particular case, some egregious bot spam that's running rampant and swiping some of my content to boot (I guess that falls under theft).



Avatar Moderator
from hugoguzman 1224 Days ago #
Votes: 0

It's the equivalent of an accountant or accountant for using shady techniques. Actually, it's worse because in the accountant scenario, shady techniques actually break the law. Nobody is breaking the law regardless of the SEO technique being implemented.

This is just another byproduct of an industry in its infancy, and it could take years, if not decades, for the industry to truly grow up and mature.



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from AlanBleiweiss 1224 Days ago #
Votes: 4

Just because something isn't against the law does not make it acceptable or tolerable behavior.  The law has yet to catch up to our industry.  Without self-policing, law is inevitable due to the greed that runs rampant in an unthrottled market economy.  And I'd much prefer a self-policing industry than one handcuffed by completely clueless government mandate that would most likely be swayed by corrupt lobbyists anyhow.

Speaking up about blatantly severe unfair competitive advantages is critical to an evolving industry.  It's a copout to claim "It's not our job - it's up to the search engines", knowing full well that they too are part of the problem.




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from JadedTLC 1224 Days ago #
Votes: 1

I'm not sure what your motivation for "outing" is. If it's illegal activities as @netmeg mentions, absolutely. However, what are you outing? And can you be sure that your client has never dabbled in any "against Google's guidelines"?

I believe this turns into a slippery slope of what "deserves" outing vs what is just strategy. Outing philosophies is silly. Brands aren't going to be punished for long anyway. (by Google)

(edited since thought was incomplete)

However, if you're talking about SEO folks outing SEO folks, to the community at large - this is acceptable. Why? Because we learn from each other. We love each other and we need to support each other. Just as a mechanic can tell you that your transmission is broken (and I would have no idea if this was true or not), SEOs can either knowingly or unknowingly lead folks to believe untruths in their industry. Someone has to teach and be taught.

Our industry is young and misunderstood, but also necessary for businesses. Just as a mechanic is necessary if you own a used car.




Avatar Moderator
from ajkohn2001 1224 Days ago #
Votes: 5

You're either part of the problem or part of the solution. Standing on the sidelines when you see someone doing something that damages our industry makes you part of the problem.

I'm not saying you should go out of the way to seek out offenders but how many times have you done competitive research and found link graph manipulation?

Too often I hear people say (me included mind you) that reporting these things (even publicly) won't change the bad practices long-term. Admittedly, I am completely jaded on this front. Once the scandal evaporates from the front page, people return to those same practices. The splogs continue to crank out useless content. The MFA sites continue to crop up, selling paid links under 'resources' or 'blog roll' sections.

They survive because there is money to be made there (channeling my inner Aaron Wall now), and these practices still work. Google in particular is a very bad co-dependent partner in the continuing crap that is the bedrock of the Internet.

But it seems like, as an industry, we've decided to just give up. Go along to get along right? Frankly, shouldn't we be embarassed that it's the mainstream media and not our own industry media who are exposing these practices?

Instead I have to read stuff in the New York Times where they insist on abbreviating SEO as S.E.O.

I want better for our industry.




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from seosnitchlist 1224 Days ago #
Votes: -2

I would describe myself personally as an off-white hat, but "stop snitching". http://seosnitchlist.tumblr.com/ haha :)



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from AlanBleiweiss 1224 Days ago #
Votes: 1

"Snitching" - what a great word.  Taken directly from the lexicon of criminals.  Wonderful.



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from Ryan 1224 Days ago #
Votes: 4

I think the reason so many SEOs are against "outing" is because they're afraid of being outed themselves.  I can guarantee you that many big name SEOs who speak often at conferences are also doing some shady stuff on the side.  The last thing they want is to start a war with people outing them - and the last thing anybody else wants is having somebody popular mad at them on Twitter.  I've pissed off quite a few SEOs in the past (I'm a good boy now) and it was never fun; but I do think that has a lot to do with it.



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from netmeg 1224 Days ago #
Votes: 2

Sorry, it's not my job.  My obligation is to myself and/or my client(s); my responsibility is for myself alone.  There is no "fair" in search. Yea, I said it.  I focus on what I'm doing, and what I can control. Anything else leads to madness.  I also don't consider myself part of some big self-policing collective.




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from Aaranged 1224 Days ago #
Votes: 3

"Self-policing" is all fine and dandy in principle, but in practice you need an infrastructure that will support this:  a recognized industry professional association, people in that organization tasked with enforcement and - above all - rules that would see violators of those rules play a price.


