Bruce Clay Uses Link Condom on WebGuerilla


What's the SEO Blogosphere coming to when SEO bloggers are afraid to link to each other? Greg Boser (aka WebGuerilla) made a post about how redirecting old domain to new domains can sometimes cause your site to rank for odd terms like Amish Gokarts and Mini Bike Furniture. Lisa Barone who blogs over on thought it interesting enough to write about in a her post "Amish Go Karts" Show Link Importance. This morning when the post was published there was no link directly to the post but only to Matt Cutts comments. Seemed kind of odd to me however it seems to have irked Greg a bit more. Checking back later today Lisa says it was an oversight and not an intentional act. However looking at the link in firefox which outlines no follow links we can see the link condom is now being used to link to Greg (screen shot below)


Not sure if it's some sort of inside joke we're all not in on, but it's not looking kosher to me, especially since I don't ever recall seeing the nofollow tag used before on their blog.


bad neighborhood

Maybe he thinks that he's going to link to a bad neighborhood (just kidding!)

Why kidding billhartzer?

Greg's past is what it is.

Those who cannot see beyond the past and into the future are those who will be those who lose out in the long term.

Personally, I find Matt's reaction

in his comment even more interesting ...

You Think That's The Real Matt Cutts?

I dunno about that.

I'm Curious

What exactly is my past?

And Yes

It really is Matt.

Fishy! Why change the whole URL just to amend a blog post?

If I click on Gregs original link to Bruce Clays site we are taken to the original post. I guess they change their blog URL's when they update their blog posts

just a ...

If Greg....

If Greg is good enough to steal content and ideas from then he is good enough to link to!

If these Bruce Clay people are the big swinging dicks they seem to portray themselves as then they should be able to write their own original and incisive content

At the end of the day it's thinly disguised content theft.
We all know the blog game and it's OK if you throw the link out to the originator.

I would sooner link to Greg than BC, at least he has original content!

Humbug at Bruce Clay

Looking at this just now I see odd things

href="" rel="nofollow"


Update: My apologies to Greg Boser for accidentally dropping the link to his post yesterday. It was merely an oversight on my part, and in no way done intentionally.

Oddly there are 3 links to Greg's site on that page, 2 are no follow, and one is normal. Looks as if they missed doctoring that!

Other links on the page like one to Matt's blog are normal links

So It Really Was Matt

Matt has always seemed like the adult in a room full of overgrown children, and is not someone I would expect to use phrases like "whiny little whiner."

I also was amazed that he was making light of the clear misuse of the nofollow tag, until I realized that his post came before any link at all was posted.

All the same, this first recorded instance of nofollow spam opens a world of possibilities. If we are going to put nofollow tags on when linking to high quality content, just for personal or strategic reasons, why stop there? Why not look up your competitor's links and go pay webmasters to put nofollow tags on every high powered link you can find? I can certainly imagine some webmasters loving the idea of getting a little extra cash for a change that doesn't change the human user experience and actually enhances their own link rank. Why not set up and start selling the organized removal of link juice? Google will have even less idea than they do now which links really mean anything, but maybe another fifty algorithm revisions can try to undo the effect of nofollow spam.

Bruce Clay may have innovated a whole new category of black hat tactics.

Great point

and it underlines once more the fundamental logical fallacies plagueing the NOFOLLOW tag ever since its - highly controversial - inception. Of course, it's not an entirely tactic in principle as it's been around right from the start.

But as a commercial black hat technique - that's really a good one! That domain's still free, btw. :)

Maybe Bruce thinks Lisa an

Maybe Bruce thinks Lisa an untrusted third-party? ;)

Lisa said it all...

Lisa said it all in her added comment at the bottom:

Who knew forgetting one link would cause a grown man to threaten the safety of a young girl. Matt's right; you are kinda whiny. However, I did always want to rank for the term "bitch slapping".

How exactly?

Did he threaten anyone's safety? Or did I miss tha joke?

So she may have

though unwittingly so: because claiming she "forgot", but adding it later with that damn tag to invalidate it at the same time, only to complain in turn - that is "kinda whiny" in my book. And bloody hypocritical, to boot.

