Dear Neal Stone, Executive Vice President of Natural Listings:
Today you sent me an email:
Dear Website Owner,
If I could get you five times the RELEVANT traffic at a substantially reduced cost would you be interested? National Positions can place your website on top of the Natural Listings on Google, Yahoo and MSN. Our Search Engine Optimization team delivers more top rankings than anyone else and we can prove it. We do not use “link farms” or “black hat” methods that Google and the other search engines frown upon and can use to de-list or ban your site. The techniques are proprietary, involving some valuable closely held trade secrets. Our prices are less than half of what other companies charge.
I would be happy to send you a proposal using the top search phrases for your area of expertise. Please contact me at your convenience so I can start saving you some money. Please do not hesitate to email or call me if you would like further information.
Executive Vice President
26500 W. Agoura Road
Calabasas, California 91302
Phone – 866-669-8789 x106
Toll Free – 866.446.2885
Profitable Internet Marketing
Now, this might come across as a bit cruel, but I think what I have to say is for the best to the Web community in general, and I hope you are able to take my words as constructive criticism and change your evil ways. It seems you may have been at the SEO game for a while now, but the search engines which you know intimately, only seem to highlight reports of your spamming, Neal Stone (a spammer).
I believe Search Engine Optimization is a necessary job, and I agree that we need experts to help out. It’s people like you, however, that give SEO a bad name. Here’s a short list of some of the things you are doing wrong.
- It’s odd that an Executive Vice president would email me out of the blue. It almost makes me think you’re running your operation by yourself out of the spare bedroom.
- An SEO company should not have to spam the whois database to find clientèle. Kinda ironic, don’t you think? The Google webmaster guidelines specifically say not to pay attention to your brand of cold calls.
- You say you don’t use link farms, yet a vast amount of links to your own site are from link exchanges or your own clients. Again, the Google guidelines are clear that a site should never have to link to an SEO. Seriously, how can you say you don’t encourage link farms with your email address listed as email@example.com [<-Spambots, engage!]
- There’s no such thing as proprietary SEO strategies. The proven methods are published by the search engines themselves; everything else is a gimmick that may work for a short time, but in the long run will get your site penalized or delisted.
- Your own website is a travesty SEO-wise. The HTML does not validate. You don’t even have an <html> tag! You have antiquated, table-based layout. The page is over 4MB in size from 35 requests. Your CSS has pointless, semantically irrelevant names because you barfed it out with Dreamweaver. Are you the only site stuck in 1997? No, but I’m pointing out these problems because there’s no way I could ever view you as an SEO expert with a site like that.
- Comment Spam. Really?
So, either get legit, or at least be honest with your scummy practices and go blackhat. In the meantime, good luck promoting your work in the search engines. Your reputation is as clean as the bathroom floor after a frat party.
John Herren, Website Owner
[UPDATE] It just gets better. Neal emails me again just two days later for the same domain, this time using firstname.lastname@example.org as his email address. And yeah, I did send him a link to this post as soon as it was up.