Exactly none of these structural pieces are in place.  Instead, when "outing" does occur it is undertaken on the initiative of an individual, with unknown motives, without reference to clearly stated rules, and often not even acted upon by the search engines (there's a difference to being outed by the New York Times than by the author of a agreatseoblog.com).


So, Alan, it's great to think we can be a self-policing industry, but we have no police.  We have individual activitists that take it upon themselves to be cops:  in standard legal terms, vigilantes.  And I want no part of vigilante justice, either on the street or in my industry.


In regard to the lack of clearly-written rules, keep in mind that even the search engines' guidelines are utterly insufficient, as they are frequently equivocal on what constitutes a violation of their guidelines and what doesn't.


So when you're "outing" somebody for "bad" SEO behavior you're essentially throwing them to the corporate wolves and washing your hands of the consequences, which is chiefly why I'm against "outing."


We're not a regulated industry.  And - both because the search engines will never publish their alogrithms and the fact these algorithms change seemingly daily - we never will be.  And, of course, if an SEO achieves stellar results by dint of employing "unethical" SEO practices, there's an obvious winner (the client) and loser (searchers who are slogging through gamed results) - but they're not my SERPs and it's not my job to police them.  For those of you that consider this attitude a "cop out," please explain to me why I should be volunteering my time to improve the product of a $200 billion company.  Google, heal thyself.


To say that Google "is part of the problem" - seemingly because their algorithms are imperfect, and thus can be gamed - is a pretty strange complaint (now channneling my inner anti-Wall, AJ:).  So what?  It's not like you can recall them like a Toyota with faulty brakes:  quit using them or build your own search engine.  I don't think "outing" people makes Google any better, though I think pushing their alogrithm to the limit does.



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from TimDineen 1224 Days ago #
Votes: 1

I'm fine with it. When a company makes use of "blatantly severe unfair competitive advantages" as Alan said, and they do so publicly for public gain and exposure, then it's fair game to call them out for their cheating behavior.

Until there is some true response from the search engine(s) to penalize those who practice such techniques, then I don't mind our community doing a little self-policing by calling attention to those high-profile sites whose operators try to outrank the sites created by those of us who don't cheat.

Feel free to turn a blind eye if you want, but the industry is being hurt by this every day and those SEOs who take part or ignore it are hurting all of us.



Avatar Administrator
from Michelle 1224 Days ago #
Votes: 7

Great comments here! To play devil's advocate for a second, or turn this discussion in a slightly different direction - I'd like to ask those in the "I'd never out an SEO" camp this question again, but given this kind of scenario - which happens more often than should be acceptable to legitimate professionals in this business:

You get a new client. They'd recently terminated their contract with another seo firm. Prior to that termination, they were ranking well for their targeted terms. Suddenly, they're gone from the index. In your audit process you discover that the previous firm a) removed all optmizations they'd perfromed on page b) in webmaster tools, requested the domain be removed from the index and c) bought low quality backlinks to the client site - after contract termination.


They've done nothing illegal. In getting the site back in shape, re-indexed, etc. do you out that firm? To who? People you know in the industry? The webmaster central team - especially if it helps make your case for reinclusion?


What I find most interesting about the "I'd never do it" argument is that I see people all day long complaining about this brand/vendor or that on Twitter. Why should SEO be any different?

#notanendorsementofouting
#justplayingdevilsadvocate

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from AlanBleiweiss 1224 Days ago #
Votes: 2

Aaron,

Taking no action because there is no designated industry "police" is the equivilant of towns in the wild west allowing gun-slingers to shoot up the streets, rob the banks and otherwise plunder at will simply because there were no lawmen in town yet.

Throughout history, it's because of the very need for such resolution that the need for "official" lawmen came about. And until ways were devised to implement an official mechanism, people either took action as individuals and collectively or they stood sitlently by as their homes, villages and way of life were decimated.

It's all good and fine if individuals don't have the desire, energy, willingness or cojones to stand up to it.  It's another matter altogether for the entirety of our community to remain silent.




Avatar Moderator
from Jill 1224 Days ago #
Votes: 4

If all the SEOs who use spammy SEO were outed and could no longer practice SEO, 90% would be gone.


And then who would the rest of us talk to on Twitter? :D



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from Aaranged 1224 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Well, Alan, whether they were cattle rustlin' or murdering or robbing, the gun-slingers were criminals, irregardless of whether or not there were accredited lawman to bring them to justice.  That is, they were breaking laws.


