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Lisa Barone returns from SMX with a question: "But at the same time, I couldn’t help but notice that this year’s Advanced show seemed to lean a whole lot more to the grey/black hat side of things. I couldn’t help but wonder: When did advanced search engine optimization get confused with being a black hat?"
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from MattMcGee 2146 Days ago #
Votes: 4

Oh, please Lisa. Out of 22 sessions, you seem to be picking on 1-2 of them. Out of ... what? 75 speakers? ... you’re calling out maybe 4-5? And then you write a headline and article that just nukes the whole conference? Give me a break.

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from 0thelisa 2146 Days ago #
Votes: 3

Easy there, Matt.  I had the luxury of being two places at once during the show thanks to us having two livebloggers in town and it was more than just a handful of sessions and a handful of speakers.  There were a good number of speakers whose presentations simly amazed me. If you don’t agree that the content was a bit darker than normal, than we drawn the line differently But I’d say Advaned was a bit of a departure from the norm, for better or worse. 

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from 0thelisa 2146 Days ago #
Votes: 4

Danny’s left a few comments on the BC blog about this. I’ll post a snippet here.The conference had content that was far more blackhat that I would have liked to have seen. It had content I was embarrassed to see presented, because it is not about the type of SEO I’d like people to learn or know about. I felt sorry that I oversaw a show that may have pushed things backwards rather than forwards.Matt, I really wasn’t trying to "nuke" anything. I’d like to think you know me a bit better than that. I was surprised very much by the content and opened a discussion.

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from MattMcGee 2146 Days ago #
Votes: 2

See, your comment above says "a bit darker than normal" but your headline screams "SMX Advanced Goes to the Dark Side." Which is it?I saw Danny’s comments when I read the article, but my point is the same: You’ve written an article that makes it sound like this was a black hat conference, which it most certainly wasn’t. The headline is absolutely sensationalist, in my opinion. Perhaps we draw the line differently on sensationalism. :-)

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from 0thelisa 2146 Days ago #
Votes: 3

I was using "a bit darker than normal" to be generous. I think the conference went pretty dark. I stand by the headline AND the content. :)

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from planetc1 2146 Days ago #
Votes: 5

I have to say that I liked what I heard at SMX Advanced, regardless of how one wants to color it. What I did appreciate was that there was balance in the days (Tuesday) discusions. It was like going to a trial and being presented two sides of a story.I have a site that has long been plagued by horridly long urls and even session ids. The presentation of "white hat" cloaking made sense... until I was reminded later in the day that there was a better way to fix a problem I was responsible for in the first place. That turns out to be a better long term plan imo.

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from ciaran 2146 Days ago #
Votes: 2

I wasn’t there so can’t comment on the topics covered; however I do feel that a bit of variety is not a bad thing at conferences - too many recently have been ’same old, same old’.Can’t say that I agree with everything Lisa says, but it’s certainly an interesting post.

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from TerryCox 2146 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I would agree with Lisa in that, at least on the SEO side, there were a couple sessions that were walking (if not pouncing over) a line.  Now, I think all the tactics that were presented should be done by someone, and the effects tested, as thats really the only way for our industry to determine how the algorithms work.  But I disagree that they should be presented to an audience so they can go out and practice them.  I’m most worried about the folks that attended the first couple of sessions, but didn’t stick around to here Matt state how high risk they were.  Some of the speakers, like Michael Gray, did make sure to point out when he would, and would not, use the tactics, and that the best place for some of it is with "throwaway" domains.  I think he conveyed that well.

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from glasshouses 2146 Days ago #
Votes: 8

how many people remember when Bruce Clay was running scraping scripts and pagejacking just like a blackhat link

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from Jill 2146 Days ago #
Votes: 2

how many people remember when Bruce Clay was running scraping scripts and pagejacking just like a blackhat linkI do, I do!Thank you for posting that link. I actually went looking for any record of this about a month ago, and couldn’t find a word anywhere. I gave silent kudos to Bruce for a job well done in erasing every trace of discussion. Guess this one got missed!

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from huimcgo 2146 Days ago #
Votes: 0

moderator note link removed for irrelevance - mg

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from randfish 2146 Days ago #
Votes: -2

I won’t touch on the hypocrisy of BC complaining about black hat content, but I will say that I find it really sad that you didn’t mention all the incredibly valuable advanced, white hat content that came out of the show. If you were shocked at the amount of black hat, which was small, but actually existed on stage for the first time, I’d say that’s fair. But you’ve framed it as though there was nothing else and that’s irresponsible.

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from 0thelisa 2146 Days ago #
Votes: 2

Funny, Rand, I thought I DID mention a lot of the great stuff that came out of the show. I didn’t frame the story to be sensational, I framed it to be honest and representative of my feelings and what I took away from the event. How can you say the amount of black hat content was small when you attended a total of three panels (if your blog post on the subject is accurate)?  If there’s anyone being irresponsible, it’s certainly not me. 

