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The other day I got upset about Danny Sullivan’s Search Engine Land publishing an article which suggested search marketers could get “free links” by spamming the new Wired Wiki. I called his choice of headlines “stupid”. You can read it on this blog… it is the previous post. Not only was his an irresponsible headline, but the professional position taken by the SearchEngineLand people was that Google’s “rel=nofollow” attribute should be assigned by default to web publications — something I disagree with completely. As someone else pointed out, even Danny Sullivan’s own Sphinn web site doesn’t use nofollow. Anyway, Danny Sullivan (the most popular guy in search?) got upset and posted lengthy comments here, on Sphinn, and on his web sites. I also got one as email.
Comments8 Comments  

Comments

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from dannysullivan 2382 Days ago #
Votes: 7

Well, any comments I made at John’s place with or without links now get stuck in moderation hell. So I’ll post what should eventually show up there: Sigh. So... 1) It was irresponsible, and I’ve said so and apologized for it several times. 2) It’s not Google’s nofollow attibute. It’s a common standard back by Google and many other companies. 3) We didn’t say it was something that should be placed on default, which I’ve explained already, but you persist in saying this. 4) I wasn’t upset here. I was trying to clarify some of the things you described us saying, which we did not say. 5) Rand can stop recommending you for whatever. I think you write interesting things here, which is why I’ve long had you on our SEL blogroll, why I posted recently on this blog that I liked it, and I’ll continue to tell people there’s a lot of good stuff to be found here. 6) Rand doesn’t need to gain favor with me. I like Rand personally, plus we do have a marketing relationship already, though we also disagree on things as well (see the SEOmoz quiz or at SEOmoz our squabble about how surveys should be done. I would assume that Rand didn’t like the tone of your original article and felt he needed to defend me simple because some people dislike seeing things in print they don’t agree with without offering their own opinion. You welcome opinions, as you’ve told me -- why not have simply let Rand offer his opinion, even if you disagree with it. It really required you to do another post. You gave me lumps; I offered my thoughts on that, but in the end, I take those lumps. So does anyone who publishes. 7) It is the conference you called a waste of time by looking at the agenda initially. It’s also the conference that I gave you a free pass to attend, asking you "if it’s not up to snuff, let me know." You emailed me that it was "better than I expected," though I never read anything on your site saying this. Looking today, I did see in your comments on the original post that you didn’t get an full access pass, though it sounds like you did get full access in the end. I apologize for this -- it should have been a full access pass from the start, and if I’d realized the hassle, I’d have corrected it immediately. 8) On the WTF about Google and your entire paid search tangent, I get it now. Apparently you were implying that I was pushing nofollow to gain favor with Google, as part of the Google campaign that you only need to do paid search. I guess. I don’t  know. That’s why I emailed you about it. But as I also emailed, I’ve written that search marketing is more than just paid search. Indeed, I strongly resent anyone who likes to make it seem like SEO has no place at the search table. Don’t write me into doing that, because I’m not. In the end, John, it’s not that the industry is fragile. It’s that the industry is great because you still have people who actually care about things within it. You care. I care. Rand cares. Everyone can question our various motives -- correctly or not -- but it’s not just a business to us. I emailed you, and I’ve responded to you, because you’ve said intelligent and important things about the space. You deserve respect, and you generally have mine -- even if I disagree with you on some points and may have no respect for particular twist that you do. That’s why I’ve given you my time in responses both publicly and privately. In terms of this fracas, I have absolutely no interest in watching a John-Danny war erupt, especially when I actually agree with you on an amazing number of topics. I have no interest in watching that escalate into a Rand fight as well. I shouldn’t have published the Wired article. I’m sorry it led you to feel you had to post your public disappointment with Search Engine Land, and that it has grown into what some want to describe as "camp versus camp." I don’t see it that way -- I see a lot of people expressing their individual opinions. But it stems however it has happened from me giving the go ahead on an irresponsible article. ==Also, after submitting that, I realize John says we don’t use nofollow here. We do. I explained that in another post on his blog (also in moderations), and I’ve already covered that several times in other comments here. Nofollow is put on links in comments, as anyone can see. If you don’t see it, it’s because it was a comment from before we started using it or in a few cases, the link was copied and pasted, a bug we’ve since fixed.

Avatar Administrator
from dannysullivan 2382 Days ago #
Votes: 6

I’ll also add that this post got pulled at some point by a moderator who found it had no value to Sphinn community. That shouldn’t have happened, makes us look terrible that it did, and I wrote to the entire moderation team:"If John wants to question the motives of me and Rand -- and someone wants to Sphinn that -- it’s a valid thing for the search marketing industry. It wasn’t spam; it does have news value and deserves a shot on Sphinn."

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from baiduyou 2382 Days ago #
Votes: 0

For what it’s worth Danny, I think you’ve handled the whole situation remarkably well and come out with your credibility intact. There is no individual or company that doesn’t ever make mistakes, and I think it’s generally agreed that publishing the original article was misguided.I know John Andrews wanted the SEL article taken down but I fail to see how that would be more helpful than adding a note that sets the matter straight. Explanation and apology must surely be better than pretending something never happened.... and if your reasoned, detailed response to John’s post constitutes ’getting upset’, I think I need to consult a dictionary.

