An Outing Post: I’m Outing Myself – I’ve Done Crappy Marketing


Lately, it’s been an almost weekly occurrence for a blogger to out an SEO or marketing agency for supposedly doing things like buying links or buying Twitter followers.

Of course, these bloggers can’t prove anything. Their outing posts are filled with speculation and conjecture. The outing has no relevant point and adds little value to the marketing community.

But I don’t see this outing stopping any time soon because it’s such an easy way to create click-curiosity and drive pageviews.

Outers, let me save you the trouble

In the highly unlikely event I ever get some name recognition or do anything that would make me out-bait, I figure it might be wise to just go ahead and out myself now:


Here are the dirty details you outers love so much

When outing an SEO or marketer for something they may or may not have actually done, it’s the dirty details that drive the retweets. So outers, here are your dirty details:

  • One time I spent $1,975 on a full-page magazine ad that only generated 32 leads and 1 conversation to a sale
  • In 2011 I used the Facebook like button as a voting mechanism in a marketing campaign that got 6,350 likes but annoyed the crap out of 1,740,000 people
  • I have done both direct mail and email marketing in the 21st century
  • I tried to get people to talk about our brand by giving them free iPads
  • I have agreed to let my marketing budget be used to interrupt people with radio ads knowing we wouldn’t get a single lead or sale – and we didn’t
  • One time I let somebody convince me to buy banner ads because they would get ‘millions of impressions’
  • I think you get the idea, but if you need more real life examples of crappy marketing I’ve done that didn’t build trust and earn people’s business I’ll happily provide those to you.

    Final word to the outers

    As SEOs and marketers, we’ve all done it wrong, knowingly and unknowingly. But it doesn’t mean we aren’t working to get better, to grow, and to use marketing as a means to earn people’s attention and trust.

    Other than making enemies and alienating yourself, I’m not sure what you get from outing people. I just ask you to consider that there are far better ways to provide value and to get people to think differently about SEO and marketing.

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    • Buns

      After writing this article, now you should choke yourself ala Full Metal Jacket.

    • TL Affiliates

      I find that anyone who asks for money upfront, for ad placements or affiliate link placements, don’t make you any money. We’ve all had to learn the hard way way, though. Very entertaining post, thanks. I’ll look for you on G+.

      • David Cohen

        What I find very iron about this whole situation is that Google runs their own link buying scheme – AdSense. With AdSense they are promoting and endorsing the very thing they are de-indexing SEO agencies for doing. Hard to wrap my mind around this.

        • Anthony Kirlew

           @ David – I am not sure AdSense would qualify as a link buying scheme. They are buying ads, not links and these ads are not clicked as often as URL’s that attain top placement through actual link building (making links to valuable.)

          The AdWords links are typically not given much if any value as links and don’t help with the rankings. I look at AdSense as an affiliate program for Google Advertising.

          • Bryan Hart

            Google’s pay-to-play ads that are cropping up in their “relevance” searches and shopping seem to fit the bill. I think the more they try to leverage their position through ads, the more irrelevant their relevance search becomes.

            Reminds me of Seth Godin’s Permission Marketing book. Late 90′s but still applies. (“Interrupting them through radio”)

    • Matthew C. Egan

      I may have to do a blog response to this one lol.

      I’m with you, for sure, but in this case, the Josh Davis research that he did tracking these paid links back from the original offer, to the parent companies, to then the Fax # being the same as iAcquire’s.  It was actually a really entertaining read.

      I personally got a lot out of it, as I’ve never bought links, I had no idea what that process looked like, and his sharing all the e-mails exchanged, etc, it was a really cool read.

      • David Cohen

        When I hire somebody new for my team one of the first things I tell them is to never, ever, under any circumstances talk negatively about a competitor in any kind of public forum. Never write a blog directly criticizing a competitor, never talk bad about them to a potential client, and never use a competitor to make our product or brand look better.

        So coming from that mindset I look at the outing thing the same way. To me, it felt like the blogger who wrote the story about iAcquire had motives that went way beyond, “Hey, here’s something that’s not cool and here’s why it gives SEOs a bad name”.

        And I think he could have done it without even directly naming iAcquire. To my mind, these kind of posts can be just as destructive to SEO as bad SEO practices.

    • Sunita Biddu

      The sad part is, many still don’t make a difference between marketer and SEO. The combination is more fruitful than standalone.

      And this one is terrificI tried to get people to talk about our brand by giving them free iPads 

      • David Cohen

        You’re right, Sunita. SEO and marketing is a powerful force. I have seen SEO and marketing work together as a force for good when the intent is good.

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    • Tom – FIMS

      Very refreshing and honest, people should spend more time improving what they have to offer, than bad mouthing others

      • David Cohen

        Totally agree. I’m not a big fan of the popular phrase, ‘You’re doing it wrong.’ I think there’s a better way to communicate that there’s a better way. Thanks for stopping by and thanks for the comment.