How Swedish blackhatter was reported by competitor and what we can all learn from this

 

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I discovered this post via SEroundtable and honestly thought there will be thread about it ...
  1. #1
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    Angry How Swedish blackhatter was reported by competitor and what we can all learn from this

    I discovered this post via SEroundtable and honestly thought there will be thread about it here too so I came to see what you all guys think. BUT there is no thread!

    In short: Swedish blackhatter was ranking for payday loans terms in Sweden using his own blog network. He is a developer and thanks to his technical skills he could scale very fast. In fact, too fast.

    White hat competitor who loves to repeat that he gives 3 percent of his income to children cancer charity wrote "Dear Mr Cutts" post and twitted it to MC. He even made a humorous video for Mr Cutts which, I hate to admit, made me laugh.

    The result: all blackhatter's sites are penalized, even the ones that weren't ranking and the ones that didn't have any links!!!

    In one day everything was gone.

    Sebastian (blackhatter) goes into analysis of what he did wrong and how the whole thing happened. It became even more fun when hysterical competitor made an answer post. It seems like they decided to respect each other at the end and Sebastian definitely doesn't want anyone to troll his white hat competitor (some people will want to), but the whole thing is fascinating.

    One of the things that surprised me is that apparently he had some serious footprints and it still worked until he was reported. Here is the link, grab your coffee, it's a loooooong read:

    http://sebastianjohnsson.com/success...iate-business/

    For those who read the post, what do you think? What's your takeaway?

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    Default Re: How Swedish blackhatter was reported by competitor and what we can all learn from this

    Thanks to whois privacy in TLDs,we are saved from these petty cat fights in US/UK market.

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    Default Re: How Swedish blackhatter was reported by competitor and what we can all learn from this

    Hey!

    Seb here (the guy that got penalized). Been lurking here for a while so I guess this is the most appropriate time to actually start posting here :P.

    Something that wasn't obviously clear in the blog post is that I was ranking my sites using two different techniques.

    I had a set of more or less grey hat sites that ranked entirely using my private blog network + link exchanges with other people having private blog networks. These sites ranked for a very long time despite there being a lot of obvious footprints. The thing is that 95% of the people in this niche actually rank using this method so it wasn't anything special.

    The thing that actually got me penalized was the trolling animal-theme sites that relied entirely on spam. Let's just say that I got my links from Russia with love :P.

    Yes, I could be mad at the guy that reported me and that stuff, but there's no point. Whatever happened, happened and I feel it's just better to move on rather than dwell on the past.

    I went from not knowing a lot about SEO to making a rather big impact in this specific niche in the matter of a year or so. Given that I still have all of my systems in place I don't think it'll take me that long to get back in the top positions again (of course depending on the method I decide to use).

    If you have any questions let me know and I'll answer .

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    Default Re: How Swedish blackhatter was reported by competitor and what we can all learn from this

    Quote Originally Posted by SebastianJ View Post
    Hey!

    Seb here (the guy that got penalized). Been lurking here for a while so I guess this is the most appropriate time to actually start posting here :P.

    Something that wasn't obviously clear in the blog post is that I was ranking my sites using two different techniques.

    I had a set of more or less grey hat sites that ranked entirely using my private blog network + link exchanges with other people having private blog networks. These sites ranked for a very long time despite there being a lot of obvious footprints. The thing is that 95% of the people in this niche actually rank using this method so it wasn't anything special.

    The thing that actually got me penalized was the trolling animal-theme sites that relied entirely on spam. Let's just say that I got my links from Russia with love :P.

    Yes, I could be mad at the guy that reported me and that stuff, but there's no point. Whatever happened, happened and I feel it's just better to move on rather than dwell on the past.

    I went from not knowing a lot about SEO to making a rather big impact in this specific niche in the matter of a year or so. Given that I still have all of my systems in place I don't think it'll take me that long to get back in the top positions again (of course depending on the method I decide to use).

    If you have any questions let me know and I'll answer .
    Is the guy that reported you know ranking up top or is he just using you as an excuse for being bad at SEO? Ha.