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from aimClear 2146 Days ago #
Votes: -1

@Jill: "how many people remember when Bruce Clay was running scraping scripts and pagejacking just like a blackhat link"L O Flippn’ L

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from Jill 2146 Days ago #
Votes: -1

That was actually @glasshouses who said that, Marty.

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from mvandemar 2146 Days ago #
Votes: 3

From Lisa’s post:Don’t get me wrong. There were a lot of great moments at SMX Advanced. The speakers, the venue, the friends, the networking, the desserts - they were all top notch. SMX Advanced is still one of the best shows around. The highlight for me was really the Developer Track. It was something I absolutely fell in love with.Rand’s characterization of her post:I will say that I find it really sad that you didn’t mention all the incredibly valuable advanced, white hat content that came out of the show. If you were shocked at the amount of black hat, which was small, but actually existed on stage for the first time, I’d say that’s fair. But you’ve framed it as though there was nothing else and that’s irresponsible.So Rand, either you didn’t even read her blog post, which is flagrant irresponsibility if you plan on commenting, or you did read it, and are "framing" what she said in order to have more of an impact, which is asinine. Which would you say more closely describes your comment, Rand?

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from randfish 2146 Days ago #
Votes: -1

Michael - I think you have to agree that clearly the post is intended, through the headline and the content, to focus on the black hat issues. There may be caveats, but the post still frames the issue as being the overwhelming takeaway. I know you like to be tough on me, but I think on this one, you’re stretching for the criticism (and besides, we have so many mutual friends and shared opinions, we really need to bury the hatchet and move on at some point, right?).And Lisa - if you’re suggesting that there was a lot of black hat content in the business track, the paid track, or the international, recession or analytics sessions, I missed it. This leaves a total of what, 4 sessions out of 22 that you’re cherry picking, and even on those, I talked to plenty of people who attended and all said that the only real black hat stuff was in the link building and give it up sessions. You yourself are relying on what was said by other BC folks, so I think it’s only fair that I can use information from other mozzers and attendees.

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from mvandemar 2146 Days ago #
Votes: 6

Rand, yes her post focused on the black hat issues. It’s what her post was about. Her exact statement: But at the same time, I couldn’t help but notice that this year’s Advanced show seemed to lean a whole lot more to the grey/black hat side of things.You take an article like that, with clear statements like "seemed to lean a whole lot more", an article which does clearly praise the overall show, and then make the completely false assertion she spun it to make it seem like the entire show was black hat and did nothing but slam it. She simply did not do that. You try and set yourself up as a master of reputation management, so there’s no way anyone is going to believe that you did that on accident, either, and in this case since it isn’t factual it must be you being dishonest (instead of simply being a matter of you not reading the article thoroughly).I’ve seen this behavior from you in the past, multiple times. There is no hatchet to bury... quit repeating this behavior and I won’t be able to criticize you for it anymore. It’s not that complicated.

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from seanmag 2145 Days ago #
Votes: 2

As many know, I’m a great supporter of all things SEOmoz, however I have to ardently agree with and support the comments of Lisa and Michael on this one.  Lisa "framed" her presentation with a very strong and positive disclaimer for the show, the speakers, etc.  What she decided would be the focus of her article was that which she found OUT OF THE ORDINARY, which is what most keen journalists will do.Even Danny Sullivan had the candor to state that the show was far more blackhat than he woudl have liked to have seen.That said, Rand - your DeSphinn comment, your comments here, and your additional commentary on the SEOmoz blog, come across like this.

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from g1smd 2145 Days ago #
Votes: 5

Before this turns into a Bruce Clay vs. SEOmoz crapfest, I’d like to say that whatever Bruce was doing, what, seven years ago, most likely bears little relationship with what he does now. He talks a lot of sense these days. Six or seven years ago I held a different opinion about some of his tactics. <div><div></div><div>I’d think that most people active on the web before the turn of the century engaged in things which today would get their sites noticed for all the wrong reasons. Back then, the web was much younger and things were evolving. There was a lot of experimentation, and a lot of naivety among search engines as to how their system might be gamed. Even Google has had a few periods of such naivety.</div><div></div><div></div><div>That said, the article seemed quite balanced: "on the whole a great show, but a bit too dark in some areas", and picked out for further discussion the main points of why she thought that way. That’s Lisa’s opinion, and you can’t take that away from her. </div><div></div><div></div><div>Danny and others plan the session topics, rely on people volunteering as speakers for those topics, and then try to guide the content for those sessions. As such, they are in control, but, on the day, there is no knowing exactly what may come out of a speakers mouth during the session.  Two or three minutes of banter, a wrongly aimed comment, or a weird question from the floor could make or break a session. The session moderator is crucial at that time, to guide the audience on the reliability and accuracy of things said ("don’t try this one at home folks" can work wonders), and to steer conversion in the right direction.</div><div></div><div></div><div>Kudos to Danny for admitting some sessions were not quite going in the direction that he wanted. Choice of speaker plays a part in that, but if no-one else steps up to present the alternative viewpoint, then the alternative viewpoint probably doesn’t get presented.</div><div></div><div></div><div>As for Rand’s comments; SEOmoz does a fantastic job, but Danny is a grown lad, and doesn’t need his ass covered or his battles fought for him. I know that Rand and Danny do a certain amount of business together, but sometimes it just doesn’t seem to quite sit right when Rand pops up and lays into people that were making, I think genuine, reviews of what they saw and heard.  </div><div></div><div></div><div>But that’s not to take away from your comments, Rand, as maybe because you’re obsessional with SEOmoz and everything that surrounds it. I can’t really blame you for that I suppose. </div><div></div></div>

