Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Small Rant

I got such a kick from reading this email from Paul Myers of that I asked if I could use it here on my blog. Paul has been in internet marketing and writing about internet marketing for some 15 years so one might say he has been around the block more than once. For more straight talk about the internet visit the link and sign up. You won't be disapointed.

I can't remember when I first learned of Paul and his work ethic but I can tell you it has been many moons ago. Hope you get as big a kick out of reading this as I did. Oh! and by the way, for those of you that this fits, shame on you!!!
Spam Cartoon

"There has always been a strong undercurrent of conflict among people who want to use the net to sell stuff. Basically, it comes down to the spammers versus everyone else.

In the old days, that was an easy line to draw. Spam was a term used mostly to refer to unsolicited bulk email and off topic commercial Usenet posts. Many of the people engaged in this
sort of behavior back then were simply naive. 
The medium was new enough that they didn't understand the long-term impact their actions would have.

These days, we're dealing with a whole different kind of 

Harking back to the Auld Daze, we're now seeing a resurgence of
the whackamole spammer. The sleazeball who scrapes or buys or
steals a list of email addresses and pounds them with stuff
they never asked for, and just moves to another host when they
get shut down.

This problem went away for a while. The easy availability of
anonymous proxies, ultra-cheap hosting, careless email service
providers, and pre-paid debit cards made the reincarnation
possible. The rise of new affiliate networks that cater to the
"Internet marketing" crowd made it inevitable.

Add to it the Chinese and Russian networks that sell credit
card and Paypal account data in bulk, and the online banks that
make creating fraudulent accounts a matter of a few minutes and
a few mouse clicks, and it's become big business.

The point?

If they have to use any of those mechanisms to get access to
send their email, there is no way they can expect anyone to
believe they think they're doing something legit. They're
thieving spambags, and they know it.

If you're not one of these people, you're one of their 

If you are one of these people and you feel insulted by what I
just said... Too bad.

Then there are the people who feed the beast.

If you've ever run a blog or a forum and had to deal with
spammers, you know the destructive influence they have. Or if
you've ever tried to find something in a search engine and been
swamped by results that have almost no relevance, but are there
because the sites' owners paid some "search engine optimizer"
to rank them for some unrelated (or spammy) term.

This is where it gets sticky.

Have you ever paid some SEO firm to blast your links? If so,
you're part of the problem.

Funny story...

I got sick of seeing the spam from one source on a forum I
participate in. Garbage posts, with the obvious goal of getting
the link love from their signature files. So, in addition to
banning the creeps, I started calling the companies linked in
the signatures and asking why they were spamming the forum.


One guy told me he didn't care, as long as it moved him up in
Google's rankings. Last I knew, he'd been gutted by a Panda.

The rest were appalled at the notion that their links were
coming as a result of some kid in Pakistan spamming business
discussion forums. That was nothing like what they had been
promised by the "Professional SEO Firms" they'd hired to move
them up the SERPS.

The owner of one of those "professional SEO firms" threatened
to sue me. When I asked what he intended to base his suit on,
he said "Slander!"

My reply: "I didn't even know you existed when I called the
guy. I asked HIM why HE was spamming the forum. How is HIS
response slander on my part?"


You may not be able to stop the human robots these folks use
for their "work," but costing them a few clients is an
excellent way to get them to leave your site alone.

You don't have to sit back and let these slime run rough-shod
over your work.

Take back your sites.

And watch your back.

One of the big fads to hit the "Magic Button" circuit lately is
actually an old concept: Solo ads. The idea is simple. You pay
someone to send an ad to their subscribers, usually to build
your own list.

Paid advertising. Wow. What a concept. As long as it's 
properly disclosed, there's nothing wrong with that, right?

Here's the thing: These ads are normally sold on a "per click"
basis. The seller usually gets anywhere from 20 cents to a
dollar a click, depending on the niche and the list. (It can
vary wildly, but those are not unusual prices.)

