SES Speaker List Called into Question by Search Looney

Story Text:

For those TW readers that are unaware of the IHY forums let me preface this post by saying that most Search industry types regard their leader, Doug Heil, as being a bit of a lunatic, and those that follow him, to be snivelly, whiney misfits. Their forum is a non-stop source of entertainment though, and for the many laughs it provides Doug should be commended.

On with the this weeks Darstardly Dougie Show™

There's a great "let's taunt Dougie" thread going on over at IHU at the end of a long discussion on some other bollocks - The skinny is that Doug has a problem with "spammers" being given credibility by being asked to speak at Search Engine Strategies conferences.

Dan0 is taunting Doug for all he's worth, daring him to out those he feels are spammers amongst the nearly 200 strong list of speakers at the recent SES San Jose gig.

For the life of me, i can't work out why he isn't doing it. It would be perfectly in character, and frankly, im baffled by his reluctance.

The last few pages have now been removed, but it's still a cracker :)


Aren't we all spammers?

I'm under the impression that Google doesn't like anyone manipulating their search engine results. Who is to say getting a blog link is spammier than a directory link? Some idiot at IHY?

But this isn't about blackhat/whitehat, it's about who can speak at these events. Lets face it, the blackhat spammers as they are called offer much more insight into how the search engines rank sites. No one wants to listen to some self righteous idiot spout nonsense I can pick up in a $10 e-book written 3 years ago. It's odd how I've never heard of these "white hat" supremists ranking for anything competitive.

heh heh

you should've seen that thread yesterday morning....

You saw it before the

You saw it before the clean-up job, eh Gurtie?

"Aren't we all spammers?"

Don't ever mention that phrase on IHY...

For the life of me, i can't

For the life of me, i can't work out why he isn't doing it. It would be perfectly in character, and frankly, im baffled by his reluctance.

I think he's afraid of getting sued. A few years ago he implied a pretty well known search engine conference speaker was not whitehat or something and all of Dougs minions joined in a feeding frenzy. This speaker very politely but firmly participated in the thread and laid down the law - retract or meet my lawyers.

Best I can remember, you never saw so many minions edit or delete their posts and then head for the tall grass faster and in the end Doug sanitized his posts too.


You are right about the law, and these guys do tread very close to that. You can't just call someone a spammer and say their stuff will not work without proof. For such "upstanding, honest citizens" they are, they sure gossip like high school girls.

I got banned

last night Doug banned me - then this morning he un-banned me.

I tried for years to get banned from ihy, he never would, till last night... and I was being good.

I think his white hat is a little too tight...

oh yeah Qwerty

I saw it, that was one of the more, *ahem* interesting tag team efforts for a while. If I were you I'd have said a hell of a lot more than you said back too....


it has spawned quote of the week for me...

"that notoriously evil den of self-outed spammers at Threadwatch"


Quote of the week, eh? Do I get a prize?

I can't figure out how to post in the 'introduce yourself' thread, so I'll just say it here. Hi, I'm Dan0, and I hate spam as much as I hate BS.

Oh ya

That "Who closed the political correctness" thread there is worth a read.

Qwerty, I saw the thread too, before all the edits... Amazing.

Dan0 is a good guy

I have aways had a lot of respect for him. More respect after reading his posts in that thread.

"most search industry types...lunatic" -- I missed that survey

That's pretty strong language, Nick. And, what's more, it's unjustified, since you don't explain who is a "search industry type" and how you can show that a majority of these undefined "types" (are we speaking about people?) consider him to be a lunatic.

There are plenty of clueless SEO gurus out there running and moderating lots of forums. Their hare-brained theories are no better than anyone else's.

Why aren't they considered lunatics by "most search industry types"?

I take it you're not

I take it you're not familiar with Doug?

I clashed with Doug when we were both still active on ...

I clashed with Doug when we were both still active on Virtual Promote's forums.

I know precisely who he is, and I was openly skeptical of his opinions long before most people in the SEO world today had ever heard of him.

Nonetheless, I am pretty sure that you cannot prove that "most search industry types" consider Doug or anyone else to be a lunatic.

Christ Michael, you do

Christ Michael, you do pedantistry for a living or what?

Of course i can't prove that - I can't prove 90% of what i write, or say, or beleive - that's just life.