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    Default Re: How Swedish blackhatter was reported by competitor and what we can all learn from this

    He's ranking #1 right now, and he pretty much did so back and forth before I went all black hat as well.

    So I'm guessing he got a lot of motivation for writing his blog post and getting Matt Cutts involved since I pushed him down from like #1/#2 to #4-#6 :P.

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    Default Re: How Swedish blackhatter was reported by competitor and what we can all learn from this

    Quote Originally Posted by SebastianJ View Post
    He's ranking #1 right now, and he pretty much did so back and forth before I went all black hat as well.

    So I'm guessing he got a lot of motivation for writing his blog post and getting Matt Cutts involved since I pushed him down from like #1/#2 to #4-#6 :P.
    He will likely report the wrong person one day, and he will go from 1 - fuck all.

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    Default Re: How Swedish blackhatter was reported by competitor and what we can all learn from this

    Time to try hitting up another country for the same terms... Maybe the next guy wont know how to report it.

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    Default Re: How Swedish blackhatter was reported by competitor and what we can all learn from this

    Quote Originally Posted by mickyfu View Post
    He will likely report the wrong person one day, and he will go from 1 - fuck all.
    He actually got attacked twice with negative SEO attacks, neither of them had any real or substantial effect.

    Yes, maybe those attacks weren't that effective or maybe he's just been very good with disavowing stuff (which I know for a fact he has worked very actively with). And no, I had nothing to do with those attacks, they happened a long time before I was penalized.

    He's been blogging/writing about a lot of people in this niche and a lot of people truly hate this guy. I personally don't see the point and I'd rather spend my time working on a new project rather than being stuck in a very negative mindset.

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    Default Re: How Swedish blackhatter was reported by competitor and what we can all learn from this

    all I can say is....that sucks.

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    Default Re: How Swedish blackhatter was reported by competitor and what we can all learn from this

    Quote Originally Posted by SebastianJ View Post
    He actually got attacked twice with negative SEO attacks, neither of them had any real or substantial effect.

    Yes, maybe those attacks weren't that effective or maybe he's just been very good with disavowing stuff (which I know for a fact he has worked very actively with). And no, I had nothing to do with those attacks, they happened a long time before I was penalized.

    He's been blogging/writing about a lot of people in this niche and a lot of people truly hate this guy. I personally don't see the point and I'd rather spend my time working on a new project rather than being stuck in a very negative mindset.
    Nice to see you here! Yesterday only one person replied when I started this thread so I was disappointed, now it's becoming interesting! I spent at least a couple of hours reading your post and his posts, it was informational overload so I wanted to see what everyone thinks.

    I have no doubt that you will do even better in the future, what doesn't kill us usually will make us stronger. And here is one thing that stood out to me - you handled it in such a classy way, WOW!!!

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    Default Re: How Swedish blackhatter was reported by competitor and what we can all learn from this

    Quote Originally Posted by matrix79 View Post
    Nice to see you here! Yesterday only one person replied when I started this thread so I was disappointed, now it's becoming interesting! I spent at least a couple of hours reading your post and his posts, it was informational overload so I wanted to see what everyone thinks.

    I have no doubt that you will do even better in the future, what doesn't kill us usually will make us stronger. And here is one thing that stood out to me - you handled it in such a classy way, WOW!!!
    Thanks for reading man. It became a very, very long post, a lot longer than I originally planned it to be. Given that the guy who reported me wrote a lengthy response to the initial blog post I had to respond to his stuff as well.

    I do hope someone can take something valuable away from the countless mistakes I made. I definitely have :P.

    Yeah, I'm very sure of that I'll be back on decent rankings again in a short amount of time. I'm going to try my best to achieve the top positions using strict white hat methods as well, that's the only method I haven't ranked in the top positions in this niche as of yet.

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    Default Re: How Swedish blackhatter was reported by competitor and what we can all learn from this

    very interesting read. sounds like he built some nice automation systems.