It's a Great Advertisment

for the world's greatest SEO company to 'forget' a link, mind you links are in-depth SEO

raycam, why only a week ago,

raycam, why only a week ago, I used a phrase like "wanker or pants?" over here. I have to mix it up every so often to keep folks on their toes. :)

Threatening the safety of a young girl??

What booshwah. As if Greg was really threatening to drop by the Bruce Clay offices and get physical.

And what's with the "young girl" stuff anyway? She's an adult professional, but wants to play Little Orphan Annie when she gets called out for bogus tactics? Talk about setting the cause of feminism back about 35 years - you can't play it both ways, and when someone plays the little girl card they are just helping to create a little girl ghetto for all female professionals, including those willing to go toe to toe with the other adult professionals as equals. (Hint to Lisa - you get to be treated as an adult professional or as a little girl, but not both. A lot of women in the generation ahead of yours, in a lot of fields, including one I am married to, fought a lot of fights so female professionals would not be treated like "young girls" in their professional relationships - think twice and be prepared to mass mail some apologies to your betters before you use that pathetic tactic again.)

I don't know Greg, and wouldn't recognize him if he walked in my house. All the same, I'm a little amazed at the cheap-shotting directed in his direction (veiled stuff about his "past" as if he did hard time somewhere; acting as if he seriously is talking about physically assaulting someone instead of using the term as an obvious hyperbole). Why don't the folks at Bruce Clay justify why they think denying Greg a link was the right thing to do, or else issue a believable apology that looks like they mean it? To do what they are doing demeans them and cheapens their brand. I suspect a whole lot of people following this are a whole lot less likely to do business with Bruce Clay than they would have been a week ago, and only because the way they are handling it is so bush league and so riddled with mendacity.

or maybe

Maybe Bruce thinks Lisa an untrusted third-party?

Or maybe Lisa can't trust Lisa..didn't she write that post? I'm confused.

I'd love to see Lisa and Greg in so Sumo wrestling suits at the next SES!

Sumo wrestling suits?

You mean classical Japanese "suits"? Those belt-loincloth thingies?

As in here: ?

You ever seen them on a female? Ahem ...

He, he, he. The thong thing

He, he, he. The thong thing can work quite nicely on a female, but I think Bill was referring to this type of Sumo wrestling suite.

Greg can probably carry it off; seeing Lisa in one would be a shame.

what threat?

lisa could whip greg


You know what I find funny... Greg got his links... from Threadwatch and everywhere else because of this comical outage..

I donno if Greg link baited it for fun or just because he was seriously angry, but Greg has a tendency to get the link bait..


Greg made a stink about John Scott's V7N contest, and he got links.. this one is just along those lines... Greg trust me I am not outing you... I think link bait is freaking funny... especially when it works...

My best Greg Quote on Wired:

"I could create a blank page without a keyword anywhere present, or a 404 error message, and if I can get enough sites to link to it, I could get it to place first on Google,"

Stuff like that is pretty comical, and tends to get links...

So what

if he's getting tons of links that way now - it's what every SEO worth his or her salt would (or at least: should) do in his place, IMV. (Hey, his setup's called "WebGuerilla" for a reason!)

Call it link bait, call it a legit tantrum or a bit of both: Point is his complaint was perfectly legitimate and the Bruce Clay crew have shot themselves squarely in the foot in the process.

Which would've been quite unnecessary if they had done the professional thing instead of trying to wiggle their way out of it with lame excuses that are an insult to any seasoned SEO's intelligence, and acting like a bunch of hysterical chicken. But maybe, just maybe that's a must if you're more concerned with throwing about your views on "SEO ethics" rather than come to terms with the real world.

And yes, I agree it's quite hilarious.

To paraphrase Tolkien: "Don't meddle in the affairs of black hats for they are subtle and easy to anger." :-)
Serves 'em right.


(Hint to Lisa - you get to be treated as an adult professional or as a little girl, but not both. A lot of women in the generation ahead of yours, in a lot of fields, including one I am married to, fought a lot of fights so female professionals would not be treated like "young girls" in their professional relationships - think twice and be prepared to mass mail some apologies to your betters before you use that pathetic tactic again.)

