The Doug Heil Movement

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    “I was looking at the black and white world…” Elvis Costello

    I don’t know too much about Doug other than from his frequently critical blog comments where he shares his own fervent white hat evangelism. I think many in the SEO Community, especially the newer members, dismiss Doug out of hand…those that have been around long enough to remember when he was one of the better known people in the industry are more likely to pay attention and acknowledge his ideas without taking his criticisms too much to heart.

    However, as I read his latest blog comments relating to the SEO Advanced “Give It Up” session, I had this idea that his positioning and branding via criticism and negativity might actually be pretty good advertising for his business.

    Let me explain…

    We all know that many people look at the world through a black and white prism. These folks look at situation and see either good or bad; right or wrong; legal or illegal, sinful or not, with no middle ground. By contrast, there are people (such as myself) who see very little as black and white, but look at situations as being various shades of gray. I believe most SEO’s share the same worldview as I…after all, it’s hard to define moral absolutes in Cyberspace unless they can be accurately mapped onto offline behavior and much of the SEO process just doesn’t translate offline.

    Doug’s “black and white” SEO beliefs don’t jive with most engine marketers; however, I believe they might resonate with prospective clients that have the same absolutist worldview towards their businesses and lives. In actuality, if this subset of client can be convinced that they need search engine marketing, Doug has a reasonably easy sell. Doug can offer his services couched in a strong moral authority that no rules will be broken during the client engagement. Doug knows that search engine marketers have a spotty reputation in many quarters and it is easy for him to brand himself as one of the few moral and ethical practitioners in the industry.

    Want proof?

    Doug can point to the SMX Advanced “Give It Up” session where several “notable” SEO’s shared black hat knowledge with the assembled audience. Lisa Barone’s blog post (along with the comments that followed) offered Doug a wonderful chance to seize the moral high ground and differentiate himself even from the people who thought the session went too far. To search marketers reading the piece, Doug’s comments might have been as welcome as a telemarketing call during dinner hour…however, to readers who view the world as Doug does (and I suspect there are more of them than most would think), Doug is the only rational voice in the thread.

    Besides the link juice, Doug’s frequent blog comment negativity gives him visible credibility with a segment of the business community that he likely markets himself to. I would guess that he is sharing Lisa’s blog post (along with his comments to it) with selected clients and prospective clients as a strong moral and ethical affirmation of his brand. His sales pitch likely is that he can be trusted because he is one of the few SEO’s that won’t break the rules and risk getting sites into trouble with the search engines. Doug seems to define himself primarily by what he’s against and in a market crowded by lots of search engine marketers with near-identical service offerings and marketing campaigns, that’s actually a good brand differentiator.

    A long time ago, I happened to meet a priest who also happened to be a very successful life insurance salesman. I never saw him preach but I could tell quite clearly that he had the ability to successfully transfer his moral authority that he brought to the pulpit into the sales process which enabled him to easily distinguish himself from others chasing the same customers. While many of us use speaking or writing to try to show others how intelligent and perceptive we are about the ever-changing and evolving world of search, Doug not only seems to place scholarship secondary to “following the posted rules”, but sees doing this as the only moral and ethical choice that can be made. People uncomfortable with the Wild West Internet could likely see Doug as a kindred spirit and as someone who can bring order to perceived chaos; and therefore, would be much more likely to purchase his services.

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      Todd Mintz knows PPC...knows Social Media...knows SEO...knows Blogging...knows Domaining...and knows them all real well. He is also a Director & Founding Member of SEMpdx: Portland, Oregon's Search Engine Marketing Association. He is a Senior Account Manager for PPC Associates and is also a Director & Founding Member of SEMpdx: Portland, Oregon's Search Engine Marketing Association, and he can be found here on Google+.
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      29 Comments

      1. Nice theory Todd but I don’t think it’s that calculating. I just think Doug really believes in seeing things in black and white and keeping to the snowy version of white.

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      2. What people in the industry think doesn’t much matter. If Doug makes his client happy by building good websites for them, they’ll tell friends, and the friends will buy. Results matter more than words.

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      3. I would credit Doug’s forum with a lot of my SEO upbringing. I don’t hang out there much anymore because forums aren’t really my thing anymore but, it is a great resource for new SEOs. And while Doug maybe over the top in a lot of ways (I am not a fan of how quick people are to criticize and pontificate in that forum I admit), much of what he stands for (white hat philosophy) is the best way to approach SEO. Not just from the perspective of conforming to Google’s best recommended practices (the moral argument if you will), but also in terms of having a solid long term strategy that has the best chance of succeeding over the coarse of time.

