The word “spam”

At SEO conferences (like Pubcon Las Vegas) I often introduce myself by saying that, among other things, my group fights search-engine spam. But I’ve noticed that whenever I say the S-word to SEOs there’s a little flinch, an awkward little pause. Not as though I’ve done something unforgivable, but as though I’d … farted in church or something. Kind of like the way that people who don’t really like strong language react when someone curses.

This is a cultural mismatch, because I can tell you that within Y! Search we use the word pretty freely. 🙂

Anyway, saying “black-hat SEO” instead doesn’t seem to produce the same reaction, so that’s what I’ll say going forward. Yeah, that’s it.

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3 Responses to The word “spam”

  1. How about saying “if you got caught, it was probably me and my team.” It’s only spam if you get caught…

  2. Gurtie says:

    or how about you just ‘improve SERPs quality’ which is a subtle difference but which won’t set off fist fights in the audience at least.

  3. Judd says:

    I’d be more humble about calling some folks “spammers” in reference to SERPs if I thought that there would be stricter punishments.

    I mean really, if we can’t even string a few email spammers up by their thumbs, what’s the stigma of Search Engine Spamming.

    It’s not like they farted in Church or anything.

    And then giggled.

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