How is being bitch slapped being treated like an adult professional? Your wife didn't fight the fight so that guys could bitch slap her when she makes a mistake. You might want to ask her about that.

Jill: The Goal Was To Be Judged on Behavior, Not Gender

"How is being bitch slapped being treated like an adult professional? Your wife didn't fight the fight so that guys could bitch slap her when she makes a mistake. You might want to ask her about that."

Being harshly criticized - which, urban lingo aside, is what being bitch slapped means in this context - is something that happens to adult professionals all the time. It comes with the territory.

My wife and my female colleagues got criticized on occasion. No one called it bitch slapping back then, but there were other equally physical analogies. People called it getting getting chewed out or getting flamed or getting shot down. The terms have changed, but the practice of criticizing someone for inappropriate professional behavior hasn't, nor has the tendency to use physical hyperbole to describe it.

Did my wife fight to not get criticized? No.

She fought to get criticized as a professional, on her professional behavior. She fought to get treated as a person doing a job, and not as someone defined by her gender.

To respond to criticism that, in its substance, was all about professional practices - i.e, whether a link should be given - with a retort that, in effect, says don't pick on me because I'm a young girl is, imho, really inappropriate.

The fight my wife and many of my female friends fought was precisely to be criticized about their professional behavior, and not about their gender. Lisa comes back and wants to undo that, to make it about her gender, and I think that is a huge mistake, for her personally in terms of being taken seriously as a professional, and for women generally. I think Lisa not only demeaned herself with that tactic, but struck a small blow against equal treatment of women.

Do you want to work in an industry where "young girls" get put in a special category and are treated differently from their male peers? When you mentor young women do you advise them it's a good idea to present themselves first and foremost as "young girls" as opposed to as intelligent and skilled professionals able to deliver top flight services? I bet not.

To the extent you are confused about the term bitch slapped, it's not a term that is used just when it criticizing women. It's an ugly term, with roots in a profoundly sexist and violent subculture, but its use is not limited to criticism of women. To take it literally would be like taking the term "I'm going to kick her butt" literally. You could be literal, but that would be idiotic.

One final point. As noted above, I don't know Greg Boser. He might be a pretty good guy who just grabbed a term from the current urban style without thinking too much, or he might be a total pig who picked a phrase that includes the word "bitch" with malice aforethought. Even if he is a total pig, picking on Lisa specifically because she is female, it does not, in my opinion, justify her in acting as if he was going to come by her office and engage in child abuse. If she has a case that he is a sexist or just generally a creep, or if she wants to argue that the term "bitch slapped" is not an appropriate one to use, she should make that case without positioning herself as a helpless little girl.

Greg got his links

and so did Bruce.

I don't know why I have anything to add to this...

But it's TW so why not.

First, to my ear a b' slap ain't something defined literally. I used to hear it all the time when I worked with people of high credential and low character. It usually meant to deliver a wakening upside the head "doh!" moment to a dope who would not otherwise recognize the need for such self-awareness. I would never expect a literal interpretation of "bitch slap" outside of certain late late night clubs in Manhattan (which I know nothing about!)

Second, let's play "one of these things is not like the other": Greg Boser, Bruce Clay, the DMA, and SEMPO.

Limp Bizkit said it best....

It's all about the "he said, she said" bullshit.


The fight my wife and many of my female friends fought was precisely to be criticized about their professional behavior, and not about their gender.

Agreed. Which is why it was so demeaning when Greg used that term to criticize her since "bitch" is in reference to females.

Not exactly, but your point is taken

I'm not defending Greg. Using the term "bitch slap" was at least poor judgment under the circumstances, and might or might not reflect something darker about his attitude toward females. The compound phrase is not the same linguistically as using the term "bitch" by itself, but other than noting the distinction I'm not going to defend the term or him. If I knew him, I might have an opinion as to whether he was just reaching for the flashy term or is a jerk toward women, but since I have never laid eyes on him that's a game someone else will have to play.