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      4. agreed that doug’s enthusiasm for white hat practices helps his personal / business brand. of course, what is your brand other than the public face you put forth?

        that said, i disagree with this statement you made:

        “…after all, it’s hard to define moral absolutes in Cyberspace unless they can be accurately mapped onto offline behavior and much of the SEO process just doesn’t translate offline.”

        ethical business practices apply online or off. there’s no need to try to find a moral offline equivalent to, say, unfair link trading as Marty Weintraub condones. it’s sneaky business, pure and simple.

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      5. You say “I think many in the SEO Community, especially the newer members, dismiss Doug out of hand…those that have been around long enough to remember when he was one of the better known people in the industry are more likely to pay attention and acknowledge his ideas without taking his criticisms too much to heart.”

        As one of the older of the oldies, I don’t know a single experienced SEO that takes anything Doug says as anything but pure entertainment.

        You mention him being one of the better known once, but only for this exact crap then too. He’s never, ever, been famed for, or recieved anything but deepest derision for, any of his woeful SEO abilities.

        In other words, he’s never been a famous SEO, or a well-known SEO, or even an accepted average SEO. He’s a guy who’s famous for his gaffes and total ineptitude, combined with his pontification and messiah delusions.

        His old claim to fame used to be that his forum ranked really well for stuff relating to SEO forums. Based purely on backlinks and sheer volume. But has anyone, ever, heard of a client that rated Doug? A single testimonial to his work that you can check and say, “Oh yeah, he can actually rank a site for something slightly competitive”?

        No?

        Nor has anyone else I ever met in 12 years in this biz. :)

        Reply
      6. Todd Mintz

        Ammon, this post is much more about the “point of view” that Doug represents than about Doug himself…hence the objective / neutral language tone of the piece.

        As upper echelon SEO’s (and you are at the top of that upper echelon IMO), the way we think and perceive the world differs enormously from the public at large. The way Doug comes across in his online discourse flies in the face of the traditional SEO thought and scholarship. However, many in the general public (including some that might purchase SEO services) might find Doug’s point of view comforting and even compelling.

        So, while I don’t believe I’ve ever seen Doug say something that I’ve agreed with, I can look beyond his words and see a reason to his rhythm.

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      7. Oh yes, the ‘white hat’ was as far as I remember darned near invented by Doug in regards to SEO. The classic piece of straw-man marketing, diverting attention to the scarey black-hat bogey-men to take the prospect’s eyes off of the empty resume and emptier creative ideas of the classic ‘white hatter’.

        I guess it is hard to remember that whole new generations of SEOs weren’t around to remember it. But it was always a ploy for clients.

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      8. walkonmypath.com/update-then-return-to-the-san/

        ihelpyou.com/forums/showthread.php?t=27276

        I won’t link to them since you didn’t wish to link to my site in your post. I do hope you give me the opportunity to give my opinion as well… and the opinions of others who would never give the sullivan cronies the time of day…. which is the minority of the SEO industry anyway.

        And Ammon? Well bud; you don’t get a comment from me as you are not worth my time, nor many other’s time either. Most people already know how great you think you are. It’s well documented over the years that you are the greatest… from your own mouth. Oops; sorry, that was a comment. :)

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      9. Todd Mintz

        Doug…I’ve linked to your thread. You got the floor…you have a wide open opportunity to give your response to what you’ve seen.

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      10. Thanks for the links, Doug. They illustrate my objection to you perfectly – that you’re a total fake.

        Your forum thread is an absolute hoot. Talk about lies and deceptive practices!

        You claim that:

        1. Jill Whalen got her start in the industry in your forums.

        Jill achieved renown for her newsletter, originally co-authored, and later taken solo. Her presence on your forum was what dragged YOU up to public attention. When she finally had enough of your lies, bullshit, and endless false marketing, going to the expense and trouble of creating her own forum, many moved with her. Try looking at the comparative amount of active community in each forum sometime.

        Jill was well known before the IHelpYou forums began, and continues to be far better known and regarded today.