...if it quacks like a loon...

"I do not thin' that word means what you thin' it means"

"Pedantistry" -- well, that's a new variation on an old complaint in my book.

Anyway, I wasn't focusing on the details, but on the public display of hate, spite, and ridicule. Usually, Nick, you're not the one wearing the black hat.

Doug has apparently learned to live with the occasional ridicule from his contemporaries. Are you, however, uncomfortable with a little occasional criticism or rebuke?

Hi Dan.

Don't get yourself too many kudos here. That may work against you. (Or is it already too late?)

J/K. We can definitely use another whitehat to balance things out. Warm welcome.

It's already too late Wit,

It's already too late Wit, Dan and I have been speaking in email ever since TW started - back when me and doug were going at it hammer and tong between our two sites - i never thought he'd post here though, but im very, very proud that he finally has :)

>>Are you, however, uncomfortable with a little occasional criticism or rebuke?

hehehe, read some of the archives :) TW'ers don't let me get away with much...

Welcome Dan0

Been a long time, hope you stick around.

I'm not sure if I should be flattered,

or if I should call my attorney. There's a bit of an entertainment factor involved with being the only person singled out by name.

I just wish Doug would tell the truth. Everytime he gets on his "SES and Spammers" rant, he always fails to mention the fact that he was once given an opportunity to speak at SES. The end result was a bad vaudeville act accept we couldn't find any rotten fruit to throw at him.

I've never seen so many people stand up and walk out while someone was speaking. I've also never heard of a speaker getting a rating of zero before. When everything was said and done, he was never asked back because none of the paying attendees wanted to hear what he has to say.

The other point of his rant that is completely absurd is the idea that the "Notorius SES Spammers" are the same people that take on clients and engage in black tactics whitout the clients being aware. That is utter bullshit. (The companies that do that can usually be found in the exhibit hall, not on the speakers podium).

99.99% of black work that has been done by anyone willing to speak about it in public is done on their own personal sites. We've all spent time doing pharmaceuticals, debt consolidation, gambling, mortgages, etc. but that work in no way has any bearing on how we apprroach a mainstream client. And it also has absolutely zero impact on whether or not a mainstream client decides to hire us. If anything, they are less apprehensive because they know exactly where we stand because we are willing to answer whatever questions they want to ask honestly.

What's the world coming to...

I think the world is probably spinning backwards when I feel the urge to defend Greg! ROFL.

Luckily, by the time I read the thread, it was already closed so the urge went away... ;-)


I think you are more inclined to contact a lawyer about that.

You are 100% correct, there is a huge difference in how you handle a corporate client and how you handle your own domains. I've done some bad things on my sites that I wouldn't even mention to an actual client. Some of the best whitehat SEOs I've ever seen have extensive knowledge in blackhat tactics.

I would consider that libel, by labeling you a spammer and someone who should not go near a client. I personally would hate to see my name show up in the SERPs someday in a thread like that. Then again, consider the source. A bunch of guys who are so talented at "whitehat SEO" that they are crying about the price of a plane ticket to a show.

Wait, I Outed Him...

I'm the one who "outed" Greg over there, not because I think he's an evil spammer, but because he's a perfect example of the kind of person who should be speaking at SES. He can talk about how this stuff really works, and even old dogs like me usually learn something.

I have no idea what kind of tactics Greg may have used to promote drug pushers, loan sharks, or whatever, although I've heard plenty o' rumors... but that's not the same thing you'd do for a mainstream client. Fortune 500's typically don't want trackback bombing done on their behalf.

But a guy who can actually make money in a cutthroat business like the "PPC" categories may have a thing or two to offer, when it comes to targeting, conversion, and generally getting results.

Search Looney

Somehow I just KNEW this thread would be about DOUG

flying in the face of public opinion

I'd like to suggest that Dougie is in fact simply an over-enthusiastic zealot, whereas his chief henchman is the nutter.

>>chief henchman is the

>>chief henchman is the nutter


He/she posts here under a secret name they think i don't know about hehe...

links to you too...

you'll be delighted to know ;)

Sour grapes

I do think the intense hatred of SES springs from the fact that he was never asked to speak again and probably didn't get any clients from speaking... therefore his constant harping on the fact that people only speak to make more money.