Again, SEO has no laws.  And I don't want some "peer" - however well-intentioned - to pin a tin star to their vest and start dispensing wild west justice.  They're not enforcing the law, they're making it up as they go.


Throughout history, those that have taken it upon themselves to decide upon "laws" without recourse to society  (not even looking at those that have taken actual law into their own hands) have used this powerr to decimate homes, villages and entire ways of life.


To whose rules do I submit?  Where do I draw the line in my optimization efforts?  How egregious or "obvious" does a "violation" of Google's guidelines need to be so I feel compelled to report it?


So its not that I lack desire, energy, willingness or the cajones to "stand up to it."  I think standing up to "it" is a bad idea when "it" isn't defined.


Finally, I am no more a guardian of my industry's reputation than I am of Google's SERPs.  The best contribution I can make to that industry's reputation is by serving my clients faithfully and producing demonstrable results by employing strategies and tactics I feel are "ethical."  If I "out" others in my industry, they'll still be heaps of "unethical" SEOs that have some measure of success, and that will still get their own press when "outed" somewhere that somebody cares about.



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from Feydakin 1224 Days ago #
Votes: 3

I would be happy to out SEO companies for violating search engine guidelines.. Just as soon as the search engines put me on the payroll to help them clean up their results..

Other than that, I'm of the opinion that if you have enough time to hunt down, properly investigate, and report, an SEO that "you" think is doing something shady, then you probably don't have enough clients or work to keep you busy and you should put that energy in to building your, and your client's, businesses..



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from AlanBleiweiss 1224 Days ago #
Votes: 2

Laws come about because of a need for them. Quite a simple concept.  Yet I guarantee you people were doing their best to take action even before laws were written.  Otherwise there would never have been motivation to create the laws in the first place.

Yes, I agree wholeheartedly that it can be a messy process - going about deciding who writes the laws, what the laws cover and don't cover, who has responsibility, etc...

Except just telling everyone we should shut up until some other someone somewhere or somesuch magically creates those laws or to shut up because there aren't any is beyond insanity.



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from BillLudwig 1224 Days ago #
Votes: 1

I support the idea of having a self-policing industry. Unfortunately SEO is nowhere near there yet and without a fundamental change it will never get there. Without a governing body, established rules and best practices, buy in from the search engines, and some form of industry accreditation all the "outing" in the world will have no effect.

Google has demonstrated by its inaction that they either don't care or that they lack the ability to fix the problem.  Obviously the spammers don't care.  A few high profile SEO's may get embarrassed but it's not like there is a social stigma to buying links that will make them shunned at starbucks.  The only people who care are the ethical SEO's and not even all of them care as indicated by this conversation.

To take Alan's analogy of the old west sheriff a step further. Outing an SEO is like having a gunfight at high noon only instead of pulling your trusty side iron your writing a strongly worded letter.



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from AlanBleiweiss 1224 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Bill,

That's easily resolved.  Let's just get people to not complain if I carry my pistol with me to the next search conference.  #ProblemSolved



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from armondhammer 1224 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Strange as this may sound, I'm anti-outing only because I see the strong potential for abuse there too.

Use the following formula:  Find a competitor above you.  Post obvious dirty links.  Report.  Move client up one in the rankings.  Repeat.




Avatar Moderator
from JulieJoyce 1224 Days ago #
Votes: 1

I feel quite apathetic about things after reading the comparison of SEO ethics with guns. Wow. Maybe I don't take my job seriously enough.



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from AlanBleiweiss 1224 Days ago #
Votes: 2

Armond,

Laws are abused for evil intent and fair trade rules are abused for evil intent.  Are you saying you think there shouldn't be any laws or fair trade rules out there for anything in business or life? Simply because of that potential?  Or just in our industry?



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from crimsongirl 1224 Days ago #
Votes: 2

"Sorry, it's not my job.  My obligation is to myself and/or my client(s); my responsibility is for myself alone.  There is no "fair" in search."

Exactly.  If your competitor or your client's competitor is violating search engine guidelines, you must out them.  Competition, everyone.  You do what it takes to win.




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from Feydakin 1224 Days ago #
Votes: 0

They've done nothing illegal. In getting the site back in shape, re-indexed, etc. do you out that firm? To who?

I'm not convinced that what they did is NOT illegal.. If this was done as work for hire then the technically, in most jurisdictions, the client owns the work and to go back and undo all that work is a legitimate reason for legal action.. If I had a client with this issue I would certainly "out" them to the client, but wouldn't waste my time with trying to out them in public or to the search engines.. I'll leave that to the client.. They are the one with the working relationship and were harmed.. If it were me it would just look like a competitor complaigning..

