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No. 149
November 25th, 2008

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Read It: Eric Enge – Rand Fishkin Linkscape Interview

Several readers commented on my previous post about Linkscape, including Dave Oremland, who asked about my take on all of the controversy surrounding its launch. I’ll finally weigh in.

Just finished reading Eric Enge’s interview with Rand Fishkin about Linkscape. It is a terrific, objective interview where Rand finally gets a chance to put forth SEOmoz’s perspective on the controversy in more than just a few soundbites. For me the interview boiled down to this paragraph (emphasis mine):

I am conflicted about it, I really am. But at the same time we feel really strongly about this product. If we didn’t build it, we’d want someone else to build it, and obviously other people have built it. I think to a certain degree there is a conflict between the brand that we created and the expectations that people have for us and how we are going to treat Webmasters.

All of the webmasters coming out and bashing Rand and his team for creating Linkscape need to wake up and realize that. Yes, SEOmoz could have been more transparent than they were when they launched the tool. That was a mistake, and one which Rand himself has admitted. But honestly, who would you rather give your website information to, a responsible company, with good people running it, like SEOmoz or a sleazebag like Jason Gambert?

Plus, Linkscape has SO many benefits for SEOs and webmasters trying to get information about both their own site and their competition, at some point you’ve gotta say it’s worth that tradeoff.

Reasonable minds can differ but that’s my .02.

  • Hey David,
    Whether SEOmoz’s actions were right/wrong, good/bad, or whatever, I thought that the treatment Rand received from too many people to count was disgraceful. There were legitimate complaints, and classy people voiced them in a legitimate way, but there were also incredibly uncivil barrages of nastiness unleashed against Rand that truly bothered me.

    I had to put it down to the fact that, like Matt Cutts who has made himself the webmaster link to Google, Rand has spent years forging relationships with the public…what we often refer to as ‘the industry’. Then, when either of these fellows, or their companies, do something that rubs people the wrong way, the response is often completely ill-mannered. The difference between saying, “I don’t agree with this policy,” and “You are the devil incarnate,” is a meaningful one that some people seem unable to recognize, and I felt literally nauseous watching some of those threads go on and on and on for hours and days with Rand trying answer 400 borderline-hostile and outright hostile comments from people. It’s as though people think the existence of a public relationship = the right to be personally nasty.

    Just because someone is part of ‘the industry’ or a public face, he should not be subjected to humiliation, ridicule and rage when there is a disagreement. Clearly, many people felt let down by SEOmoz’s actions and stance…and that is okay. Reputation is made around such things. But being let down doesn’t justify some of the behavior I saw surrounding the LinkScape controversy, and I was let down by comments that struck me as both unkind and unprofessional.

    Glad you’ve weighed in on this, David.

  • Miram

    I think the attacks are no different then any other group of people on the web. A computer screen is the device that removes common sense and manners. Glad to see those of us in the marketing, SEO field are no better with manners then the uber geeks that post at SlashDot.

  • I’m late on reading your commentary, David. Thanks for further commentary. I’m mixed on opinions, having seen this turmoil and other turmoil re: Rand over the years. Regardless the tools are helpful. That part is true.