        2. Todd Mintz wrote this whole thing to somehow get into Danny Sullivan’s good books (yet you contradict this by also insinuating that Danny dislikes all you do, and thus would dislike things said to support you?).

        I’ll leave that one to Todd if he ever stops laughing enough to type again.

        3. That I got my start in your forums.

        I started out in Jim’s SEF and on MarketPositionTalk – the only two SEO forums around back then. Many remember me from those days. Later I spent a couple of years at SearchEngineWorld which later became WebmasterWorld. Only in around 2002, after six years in the business, and 5 years in many forums, did I even step near the IHY forums, and that only as a test of the waters.

        I moved onto Cre8asite, and three of the IHY forum moderators headed over right after having found what I was saying interesting. All three later left IHY entirely. It is true what they say about a product speaking for itself.

        4. That I have no experience of what you do.

        I guess you’ve forgotten me having to clean up the mess when the WasherHelp guy followed your terrible advice and took a dive in the rankings, simply because you didn’t have the first clue about UK issues or Google UK?

        I’ve picked up your failures, Doug. You ever had one of mine? Have you even seen one from me?

        Please do respond and encourage me further. Someone has needed to speak out about the crummy liars and charlatans in this industry. People like Doug Heil and their ‘creative’ versions of reality. Pure lies just to hoodwink clients.

        Reply
      11. You are a special human being Ammon Johns. You always were, and you always will be. Actually buddy; Todd Mintz’s post was kind of interesting until you entered the thread to ruin his entire point. Even though I found it interesting, I disagree with the idea of posting to get business. I post mainly to debunk the crap in the SEO industry.

        It’s obvious to me and many others that I must be hitting nerves out there since I am the one always getting bashed by the Danny Sullivan cronies at every turn… so there is another thing Todd stated that cannot be true; that people don’t take what I say to heart, as it’s obvious to many that they certainly do. :)

        Ammon; I don’t know how to respond to you since I have no idea what you are going on about. You have not been a contributor in my forums for many years. Heck; I can’t remember what happened last week in there, let alone years ago. But many of us sure do remember the jill whalen affair and why and how she left. Ask g1smd. Ask Connie. Ask Deb. Ask Irina. Ask John. Heck; ask the other three mods who left with her as they certainly know as well. Everything I wrote in my forums thread is fact.

        It’s interesting that you are all hot and bothered by what I write? I thought you all did not care about what I write and did not take any of it to heart?

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      12. Doug (his hole) wrote: “Everything I wrote in my forums thread is fact.”

        Except the bits with words, huh?

        You said there that your forum made Jill.

        But the fact is the The Web Wizz is older than your forums, by quite some time. Jill started around 95ish I think, same as me. I certainly recall coming across her name in around 96. The IHY forum wasn’t around until years later.

        Let’s ask the internet shall we?

        http://web.archive.org/web/20000116183517/http://www.highrankings.com/

        http://web.archive.org/web/20010302153224/www.ihelpyou.com/ihelpyou/index.html

        Hmm, seems that the first ever record of IHY is a whole year later than Jill had HighRankings.com – and that was AFTER she’d made her name to a very large extent already.

        So, your forum did not make Jill, so you claiming otherwise is a knowing and deliberate lie (hardly your first or last of course).

        In addition therefore, you stating here now that everything you’d said about Jill was true is also, quite demonstrably, a lie.

        Doug Heil is a liar, but I don’t mind that bit. There’s lots of liars in the world. Trouble is he’s a hipocrite too, and that just hits a certain nerve with me and puts my teeth on edge.

        He’s always seemed like the classic old used car salesman, right down to the big white cowboy hat. “Honest Douggie’s Miracle Used SEO Deals – (if it drives at all, its an honest miracle)” would make a really good slogan.

        When I say we ignore you Doug, I mean it. As you rightly said, its been years since any reputable SEO had any involvement with you. We don’t come looking for you.

        But that doesn’t mean we ignore the slimy lies and manipulations. If you post lies out here, Doug, out of the dirty little forum you lurk in, I will take it apart and expose any lie in it.

        Just like Danny pointing out how you sent him that lovely offer… the one about selling your ‘ethical stance’ and making all your muppets fall into line. Do you remember that, or was that also in the miraculously forgotten realms of over a week ago?

        Small reminder?
        http://www.threadwatch.org/node/8828

        There. That help?

