No, Just Lying About It Is NOT Effective Reputation Management

Well, I swear to toss some truth in... that count? If your reputation management strategy is going to be centered around lying about things, then you should at least have the sense to lie in ways that aren’t easy to refute. For instance, you should steer well clear from trying to lie about things that were said publicly on the Internet. It takes a special kind of stupid, honestly, to think that you won’t be called on it. For real now.

Daniel Scocco said it best on Daily Blogging Tips last year, in his post titled, “Put Honesty and Integrity Above Everything Else“:

One slip and you will ruin your reputation for good. And there are no erasers on the Internet. – Daniel Scocco

Obviously, this is true for more than just what you put out there on your blog. It extends to all forms of communication on the internet that are indexed and searchable: Twitter, Plurk, Digg/Sphinn/Mixx/blog comments… and of course, forum posts.

Recently Michael Martinez wrote a blog post having to do with some experimentation dealing with multiple links from one page to another, and whether they all passed weight or only the first one counted (the second scenario is what mine and others’ testing showed). The results of his test aren’t really that important, and contain more words than substance, but at the end of his post he felt the need to include the following assertion:

Mr. VanDeMar has been bashing me on various occasions for at least a year. He made the comment on the SEO Scientist blog that you can safely ignore me because 9 times out of 10 I’m wrong. Frankly, after being flamed and attacked by him numerous times on SEO Refugee I just stopped trying to respond to his nonsense. People who resort to unprofessional behavior and poison pen campaigns in order to win arguments will never impress me as being knowledgable or trustworthy. Anyone who wants to believe Michael VanDeMar’s assertions about me, PageRank, or anything else is more than welcome to. But I will certainly appreciate people ignoring all the flame-bait and insults and reaching their own conclusions (about how often I may be right or wrong) based on the evidence I provide. – Michael Martinez

I did in fact make the statement that 9 times out of 10 he is wrong about what he says. This was based on interactions with him personally over the past 2 years or so, and a random sampling of posts or comments he has made that other people have seen fit to show me. I do not read his blog on a regular basis, so there is always a chance that my estimation of his bs percentage is slightly off… but I have yet to see anything to make me feel that I would be off by much.

The “flaming” that Michael refers to in his commentary started on SEO Refugee Forums a couple of years ago, because apparently trying to get him to clarify statements he makes is an offense against his sensibilities, and grounds for him to start acting like an asshole. Among the claims I was trying to get clear on were concepts such as:

  • You can have off-page optimization without having links.
  • You can have competitive phrases that hardly anyone else is trying to rank for.
  • All links have seo value (said on his blog) and link building is useless (said in the forum) are both true statements.

When faced with these questions, Michael’s response was to immediately get belligerent and very, very wordy, as if just piling on more words and obfuscating the issues would prove his point. It was extremely similar to the tactic that Rand Fishkin used the following year when confronted about his own words, with one very clear distinction… it really and truly did appear that Michael Martinez had somehow convinced himself that his statements made sense.

I commented on Michael’s blog, trying to point out the truth to him, again, about what was actually said back then. Of course, as with most emotionally challenged people, having evidence to refute the reality they have built up in their minds is simply unacceptable, so he did delete the comment. Since I had a strong feeling he would do that, I went ahead and saved it first:


Mr. VanDeMar has been bashing me on various occasions for at least a year. He made the comment on the SEO Scientist blog that you can safely ignore me because 9 times out of 10 I’m wrong. Frankly, after being flamed and attacked by him numerous times on SEO Refugee I just stopped trying to respond to his nonsense.

See, Michael, it’s complete and utter bullshit such as that causing you and I to not get along. I’d say you were simply lying through your teeth, except that I honestly think you’ve deluded yourself into believing what you post. Not that I expect you to actually allow this comment to go live, but here is the exact “flaming” you are referring to.

Started here, when I tried to get you to clarify some statements that you made and then you got belligerent, after which you refused to reply to me and started referring to me as a troll:

Continued here, where I disagreed with an assertion you tried to make, that Toolbar PageRank, because it was a rounded value and not an exact figure, could not be passed on:

From that point on, in a very troll-like manner, you simply refused to back up anything you said. Now, of course, this being the internet, all of our conversations are still out there for everyone to see… so of course, feel free to “debunk” this claim by through links or exact quotes you feel are relevant. You’ll find my questioning your claims on how someone can have off-page optimization that has nothing to do with links. You’ll see where I pointed out that you made this claim in a forum post:

I’ve seen the insults. I’ve seen the disagreements. I’ve seen the attempts to box me with meanings for my words that I didn’t associate with them. But I haven’t seen anything to persuade me that there might be a reason to care about backlinks or to believe they are relevant to SEO.

which is a statement you made a mere 3 weeks after making this claim on your blog:

Just because people have engaged in cheap link building strategies with low-value sites doesn’t mean that all links from unrelated pages are harmful or unhelpful. Quite the contrary: most such links do help, and in many cases they help better than so-called “relevant links from relevant pages”.

You’re trying to call me a troll for pointing out your completely meaningless and contradictory statements? Michael, in case you didn’t know it, your behavior is the very definition of “troll”. You come to the forums and other people’s blogs, spewing this nonsense, and you do it with the attitude that other people must be idiots. You come off insulting people from the get go.

It’s obvious to me that your brain is cooked, and that you should be pitied… but you make it very hard to emphasize, Michael, when you behave like an ass.

Why don’t you go ahead and let this comment go live, with the links and quotes intact, and allow people to decide for themselves if your claims about me are true, Michael. – Michael VanDeMar

So, Michael, if you truly meant what you said about people drawing their own conclusions about you based on the evidence you provide, then maybe you should consider not trying to actually hide some of the evidence. Just a thought. 😀

1 thought on “No, Just Lying About It Is NOT Effective Reputation Management”

  1. If you lie, you’ll get caught. Plain and simple. Making yourself an indispensable source of information, on the other hand, can establish your credibility, reputation and identity as an authority marketer. The more helpful and valuable your information is the greater the chance those customers will purchase from you. This is the concept of attraction marketing – develop ongoing relationships with clients and moving them along the buying path in your communications to greatly increase profits on autopilot. These clients will also bring in more business for you via referrals.

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