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from NickWilsdon 2382 Days ago #
Votes: 2

Thanks for your detailed explaination Danny. I’ve always had respect for you and as you say, I think we can forgive one questionable article out of 6000 somehow.Equally though, I don’t think John deserves the slamming he got for putting what I and a lot of other people thought of that article at the time. I think he was right to post that and as to his motives, they were pretty much along the lines of ’calling a spade a spade’. I didn’t see the hypocrisy Rand mentioned. However time moves quickly in this sphere and there is very little point rehashing this on the front page, so I’ve not sphunn this and suggest others do likewise.

Avatar Administrator
from dannysullivan 2382 Days ago #
Votes: 1

John has every right to post what he wants and call a spade a spade. And I apprecitate that. But the hypocrisy? Yeah, I’d mentioned seeing that in my original response to him, before Rand even weighed in.If John had simply said "dumb headline -- irresponsible article," I’d have had little to say in response other than "You’re right, John -- we’re sorry, and we’ll try not to be so stupid in the future."But in addition to that, I got:+ Hey everyone, what’s the "motive" behind Search Engine Land. Ooooh, look out for these guys!+ If you read them, you’re crazy. Get your mentla health checked.+ A suggestion that hey those SEL folks, they think search marketing = buying Google AdWords+ A declaration that all community generated sites should use nofollow, we we didn’t say.+ That I’m acting as a police force for the web, and what business do I have to do that (though policing the police force I was claimed to be acting as is apparently fine on a self-appointed basis)+ I’m a former spammer, which was news to me. My understanding from John after emailing him is that this is because anyone doing SEO in the 90s was spamming. But he says he’ll be happy to dig up stuff if he needs to. My response was that I can recall doing some poor man’s cloaking for Excite for one client with all image pages, which might not have been against the Excite guidelines -- and, of course, some may remember that our CSS style was using hidden text for our title logo, something that I said oops too and later, I believe, Google says wasn’t an issue.Did I really need all that for John to make one solid point, that it was a dumb article? Really, you don’t think he might have been slightly sensational about doing it? He couldn’t comment within the article itself like plenty of others did? He had to go off and do a slamming post about it? And when Rand disagrees with him, rather than publishing Rand’s comment within his original post, John decided it was necessary to do an entire new post and suggest that Rand can only have opinions to curry favor with me?Moreover, John was happy to say he was disappointed in Search Engine Land -- which assumes he expects us to have certain standards. He wrote that what we did was "shameful" and "disgusting" and that he "expected much better." But then when Rand finds himself similarly upset with how he feels John was baiting, suddenly that’s "ugly" and requiring John to throw any opinions Rand has as simply a "oh, they comarket with SEL, ignore that man" type of thing?Like I said, even before Rand posted, I was surprised at the hypocrisy I felt in reading a piece saying don’t be sensational that seemed to be sensationalizing itself. I do have a lot of respect for what John has written in general and for being a vet in the space worth paying attention to. But if you’re going to call someone out on the carpet for being irresponsible and sensationalist, then you should ensure you’re acting responsibly and not being sensationalist yourself. And sorry, John’s post for me personally came up weak in both those marks.We shouldn’t have done the article. I’m sorry for that. I can’t apologize that John felt he needed to express his opinion in the way he did and that not everyone agrees with him. He’s advised me in an email exchance that I should be listening to reader opinions. I have always tried to do so, and I’ve always tried not to dismiss those opinions as someone just having some type of agenda. For the same reason, I’d encourage John not to dismiss people giving him criticism as either SEL "fanboys" or having to have some business reason for doing so. It’s simply not fair to anyone to do that.

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from neyne 2381 Days ago #
Votes: 3

Is it John Heil or Doug Andrews ? "Our industry is shaky". Good lord. How many self-proclaimed uber-ethical marketers can one industry stomach ? And the by-the-way kind of remarks about "people who invest must be shaking in their boots" in Rand’s context? One of the lowest comments I have seen in a while. Deserves to be quoted in Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms under the "sour grapes" entry. And to think that guy is calling out for someone else to apologize... For anyone else with the "calling out Wired was stupid" kind of post in the pipeline, please spare us. Or at least don’t sphinn it. Even if Danny issues a personal apology to everyone that gets that special "my hat is whiter than thou" feeling, it will not add any additional info to the general pool of knowledge. And BTW, editing other people’s comments is lame. Doing it to include your view on those same comments is super lame.

Avatar Administrator
from dannysullivan 2381 Days ago #
Votes: 0

FYI, I’ve posted a fresh standalone apology: An Apology To Wired & The Search Marketing Community. Also cross-linking in various related Sphinn threads.

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from AdamAudette 1836 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Didn’t mean to sphinn it in the first place. I was looking through my sphinn history and saw this one. Just doing some housecleaning.

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