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Dave Harry analyzes MSN’s offer (as they’re in the open market now offering SEO services), and found Rand Fishkin may be involved to some extent. What? Ohhhhhhhh boy!
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from dannysullivan 2417 Days ago #
Votes: 2

I can’t find it right now, but wasn’t there something about some firm getting a partnership with Microsoft to sell SEO packages that came up a few months ago? My assumption is that this is what it is?As for Rand, I’m sure he’ll come along and comment, but I doubt his firm is doing the actual SEO services described. Sounds more like he cut a nice promotional deal with Microsoft.

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from theGypsy 2417 Days ago #
Votes: 0

That’s why I figured personally, but what do I know? As for Rand, as I said it’s mostly tongue in cheek and congrats either way, I do though have some uneasyness with search engines playing in the space. That is really the larger discussion at hand.

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from jeffquipp 2417 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Do you recall who it was Danny? I do know Microsoft has internal SEOs too.

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from dannysullivan 2417 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Found it. The Search Agency. Came up here: Microsoft Joins Google in Offering SEO Services, Is This Ethical?And see here:http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/officelive/FX102411201033.aspxNot sure how it compares to what was found today. Don’t have time to look more closely at the moment.

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from qwerty 2417 Days ago #
Votes: 2

Isn’t it odd that Microsoft would be offering this service, as opposed to the other SEs? I mean, what kind of inside information do we need to rank on MSN? Put the keyword on the page... done.And shame on them for using the phrase "alt tags".

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from jeffquipp 2417 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Thanks Danny! Wow! I tend to agree with both Loren and Dave ... the conflict of interest aspect is very troubling. It would seem to be a very slippery slope.

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from jeffquipp 2417 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Bob ... isn’t it ironic that Google will inevitably have to be the main target of their actions?

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from mikemurray 2416 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Heck, if I were MSN, I’d charge even more money considering customers will benefit from the inside scoop. Maybe they’ll offer a special - "if our efforts don’t help you rank on MSN but boost your Google rankings, we’ll give you a rebat." If a company like MSN doesn’t make enough money in one area, it goes somewhere else like SEO. Maybe they’ll invest their profits into a better search engine or find a way to get more searchers to use it. Have to run to check out the latest "SEO service offerings" at Circuit City. Or was that Bob Evans?

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from tonyp 2416 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Google has recommended SEO providers.  MSN is now apparently selling  SEO services.  What’s next, Wal Mart selling SEO!  Yes, Sam’s plans to sell local search SEO services.  Everyone in the industry better look for a different job. :)

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from theGypsy 2416 Days ago #
Votes: 0

While I was writing the post Jeff and Idid talkabout Sams.. and that is a tad different, they don’t own a search engine. I would be VERY interested in some of these reports myself, escpecially the factors I mentioned in the post. The access to this type of business inelligence can be huge..... and will they be inline with Google’s stance on links? I would LOVE to hear their link building ’suggestions’.. @ Danny, thanks for the links, I have added them to he post :0)

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from randfish 2416 Days ago #
Votes: 1

I have some NDAs that might impact what I can say about this, but I can say with some certainty that my last name is "Fishkin," not "Fiskin." :-)

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from squishee 2416 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Step 1: Find a story to submit to Sphinn.Step 2. Mention "Rand" or "Rand Fishkin" in the title.Step 3. Front page, baby!

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from toddmintz 2416 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Perhaps if someone purchses this package from Microsoft and delves into the SEOmoz premium library to learn more about SEO, they’ll realize that they spent a lot of money for minimal value. 

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from jeffquipp 2416 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Ooooops. Sorry bout that. Corrected now. Maybe had you signed the NDA as Fiskin, you could’ve talked about it with us all.  :)

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from theGypsy 2416 Days ago #
Votes: 0

@ Rand -- lol.... funny guy  - can I quote you on that? Gabs wrote me up as ’Dave Harris’ the other day, I feel ya!.... I must be memorable huh?I guess you aren’t really in the position to comment on the ramifications of Engines selling services to manipulate... er.... I mean suggestions to rank well? Rock and a hard place huh? Well, congrats none-the-less :0)@ Squishee - don’t you know how to dominate Sphinn?

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from dharmesh 2416 Days ago #
Votes: 0

This may be the few times in recent memory that Rand was unable to talk about something.Although it’s unfortunate that we will not have our curiosity satisfied, we all know that if Rand could talk about it, he would.

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from randfish 2416 Days ago #
Votes: 0

So - there is something I can say about it, which is this:Microsoft is, obviously, a mammoth company. The group offering these services is the Microsoft Partner Program, which does not interact directly or indirectly with MSN/Live Search. Everyone reading this thread probably has a closer connection to Matt Cutts & the Google Search Team than anyone at Microsoft Partner has with the folks running the Live search product.BTW - Danny & Michelle - I note the ampersand character still displays incorrectly in the comments :) And whatever happened to the "desphinn" button? I must have missed that conversation, because I could have sworn it launched at some point...

