January 16, 2008

"Confessions of an internet trouble marketer."

As an internet expert, it's my job to stay on top of the best ways to design, manage, and market websites, as well as online brands and identities. Over the past few years I have come to learn that, sometimes there are design or marketing tactics that don't fall within the boundaries of "moral standards" that get the job done better than any other tactic.

These tactics involve programming hacks, tricks with graphics, spamming a network, and more. No internet marketer is free of these tactics, because they all end up benefiting someone - and they are a lot of fun to play around with (just ask Neil Patel).

Sure, the tactics hurt others in the industry who are trying to use REAL strategies to build brands. And sure, the tactics are a type of "cheat", but that doesn't mean they're not fun to mess with and research results.

So, because this is the 100th post for Internet Hunger, I would like to dedicate this post to some of the "darker" tactics I have used in the past. That's right, these are confessions of an internet trouble marketer.

Before you go on to read my confessions, please note that these tactics have been used solely for research purposes and never for actual work. Using "dark hat", immoral, or cheap marketing tactics are not recommended for anything other than studying the effects they cause, and these examples do not demonstrate the quality or type of work I do on a regular basis.

Real marketers stick to real marketing.

I don't really have THAT many friends. - While working on a few different approaches to gaining popularity on Digg.com, I discovered a way to get a fairly large amount of friends (both fans and mutual) in a short amount of time. While I am not a very active member of the site, I have manged to gain quite a few fans with a minimal amount of effort.

Whether it involved voting up articles and requesting friendship in return, spamming a network of mutual friends to gain quick adds, or randomly voting up material for one category, I cheated my way to being "popular" on Digg - not that I care for being popular on Digg.

The result of befriending hundreds of other users? I found that my submissions to the site began to get a lot more attention than they had before. Even if I didn't shout a story, its odds of being voted to the home page increased dramatically. Instead of getting four or five votes for a story, I could now expect a minimum of 20 or more in a matter of minutes.

It's fun to see other people's articles go hot because of my faux relationships on the social website. And I have a lot of things planned to mess with the community a bit more.

Don't hate me for it, something good will come of my research on Digg.com... someday.

I am obsessed with links. - One of the most crucial aspects of internet marketing is links. Getting links, giving links, links, links, links, links, links. And I am unlike most internet marketers because I am literally obsessed with links.

Whether it's a best friend, a family member, a co-worker, a random blogger, or anyone at all... I will ask for a link from their website.

Unlike most "link obsessed", I try to avoid coming across as a complete idiot. But I still get antsy every time I hear the word "Page Rank" and if anyone ever mentions a possible link to my site I quickly try to find a way to repay them.

I love links and I'm not afraid to admit that I'm addicted to getting them.

Speaking of which: if you would like to point a link from your website my direction right about now, I would be forever thankful and would most likely link back... several times over the next few months.

I dropped a Google bomb. Or two. - While we're on the topic of links, I have to confess that I am absolutely fascinated by Google bombs, and have participated in several over the past few months. Not only do they work, but they last (and often bring in some nice traffic).

A Google bomb (for those who aren't aware) is when you bring up specific results in a search engine for a keyword. For example: instead of finding his person blog, when doing a search for "Matt Cutts", the results for the search would be "bombed" to present a website for the upcoming presidential elections.

Google bombs are not only a horribly sad way to change rankings in search engines, they're often considered to be illegal. But when you're changing the rankings for small keywords - like "Tanner knows his SEO" - there is more fun and insight to be had than damages.

But I've done it, and I will continue to be fascinated by the fact that such a thing is possible.

I blog to share, not to discuss. - The last confession I want to make today is all about Internet Hunger. If you hadn't noticed yet: there are no comments on Internet Hunger. You would imagine that an internet-related blog such as this one would adore comments and opinions from others, but you would be wrong.

Internet Hunger is not a place for discussion. It's a place for ideas and thoughts, nothing more. If you don't like what you read here, disagree on your own blog and never come back. However, if you like what you read, come back often and I'll do my best to provide you with some entertaining or valuable content.

That's it for my confessions. What would you confess?