I just go for the free drinks, often paid for by some spammer or other evil SEO with their ill-gotten gains of some black hat technique. ;-) Or Jill... who is a friend to spammers and apparently benefits from it financially and therefore, my drink is tainted with blood money from their distant spamming efforts. eeeeewwww

Perfect example of Springer Forum Marketing- he's now got a wider audience for his views because of this thread. He even admitted he's loving the attention.

The drama keeps things interesting though... get some popcorn and click the "refresh" button...

Quote of the week, eh? Do I get a prize?


What would you like?

f5.... f5.... f5

Makes it tough to get any work done, though. I'm supposed to be on the clock right now.

Dan the Man

Other rumors that are also not true:
1) Doug did not register just because was already taken
2) Doug was not standing on the grassy knoll with a smoking gun in his hand and a "Kennedy Spams" t-shirt

Im never going to get to bed at this rate! hehe...

Your mate Doug H

I confess to not being a regular visitor to IHY, but having looked at it, I see Doug has made 32,200 posts there...32,200

That sure is a lot of opionating!

He/she posts here under a secret name they think i don't know ab

My daughter worked that one out [she's 8]

She also remarked, maybe by coincidence, that there seems an inverse relationship between the quality of a persons website[s] and the size of their whining gob re: matters "spam". And to quote her "just saying Dad".


Still love the old definition of spam:

Sites Positioned Above Mine

2nd Quote of the Week...

"the size of their whining gob"


I think you need to sort your daughter out with a blog NFFC.

Don't shoot the messenger

She said you should keep your conk out of her network. :)


oh, tell her it's way past her bedtime....

actually don't - she sounds like she'd beat me up bad.


Did Doug really once speak at SES? When? Was anyone writing the sessions up at the time?

Daughter says

She heard the main thrust of his "presentation", to the assembled marketing execs of fortune 500 companies, was that it is vital to have a picture of the web site owner on the site to build trust in the brand. She assumed the person who told her that was taking the piss.


i just wonder if Doug the less in his white pointy hat ever gets worried with that burning cross he's carries around with him..


He don't live in the south does he

Sorry, it's my fault!

Unfortunately, Doug was someone I had recommended to Danny as a speaker for that particular panel, back when IHY was a place where you go could for halfway decent info, not flames. But every time I'd see him at the conference and ask if he was ready yet to speak, he said he hadn't figured out what he was going to say. I have to say, I was a little concerned. Basically, because he wasn't prepared, they pretty much had to remove him with the hook. It was kinda sad, and I felt bad since I had recommended him as a speaker to begin with. The good news is that out of all the people I've recommended over the years, the others have all been invited back and do wonderful jobs. So Danny didn't hate me afterwards!

NFFC I think in about 10 years your daughter and my son would make a good pair. He tells me the same sorts of things as your daughter tells you. Nice when they're so much smarter than the parents, no? :)

In the same thread

"aren't we all spammers?" morphs into ponderings of calling lawyers when called a spammer. Some self-esteem checks may be in order for one or the other.

"aren't we all spammers?"

"aren't we all spammers?" morphs into ponderings of calling lawyers when called a spammer. Some self-esteem checks may be in order for one or the other.

Quit yer whining already.

I think...

One would have to show that being called a "spammer" hurts business. Right now in SEO, being knowledgable about those black-hat tactics, gives you both an air of mystery and a (possibly false) reputation for already knowing everything there is to know about white-hat.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but everyone from to reps were clamoring for the "spammers'" attention? That's what I saw in NYC, Toronto and San Jose.


My thoughts on how it can hurt business. If a potential client runs a search on an SEO and sees him being bashed in a forum and called a spammer and that clients should steer clear of him, that is bad. Spammer is also a very negative term to the public. Most people don't know what a search engine spammer is, and they'd assume it was something deragatory. It is accepted in the industry, but to the public it is frowned upon to be called a spammer. I would personally not want to be called a spammer if I wasn't.

Now for my earlier comment on "everyones a spammer", it was tongue and cheek. I feel anything that manipulates a search engine result is under the same classification. I don't see how getting a link in a directory is that much more holier than signing a guestbook. Was more or less saying that an SEO is an SEO, just different tactics.


being knowledgable about those black-hat tactics, gives you both an air of mystery and a (possibly false) reputation

Don't say sexy Rand ;)

I don't think it's a problem

The best spammers don't seem to have a problem with the word spammer, and proudly call themselves that, from what I've seen.