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      13. lol

        I never got the domain of ihelpyou.com until 2003, I believe. My forums opened up in June of 2001 under ihelpyouservices.com/forums/

        Keep trying buddy.

        I’ve already received calls and emails about this thread Ammon. I suggest you cool it now as you are looking foolish to many, many people right now.

        And yeah bud; I’d trust someone who posts private emails, wouldn’t you? Posting private emails and out of context isn’t very Professional at all.

        Posting comments such as the way you are posting right now isn’t very professional either.

        Actually Todd; I suggest you shut off comments in here. This Ammon person is posting falsehoods left and right and for what reasons I have no idea about. I haven’t even heard of or from this guy in about 5 or so years now… and neither have many others.

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      14. Don’t shoot Doug for being the messenger.

        Heck, I know Doug and many other SEO’s and the most I’ll say without trying to start a small riot is I don’t see it as much as a B&W thing as it is whether people do things right aka for “the long haul” vs. the “GET RICH QUICK” mentality.

        Doug tells legit companies how to play by the rules and do things for the long term while others who probably make way more than Doug go out and showboat at all the SEO conferences and IMO play Russian Roulette with their customers sites.

        In any other industry, people would end up in jail for some of the crap that happens in SEO.

        That’s my $0.02 and YMMV

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      15. I think if the messenger distorts the message, lying for his own gain, against the interest of those who entrusted him with the mesage, then shooting isn’t such a bad option. ;)

        I sincerely hope that those preachers who twist the scriptures to hoodwink the gullible into giving them cash burn for it. And that’s the kind of messenger we’re talking about.

        This blog post directly pertains to Doug’s branding as the ethical choice. Thus his ethics are not only pertinent, but pivotal to the subject. Is Doug truly ethical, or just attempting to build a faked brand position?

        I think the comments here help people to determine that critical lesson for themselves.

        My own feelings are that Doug is just another charlatan. Like the snake-oil salesmen (who also often doubled up as brimstone preachers). Working himself into a preaching fervor on demand because there still are people who believe anyone who gets that fired up must believe that they are right.

        But I don’t think for one moment that Doug truly is delusional. I’ve never doubted that he knows full well it is all falsehood.

        The email to Danny that Doug has kindly confirmed the authenticity of does NOT indicate a true believer.

        The proven lies from his own mouth, continually, for years and years do not indicate a true believer.

        Just another con-man trying to build up the fears of the gullible that they’ll burn in hell for any other choice.

        Trouble is that Doug Heil isn’t even very bright (Read: Dumb as a brick). The dumb mook just happily confirmed to us all that the IHY forums began in June 2001, too dumb to realise this confirms my point about his lie, since we all know that Jill was already very well established by that time. i.e. Doug just confirmed his own lie regarding his earlier claim that his forum ‘launched’ Jill.

        A man who lies openly, and stupidly isn’t branding ethics. Its the same old snake-oil salesman, just without the charm.

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      16. You are preaching to me about ethics? A guy who would risk another website for short terms gains? You must be joking.

        I can’t believe I even bother with the likes of you Ammon, but I need to.

        First off buddy; you know nothing about my firm. Nothing. I have been in conversation with a large retailer with many stores in the US. This particular brick and mortar store I talked to had what I consider a brochure type website. They did not show any pics of products. They did not sell any products off their site. They did have lots of good content however. They wanted strictly SEO help to get new people from Google and other se’s. They wanted these people to call them or to stop into their store.

        I could have lowered my price EASILY to accommodate these folks and only do the SEO stuff necessary to get them good positions. The problem with that was the site had many outgoing links leading to their main supplier’s stores that showed the pictures of the products. In other words, they lead visitors OUT their door to other websites. Those damn visitors did not come back as some wanted to actually buy the damn product somewhere so they simply go back to google to find a store they can buy from.

        This store has the darn money to actually have a real website selling/showing real products. The store did not want to deal with that big an issue at this time. They wanted CHEAPER for just SEO work only.

        My firm wanted to install OUR custom CMS system and actually build a real website selling real products. They did not.

        I told them NO WAY. I would not take their damn money for something that does them no good at all. Oh sure, they would get more visitors from Google… but so what? Then what?

        How many in this crappy SEO industry would have bowed down to their demands and sold them a bill of SEO goods? MOST of you would, including you Mr. Johns.

        I turn down MORE callers and inquires than what I take on buddy. You don’t know Me at all bud.