What I find most interesting about the "I'd never do it" argument is that I see people all day long complaining about this brand/vendor or that on Twitter. Why should SEO be any different?

Not sure you can compare those either.. In most cases those are people reacting a specific issue with a specific one on one relationship via purchase or use, etc.. These are not people hunting for negatives across the internet, determining that those negatives violate their personal ethics, and then going on a campaign to punish..



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from debram 1224 Days ago #
Votes: 4

@Michelle  Any SEO who feels sabotaging a client's site like that is "justified" or feels the client should "no longer benefit" from their work is a scumbag.  Hello... the client PAID for that work so it should be left alone.

We get clients all the time who've tanked/been removed from the serps as a result of paid links, networks, hidden text - etc and require reinclusion requests.  I've never named the previous SEO company and wouldn't, I can't be absolutely sure (for a fact) they were the ones who put the links there.  Sometimes, webmasters will say anything to get fresh links or a new linking service for their sites.

I don't believe in outing.  Period.  And I don't believe in using sites in blogs and slide presentations for the purpose of showing what "not to do" without permission.

My .02  :)



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from NateSchubert 1224 Days ago #
Votes: 1

I think ultimately we should rely on the search engines to do their own police work, but if something is glaring and it's not being addressed by the search engines, I don't see any reason we why as an industry can't bring attention to it. Many companies have to do brand awareness for their own organization, but Internet Marketers have to do brand awareness for the entire industry. When I talk to a potential client, why do I have to defend against experience they've had with OTHER Marketers? That's not fair to me or any of the people who try to play by the book. So, if I have to accept some of the negative cred for them, I am going to call them out if/when I see it. I would hope that anyone would do the same against me if I was using shady tactics to get one over on the rest of you.



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from armondhammer 1224 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Alan - I think it's more about the industry, or more to the point the "court system".  Since there's only one judge and not a jury of my peers it's not exactly a fair trial.  Even aside the legal analogy, we've all dealt with the stoic monolith that is Google when trying to fix honest problems. Not exactly encouraging.

And I can't help but believe that the most agregious current abusers would abuse a public outing system just as badly.

I'm not a fan of the current reputation problem with SEO.  Every NYT article about it makes my career look shadier and shadier.  I think it starts more with clear standards than anything.  Like: Thou Shall not Comment Spam



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from JadedTLC 1224 Days ago #
Votes: 1

In addition to Alan's example - what about the 1920s when food producers had no official laws. We've all read "The Jungle" - but if people didn't stand up and say something, nothing would have changed. If MLK Jr. didn't stand up, nothing would have changed.

These are regular people. Standing up for what is right. Now maybe this is just our jobs, just business, just SEO - but I say If I stand for nothing, I stand for something I didn't choose.

We can all use common sense. If I walk into a client and see that the last SEO messed up stuff, I'm going to speak up. And I'm going to call out my SEO brethren to say, hey, that's not cool. Unprofessional.

Why wouldn't I? And the SEO industry reputation is a cumulative effort. Those arguing it's not their place - so if there are shady lawyers in the industry, that means I as a lawyer should say, none of my business? Really?





Avatar Moderator
from ajkohn2001 1224 Days ago #
Votes: 3

Make no mistake, Google should be doing more here, but are we saying that unless Google fixes things we're just going to put up with it? I guess I'm kind of tired of that type of apathy.

Is there no Erin Brokovich among us who will stand up to the big guy (Google) and force them to pay more attention to the problem? Who will create the Fake Matt Cutts blog and start pointing out obvious unfettered spam?

I'd also argue that we are ALL on Google's payroll already. SEO wouldn't exist to the extent that it does without Google or their steadfast protection of algorithmic secrets. We're in a symbiotic relationship with Google. Every time Google changes the playing field we all get a bit more business.

I agree that the 'peer' problem is an issue and the lack of any conclusive rules makes it difficult. I'm on the fence about industry certifcation and guidelines. A little badge that says I passed some stupid test doesn't make me a good SEO. So there's certainly a lot of gray - or a lot of yellow brown for any Jesus Jones fans out there.

But don't you know abuse when you see it? And maybe we don't all agree, but wouldn't the conversation it generates benefit our industry?



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from AlanBleiweiss 1224 Days ago #
Votes: 3

Since the whole JCPenney thing, I've had a number of clients mention the NYTimes articles.  In every instance, they come away from reading them understanding that they as business owners have no desire to get blasted for similar issues.