So, some geniuses decide they're going to cash in. They offer
clicks in large volumes at cut-rate prices, and sell tons of
orders. They claim to have massive lists of targeted
subscribers who've asked to receive their emails. To make it
sound legit, they claim they'll only accept a limited number of
orders each week, as they don't want to burn out their
"valuable subscribers" with too many offers.

Sorry, folks, but these guys will take every order they can
get, for as long as someone is willing to play the sucker.

Problem: The clicks aren't really clicks, and they're not from
emails sent to real people who actually subscribed to the lists
the sellers claim. They're exposures on traffic exchanges or
PPV networks. If it costs them a penny a click, it's a lot.

You end up paying gourmet prices for dog food traffic. And it's
not even good dog food.

"Would you like flies with that?"

There are tons of ways these pukes abuse marketing systems. And
all of them make life harder on legitimate businesses.

They spam YouTube with "spun" videos, uploading hundreds of
copies of the same video, with slight changes. Or they download
your videos and add their own tweaks, to steal the rankings and
traffic that you created real value to earn.

So, YouTube has to tighten up their policies, and they delete
thousands of accounts. Sometimes nailing legitimate creators in
the process.

I have friends who got seriously screwed by Google's Panda and
Penguin updates. Including a guy who was making a ton of money
from AdSense, and had been touted by Google themselves as a
great example of the right way to create an authority site.

Does that mean Google was wrong?

No. They're doing what they can to stop the SEO spammers, and
this isn't an exact science. There's no way to operate on any
scale much bigger than "small group" and not have some false

That's the gift the spammers give to you. Stricter sets of
rules, which end up clumping you in with the thieves and the
sleaze. And there are so many people in these systems that it's
impossible to keep them running without tightening things up so
much that some innocent people get caught in the nets.

The scary thing is, the real spammers adjust, and they're back
in the game in no time. But legitimate businesses don't know
how to adapt to these things, so they get hurt bad.

And there is no-one to blame but the spambags.

Here's a fairly recent example, with a prediction.

Facebook recently started offering a service that allows you to
upload a list of email addresses of subscribers, and ask them
if they want to also follow you on their site.

Brilliant idea, really. Used properly, it's a great way to make
things more convenient for you and your subscribers. It lets
folks choose which channel is most useful for them.

I love the concept. Seriously.

Here's the rub... People are using this to invite folks who
aren't really subscribers at all. I've gotten dozens of these
over the past couple of weeks, and not one of them has been
from anyone I've even heard of in the past. The emails look
like this:

  Subject: Sum Beech is on Facebook

  Message: Hi Paul,

  Since you're already subscribed to their email updates off
  of Facebook, Sum Beech has suggested you like their Page to
  stay connected.

  If you like Sum Beech follow the link below:

Sorry, goys and birls, but this Sum Beech needs to get 

This is a brilliant, simple, useful option that is going to be
ruined in no time by dipwads who are more interested in gaming
the system than in actually doing something productive with
their lives.

This sort of abuse should be punishable by 20 years of 
following grizzly bears around with a pooper-scooper and an air
horn. All the while, they'd be wondering if what they were
cleaning up was the remnant of the last guy to serve the same

This would, happily or otherwise, give rise to the next viral
country dance craze...

"Toot. Scoop. Boogie!"

There are some technical options that could be useful. The one
I would personally like most to see would be a proxy blocklist,
which would let blog and forum operators keep out the majority
of the spambags. But that's just another part of the arms race.

The main point I'd like to make is simpler...

If you're doing this stuff, don't kid yourself, or try to kid
the rest of us. You're a leech, and you deserve to be burned
off the net like any other blood-sucking parasite.

If you're not doing this stuff, don't make excuses for the
folks who are. This isn't a "competitive edge." It's abuse.
These practices are inherently destructive, and should not be

The most fundamental basis for any civil society is respect for
the person and property of others.

Stand up for yourself.

Take back your sites!


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