Derek Powazek – Spammers, Evildoers, and Opportunists

Derek Powazek – Spammers, Evildoers, and Opportunists

Search Engine Optimization is not a legitimate form of marketing. It should not be undertaken by people with brains or souls. If someone charges you for SEO, you have been conned.

It’s hard for me to explain, but I’ve always felt like there’s something dirty and wrong about jobs where people make a living from “gaming the system.”  Let me give some examples that may help say what I mean.

To me, these jobs are “honest work”:

  • Making something of value, whether it’s a house or lunch or a shirt
  • Solving problems in the world, which includes things like medicine, diplomacy, and auto repair
  • Creating something that brings joy to another, like painting and music

On the other hand, these jobs don’t seem like “honest work”:

  • Stock trading, which is essentially legalized gambling with other people’s money
  • Government bureaucrats who oversee other government bureaucrats for the purpose of perpetuating government bureaucracy

The “not honest work” type of jobs are those where people don’t actually make a product or provide a service, but instead make money by talking about other people who make a product.  Or whose livelihood is based on some derivative of the actual work.

When I was a kid, I didn’t like peas.  I still don’t, really.  But when I was a kid, and I didn’t want to eat my peas, sometimes I’d just push them around the plate and try to mash them into other food bits.  Mom wasn’t fooled, of course.  She’d point out, “You’re not really eating your peas, you’re just pushing them around your plate.”  To me, the “honest work” jobs are like really eating the peas, and the “not honest work” jobs are like pushing them around the plate and hoping nobody notices that you’re not really eating them.

From what little I know about “search engine optimization” it seems like a “not honest work” type of job.  There are people who make good websites with useful information.  That seems like eating your peas.  But then there are others whose job is to “game the system” of search engines to get more people to visit a particular site in hopes those people buy something there.  To me, that’s just pushing the peas around the plate.

The article I linked to boils down to “make something cool and sell it.”  This is in contrast to trying to trick people into viewing things that aren’t really cool, in hopes they buy them instead of the stuff that is really cool.

Search engines nowadays, ever since the rise of Google, are very good at naturally ranking the “cool” stuff high on the page of search results.  Leave Google alone and it finds the cool stuff on its own.  So it feels most “honest” to focus effort on making cool stuff, and just let Google just do its job.

Categorized as Drivel


  1. According to your definition of work, writers are not doing real work. And I really don’t know what kind of government bureaucrats you’re talking about. Lots of them work hard, every day.

    And it sounds like a CIA analyst doesn’t do real work. I think SEO optimization is a useful thing. I want to learn more about it so I can drive traffic to my blog. Some methods are more ethical than others, but there is nothing wrong with trying to succeed within the system that Google set up.

    Complaining about people who teach Internet marketing is like complaining about people who teach writing. Some of both are ethical and truly want to help other people improve. Some are out just to make a buck.

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