Since I go the extra mile to ensure none of these clients can be traced to me, there's no way someone in the industry could intentionally hunt them down and false-flag their site out of spite.  Sure, it could happen just because those sites are high up in rankings, yet that's part of the reality of business.

Yet for me to sit idly by and not be as vocal as I have been would mean none of those clients would have the trust, respect and comfort level they have working with me that is at least partly because of the fact that I am as vocal as I am.

SO the notion that such articles just make the whole industry look bad is also baseless.



Avatar Administrator
from Michelle 1224 Days ago #
Votes: 7

@feydakin you mean like when google outed bing? :)  On the second point, I do think the comparison is apt. If you have a negative experience with a company/vendor/brand and use twitter as a medium to communicate that experience - SEO service providers should have no special protection. It's just a "customer service issue" to legitimate businesses, in our world, it's called "outing"


My larger point here actually goes again to the language we use in this business when discussing tactics, practices, ethics, etc.  Terms like "black hat" and "outing" don't really apply much elsewhere. But they seem to here - which goes to the larger problem of this industry's reputation - which circles back to how we conduct ourselves, and respond *within the industry* to the problems we all know to exist, but apparently, are content to look the other way.  I just hope everyone understands that, from the outside, it looks a bit like "honor among thieves" so maybe we should all stop being surprised when SEO comes under fire as an industry.



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from Silver 1223 Days ago #
Votes: 1

I don't support the outing in all but particularly egregious/unethical cases.Part of my reason is this: we first need an agreement to support a uniform code of what should be acceptable as search engine guidelines, which have been known to change from time to time.Also, there are cases where people who are totally unqualified to diagnose what's going on could report perceived offenses, and it's not always possible to detect or deduce who is responsible for something. For instance, I've recommended and pushed for some clients to discontinue some bad practices, but in a few cases they persisted. When they moved on to another agency, I could easily seem them lying to the new agency about us being responsible for what they did. How can we realistically assess who's truly guilty in cases like that?While there are some pretty clear-cut cases out there which can be reported to Google, there are a great deal more cases where assessing true guilt would be difficult.It's difficult to wholesale support the outing of SEO companies when search engine guidelines sometimes do not directly relate to ethics and intentions. Google should not be seen as the ultimate arbiter of ethics, even though their position in the equation is already so strong.



Avatar Moderator
from Jill 1223 Days ago #
Votes: 4

It should be noted that publicly outing another SEO company, could get you in possible legal trouble.

Anyone who was thinking of doing it publicly should consult with a lawyer first. Especially if you're outing a competitor. I imagine there could be additional ramifications to that.



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from AlanBleiweiss 1223 Days ago #
Votes: 2

Jill's correct - slander, libel, all sorts of legal issues to consider when whistle-blowing or bringing perceived transgressions to light, or thinking you are when you haven't actually checked your facts.

On top of that it's just as easy to cross the line and become malicious in the process.  That's not a legal concern as much as a trust, respect and believability concern.  And uh, I can personally attest to that. :-)



Avatar Moderator
from nickfb76 1223 Days ago #
Votes: 1

"Strange as this may sound, I'm anti-outing only because I see the strong potential for abuse there too.

Use the following formula:  Find a competitor above you.  Post obvious dirty links.  Report.  Move client up one in the rankings.  Repeat."


This is exactly why i vote against outing others.  That, and im simply not convinced anyone who takes the time to out another site has a completely clean site/link profile themselves.



Avatar Moderator
from Sebastian 1223 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Snitching is a sign of weakness. Self-proclaimed 'white hats' outing for fun, profit and popularity are the real 'black hats'. Having said that, we now can safely remove everything 'hat' from our SEO dictionaries and go back to layman terms, like successful SEO and scumbag.

Never say no, though, coz there are --very few-- situations where outing might be OK. Overall it's not. As long as your competitor isn't Traffic Power.



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from Bureau24 1223 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I support outing illegal activities like fraud, theft, con-jobs and so on. When you rip off hundreds of consumers promising SEO and you don't do anything but line your pockets I think you deserve to be outted. On the other hand its not my job to enforce a companies TOS. I am sure they aren't going to enforce mine.

So while I do support whistle blowing when it rises to the level of illegal activity or is unethical enough that it should be illegal, search engine guidelines aren't law.





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from meeinter 1223 Days ago #
Votes: 0

This is just another byproduct of an industry in its infancy, and it could take years, if not decades, for the industry to truly grow up and mature.