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    Default Re: How Swedish blackhatter was reported by competitor and what we can all learn from this

    I guess you should continue to do the same thing i.e. fucking google

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    Default Re: How Swedish blackhatter was reported by competitor and what we can all learn from this

    Quote Originally Posted by SebastianJ View Post
    Yeah, I'm very sure of that I'll be back on decent rankings again in a short amount of time. I'm going to try my best to achieve the top positions using strict white hat methods as well, that's the only method I haven't ranked in the top positions in this niche as of yet.
    I'm curious to know what you think you will be doing to achieve high rankings using white hat methods?

    You do realize if you build any links then its black hat? Or what is your definition of white hat and black hat?

    I like to hear peoples responses to this question.

    My definition to black hat is 'building links to manipulate your serps'...

    My definition of white hat is 'people organically linking to you because your site/product/service is worthy of that link'...

    The problem with google is that an algorithm can not tell the difference, but there are footprints that can be left that are easy to spot, as you learned...

    Last thing, you say you were using 'grey hat' in your article, what you were doing was black hat to the core. Your article was great though and a good read!

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    Default Re: How Swedish blackhatter was reported by competitor and what we can all learn from this

    Quote Originally Posted by manny521 View Post
    I'm curious to know what you think you will be doing to achieve high rankings using white hat methods?

    You do realize if you build any links then its black hat? Or what is your definition of white hat and black hat?

    I like to hear peoples responses to this question.

    My definition to black hat is 'building links to manipulate your serps'...

    My definition of white hat is 'people organically linking to you because your site/product/service is worthy of that link'...

    The problem with google is that an algorithm can not tell the difference, but there are footprints that can be left that are easy to spot, as you learned...

    Last thing, you say you were using 'grey hat' in your article, what you were doing was black hat to the core. Your article was great though and a good read!
    When I did strictly white hat I didn't do any links at all. I basically relied on keyword research and "throw it against the wall to see what sticks" method. It is a very slow process and even then you aren't safe. I lost rankings in Panda and was released one year later without doing any changes. My content was always good quality and unique so I am sure it was a false positive.

    Unless you have a way of networking, you don't get good PR even after 3-4 years. If you play by Google rules very few sites will link to you. And even when they do they will link to one of your inner pages, not your homepage. Most of my visitors come to my sites looking for answers to their questions or a bit of entertainment. They don't have their own blogs or websites, how they are supposed to link to me? Facebook likes and Google +1s mean nothing, trust me. The good thing though that PR also means nothing for traffic. You can have tons of traffic and PR1.

    I am done with playing by Google rules though. I do still have a few thousands daily on these white hat sites, but make no mistake, once somebody like Huffington Post or silly WikiHow will decide to write a couple of articles on my keyword I am a toast. And these days they write just about any subject!

    Sebastian can build cool things though, so he has another set of skills. Maybe he will be more successful white hat or maybe it's different is Swedish SERPs, I don't know. Anyway good luck to him.
    Last edited by matrix79; 05-04-2014 at 06:08 PM.

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    Default Re: How Swedish blackhatter was reported by competitor and what we can all learn from this

    Quote Originally Posted by manny521 View Post
    I'm curious to know what you think you will be doing to achieve high rankings using white hat methods?

    You do realize if you build any links then its black hat? Or what is your definition of white hat and black hat?

    I like to hear peoples responses to this question.

    My definition to black hat is 'building links to manipulate your serps'...

    My definition of white hat is 'people organically linking to you because your site/product/service is worthy of that link'...

    The problem with google is that an algorithm can not tell the difference, but there are footprints that can be left that are easy to spot, as you learned...

    Last thing, you say you were using 'grey hat' in your article, what you were doing was black hat to the core. Your article was great though and a good read!
    Hey manny, thanks for reading my blog post!

    Yes, with the white hat-project I do not intend to build links. I intend to focus all activities on just building an awesome service that delivers value. That means focusing on design, functionality and content instead of spending time acquiring links.

    99% of the affiliate sites in this specific niche/serp are really shit. They look shit, and don't really bring a lot of value to the table. That's something I'll be trying to solve if/when I decide to start with this new project.

    Yes, I know white hat will be a challenge. This is not a niche people generally would personally write/blog about and thus not link to your site.