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from demib 2145 Days ago #
Votes: 3

Unfortunately I could not join the SMX show in Seattle this year but I am surprised to see how black and white some people still think. Wake up folks - the world is not black and white and SEO is certainly not!To me there has always just been two kinds of SEO: What works and what dosn’t work. Case by case!The funny idea some "white hats" have, that NOT knowing things are better that knowing them. Oh yeah, skills are bad - hide, don’t learn, don’t understand and you’ll be a great SEO. Sorry, but I can’t help but laugh :)For years we had a (very well attended!) cloaking session at SES. Truely black hat (if you want to stay in those terms). I did not hear half the complains I hear now from Seattle. What has happend? Are the inner circles of our business turning into whining little girls?Wake up - this is marketing, this is business. What works works. Off course you have to consider long term effects of what you do - you always have to, but you also want results rather than "seo religious" discussions.

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from g1smd 2145 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Good to see Rand and Lisa sorting out their differences..  Permalink

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from Jill 2145 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Awwww group hug....

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from Harith 2144 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I admire your courage and strength, Lisa Barone.Power to you.

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from Purposeinc 2144 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Facinating to watch the debate. Please hand me some popcorn. :)

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from charlieanzman 2144 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Gotta hand it to Lisa for sticking to her guns.  Unreal thread.

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from Jehochman 2144 Days ago #
Votes: 1

I think it’s great that black hat strategies were exposed.  It was fun to sit behind Matt Cutts as he furiously typed notes.  No doubt this will make the search experience better for users.Did any of you notice that the session was called "Give it up"?  SEOs giving up their black hat secrets is good, not bad.  The Trapezoidal Linking Matriflux was awesome...

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from stephan 2143 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Also remember that just because it appears in the Powerpoint deck doesn’t mean the speaker uses the tactic. I discussed tactics that I don’t use as well as those that I do, and I imagine other speakers did the same. It’s my opinion that at an advanced conference, it’s good to educate folks on stuff they don’t often come across and/or aren’t aware of, regardless of the hat color. Whether you use the tactic or simply look for that tactic in your competitors is up to your risk tolerance and common sense. For example, it’s white hat common sense to attend a great conference that also gives attendees a link. It’s grey/black to register for the conference and not attend, simply to get the link. I’ve never done the latter, and I hope you won’t either. And if you do intend to do the latter, realize that the two conferences that I mentioned in my presentation, I have given them both a heads-up that they may (but hopefully not) get an influx of black hatters registering. So you may see those two venues switch to nofollowed links if it gets abused.

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from nickgarner 2131 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Having been there and distilled this for a bit, I feel that those in the know, feel the BigG is getting stronger and stronger and the real opportunities for sustainably profitable black hat are diminishing. When you get speakers who know black hat stunts get applause, mixed in with that sense of helplessness you get from knowing the game is up, you get a lot of noise (with little real intent)The fact is that gaming Google is harder now then ever and unfortuately you have to tow the line to a reasonable extent. For my own part, whilst people think Rand at semoz might be too complain to Google, sadly I feel in the long term he’s right. My only solice is that I know paid for links work and so for my day job, I’ll be spending on online PR / clever link buying to support the excellent content we put out. 

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from MattMcGee 1745 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Desphinning for the overly sensational headline and content. See my comment for explanation.

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from evilgreenmonkey 1745 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I agree with Matt. Although I’m quite close to the situation, I still think this story is extreme and out of kilt with the general consensus.

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from randfish 1745 Days ago #
Votes: 0

This is a ludicrous way to present what was all in all a very balanced show. This is pure "framing" for the purpose of sensationalizing - very frustrating.

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from squishee 1745 Days ago #
Votes: 0

blah blah blah bruce clay blah blah blah rand fishkin blah blah blah

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from janecopland 1745 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Desphunn for the hype and the comments about this topic, which have reached elementary school playground levels.

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