When All Your Marketeer Has Is A Hammer

This could have been another Readers Mailbag, marketeering version, based on two particular emails that arrived this week, but rather than posting the usual snarky response, a little more directed parsing might prove more useful.

Dear webmaster,

I’m writing today to ask that you remove any and all links leading to CriminalJusticeDegreesGuide.com from your site, blog.simplejustice.us. They can be found on blog.simplejustice.us/2008/12/07/10-blawging-dos-and-donts/.

We are constantly monitoring the activity on our pages. When things slow, we look
at the relevancy of our content. We have decided that the resources you’re
linking to are no longer adding value to our site, and this is a head’s up is to
let you know of their pending removal. Your removal of the links will be a great
help.

Thank you for your time,
Andrew

Over the years, I’ve received tens of thousands of emails asking that for a link exchange. It’s part of a marketing scam, where blogs and websites link back and forth to add to their Google juice, create the appearance of popularity or internet prominence, and push them forward in the search engines.  One of the worst offenders over the years has been Andrew’s website.

At the same time, Criminal Justice Degrees has come up with some imaginative scams, such as creating lists of the “100 Best Law Blogs,” and offering a badge to the blogger, which contains a link back to their site. Bloggers love lists, love validation and rush to put the badges on their website to prove how fabulous they are. The website then basks in the glory of the bloggers foolishness and low self-esteem.

The post Andrew refers to isn’t an homage to his website, or appreciation for being put on one of their scam lists. No, it’s a post ridiculing the scam and the website, and alerting others that being “named” to their 100 Best list is nothing more than a backlink sham.

Now that Google has chosen to penalize websites that engage in scams, they want the link down. Where before, any backlink was a good backlink, the search engines have figured out who is trying  to play them, and punishes them for their deception. So Andrew has sent out emails, to me and no doubt hundreds of others asking that the link be removed.

What he fails to comprehend, no doubt because he never bothered to take a look at my post, is that I wasn’t part of his scam. I didn’t throw him a link to deceive the search engines, and thus trick the public. And his email now, oblivious as to why there is a link in my post about his website, assumes that I included it because I was a willing participant in his scam.

Therein lies the rub, that marketeers assume lawyers are either all scammers, just like them, or pigeons to be sucked dry for our stupidity. The notion that his link is in my post for a substantive reason never dawned on him: it’s all a big scam and there could be no other reason than our all playing a role in it.

In another email, another marketeer, a young fellow named Philip, complains about my being a bitter old lawyer whose purpose in life is making the job of young marketeers like him unpleasant. He reveals quite a bit in his effort. This email is worthy of deconstruction.

Hi Scott,

My name is Phillip J. [x] and I recently sent you an inquiry for a guest blog post on behalf of one of my clients, [x]. You took that friendly email and pasted on to your blog with a fairly rude commentary about how I, my company and the client were “sleazy and worthless” as seen  here: http://blog.simplejustice.us/2013/06/30/readers-mailbag-volume-27/  Surely you must understand that this is simply my job(for now) and I am following my daily tasks.

Yes, Philip, I do understand that this is “simply” your job. Some people have jobs that help feed the hungry or house the homeless. Some people have jobs that include inflicting pain on others. Some people have jobs that involve selling worthless securities to the elderly or deceive the public. Yes, this is your job. Have you considered robbing banks instead?

Honestly I send out at least a hundred of those emails a day attempting to pitch the possibility of a guest post. Most people ignore them, some will reply and say no thank you, and then there are the few that actually except the offer and we send them an article. Its a hit and miss type of situation. But you have somehow taken a personal insult to me sending you the same letter I sent 4 other lawyers who by the way, didn’t immaturely blast me on there blog.

Was I immature? Is that how it seems to a baby marketeer? Perhaps I was, but here’s a protip: If you want someone to do you a favor, calling them names probably isn’t the best tack to take. But I took no personal insult. Your grasp is still that of the baby marketeer, assuming that I am part of the marketing ecosystem upon which the guest post scam relies.

You are correct, I didn’t fully look at your blog site before I sent it because someone else finds the sites and I write the pitches. If I had taken a look at your blog I would have instantly seen it consists of countless rants about other lawyers. I must admit you are quite the bitter man if you spend your free time(assuming you are as big an attorney as you claim), which couldn’t be much complaining and belittling fellow lawyers.

Well, this is certainly an odd way to persuade me to do you a favor. I might take personal insult but for the fact that your understanding is that of the baby marketeer. I realize that it must seem that way to you, and your lashing out is merely a manifestation of your inability to understand what lawyers do, who lawyers are. Rather than understand the point of my “countless rants,” all you see is bitterness at the damage I inflict on others for their participation in the scam you call your job. By the way, work on your writing so your sentences comport with the basic rules of the language.

You would think in this time and age when even lawyers are struggling to find work you would be more understanding and maybe even helpful. But no…. you would rather be a tyrant. With this being said some of your post are kind of funny in a Simon Cowell type of way and the one above mine is especially comical. Perhaps you could use the same tone to inform fellow up and coming lawyers how to market themselves since you seem to be quite the guru at that. You would have to be, since you look down on my client for outsourcing his marketing to a “marketing” company like every other company worth mentioning does. But the type of marketing that my company does I must say is highly unethical and quite spammy not to mention the fact that backlinking is pretty much obsolete. Nice of you to put two links in your post, it didn’t hurt the company but it isn’t the type of links they would like.