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from Manley 1223 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Is this really a serious question?Whilst I do not buy links, I equally do not go around smearing my competitors'.  That is not a good business model at all, nor is it ethical.

As for 'squeaky clean back-link profiles', no site is responsible for its entire back-link profile and the idea that buying links to my competitors and employing a full time grass just appals me.

What is this? Play-school? This is the moral equivalent to reporting the man next door to the neighbourhood watch for moving his car on his drive without a seatbelt on.

Loathe as I am to inflate Sebastian's ego, he has hit the nail right on the head.  If you think this is SEO then maybe you need to go and learn your job.



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from Manley 1223 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Why have none of my line breaks shown up?

I promise that I do not actually type in single continuous paragraphs.



Avatar Moderator
from Sebastian 1223 Days ago #
Votes: 0

LordManley, this has been fixed. ;-)



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from trooperbill 1223 Days ago #
Votes: 1

I worked in house 12 months ago and contracted numerous big SEO agencies, all of whom i have seen (representatives of) stand up on conferences and talk about how people should never buy links... only to find out first hand that these headline names all buy (and sell) links as a standard part of their service... several companies in Leeds even do nothing but 100% link buying and these sites you will see in the top 10 of  topseos.com/rankings-of-best-seo-companies

its sad but i just dont believe the hype super white hat waffle most of these seo rockstars spew on blogs etc... contract them yourselves and see !



Avatar Moderator
from ajkohn2001 1223 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I think it's less about reporting the man next door who is moving his car without a seatbelt and more about reporting the man next door who has a meth lab in his garage.

Any backlink profile isn't going to be squeaky clean. You can't be responsible for every link. But it's a matter of scale and patterns of abuse.

One person's snitch is another person's whistleblower.




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from AlanBleiweiss 1223 Days ago #
Votes: 2

Let's take this debate up a notch.

When The now "heroic" blogger refused to take up Burson on their request for him to write a smear post about Google, then subsequently posted the email exchange on his blog, and it subsequently hit USA Today and then The Daily Beast, everyone jumped on the story from the perspective of Google and Facebook and the evil they do.

Yet nobody lambasted that blogger, USA Today, OR The Daily Beast for being snitches, outers or any such nonsense.

So somebody please explain to me why these people who "outed" the underhanded tactics are any different than people in the SEO community who act in similar ways, or the NYTimes when they write about it.

And please - try and go beyond the name-calling, and most important - please come up with anything resembling intelligent reasoning as opposed  to justification and rationalization for your views.



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from marcbitanga 1222 Days ago #
Votes: 3

There's quite a difference between outing Facebook who blatantly tried to smear Google's reputation vs. outing a website for shady SEO tactics.

The Facebook situation has larger implications as it uncovers the type of company that 500 million people have submitted their personal information. It's a story that needed to be told.

As for outing an SEO for unsavory tactics to get rankings? That's quite subjective. There's no set criteria. If we all held ourselves to Google's webmaster guidelines, even the whitest shade of SEO out there could be held accountable. I think we have all bent the rules from an SEO perspective at one time or another. So who are we to judge one another?

My perspective is that if someone is outranking one of my sites because of a short-sited SEO tactic, it will eventually catch up with them.



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from Vancouver-SEO 1222 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I can see seo.wikileaks.com in the near future!



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from IanHowells 1222 Days ago #
Votes: 0

@marcbitanga

"There's no set criteria. If we all held ourselves to Google's webmaster guidelines, even the whitest shade of SEO out there could be held accountable. I think we have all bent the rules from an SEO perspective at one time or another."

I think that sums it up pretty well.

Know what else is againt the Google guidelines? Running rank checking software. We've all broken those guidelines.

To echo other points earlier, the outing game could be endless. If we start taking outing seriously and go on a crusade to out all spammy SEO, that will just make the *new* SEO doing shady stuff to your competitors and outing them. There's no winner there.

My main problem with the NYT coverage is that its stemming from this Digital Due Dillgence company.. who seems to have a business model that can be summed up with "Pay us and we'll out your competitors on a major news outlet". That might just be more filthy than link spamming in the first place.



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from charlotteseo 1219 Days ago #
Votes: 0

it would be one thing if Google was a straight arrow.........


we all know they have preference for big companies with big dollars.

look at Jcpenney......they're already on PAGE 2 for bedding!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

checkout the backlinks to that page......... enough said


I dont care about self policing to clean up my neighborhood....but when the city wants to let big companies do what they want in my neighborhood...............

then i need to fend for myself.




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