>>>He don't live in the

>>>He don't live in the south does he

He sure do.

talkng of spammers

impressive link dropping by both Scottie and ProjectPHP in the same thread :D

Hey .. i have an idea

No BH's allowed

2 questions ..

a) What triggers sandbox Entrance( what will put your site in the trash, btw I don't suffer from sandboxed domains)

b) how do you get an extra 2 pagerank points..

Remember it's Whitehat only..


If you can answer both questions and prove it ,I bet matt will talk to you next conf.. best be quick thou you don't want the hole fixed before you can use it ;)

I'll take a shot.

a. Target difficult one-worders in a heavy way, from the start (i.e. not bottom feed as you should if your site is new or if you're a "volume blackhat")

b. Hitch a ride on a bigger domain. Be a student if you must and get yourself a potentially well-respected personal website that's part of an already well-respected domain or network.

Business class tickets please, since it's long-distance ;-)


b) IBLs.. NO this is a Pagerank +2 boost.. a plain boost ! no links needed


and WIT i decide a long time

and WIT i decide a long time ago that you where BH at heart anywhere ;)



Dave I can't believe you just outed Wit :)

b) do you phone GoogleGuy and beg?

>> b) do you phone GoogleGuy and beg?

Just email him - it's a bitch to get him on the phone....


I said Whitehats Only :)



...It's a fair cop.

J/K of course, I'm squeaky clean (now).

I never tried the begging tactic. I presume one needs the proper "physique" to go with that, gurtie. I may not be eligible for that kind of boost...

I wonder: a PR boost with no IBLs (and no hoarding), that must be a "manual" thing then.

Any regular here in "that

Any regular here in "that notoriously evil den of self-outed spammers at Threadwatch" is a spammer whether they put what they know into practice consciously or not :)


my halo was pure and fluffy white until I started associating here with Wit, Qwerty and Jill W.

how do you get an extra 2 pagerank points?

Sending the lads round with the baseball bats usually seems to work.

Jill W

she's a big Blackhat than Me i spoke at SES on the same panel.. ;)


So if you...

...accidentally (=WH) link to a major google engineer's hobby website, you get a +2 PR boost??? Cool!

How about

Get a green permanent marker pen and draw a little extra green on the monitor?

sooooooo blackhat

clearly that's showing a different thing to the user than to the SE Chris.


...if you have an LCD screen it'll never come off.

Nah, it has to be "natural". I still stand by the accidental backlink. Maybe if you're a dmoz editor and the G engineer wants to get in (oops did I just say that?)



DaveN wants to know how to trip a sandbox/filter, I'm sure there are many choices, my personal favorite would be to get 10,000 links through a few sitewide placements, all consisting solely of the word "viagra." Buying a domain that's already listed in DMOZ seems to be pretty popular, but if you do it right nobody has to know that it changed hands. Rolling out with a content distribution strategy (not talking about RSS or press releases here) has worked very well to launch new sites pretty quickly.

DaveN wants to know how to get a +2 PR boost... I know how to manipulate the toolbar PageRank, so do a lot of folks, but I don't see a point to it. I do know from personal experience that if Google links to your article on Froogle from their press page, your new site will come out of the gate with a PR7 and the article will rank #1 for "froogle" for almost a month, ahead of - anyone who says they manually change SERPs probably hasn't outranked them for one of their brand names.

For anyone who didn't get the joke, labeling TW as a "notoriously evil den of self-outed spammers" and previously as the "official forum of search engine spammers," was all done out of love. I don't care what color hat you claim to wear, if it's worn for style or just to cover a bald spot... real professionals take the time to understand how the system works, and that means learning it all. That doesn't mean I'll ever run one of these robo-blog scripts and hammer everyone with trackbacks, but I understand how it's done.

Lots0, "he sure do" made me spit my coffee... me an' the missus is also livin' in the salth these days.

my halo was pure and fluffy

my halo was pure and fluffy white until I started associating here with Wit, Qwerty and Jill W.

Don't blame me. I got here completely by accident, just randomly typing characters into my location bar after spinning in my deskchair 41 times (counter-clockwise, of course).

So I remain pure as a little lamb frolicking in a field -- a field cared for by purely organic means.


