Pubcon 2007 was my first SEO convention, and I absolutely loved it. I went looking for new link building ideas, and was floored by one – social media marketing. I listened to Cameron Olthius, Neil Patel, Michael Gray, & Rand talk about methodology & case studies, and I soaked it up.
I’m not an SEO by trade – I’m a real estate broker who SEO’s his own sites (and works on side projects.) I knew going into SMM, that selling anything real estate related to the digg crowd would be difficult. But…..
I got the digg rush, and then the typical digg overdose. My server crashed, the digg guys talked smack about it, I stayed on the phone w/ my host for 2 hours, and then I went back live. I climbed to 1000+ digs, it was picked up & went popular on Reddit, and the Stumblers found & loved it. Over the next week the backlinks just kept rolling in.
Then…I was forwarded this: (click on images for full communication)
And…..my baptism by fire into the world of reputation management was rolling.
I was floored. I knew of Mert Sahinoglu, but had never really had any direct contact with him – he’d commented on my blog a couple of times, but that was it. I immediately called him to see if he’d actually sent the contact form. He answered the phone, I introduced myself, and he immediately hung up.
I shot him an email asking, “what’s up?” He responded by firing a mass email, blind copying the recipients.
The same day, I received two emails from other agents featured in the original digg post. They were pissed. They had not seen the digg post until Mert contacted them and informed them of the post. His email not only told them of the post, but advised them to sue.
And then….more attacks:
Reputation Management by Fire
Step #1 Assess & prioritize the damages
- Threats of Litigation
- Damage to reputation through email & forum attacks
- Potential damage through search rankings
Step #2 React to Each Attack
- The only winners in any lawsuit are the attorneys, so I immediately pulled the piece and apologized to the angry agents. No attorneys contacted me.
- I immediately sent a mass email to agents I speculated would be on Mert’s original mailing list, in order to explain what had occurred, and to clarify that I had done nothing to provoke the attack. I received many supportive emails & phone calls as a result.
- I then posted my own explanation of the original blog, and 301 redirected the original piece to the new blog, in the hopes that I would not lose any garnered backlinks. At last count, the original post has 1700+ links.
- I emailed friends & colleagues & asked that they comment on my response, in order to guide the conversation. This got the ball rolling in a positive direction, and there were 19 supportive comments at last count.
Important Points to Note
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of medicine. I’ve always been active on many social networking sites, and I have more than a few blogs w/ decent PR. Because of this, Mert’s blog wasn’t able to climb any higher than the bottom of page 2 for my name.
Silence speaks volumes. Mert’s forum & blog posts fell on deaf ears. Because of the lack of response, there was no need to lend it any credibility through a response.
Unless you’re wrong, stick to your guns. My blog explanation clarified my position, but did not apologize.
Don’t become gun shy! 700+ diggs & another crashed server.