For the average web publisher, free traffic is our lifeblood. Thats why SEO gets a lot more attention in this industry than PPC marketing (advertising-side), e-mail marketing, conversions, etc. Hell, I would say SEO is probably the number one thing on most of our minds.
Last week a sixth grader was suspended from school for giving Jolt gum to another student. The problem? The gum contains caffeine, a stimulant banned by the school (nevermind that they sell soda in the cafeteria.) The response from Jolt — a $1,000 scholarship. That $1,000 has bought Jolt a hell of a lot of publicity for a very small price (and made the school administration look like complete asses, but thats a different story.)
Jump over to Sweden; last week Swedish police raided the servers of a search engine called “The Pirate Bay.” This website was a search engine that allowed people to find BitTorrent files on the internet. Incidently, most of those files are for copyrighted work including movies, software, games, books, etc. Immediately following the raid the MPAA issued a press release detailing, among other things, that The Pirate Bay was raking in $60,000 a month from advertising. Fast forward to yesterday, the site is back up, under a new name The Police Bay. Along with hundreds of people in Stolkholm protesting the raid the owner issued a statement saying the site would be “bigger and better than ever.”
Think back to 1999 to early 2000 and the days of Napster. Simliar events transpired. While Napster ultimately was shut down its owner was able to spin the RIAA’s attacks and make a killing in the process.
This post isn’t about the ethics of piracy or whether kids should be allowed to injest caffeine in school. Thats not the point. The point is that good marketers can not only fend off their attackers but that they can turn them into homeruns.
Right now Shawn Hogan, the founder of Digital point, is doing taking on the MPAA. Whether he wins or not, its going to give digitalpoint some killer backlinks. I don’t think that is his intention or goal, but it will happen regardless.
Lets call this matyrdom SEO.