Yes, lawyers are struggling. No, that doesn’t make it acceptable that they engage in scams and deception in the hope of making a buck, any more than it provides a justification to steal purses from old ladies or rob banks.  But, your admission that your company’s marketing is “highly unethical and quite spammy” leads me to think you aren’t merely a dumbass kid in need of a job. Rather, you know what you are doing is wrong, but just don’t care. So it’s not merely a job, and you know that what you do harms people and don’t give a damn? That’s unfortunate and disturbing.

Honestly though, I could care less about either of their names being smeared in your post, since publicity is publicity no matter how it comes. What I would like is for you to please remove my middle initial and last name from the blog however.  Like I mentioned before I am simply doing my job, wether I agree with the methods or not. I am freshly out of college and am currently looking for other job opportunities and when you type my name into a search engine as all employers do this blog post is one of the top 5 results. I would rather not have the affiliation with this and ask that you delete my full name. You may still put Phillip and the post will hold the same value, it just won’t be tied to my direct name. Surely you were young and looking for a job opportunity once in your life, please don’t taint my chances with this post. Thank you.

Maybe there is hope for you, Philip. Despite your narcissistic effort to belittle me for my post, and despite your admission that you are engaged in a deliberate scam, you want out. I am particularly sympathetic to your being freshly out of college, both because of the difficult job market and because of the foolish, no, idiotic, things that young people do. It explains much about both of your emails, even this one where you want a favor of me and think the way to get it is to use your childish wit to cut me down to size, as if I need you to like me. That’s a kid thing, Philip. I’m no kid.

Let me point out one detail worth some extra thought on your part. Do you know why my post comes up when someone Googles your name? No SEO, no backlinks, no scam that makes Google put my posts on the front page. It’s what marketeers call “organic,” and that’s my “guru” secret. Do good work. Write things that other people choose to read. Write things that help people rather than help yourself. That’s the magic, Philip. It’s not hard to grasp, but it’s pretty damn hard to do.

But I was young once, and I did foolish things too. So despite your silly and offensive effort to convince me to help you, I’m going to help you. I will remove your last name from the old post and this one, though not your middle initial. When you get a job that helps people rather than deceives them, let me know and I will pull that as well. You need to earn my favor by showing that you’ve learned something from this episode, not the least of which is not to engage in deceit.

And there is one last point that needs making. Too bad your email only showed concern for yourself, at the expense of your client. He’s a fool who sold his integrity to get involved in your marketing scam, but he likely didn’t know any better. Because of this, I’ve taken the liberty of removing his name from your email, as he doesn’t deserve a second dose of ridicule based on your second email.

A lot of lawyers are clueless about the web, and don’t realize that things marketeers do on their behalf compromise their integrity. The way they learn is from posts like mine, which is why immature bitter people like me write them. Yet, you left your client under the bus to save yourself.

But then, you’re still just a baby marketeer, and it’s all about you. I hope this has had a small impact on you, and that perhaps you will dedicate yourself to doing something more worthwhile with your life.

Best,

Phillip

Best, Scott.  And you’re welcome.

8 comments on “When All Your Marketeer Has Is A Hammer

  1. G3Ken762mm

    Ouch. I didn’t catch the initial back and forth at first glance when I saw the word “except” in place of “accept”. Initially, I thought “how did he (SHG) slip so badly”, but then awoke from my coma. I loved your response. As you had mentioned, sometimes you need to be somewhat abrupt, or even mean, with folks. You gave him more than fair treatment in your post, although I doubt he would see it that way.

    I am deeply disturbed at what is coming from “college graduates” these days. I am no guru on grammar, but I do have a fairly decent grasp of it and so much of what is written these days is cringe-worthy, at best. That he chose to denigrate his employer publicly is equally disturbing. Regardless of their integrity, or lack thereof, he accepts a weekly paycheck on their behalf and doesn’t grasp the fact that he is equally responsible for their actions. Jobs are hard to come by, but even as a young man, I walked away from a number of interviews where I felt uncomfortable with the position and its ethics. I would like to think this was an exception, rather than the rule, but have my doubts.

    1. SHG Post author

      As a younger man, more inclined to seek approval of others, I was far less “abrupt” in my language. Most of the time, it resulted in my communication being muddled and the point either lost or misconstrued so badly as to be pointless. I’ve learned.

      1. Rick

        I’m learning this lesson myself. The more careful I get to ensure my message is communicated the “meaner” people tell me that I am.

        At first it bothered me. Now I let the chips fall where they may.

        1. SHG Post author

          People feel entitled to respect. They’re not. Respect is earned, not an entitlement. When the message isn’t what they think they deserve, they get all angry. They’ll get over it. If not, so what?

  2. C. N. Nevets

    These marketing companies try to tap into every industry and with the same basic pitch. As a writer, I get an awful lot of these scams that use nearly the exact same language. In fact, I’m pretty sure that most of Phillip’s “pitch-writing” involves either templates or copy-and-paste.

    1. SHG Post author

      True, but when it comes to lawyers, there’s a significant difference. We don’t sell laundry detergent. We have ethical obligations of honesty and integrity that other industries don’t. This is what distinguishes a profession from a business, although too many lawyers have failed (for their own financial benefit) to grasp this critical distinction, and disgrace us all by their actions. And the marketeers, as Philip notes, are just trying to make money any way they can. There are no ethics involved.

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