If Lisa had responded directly -- say, "Monkeyboy, we'll discuss this when you find a way to address me that does not include the word 'bitch'" -- you would have heard no objection from me. Had she played it that way, maybe all the follow up threads would be about how Greg used the term "bitch" when taking off after one of the few known-by-name females in the SEO space, and he would be the one backpedaling to save his reputation.

I think the way she did respond was weak, and a mistake. I know about mistakes, because I make a lot of them myself.


Ok everyone...INHALE.... EXHALE...

I know they don't generally use the 'no-follow'over there as a general rule (at least as recent as July) since I ended up there ‘vanity searching’ my own articles. They had made mention of one and it was the link that lead me back there. for the rest.. I am stayin outta that. Everyone has the right to do as they please with their site. I concentrate on my OWN business, not theirs.

Choice of words

Ok Jill,

let's factor out the choice of words, and let's say he used a gender non-specific word... let's say 'very bad person' was the choice of words used (from the movie 'Office Space')

Do you agree that what Lisa did was wrong in the first place with just rewriting Greg's content and then linking to it with a no-follow tag?


Do you agree that what Lisa did was wrong in the first place with just rewriting Greg's content and then linking to it with a no-follow tag?

Yeah, I agree it was wrong. But I also don't think it was any huge deal to deserve this much attention and discussion!

It's a freakin' link for christ's sake!

I agree with Matt Cutts on

I agree with Matt Cutts on this one, there is a whole lot of wackin' off going on these days. I wish people would go back to doing it in private but it does make for some good humor. :)

It isnt about

right or wrong. Its about being bush league and petty with a competitor who was worthy enough to be cited. Greg just called her out. I will agree that the headline may not have been the best choice - I would have gone with "Bitch Slapping Bruce Clay", after all it is his blog.

Started with a link, but then it just got more interesting

To start with, there was the glaring lack of a link. In response to Greg's comeback, there appeared a link - but with a no follow tag (as if, in this space, no one would notice). Finally, after ThreadWatch and other online fora got into the issue, a real link appeared. The explanations from the Bruce Clay site ("just an honest oversight") can't really be squared with the subsequent use of the no follow tag.

If it was just a forgotten link, a real link would have been added. End of story. To go through the permutations with the no follow tag suggests there is something more under the surface.

Maybe there is something to Bruce Clay telling his employees to avoid Greg Boser. That elevates it from a missing link to "why would that be" gossip. And we all love gossip.

Maybe there is something to

And maybe you're just trying to stir the pot.

Who, me?

It's Monday now. I have to get back to work. Time for someone else to take a turn at the cauldron.

Siding With Greg..

Greg has his own style, bruce has his own style. The SEO consulting industry is all about personality, skills, and respect. The more you have of each the bigger you seem to get. Sure there seems to be more to this than a simple link (ex. clashing of egos, competition or brilliant link baiting) however, I think it was unprofessional / low blow for bruce/lisa not to at least acknowledge greg's quality post in a form of a link, after all when you get down to it, lisa was using greg's high quality content to build up there own brand / followers.

When you have a training school dedicated to ethics, standards, and good just seems a bit too hypocritically to me...Using the no-follow link just adds fuel to the flame.

This a big linkbait circlejerk?

I mean, it isn't like Bruce Clay was caught pagejacking again...

Would you pay $60k per month to hire someone to spam the SE's?

There's more in the pond than the ducks and ripples you see on the surface.

This sort of link bait has value, for sure, especially among the general public where all publicity is good publicity, how many times can you say Bruce Clay and Greg Boser in the same SEO discussion, blah blah blah. But it also has a negative impact on those who know what's beneath the surface of the pond. The casual reader will never learn of that, but the bigger customers will (because competitors like me will show it to them given a chance). Keep bickering and keep pointing out the details, please.

about mud

I hear what you are saying John, but if you go historic with Clay it gets a lot more controversial than this. Yet he has built himself up a nice business over the years.

Exactly, littleman. Exactly.

Exactly, littleman. Exactly.


I mean, it isn't like Bruce Clay was caught pagejacking again...

Okay, now THAT was funny!

So fill me in

What are all these stories?

just wait

Just wait, Raycam. They'll come around again ;-)

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