To be honest I have not used the personal attack hook that much. Not because I didn’t feel like it, but because I think it’s a slippery style of linkbait and one which can backfire easily, as we can see here with Marty and his shenanigans.

But hey, it got me to link. And if that was the point, then success. Of course there is a cost and that cost may not be instantly quantifiable. The cost must always be considered when indulging in controversial linkbait. Obviously for me it affects how I view the seomoz brand, calling what I do “outright fraud” is a little rich from a blog advocating sock puppet marketing.

I have learned, people do not need to like you or even agree with you to link to you. If you have an opinion there is always going to be someone with a different opinion. But, when you get personal as Marty as done here and I have done in the past, it transcends to a new level.

I am not moralising on the issue, people make their own decisions according to their own moral code and what they think Google will let them get away with.

Before you crank up the slagbait machine, do remember there are real people out there and that nuance and irony are sometimes difficult to communicate over a blog.

15 thoughts on “Slagbait”

  1. “Not everything is bait.” this statement is true.

    But, in my opinion the post referred to stunk so much of bait even the skunks wouldn’t go near it. I call it how I see it.

    And I see bait.

    Of course in the context of being linkbait it is actually very good, problem is, there is a cost to this kind of post. Now if you don’t mind paying the cost, and some people don’t, all fine and dandy. But nevertheless, as I am telling my linkbaiting students, sometimes the price is too high to pay and should be seen in the overall context of business objectives.

  2. I’m don’t consider seomoz “a blog advocating sock puppet marketing.”

    I might say that they are advocating an SEM community dialogue on the subject of sock puppet marketing . . . my question is: would the post be bait worthy if the personal attacks were not included?

    I think the topic of avatar use or “sock puppet marketing” is a good one on it’s own. And it would be nice to see some sort of real dialogue on that . . . sans bashing.

  3. I disagree, I think the blog post is advocating sock puppet marketing. But, it may be down to a matter of interpretation and it is how I interpret it.

    I think if the personal attacks had been left out it still would have been interesting to link to as allegedly Matt Cutts was quoted out of context, or misquoted.

    But apart from that it mostly contains air, nothing new. Yeah some companies use fake accounts, is that really worth having a conversation about? Surely it’s all been said already. Nothing really new here.

    I guess if avatar optimisation is what you want to hear about then yeah, it’s a great conversation to have.

  4. Yes, the blog POST was advocating, but the blog (seomoz) is just the provider of a discussion channel. The interesting part to me is the ethical/moral issues surrounding the use of avatars. I don’t partake in this tactic, but I can certainly see where it could be useful in combating negative and inaccurate information distributed by a “real” person.
    People are more likely to comment on something they don’t like than something they do like, so without the “do likers” there to combat the “don’t likers” avatar based firefighting is used. I’m stuck in the middle as to my opinion whether it’s good or bad because I know there is sooo much room for abuse.

  5. I guess that’s a shot at me since I’m the one that used the word “community” . . . sorry, I haven’t been active in this “environment” long enough to participate in petty interactions. Was just trying to create a dialogue on a topic that I don’t know much about. There’s a last time for everything, I suppose.

  6. @webprofessor, I don’t think there is such a thing as the “seo community”, but rather many communities which revolve around certain web properties. It benefits certain people to propagate the myth that we are all in this together as some hippy trippy family. When in reality, you are getting stabbed in the back.

    @Liam, I think if the “outright fraud” was aimed at me it would be a legal issue, but it was aimed at a blog post I wrote and so becomes ambiguous over its legality. I wouldn’t hesitate to take legal action though if I thought it was libelous.

    @Marty, of course this post is bait. But that’s oversimplifying what it is, it actually serves many purposes. Of which I have outlined to my students at linkbait coaching, it’s a text book case of what can happen when the attack hook goes wrong. Although you claim that it wasn’t really an attack and that it was in some way satire, I personally don’t believe that and I think your goal was more of causing havoc as I fail to see any business strategy behind what you did.

    I think you more than most understand how barbed words can be and how much damage they can cause, which is why I find your apology hollow.

    It also leads me not to trust anything you say and so when you say you link to me using the anchor text, “outright fraud”, I just smell bullshit. And the smell is really strong.

  7. Where is this stuff going to end? The feeding frenzy for links at any price is driving the net in the wrong direction. Everything that comes out is a linking opportunity to be exploited.

    Email has been abused to the edge of destruction, is the web next? Is it really just going to turn into one giant talentless X Factor show?



  8. Link baiting is actually an art of writing and is highly dependent on the quality of the contents itself. Always think from a visitor’s perspective, you may find a piece of news very informative, or a piece of joke that is very funny, but what makes you put a link to it on your website / blog? More specifically, the link must NOT be a no-follow one. A perfect link bait can become a good landing page for your web site, eventually draw visitors to other pages as well, it may not be necessary to have every posts to be outstanding in your blog, just have one once in a while will be good enough.

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