    What I'll be trying to do though is creating a lot of valuable tools for people to use. I won't only focus on pay day loans but on the entire loan market and build a ton of tools and services that actually people will find useful. Different set of loan calculators, a massive comparison engine, a community where people get points for writing reviews and other stuff. The majority of my time will initially be spent coding/designing and then I'll share interesting data about certain things based on user behavior on the site (e.g. the most popular type of loan people are looking for, the most common sums people want to loan etc).

    I've already managed to be #1 in this niche using grey hat and black hat, as a personal challenge it would be fun to see if I can do it also by adhering to Google's little guidelines.

    In the article I described that I used two tactics, one I'd say is grey hat (private blog networks) and one I'd say is black hat (buying a ton of shitty & spammy links).
    I never mixed these tactics. The PBN only linked to my more 'normal' sites and the spam links only linked to the animal-themed sites. Yes, they had a similar theme, but was the only thing in common (and also a very stupid and retarded mistake I made).

    Yes, maybe everyone's got different definitions, but a lot of people seem to agree that PBNs are somewhere between white and black hat.
    Last edited by SebastianJ; 05-04-2014 at 06:29 PM.

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    Default Re: How Swedish blackhatter was reported by competitor and what we can all learn from this

    You may have already thought of this, but if I were you, I would sell the service of providing individuals their very own private blog networks. It seems you have this process down to an exact science, but without the footprints!

    Quote Originally Posted by SebastianJ View Post
    Hey manny, thanks for reading my blog post!

    Yes, with the white hat-project I do not intend to build links. I intend to focus all activities on just building an awesome service that delivers value. That means focusing on design, functionality and content instead of spending time acquiring links.

    99% of the affiliate sites in this specific niche/serp are really shit. They look shit, and don't really bring a lot of value to the table. That's something I'll be trying to solve if/when I decide to start with this new project.

    Yes, I know White Hat will be a challenge. But as I said in the blog post, I already have managed to be #1 in this niche using grey hat and black hat, as a personal challenge it would be fun to see if I can do it also by adhering to Google's little guidelines.

    In the article I describe that I used two tactics, one I'd say is grey hat (private blog networks) and one I'd say is black hat (buying a ton of shitty & spammy links). Yes, maybe everyone's got different definitions, but a lot of people seem to agree that PBNs are somewhere between white and black hat.

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    Default Re: How Swedish blackhatter was reported by competitor and what we can all learn from this

    Hi sebastian
    i just finish reading your blog post, first i would like to say that you are awesome and what are you doing is great
    i don't blame the other guy for reporting you , it is normal , this is buisnes
    i am like you in a way , i like to automate stuff a looooot , and this is one of the reasons i didn't succed in IM yet, but when i read your story i got inspired i'll try again and again until i reach my goal

    i think if you stay off the radar and target some other niches is better, they don't have to be profitable as payday loans, but if you dominate some 10 different niches you'll make more money then you were, after all you said that you found a way to beat the system
    good luck next time

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    Default Re: How Swedish blackhatter was reported by competitor and what we can all learn from this

    Quote Originally Posted by manny521 View Post
    You may have already thought of this, but if I were you, I would sell the service of providing individuals their very own private blog networks. It seems you have this process down to an exact science, but without the footprints!
    Yeah, I've been thinking about it to be honest.

    I'm not really fond of the idea of managing tons of servers and doing a lot of system admin work though, but that's probably something I can hire someone to do as soon as/if it takes off.

    Thanks for suggesting it, I should probably take another look at it.