Avatar Administrator
from dannysullivan 2416 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Yeah, you get bad characters if you copy and paste. See: & & &. Those are OK. We’re aware of it but haven’t got a fix yet.Desphinn should go live later this wek. Not up yet.Partner Program info is here:https://partner.microsoft.com/40009570After skimming it, I can’t say I can tell much about what the heck it is, who is getting that particular pitch or what.Rand, irregardless of people having a closer connection outside of a search engine, there are obvious concerns many have that search engines should no more be selling SEO services than a newspaper should be offering PR services to improve reaching its reporters on the side.Microsoft actually has been in that type of space to some degree since the days of Submit It. But I think the aQuantive deal notched it way up and still doesn’t sit right with me. Similarly, if Google doesn’t divest itself of Performics like nearly instantly if it does get to acquire DoubleClick, it’s going to have this huge conflict sitting over the search term. I don’t care if they’re in separate rooms, separate states, whatever. It just doesn’t sit right.I don’t see that you need to step up and talk about the partner program’s relation with Live Search at all, if this is what it appears to be, SEOmoz getting a nice deal for people to get a discount off your membership. Heck, we have that same agreement for those who buy SMX tickets. And plenty of SEMs may get deals with Google to give clients or others credit toward PPC. That’s a marketing swap.It’s an entirely other thing if SEOmoz is somehow performing SEO services for others through a Microsoft program. It still isn’t something you’d have to defend, in my view -- hey, you got a nice pipeline of traffic. Instead, it’s something that Microsoft would have to step up to justify.My impression remains you’ve got a straight-forward comarketing agreement, that you’re not doing some actual SEO work, and whatever NDA might be out there, it seems weird you couldnt’ confirm what from the public info seems to be the case.

Avatar Administrator
from dannysullivan 2416 Days ago #
Votes: 3

Heh -- those darn ampersands don’t work even if you do type them in. I have a work around. Use the word AND until we fix it :)

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from Burgo 2416 Days ago #
Votes: 0

"See: & & &. Those are OK."Heh. Hilarious!

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from theGypsy 2416 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Once more I am certainly more concerned about the implications here than I am with you in any way (Rand)… helluva a sweet deal really. I just have keep running this around my head space because the long term ramifications are troubling.What happens when all of the Engines all start to play in the space? You are certainly old enough to know the adversarial relationship there has been, and now all is well – SEO is ok?… ( or the WAY TO GO if you read the sales copy – instead of AdSense they forgot to put in).How does this affect the objectivity and trust in the organic SERPs? What does this mean to the next generation of SEOs? I can see a landscape in 5 years where only the big firms survive if the SEs go full on offering ‘advice’ on how to rank your site. Will MSN offer a varied link popularity program? (love the wording…)What will it look like? Google friendly? (can’t even barter for links anymore right?)Will they use actual search traffic data in research? Must be nice….Are they essentially selling organic rankings? I am surprised you don’t actually have some better answers. You must have known this would raise an eyebrow or two. It finally hits the light of day and we peek from behind an NDA? Where’s the media savvy? No ‘Sphinn’? Man, that’s just disappointing (tee hee)…Well, I suppose I shall keep running synapse laps until I can grip what it is that is chafing me so… thanks for at least dropping in Rand… :0)

Avatar Moderator
from toddmintz 2416 Days ago #
Votes: 2

To clarify a previous comment,<i>Perhaps if someone purchses this package from Microsoft and delves into the SEOmoz premium library to learn more about SEO, they’ll realize that they spent a lot of money for minimal value.  </i>"Minimal value" refers to the Microsoft offering, not the SEOmoz offering.  The target of my intended comment might not have been crystal clear to all.

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from AntC 2415 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Good comments all. Well done on the article for sparking  great interaction. My take: Having taken a fairly detailed look at the programme, the package seems to offer little real value. For this very reason, from an implication perspective (i.e. Paid placement, Rand’s involvement or other search engines) I dont think it poses much threat. Anyway, the search engines own their space, so as long as its legal, they can do what they like. We (the engines and us) are all in the game of marketing to searchers in some way or another - we do this on their turf. Therefore, the us and them scenario doesnt hold much weight with me. Here are my thoughts:Firstly, its a package, not a solution. There is no strategy behind it, just data (search volumes), quality assurance (checking that the criteria matches up), and perhaps a little expert advice (from who? - I would like to see their CV’s). As you all know, there a lot of variables that need to be correctly aligned for an SEO strategy to work. Next, who implements the tactics (the copy, link building efforts). Not Microsoft - do they have link builders? The customer does. The service presumes the customer has the time and skill at hand to implement the tactics. If they dont, then they could still find themselves outsourcing to an SEO company on top of the MS service. This could get expensive - and impinge heavily on ROI. At the end of the day, throwing more budget at PPC might be the better option in terms of cost per acquisition. Next, what about conversion optimisation? Obviously, the "search engine friendliness" tools are not gunna help too much with conversion tactics. Does Microsoft have a team of specialist copywriters, usability experts, and web designs that are help you increase your sales, enquiries, brand interactivity, exposure etc. Perhaps you getting the traffic, now what?Next, accountable and personalised service. Who’s watching your campaign and watching trends in your industry - and offering you proactive advice for approaching opportunities and looming threats. Who are you dealing with, whose answering your questions, who is taking the time to understand your business? I could go on. But what we have here is a partial solution. If you understand SEO, and you feel the tools are a valuable addition to sharpening your campaigns (using MS data, haha) then perhaps you can find some way of justifing the expensive. As a player in the SEO industry, with their big brand, they will sweep up some of the average Joe’s. But i dont feel the lifespan of any serious customers can be that long here. They will have to realise that without a holistic SEO strategy in place, and some work-smart experience, they  aint getting maximum ROI.

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from Phil 2415 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Right on AntC, they’re a software company essentially, not an SEO firm, they should not lure people into false promise of fortune, but then when did Microsoft really need to care about our (consumers) well being?

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