        Further; this store told me WHO the HELL they hired to do ONLY SEO for them. Guess what Mr. Ammon Johns? YOU know them and so does the majority of conference goers in this crappy industry. This stored hired a well known firm for peanuts to do a job that should be done the RIGHT WAY, and all for a quick buck. I don’t operate that way.

        Don’t you dare preach to me about ethics, you sorry Man. I suggest you shut up now…. or maybe grow taller?

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      17. This just keeps getting better.

        Not only does Doug still show my point, attempting once again to derail the topic away from all the points he is still unable to answer regarding honesty, but now we see his idea of ethics: He has turned down a good reputable company because they wouldn’t pay enough. :)

        Classic.

        His one example of real world ethics is a job he didn’t do – and it is all down to money. Just goes to show it is the same old Doug that offered to sell his support to Danny Sullivan in the past.

        Basicaly, Doug’s one example of ethics in all his years… the one sole evidence he chooses to put before us, is a non-event that didn’t even get past the proposal stage once the client had made clear that they didn’t want to pay the price Doug wanted to charge for a CMS.

        Maybe its his amazing faulty memory again – the one he stated earlier couldn’t remember anything over a week ago. So, after 2 days, he can remember he’s arguing about ethics, but forgot what side he was arguing.

        I can’t think of any other reason for sharing that ‘example’ of non-ethics regarding a non-event.

        I guess that’s his shy, quiet way of conceding the point that he did indeed lie about Jill and I having our start in his forum.

        Seriously, Todd, if we EVER talk about a charlatan like Doug Heil as being an ‘ethical’ choice to anyone, then our industry really would be in dire trouble.

        Does anyone still think he has a scrap of ethics or integrity for real?

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      18. I wasn’t going to say anything after initially seeing the referral traffic to my site from this one (mine’s the first link Doug provided), but Ammon’s comments are so utterly ridiculous and typical of the blackhat spin-doctoring community at large that someone besides Doug (and Bill, who almost always is a voice of reason online even though next to no one seems to really listen) should say something.

        Before I go any further, I just want to say that I strongly disagree with the idea that Doug uses the idea of ethical, whitehat SEO strictly as a marketing tool. It’s a message you have to believe in order to espouse it for as long as Doug has. So anything I say from here on out is more or less academic.

        Having said that, let’s take the idea that Doug markets using the ethical high ground. Let’s assume for a minute that it’s true…because as we all know, anything said online that’s different has to be a marketing tactic according to the SEO community at large. So let’s use that logic.

        Is it working? Doug’s been sticking to his message for years. He’s been saying the exact same things since at least 2001, and probably before that. That’s 7 years or more of the same message. That’s an awful long period of time for a snake-oil salesman or a charlatan to stick to the same marketing tactic…and after 7 years, you’ve got Todd Mintz writing a post about it as a marketing tactic and people commenting on it that claim to be “ignoring Doug”. Seems to me that you’re putting a lot of effort into “ignoring Doug”, Ammon. Most people shut up when they ignore someone. In other words, if he’s marketing, you guys just bit down on the worm…again. And you’ll bite down on the worm…again, and again, and again, and ooooooover again.

        The other angle is why this message works and attracts attention. It does so because Doug is one of the few online marketers who understands that there is no absolute formula for success online for all businesses (something most of you seem to miss completely). Doug represents a different point of view, and being different attracts attention. Most so-called SEOs are so busy building links and destroying social media sites by creating profiles and submitting their own crap to them that they have completely forgotten, or never fully understood, what it is to be unique. In other words, for Doug’s stance to work as a marekting tactic online, everyone else would have to be following along in a different direction like a bunch of blind sheep.

        As far as the email to Danny goes, this is a classic example of why most SEOs are complete idiots who never put things in the correct context. At the time Doug wrote the email, Danny had announced his “resignation” from SES, thus making him a free agent of sorts…and a pretty big one. Why would Doug not go about trying to get Danny to join his fold if he could? Danny has had a name that people recognize within the SEO community for years, and if Danny would come on board and start really talking about issues such as site architecture, what types of links are worth getting, and things of that nature (you know, stuff that should be talked about in the SEO industry but traditionally gets buried in favor of “link building”)…then that’s a pretty big coup. Why would Doug not want that? Doug’s offer to Danny was made in that context…trying to get Danny to work with Doug to change the direction of an industry that Doug “markets” as going in the wrong direction.

