When I was leaving work today I caught a glimpse of a blog post about a trademark on the keyword “SEO Columbus.” Basically, some SEO in Columbus who went by the name SEO Columbus had sent a few threatening emails to some other SEO in the Columbus area who used the same word on his blog asking him to take it down. (If you want the back story, it’s all here.) I see this shit all the time so I paid no attention to it and went to go work out.
I couldn’t believe all the “SEO Columbus” crap that was waiting for me when I got home. Wow! In a mere few hours the SEO community banded together and beat the virtual crap out of Mr SEO Columbus (whose actual name I’m going to protect in this post)
We’re talking all out ORM barrage here. Facebook groups, youtube channels, blog posts on major SEO blogs, sucks domains, and tweets. Nothing was spared. It really amazed me how quickly and cohesively the SEO community banded together. I’m just a little ashamed it was over an SEO Columbus trademark abuse.
It just goes to show: the SEO community is a tight one (both in and out of Columbus) and you don’t want to piss us off. (trust me on this. I’ve done plenty of that in the past.)
It’s also a good reminder of the importance of SEO for ORM. SEO isn’t a stand alone practice anymore. It’s quickly merged with social media and ORM to form one monster of a profession – and if you don’t keep up you can find yourself on the outs quickly (just ask
Joe SEO Columbus about that.)
So How Can I Avoid An SEO Columbus Fiasco From Happening To Me?
Good question. Here’s a few SEO/ORM tips to avoid your own ORM disaster.
- Don’t be a dick. This goes without saying. If you’re not a douchebag you won’t have to worry about ORM – but let’s face it, being a bit snarky can be fun and we all sometimes make mistakes.
- Register [yourname]Sucks.com If you don’t, the first SEO you piss off WILL register it. While you’re at it, pick up the .net, .org, .info, .ws, .us, and .co version of your name. I just checked a few minutes ago and most of the upcoming SMX West speakers still don’t own the .co version of their names. Remember (as some of us learned the hard way by being assholes) it’s perfectly legal to own the “sucks” and “I hate” version of somebody else’s brand. In this case, there’s nothing SEO Columbus can do about another SEO owning seocolumbussucks.com As long as he states it’s his opinion that it sucks and sticks to factual information he’s not breaking any laws. (Disclaimer: IANAL)
- If you do fuck up, eat it. You’ve gotta own that shit. Admit to what you did wrong, apologize (sincerely) and learn from your mistakes. The SEO community will actually respect that. Trust me. I’ve pissed off a lot of people in the past but I apologized and offered to make amends and now several of them still offer to buy me drinks at conferences. (Note: I’m a nice guy now, and I don’t go around pissing people off anymore.) My gut tells me if this guy would have said “my bad, sorry guys” and let it be none of this would have happened and he’d still be ranking #1 in Google for seo columbus instead of scurrying to re-brand himself and his business.
- Establish a social media presence – even if you don’t plan on using it. You don’t just have to worry about domain names anymore, you also need to worry about social media sites. Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Blogger, FourSquare, Quora, DailyBooth, Blippy, the list goes on and on and on. (check out KnowEm for a good place to start on this. ) Then use them. Join the community. Say Hi. Build friends. In this case, nobody knew who SEO Columbus was so nobody stuck up for him (granted, when the full details were revealed it was clear he didn’t deserve sticking up for.) If he had been involved in the community though, somebody would have sent him a DM and said “dude, chill out it’s no big deal. Just say sorry.” Instead, this guy used his twitter account like a billboard. He only posted relevant “columbus” garbage and didn’t engage anybody. He had nobody in his corner when the bell rang, and the SEO community came out swinging.
If you want to do SEO in Columbus (Or Detroit, or anywhere) then you’ve got to follow those basic rules. Respect the community, establish your presence, apologize if you fuck up, and don’t be a dick. After that, it’s all beer drinking and profit. Hopefully well all learn from SEO Columbus (I know I have.)
And by the way. If you ever run into this guy at a conference and he’s actually eating some humble crow, buy him a beer to help wash it down. No doubt he could use it.