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.Posted on: 9th June 2007, by : Rob Watts