        But Danny…sellout and egomaniac that he is…turns around and publishes the email. Then he turns around and forms a direct competitor to the business that he had been learning about for the last 10 years…and was compensated, probably quite well, to do so. He effectively gets a paid apprenticeship, then cuts into his former company’s market share by starting up a direct competitor. And in typical SEO community fashion, almost no one talks about the ethics (or lack thereof) associated with that business move. This is also more of the same business logic that makes Doug’s “marketing stance” that much more effective, as it poses that much more of a contrary position as well as providing yet another example of business tactics that could be perceived as unethical by at least enough people to form a customer base for Doug.

        In other words, if the statements Doug makes and the ideas he puts forth are strictly marketing tactics, there is still an underlying current of behavior and SEO business tactics that could be interpreted as unethical, and you guys continue to take the bait…especially you, Ammon.

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      19. Fantastic. Doug has a real gift.

        Having conceded every other point made so far, he finally goes right back to my very first comment about nobody having ever heard a good thing about Doug’s work.

        He gives us a link to a thread where he admits that actual genuine testimonials are so unknown to him that he thinks all testimonials are faked. :)

        Doug said “I think what he is proposing is done throughout the SEO industry anyway. Ever notice the numbers of testimonials on SEO websites that are from other SEO’s? LOL”

        Doug, just for your own education, feel free to check the testimonials at FreshEgg.com for yourself. Any of your UK members can confirm that they come from well known UK companies, and any of those companies can be contacted. We share them on the site so that prospective clients can do just that, and we really do urge prospective clients to speak to existing customers for themselves to verify.

        That’s how it is for genuine companies with genuine clients.

        We don’t have examples of unnamed companies we didn’t take because they didn’t pay enough. We don’t trade anything for testimonials. Clients simply often tell us they are happy, and why, and that we can use them as a testimonial.

        You could get that too if you had happy, satisfied clients. I guess yours are too scared of the boogie-man you base all your marketing on.

        Thanks for letting us know where you stand on testimonials before bowing out, Doug. You are truly one of a kind, (and dear Lord let the mould have been broken).

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      20. Incidentally, when Doug says he’s done with an argument, this is traditionally the cue to send in his forum pack-rats.

        Hi Adam, right on cue.

        You did mean to disclose that you’re a member of Doug’s forum, right? And that the main comment contributors to your blog are others from the same insular (inasne) community?

        So, with several *proven* lies right here, you somehow believe that Doug might actually be ethical? How do you manage that double-think?

        Do you believe that Jill Whalen got her ‘start’ in Doug’s forum? Have you ever looked at when she started speaking at SES? How do you tally those things?

        Doug himself already stated that he first founded his forum in June 2001, on the IHelpYouServices domain, but Jill Whalen was already a speaker at the famous Search Engine Strategies events back in November 2000 (SES Dallas, 2000 – see 11:00 slot http://searchenginestrategies.com/sew/dallas00/agenda.html ).

        How precisely can you confirm the entirely ethical stance of a man who has stated publically he made Jill, when the facts are completely the reverse? Does the white hat serve as a blindfold for such convenience?

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      21. i’ve been reading the whole back and forth between doug and ammon and, first, let me say it’s quite entertaining. i’m also sure mr. mintz is enjoyed the attention on his blog.

        anyway, i have a theory.

        people like ammon are afraid of doug’s message. they’re afraid that, having to play by the rules, they’d be unable to deliver results for their ‘clients’ and so as a defense mechanism they deride what he says at every turn. if this weren’t the case, they’d truly ignore him (as mr. semour states above – well put).

        they’re also afraid that their tactics don’t translate from a pure marketing standpoint. so as the nature of search continues to change dramatically and the ability to game the system slowly erodes, they’ll be left with a useless skill set. if they’re smart, they’ll learn a new trade. their days are numbered, just like the high paid “web masters” of the mid-1990’s – most of which are working at a local radio shack now.

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      22. Actually, if you bothered to look, I haven’t posted in there (or any other forum) in about a month. I actually haven’t visited because I was (and still am) too busy with some other things. This will be the last thing I say in turn, primarily because I have no interest in continuing a debate with a spin doctor.

