How to ruin your business by not knowing when to shut up.
You know who Ken Evoy is, right? Of course you don’t. I didn’t either.
Basically, Ken is the online equivalent of one of those “make money from home” guys you see on TV — the infomercial guys with offers that sound too good to be true. He offers a service called Site Build It, which promises a simple solution to help folks with great ideas build and monetize websites in a snap. Sounds great, right?
Well, Ken’s been on a rampage for a couple years now, complaining about Google and the existence of “the Googlebomb” — a threat so heinous that it threatens us all. In a nutshell, a Googlebomb is the use of nefarious tactics to get a page ranked high in Google search results for a particular term. Ken claims he was a victim of a Googlebomb (in fact, he likely was). The short story is that a blogger named Lis Sowerbutts wrote a scathing review of SBI!, calling it a scam. Then a few folks helped jack her post up in Google rankings by using backlinks. To this day, Sowerbutts’ post ranks no. 1 in Google for “site build it scam.”
Evoy has made it a personal quest to eliminate Googlebombs. Or maybe just his. Or maybe just to get Google to admit they still exist. Frankly, I’m not sure. What I am sure about is that he is all over the Internet, posting long-winded comments on every blog without a word limit in the comments section.
I first heard of SBI! when a client of mine read about it and asked my opinion. Like any decent consultant, I cased the service for him. My impression? Meh. To Ken’s credit, the site doesn’t promise overnight success. In some respects, it follows the mantra I’ve repeated for years: Work hard. In order to make money on a website through SBI!, you still have to pay for hosting, still have to create content, still need to advertise. It’s not a magic bullet, by any means. My recommendation to my client was the service may be worth a try, but I didn’t see it offering anything more than he could get cheaper and better by using a WordPress install.
What troubled me, however, were Ken’s rants, which I started seeing all over the Internet. And the more I saw, the less I trusted him. The more I read, the less I believed he was doing right by his clients. In fact, Ken’s own success isn’t based on his own system — it’s based on selling his system. And sure, Ken has lots of testimonials from clients on his website and around the Internet, but many of those are affiliates — folks who make money selling his system to others.
Recently a friend of mine wrote his own blog post about the Googlebomb, citing Ken’s problems. Ken, of course, couldn’t resist commenting. Frankly, I couldn’t either. And I let my own opinion fly:
You know what would be awesome? If Mr. Evoy spent more time running his business and less time running around the web, commenting (at length) about this issue. Do Googlebombs exist? Sure. Fine. You’ve proved it. The best thing you can do now is to concentrate on getting positive reviews of your business online. Make your customers happy. If there are 100 positive reviews for every bad one, well, you’re doing just fine.
Interestingly, what Ken has managed to do is draw more and more attention to Ms. Sowerbutts’s post. The more attention he draws there, the more Google believes it’s a legit post.
To be honest, it sounds like Ken doesn’t like the content of the post, and doesn’t want people to read it. Whatever the case, he’s made himself look maniacal with the number and length of comments he’s made regarding the topic — not someone I’d want to give my money to.
Admittedly, my comment was not good-natured. What followed was a mind-boggling exchange with Mr. Evoy in which he attacked my work, ridiculed the Alexa ranking of sites I’ve built, and insinuated my clients would be better off with his service than mine.
Well, I’ve seen Ken’s top performers, and of this I’m sure: Ken’s clients don’t make near as much as mine do. And they do it without gaudy web traffic. And you know who gets richest off Ken’s service? Ken. That’s what he’s selling.
How do my clients perform so well? They aren’t Internet marketers. They’re brick-and-mortar businesses. They aren’t making money off AdWords. They’re making money selling real goods and real services to real humans — humans they’ve met. My clients include a national cable installer, one of the nation’s top gift-basket companies, a company that sells network security solutions, the nation’s premier rifle barrel manufacturer. I’m building sites for municipalities, nonprofit organizations and small, local community shops. And I’m worried about Alexa rankings? Why?
I’ll tell you why I’m not. I’m not because a small-town health club owner doesn’t need fake traffic from Russia. She needs REAL traffic from the town she’s in. And that’s what I provide. A cable installer wouldn’t benefit in the least from thousands of visits per day — he needs one visit from a $25 million client. And that visit comes from a phone call — not a Google search. When that client hits the site, he’d better be grabbed by what he sees. It must be visually appealing, easy to read, and not be obviously created to pander to search engines. It had better be written FOR that visitor.
Ken and his ilk are so tied up worried about pagerank that they’ve forgotten business fundamentals: Find your niche. Treat your customers right. Provide exemplary service. That’s what I do for my clients. I work tirelessly to give them great service, websites they can be proud to show off, advice that’s based on real-world experience. Because of that, my clients’ websites have been very successful.
I have no doubt, however, that Ken is more successful than I am. Not only does SBI! seem to be bringing in clients, but Ken has made a big show of informing me that he needn’t run his business anymore; he has a “senior management team” that does it for him.
I put a call in to SBI! and I found out some interesting information. According to the gentleman I talked to, the company has 40,000 clients. Some 20,000 of them, he told me, are affiliates. He also told me the software used to create websites has been updated four times in the last eight years (for the sake of comparison, WordPress has been updated that many times this year alone). The man I talked to, who identified himself as working in the sales department, wouldn’t tell me how many employees the company has. But let’s do some math.
If 40,000 people are using SBI! for at least $300 apiece, that’s $12 million. How much are those site owners making? The salesman wouldn’t say.
Here’s the bottom line: I don’t care about Ken Evoy or SBI! But there’s a bigger point: When you’re in business, run your business. If you want to be the public face of your business, as Ken is, act like someone people want to do business with. And you’d better damned well know what you’re talking about before you open your mouth. In Ken’s case, opening his mouth only showed his ignorance and the weakness of his own product.
2 Responses to How to ruin your business by not knowing when to shut up.
- January 2013
- September 2012
- May 2012
- March 2012
- October 2011
- September 2011
- June 2011
- May 2011
- April 2011
- March 2011
- February 2011
- December 2010
- November 2010
- October 2010
- September 2010
- August 2010
- July 2010
- May 2010
- April 2010
- March 2010
- February 2010
- January 2010
- November 2009
- October 2009
- August 2009
- July 2009
- June 2009
- May 2009