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    Default Re: How Swedish blackhatter was reported by competitor and what we can all learn from this

    What I'll be trying to do though is creating a lot of valuable tools for people to use.
    This might make a huge difference. If merely adding a random YouTube video helps rank a page with no links, adding tools, calculators etc should be even better! Google talked about this, bringing something different, adding in a way that others don't, but you can go only that far with just content. Not everyone has sufficient technical skills or enough resources to build custom tools. If you can provide something different than other 9 competitors on page one, you have much better chance. Hope you will beat that guy again using white hat methods and he will have nothing to say...lol

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    Default Re: How Swedish blackhatter was reported by competitor and what we can all learn from this

    Quote Originally Posted by allensh View Post
    Hi sebastian
    i just finish reading your blog post, first i would like to say that you are awesome and what are you doing is great
    i don't blame the other guy for reporting you , it is normal , this is buisnes
    i am like you in a way , i like to automate stuff a looooot , and this is one of the reasons i didn't succed in IM yet, but when i read your story i got inspired i'll try again and again until i reach my goal

    i think if you stay off the radar and target some other niches is better, they don't have to be profitable as payday loans, but if you dominate some 10 different niches you'll make more money then you were, after all you said that you found a way to beat the system
    good luck next time
    Thanks for reading it, I know it takes quite a while to do so, heh :P.

    Yeah, of course I've been thinking of just continuing with the strategy in niches where people don't really complain/report and that stuff. But to be honest I actually feel more motivated to just see if I can reach the top again by following Google's rules. We'll see what happens, whatever I do though, I'll definitely think more about footprints and that stuff hereafter :P

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    Default Re: How Swedish blackhatter was reported by competitor and what we can all learn from this

    Quote Originally Posted by matrix79 View Post
    This might make a huge difference. If merely adding a random YouTube video helps rank a page with no links, adding tools, calculators etc should be even better! Google talked about this, bringing something different, adding in a way that others don't, but you can go only that far with just content. Not everyone has sufficient technical skills or enough resources to build custom tools. If you can provide something different than other 9 competitors on page one, you have much better chance. Hope you will beat that guy again using white hat methods and he will have nothing to say...lol
    Yeah, I actually think so too. If you go the extra mile Google should definitely reward you for it. It'll probably take ages to actually rank (like you described in your other post), but when you start to rank you can probably expect to stick around longer.

    Yep, it would be quite fun to hit up #1 again, but doing so strictly by the book so no one can complain :P

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    Default Re: How Swedish blackhatter was reported by competitor and what we can all learn from this

    Why is this starting to sound like one of those white hat SEO promotion threads?

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    Default Re: How Swedish blackhatter was reported by competitor and what we can all learn from this

    Quote Originally Posted by mickyfu View Post
    Why is this starting to sound like one of those white hat SEO promotion threads?
    Haha, I guess you're right. I'm probably throwing the 'white hat' term around too often (given what this forum is about, heh).

    I'm not saying it's better or that it should be favored instead of grey hat/black hat.

    It's more in terms of a personal challenge if anything.

    Black Hat still works insanely well and I'm definitely not entirely ruling it out as a possible next move on my part. I'm just contemplating other alternatives (as people also chipped in with their white hat experiences).

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    Default Re: How Swedish blackhatter was reported by competitor and what we can all learn from this

    Yes, don't manage any servers. I don't know how you had it set up before, but just create everything and hand a turn-key system over to the customer.

    Here is one company that does it: http://www.seonitro.com/

    Quote Originally Posted by SebastianJ View Post
    Yeah, I've been thinking about it to be honest.

    I'm not really fond of the idea of managing tons of servers and doing a lot of system admin work though, but that's probably something I can hire someone to do as soon as/if it takes off.

    Thanks for suggesting it, I should probably take another look at it.

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    Default Re: How Swedish blackhatter was reported by competitor and what we can all learn from this

    Thanks for the heads up!

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    Default Re: How Swedish blackhatter was reported by competitor and what we can all learn from this

    Quote Originally Posted by SebastianJ View Post
    Hey!
    Seb here (the guy that got penalized). Been lurking here for a while so I guess this is the most appropriate time to actually start posting here :P.
    ....
    Hey SebastianJ,

    Your blog post made excellent reading, thank you! I hope others who read it have been inspired to write their own custom tools. Programming skills above all others is the most powerful tool in any SEO's toolbox and automation is the key to scale a technique almost without limits.