        So Doug had nothing to do with this. Let me make this very, very clear, since I don’t think you’ll understand it the first time…Doug didn’t have a thing to do with this, nor has he ever at any point told me what to think, say, how to act, what to feel, or what color Kool-Aid to drink. Like I said, there’s a link to my blog post from this site and that’s how I found out about all this silly crap in the first place. Anyone who knows me at all knows that I say what I’m going to say, regardless of what other people might think or feel about it (including Doug, because there are things that he and I disagree on too…but at least when Doug makes a comment, the comment does generally have a bigger picture associated with it.) I believe they refer to this as “independent thought”…something most of the SEO industry considers to be dark alchemy.

        I don’t know about the Jill Whalen thing, and quite frankly, I couldn’t care less. I don’t have anything against Jill specifically…she’s never said or done anything negative to me, and she was actually one of the few people who said something that made sense when the SEO community took a comment on a site of mine completely out of context (not the first time, won’t be the last). And that whole situation is obviously emotionally charged and kind of silly. So…I stay out of it. The situation between Doug and Jill holds no interest to me.

        As far as your comment about the commenters to my blog…that’s just too idiotic to dignify an answer, other than to say that there are different comments from different people from different walks of life, and that many of the main commenters have never even heard of IHY.

        But if you’re going to talk about lies and fake testimonials, Ammon, and the kind of stuff that Doug gets upset about, take a look at your own site…specifically, this testimonial:

        “I’ve known Ammon almost since the conception of SEO and his advice has always been leading edge, I would also say that he doesn’t hold back the punches!! I have seen many sites benefit from his advice and hands on work, often using techniques that lead the market by many months…”
        Adam Stafford CEO, Fresh Egg

        Your earlier comment indicates that:

        1) you work for FreshEgg;
        2) you own FreshEgg, or at least a portion of it;
        3) you work very closely with FreshEgg.

        Personally, I suspect it’s either 1) or 2). In any case, it’s a testimonial that at the very least would be referred to as “artificially generated”, and yet another example of why most testimonials are meaningless. How are we supposed to trust the rest of the testimonials when one had to come from a company that you have way too much of an association with in the first place?

        There is even a cottage industry of shills going around posting fake testimonials on blogs and forums. So testimonials ultimately mean very little at best, and this is exactly the kind of crap that Doug will stand up and say is wrong…and he’s one of the few people who will do that.

        Another example is the dinosauric and idiotic notion that web designers and SEOs should be able to put a credit link on any page of a site that they were commissioned to build. At a time a few years back when people were openly posting on Matt Cutts’ blog that these links should receive SEO benefits, there were exactly two people who publicly stated that they shouldn’t even be on a customer’s site on the first place, since they do nothing to help a customer and can only hurt that customer. This is how I came across Doug in the first place…he was the only person who had the decency and courage to publicly agree with me, and make a buttload of sense while doing so, when everyone else had their vested-interest sunglasses on. I didn’t ask for Doug to agree with me. It wouldn’t have changed a word I said on the subject regardless. But he is the only person who had the guts to back me and validate my thoughts in a manner that clearly indicated he was speaking with a deeper purpose in mind.

        You don’t have to agree with everything Doug says or everything he does. You obviously don’t…and I don’t. I can admit that…I don’t think anyone should agree with anyone else all of the time. But you can’t shut out the opinion of anyone who posts with the greater good in mind. Even if you think he’s doing it for marketing purposes, and under the veil of a whitehat cloak to mask an incompetent retard who can’t promote sites worth a damn (which is a complete crock, or you wouldn’t be still here yapping like a Jack Russell terrier), the message is still generally the correct message and one that isn’t being spread often enough.

        And no, I’m not saying this to market myself or because Doug told me to, either. I’m saying it because it is what it is. Doug doesn’t need me to defend him, and he’d never ask…just like I’d never ask him to defend me. I don’t need it, either. There’s a difference between followers and people who agree with each other…unfortunately, the SEO community doesn’t get that.

        By the way…why don’t you turn around and call Bill a pack-rat? He posted a shorter version of what I said, too.

        Bottom line…you’re wrong and you’re reaching, Ammon.

        Reply
      23. their days are numbered, just like the high paid “web masters” of the mid-1990’s – most of which are working at a local radio shack now.

        Okay, so I have one more comment to make (but this wasn’t here when I was posting). It’s called The Source by Circuit City here in Canada, now…is it the same in the States?