"Search Looney" may upset him Nick...

looking at his site I think he would prefer something like:

Chief "WhiteHat" Search Looney Expert (SLE)

I don't think he minds too

I don't think he minds too much, as long as people are talking about him Picked..

that's the worst part of all this...

people talking about him. as my wife likes to say -- "he's not dead yet!?"

I love this.... the longest

I love this.... the longest comments trail I have seen in awhile apart from the intro page.

Most Loonies

at least stand up for their convictions (no matter how bazarre).

But the search looney won't even do that.

Not just a Looney, but rather a sad little looney with no balls.

DaveN asks...

2 questions ..

a) What triggers sandbox Entrance( what will put your site in the trash, btw I don't suffer from sandboxed domains)

b) how do you get an extra 2 pagerank points..

I know I'm not considered a whitehat anymore, but I will answer anyway.

a.) Simply having a new domain will trigger it. Doesn't matter if you build lots of links, or little bits of links. No matter what you do, you're in the litterbox with a new site.

To not trigger it, I heard a secret from a blackhat friend in SJ, but I'm not sure if it would be cool to spread it here just in case it's not common knowledge yet. (I still remember when another of my blackhat friends made many people mad at him when he told of the last way of not being effected by the aging delay, way back in Stockholm.)

Regarding the 2 PageRank points, why would anyone even care? (Meaning my answer is I don't know!)


I've seen plenty (well, OK 4 or 5 out of several hundred) new sites dodge the "box", but I haven't nailed down what did it. I do know that they didn't get "blogrolled", nor did they have a particularly optimized backlink or on-page structure.

It would be my guess that Google is looking for "unnartural" level of optimization and they appear to have done a pretty good job of it (although they catch a LOT of wheat with the chaffe).

2 PR points... I know a couple ways to start with a 3 or 4 PR based on hosting, but I've never heard of a way to simply give 2 more PR points to any site (other than fudging the toolbar, or as Dan noted, using the Google cloning trick), but that's not 2 more PR...

I'm dying to hear about it though, Dave.


If you have any examples, Rand, I'd love to see them. Every other time anyone's had an alleged site that wasn't effected by the aging delay, it was always for silly keywords. Please pm me any you know of!

> No matter what you do,

> No matter what you do, you're in the litterbox with a new site.

Jill, you seem to be entirely focused on those US and .com domains. Try some local domains and You'll see a very different picture. The world is bigger than the US - trust me, there is actually a world outside and it's great :)

b) how do you get an extra 2 pagerank points..

Well as Dougie his-self told me I wear a hat as white as the driven snow... (laughing so much it is hard to type) I feel completly qualified to answer this question.... (heh heh heh)

Try installing Alexa's tool bar...


Dan0, we are going to have to agree to disagree on those hand tweaked google results. ;-)

Alexa toolbar eh?

I had to laugh, and comment, when I saw the "evidence" that G & MSN are using Alexa data for rankings. We'll see if my comments make it past the moderation step.

He is correct in stating that search engines do index the 'traffic detail' pages, and that they do carry a link (via a 301 redirect). But there are a lot of automated garbage links like that out there, and a whole lot better ways to get them than installing spyware.

I wasn't actually able to find any Alexa traffic details pages that showed PR in the toolbar, and as I pointed out over on his blog, the URL he's checking is not the traffic details page for his site.

Try some local domains and

Try some local domains and You'll see a very different picture. The world is bigger than the US - trust me, there is actually a world outside and it's great :)

Well, that's actually what I was going to say as my answer (cuz you told me about it in SJ, Mikkel!) but I didn't want to spill the beans if it was a secret or anything.

[offtopic]While we're talking about the aging delay, however, can anyone confirm that a subdomain will still not be effected? Or does G put those in the sandbox these days too? Just wondering because I have a client that is planning to move their site to a subdomain of their site and I'm a bit nervous about that.

Jill, From somewhat limited


From somewhat limited experience: I just created two new subdomains on a site within the last couple of months. Both are spidered and getting traffic. I have no idea about things like PR because I don't have any PR reporting bars installed on my Macs.

Alexa's data is very limited

I don't see why a service like Google would be interested in what Alexa has to say about a site.

The black hat site is interesting for killing time, but maybe it's getting a little too much attention from this community.

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