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    Default Re: How Swedish blackhatter was reported by competitor and what we can all learn from this

    Hats (black) off for taking as well as you have. Quite sad the guy goes running to MC though and actually gets off with it. I would be sorely tempted to try a 10% of profits goes to cancer offer, see how he and , indeed, MC handle that. I'd assume as he is giving to charity he looks to be getting pref treatment. What is his link profile like, he must be using blackhat. I would find it hard for MC to knock down a site offering 10% of profits, given it could be used against him via twitter etc. You clearly have the skills, and to be honest helping a charity is always good (karma and all that). That would make for an interesting situation. I dare MC wouldn't get involved then because right now it might make him look good helping the one that donates to charity, but if someone offers more to charity it would have a direct impact on his reputation to remove a site donating more.

    I would do it just to piss that guy off, he cannot really respond to that without looking like the ar*ehole he must be. He doesn't have the right to monopolize the top spot, fire with fire would be my approach. Use netcomber if you're doing networks, it helps let you see what others can potentially see to identify your network.

    Anyway well done for having the skills to do what you've done and all the best for the future with it.
    Last edited by cloakndagger2; 05-04-2014 at 09:04 PM.

  38. The Following User Says Thank You to cloakndagger2 For This Useful Post:

    newklear (05-04-2014)

  39. #29
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    Default Re: How Swedish blackhatter was reported by competitor and what we can all learn from this

    I hate this crybabies who run to their moms "Mommy, mommy, kids are making fun of me! My Tamagochi was the first and now it's the 4th or 5th". The fucked should have stood up for himself, not getting big daddy Matt to solve his problem (especially in this dirty way). Once you go a bit dirty, you can't be a whitehatter any more. You already have a light shade of gray.
    On the other hand, I admire you Sebastian for your self control. Very few people are that mature.

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    Default Re: How Swedish blackhatter was reported by competitor and what we can all learn from this

    The one thing I never thought would be a problem when I got into SEO would be other people telling on you. It just never crossed my mind. I don't think I have ever told on anyone in my life and I don't think I ever will. I can only think up a few examples of times that I would tell on people and murder or hurting a child would have to be involved.


    Quote Originally Posted by newklear View Post
    I hate this crybabies who run to their moms "Mommy, mommy, kids are making fun of me! My Tamagochi was the first and now it's the 4th or 5th". The fucked should have stood up for himself, not getting big daddy Matt to solve his problem (especially in this dirty way). Once you go a bit dirty, you can't be a whitehatter any more. You already have a light shade of gray.
    On the other hand, I admire you Sebastian for your self control. Very few people are that mature.

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    Default Re: How Swedish blackhatter was reported by competitor and what we can all learn from this

    zo you ranked that animal sites with a shit load of russian love? how many links did you make a week for 1 site?

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    Default Re: How Swedish blackhatter was reported by competitor and what we can all learn from this

    One of the main reasons why that guy annoyed me so much is that he kept mentioning children cancer charity. Now don't get me wrong, I am all for it. I dislike it when people use it as marketing strategy either before they get successful or after for getting more links. Initially, he accused Sebastian for having money above anything else. Well, he has no way of knowing that! I admire it when people do something nice and don't talk about it. I don't think charity issue should be involved here at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by cloakndagger2 View Post
    Hats (black) off for taking as well as you have. Quite sad the guy goes running to MC though and actually gets off with it. I would be sorely tempted to try a 10% of profits goes to cancer offer, see how he and , indeed, MC handle that. I'd assume as he is giving to charity he looks to be getting pref treatment. What is his link profile like, he must be using blackhat. I would find it hard for MC to knock down a site offering 10% of profits, given it could be used against him via twitter etc. You clearly have the skills, and to be honest helping a charity is always good (karma and all that). That would make for an interesting situation. I dare MC wouldn't get involved then because right now it might make him look good helping the one that donates to charity, but if someone offers more to charity it would have a direct impact on his reputation to remove a site donating more.

    I would do it just to piss that guy off, he cannot really respond to that without looking like the ar*ehole he must be. He doesn't have the right to monopolize the top spot, fire with fire would be my approach. Use netcomber if you're doing networks, it helps let you see what others can potentially see to identify your network.

    Anyway well done for having the skills to do what you've done and all the best for the future with it.
    Last edited by matrix79; 05-04-2014 at 11:21 PM.


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