        Just wondering.

        Reply
      24. Okay, Adam, you raise some more intelligent points than most of Doug’s crowd, so perhaps it is worth replying to you, rather than about you as I tend to with Doug.

        However, only maybe, because there’s still a real huge warning sign about a guy who basically says “I don’t care that you can prove Doug is a liar and a fake, and I refuse to look” – which is precisely what you’ve said above regarding Jill – (which was something Doug brought up in his linked thread, not me).

        The link on my name goes straight to a page that declares my working relationship with Fresh Egg. Its right there in print, very clearly.

        It isn’t right in with the testimonial, true, but that’s because I wasn’t working with Fresh Egg when I got the testimonial, back in 2003. In 2003 I was working with a rival company named Propellernet, and still got the testimonial, even as a potential rival.

        I created that testimonial page around the end of April 2003
        http://web.archive.org/web/20030602042330/www.webmarketingplus.co.uk/testimonials.html

        You can see that the page didn’t exist yet on May 22 of 2003
        http://web.archive.org/web/20030422044016/http://webmarketingplus.co.uk/
        and appeared by June
        http://web.archive.org/web/20030525125049/http://www.webmarketingplus.co.uk/

        I joined Fresh Egg after leaving The Search Works in 2005. Given Adam Stafford’s testimonial, you can see he’d be pretty keen to hire me if he could. Once again, I actually took a significant salary drop to be with a company I felt happy with. Its never been about the money to me.

        If you want to question my own ethics and/or experience, then please feel free to dig about as you will. Unlike some, I don’t attempt to divert and distract away from that stuff.

        The following all offer insight in the words of others as well as my own:
        http://www.cre8asiteforums.com/forums/index.php?s=&showtopic=41446
        http://www.seomoz.org/article/ammon-johns-interview 2005
        http://www.searchengineblog.com/interviews/interview_ammon_johns.htm 2003

        If you ask those with enough years in the business to know, ‘who were some of the first people talking about integrated marketing, traditional marketing values, and holistic online campaigns’ you’ll likely hear my name.

        I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt and enabling you to make up your own mind with evidence. Up to you whether you take the offer. Other readers will.

        And that brings us back to a point that you seemed to miss along with TinPig and Doug himself. If I think Doug is so worthless, why spend all this time posting here?

        Its not FOR Doug, silly.

        Just because Doug is eminently worth ignoring doesn’t mean the danger of believing the lies he spreads must also be ignored.

        If you look back, you can probably see I mostly respond to the message, not the man, in regards to Doug, and my target audience, the people I am addressing and not ignoring, are readers of this post who may not know better and might believe Doug is what he purports to be without actually checking.

        And that’s why Doug always was going to have to bow out of this. He needs to cover up, while I don’t need to convince you of anything. All I require is that you dig for yourselves. Your own mind, once set to asking questions, will find its own answers.

        Reply
      25. I actually feel very sorry for you Ammon. Something is messed up with you, so I have no further comment to make other than God Bless You Sir.

        Reply
      26. @Todd: Thank you, thank you, thank you for the potent reminder of why I never liked the early SEO world, never wanted to participate in the forums, and feel all uncomfortable-like when I run into some of these old-skool clique-sters at modern conferences.

        It was ugly back then. It was distasteful, and it was largely just as full of crap as the SEO stuff of today. Just like this thread.

        Every time someone on Sphinn surmises why SEO has a bad name, you should bring up another post that acts as a call to arms for old skool SEO egos to show their feathers…

        Reply
      27. I don’t do SEO for a living, just for my own websites. Most of what I know about SEO I learned at the iHelpYou forum where I’ve been a member since May 2003. The advice I have gotten at iHelpYou has led to several “success stories” some documented at iHelpYou and others at my website so here is no reason to repeat them here. White hat advice I have gotten from Doug has increased traffic to my sites. I have also had disagreements with some iHelpYou ideas but whenever we disagreed it was always in a very cordial tone. Some of these disagreements are also documented at my website.

        I have no interest in the white hat, black hat controversy because I don’t make a living from SEO. But I can say without a shadow of a doubt that anyone who calls Doug Heil a “Charlatan” either does not know Doug, does not know what “Charlatan” means or has a grudge against Doug.

        Reply
      28. WE MISS YOU DOUG! Please come back to RCF!

        Reply

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