andy beard

Controversy marketing – why it works and why you should consider it

Every now and then I see a flurry of activity around certain individuals, usually on the back of something apparently wrong or outrageous.

Shoemoney, a   big fish in a little pond whilst debating with a guy named Randfish, another big fish in a little pond caused Andy Beard, yep, you got it, another big fish in a little pond to react and address the issue as he saw it.  I think Andy has been reading a few linkbaiting articles lately as the headline is a classic “Blogging Full Disclosure Debacle – Grow Some Brass Ones” now if someone is talking about you in such a way its very difficult not to react. In fact both did, Rand commented on Andy’s Blog and Shoe blogged  on it. The other thing too is that it stirred all of these people to chime in and give an opinion or two. David Naylor Twenty Steps Hamlet Batista Search Anyway Online Business Blog BlackBeard SEO CPA Affiliates Frank Watson  Dave Taylor  Shawn Collins 

People say controversial things all of the time for a variety of reasons. Some do it because they just haven’t really thought things through, others do it because they are a little bit thick and don’t realise what they are really saying and some do it because they know it’ll have the desired effect of stirring things up and gaining a little attention.

Doug Heil used to do it all of the time. He’d start threads in his SEO forum that attacked a well known face in the crowd. He’d call them a spammer or a cheater. He’d pour scorn on sites that he considered to be spamming and call them out it. He was a classic example of a controversy marketer in action. Others have used less charitable words, but the point is for a time it worked. For a time it did actually pull people into his site and they reacted to what he said. His telling like he saw it, however controversial got people talking about him.

John Chow and his recent aim at monetising his blog commenters by charging to de-nofollow commenters links, got some a little hot under the collar, various peoplein the blogosphere questioned what he was doing. What he was doing was considered to be very controversial and got people talking about him, in fact according to Y! site explorer its encouraged thus far 108 separate new inwardlinks. Whilst he may have caused some short term consternation with his readers and conversationalists, the reality is that his blog has attracted a little more love in the form of links.

Jason Calacanis is another, he had a platform at a search engine watch conference and said that SEO is Bullsh!t he subsequently blogged on it too and said that 90% of the SEO market is made up of snake oil salesman he stirred lots of discussion as result, with the likes of Danny Sullivan calling him out on it in lengthy terms. A little look again via Y! site explorer shows his post attracted 461 separate links now 462. 

We can’t all do it of course, some of us just aren’t built that way. Most of us tend to operate within the confines of safe social discourse. We don’t have the bulls or the energy or the stupidity in some cases to run around alienating groups of people or individuals. Reputations whilst often hard fought, can so easily be undone. Hell, some people  trade very nicely on being an ass, but if you are gonna be an arse, then it seems you’d better be a 1st rate one, else you’ll be sure to see your metrics plummet as people go off of your boil and see you for the arse that you truly are.

Anyways, the good news from all this stiff is that Ive now got my own disclosure policy too, so besides being the inspiration for this post I guess I should also be thanking Andy, Rand and Shoe for that too. Thanks guys.

Want success on the web? Work hard, say something

Then the answer is simple. Work damn hard, have something to say.

I watched a video the other day from some guy in New York going by the name of Loren Feldman. I can’t find the link or recall where I saw it, but in a nutshell, Loren was talking about (in his own inimitable style) how this whole A list blogging thing is by and large bullshit. Bullsit in the sense of it really isn’y some mythical hard to attain thing. A-listers dont just happen overnight, they are not annointed to the A-list by the A-list illuminati, uh uh, no siree, they all get there through the same tried and tested route that applies to practically any other area of this thing called life and success relative to it. Hard work and having something to say.

I was looking at the work rate of various people I happen to read. Some, like Matt have slacked off a little, perhaps he isn’t hungry anymore, or perhaps he’s just a different case altogether. Matt worked hard long before he was a blogger. Matt was known amongst all manner of circles and could be seen hovering haunts like WMW whereby he’d rebutt inconstistenies or create the odd new one or two ;). By the time he started to blog though, he was already pretty well known amongst the tech community. The Googleguyilites and the Cuttlets were more or less a pretty instant readerbase. Matt didn’t have to work too hard at soldifying his position within it, yet still has to pump out the odd gem or two. Armed with access to an algo that hold the keys to web success, most people read what Matt says with a very keen eye. Poor guy really, he not only has to watch what he says, he also has to watch what he doesn’t say too!Anyways, Matt is one example of someone who worked hard in one dept and built a blogging success based upon past endeavours.

Nick Wilson is another. For those who don’t know he is the chap who created threadwatch. I remember reading Nick over at WMW and then subsequently at various other places like SEW, HR, even IHY and recall thinking on occassions, fuck, this geezer is everywhere, where does he get the energy. Then boom along came Threadwatch. Post after post after post of bang on the money commentary and insight into issues of the day that affected or influenced the world and the spaces I inhabited. It didn’t take too long before Nick had built up a nice little readership and community, that attacted all manner of people from all manner of spaces. Nick worked hard and reaped the rewards and went on to do similar things with Performancing.

Jill Whalen bless, whilst no big star in the blogosphere has nonetheless worked phenomenally hard over at her High Rankings forum, abley assisted by a fine team of mods of course. The point is however that Jill lead it. Jill worked very hard night and day sharing her knowledge, building a user base, creating a community, that took the time to get in there and unravel some of the myths and crap that are out there regarding search engines and SEO.

Someone who Ive been particularly impressed with of late and man, I do wonder where he both finds the time energy and focus is Andy Beard.

Take this year thus far.

  • March 2007 (46)
  • February 2007 (59)
  • January 2007 (86)
  • Thats 191 articles.

    Not 191 have a look at this this interesting, or my top 5 links of the week/day type posts, oh no. Each and every one is full of well considered opinons with links to prop up a postion or statement.

    Andy creates useful readable content that actually adds value to the space. He does the work and shares the results with his readers and visitors and as a result has seen a steady increase in both his subscriptions and I don’t doubt his general regular readership. Add to that fact that Andy can be seen in all manner of other places interacting and participating in forums, blogs and what not and you begin to get some level of appreciation for how hard he works. With appreciation comes recognition, with recognition comes reward.

    Mark my words, if you wan’t to see what it takes to become an A lister than a look at the works of these 4 alone will give you some insight.

    There are 100’s of others I could have referenced here. They all have one thing in common, they all have something to say and they all work damn hard at saying it. There is no secret formula its the work damn hard at saying it thats the tough part.

    Work hard, say something.

    Comments,wordpress and cookies

    I’m always pleased to see or read initiatives that reduce blogspam, timewasters, me2’s and the like. Akismet is really good, so are captchas and other little things that make it just that little bit more difficult for people to shat on your blog.

    Andy has an excellent post on comments and deterring unwelcome commenters. Well, not quite that, its more about getting people to read your comments policy before they comment, but its interesting and damn useful nonetheless. WordPress specific, but well worth a look.

    Good work Andy!

    Handy Tools – LinkedIn Generator

    Andy  has created a handy little thing for the networkers amongst you the LinkedIn Fast generator

    Heres mine 🙂


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