Update: Made it to the final 3!! If you could drop me a vote, I’d really appreciate it!
Earlier today I received one of those e-mails most of us in this industry find in their inbox on a daily basis; a domain renewal notice. What was the domain? SEOLoser.com.
Yep, it’s been a year since I chased around the Rockstars and tried to sneak my way in to parties at PubCon. Time flies.
It was just after PubCon 2006 that I made the first semi-serious blog post of my life–in fact, I registered this domain name at about four in the morning after partying at the conference. The blog basically summed up the awkward, embarrassing, and consistently intoxicated rollercoaster ride I enjoyed at last year’s PubCon, Las Vegas, where I first discovered what I was in this undustry: an SEO Loser. Being my first conference ever, I hadn’t even known there were SEO Losers—but judging by the almost 100 comments the first post I made got, there are actually quite a few of us out there .
After my debut at PubCon I was hooked—these conferences are really, really fun—even if you’re a loser. You hang out with cool people who do the same stuff as you. The beer flows like wine and the parties are in some of the coolest venues in Vegas. But on top of the fun-component, I really learn a lot at every single show I attend—sometimes without even going to the sessions. I know everyone preaches the benefits of networking to the point you feel like your ears are gonna start bleeding, but I’ve really seen the results of getting to know a few “Rockstars” first hand. I’ll throw out a couple examples.
I can remember a 10 minute
At first I laughed, because what he was suggesting seemed so deviously blackhat I couldn’t believe he was serious —but as we talked for the next 5-10 minutes I realized his solution could really work. I implemented the advice as soon as I got back to my laptop (it honestly took about half an hour, max, to make the changes) and I smile as I write that even today—a Saturday, which is very slow in my niche and months after my conversation with Marcus—I made money (>$50) from that site that would otherwise have been offline. Thanks, dude!
I also (kind of) got to know Shoemoney—I love his show, have every episode on my iPod, and even before that first PubCon I think I’d listened to them all at least 2-3 times. I made a first impression that is pretty characteristic of my conference-going demeanor.
To quote my original post, “…My friend laughed and told me I was an idiot. Little did I know I would later confirm this beyond any shadow of a doubt by approaching Shoemoney once again, this time in the hotel bathroom … in a somewhat-drunken, post-Google happy hour state.”
About three or four months ago I ran into a problem where an affiliate network was honestly telling me they were going to steal (my word) about $3,000 from me, just because they received a cease and desist letter over a TOTALLY obscure trademark I was accidentally bidding on (I had something like 100,000 keywords in my account). I tried to reason with them on my own, but even my affiliate manager (who’s awesome, by the way, in case you read this . BTW could you bump me up a little? J/K–less you gonna do it) seemed helpless. I was ready to do what any pissed off guy with a blog does when someone screws them over—throw a raging mega-huge tantrum exposing the injustice.
Just as I was about to roll up my sleeves and unleash the beast, I thought “Wait, there’s gotta be a better way. Maybe Shoemoney could help me on this one, he’s pretty well connected with all these networks.” I was doubtful that Shoemoney would even receive any e-mail I sent, which would be going out to his public address (he must have forgotten to give me his cell phone number at PubCon ). I could also imagine how busy he must be, that 3k isn’t much to him, and that the whole thing would probably seem like a waste of his time—but I figured I’d give it a shot. Couldn’t hurt. I sent my e-mail, titled “Getting screwed by XXXX, really hoping you could help out.”
The next morning I woke up early to my home-office phone ringing at about 5:10 AM. I’d sent that e-mail at about 2:00 AM. “Damn it, I hate these assholes on the East Coast,” I thought. I covered my ears and managed to survive the 30 seconds of ringing before falling back to sleep. When I woke up a few hours later and got online for my pre-breakfast checkup, my mailbox had about three e-mails from the affiliate network that I was having problems with, my affiliate manager who had been trying to avoid me (probably because she felt bad about screwing me over) had sent me a series of IMs and the caller ID on my phone showed they had tried to call me. I got in touch with my affiliate manager who was ecstatic. “YOU’RE GOING TO BE SO HAPPY! I don’t know WHAT or HOW this happened, but I got a note today on my desk saying I’m supposed to help you set up a new account (they had closed [banned] the old one)! And your payment is to be sent out ASAP!” I was in shock. These guys were telling me, the day before (if I was lucky enough to hunt them down for a conversation), that they were not only stealing the 3k I’d earned MTD, but that they were also banning me from their network. I wondered if it could have had anything to do with the e-mail I sent Shoemoney. I figured it must have been a coincidence–there was no way he could have already received my e-mail and acted on it–but to be safe I sent him a message explaining that the problem was resolved and thanking him if he’d had anything to do with it.
45 minutes later I had a reply:
I forwarded your email to the 2 founders of the company. I really did not do much else but I think that trademark bidding is bullshit… I always fight them on it.
Thanks man, I guess I owe you a drink
I’ve gone on a tangent here, but the point is, a lot of the people you meet at these shows are really cool, are willing to take their time to help you out, and really know their sh**. Not only is it a blast attending the show but there are real business benefits.
Alright, I don’t want to bore anyone with too much business-talk.
I may be a loser but I guarantee I can drink any of you Rockstars under the table…. As long as Chris Hooley doesn’t count as a Rockstar.
“Yeah, I have work tomorrow at 8:00 AM, I’m gonna keep it mellow tonight guys… Just one or two for me.”
“Okay, I guess a FEW shots would be fun…”
“Ooooh, now I can tell I’m in the zone. “
“Oh well, the hallways closer to work than my bed anyway.”
“Oh well, the hallways closer to work than my bed anyway.”
I know you’re busy so I’ll cut this short, but I hope I win this contest ‘cause I’d love to join you once again in Las Vegas. I think it would be pretty amazing if I got a chance to come out there and hang out with you guys, especally considering where I was a year ago:
I saw one of the guys from the Webmaster Radio show (Oilman) “SEO Rockstars.” He really was a rock star at this SEO event. He was having free alcohol thrown at him, girls were fighting to talk to him, and he was dancing up and down in a nice club overlooking Las Vegas. Sitting at our table were Danny Sullivan, Oilman, Dixon Jones, MSN Reps and the Director of Product Management for Yahoo! Search, Tim Mayer. Oilman is another guy I’ve listened to for countless hours on Webmaster Radio and really liked … Like with Shoemoney, I felt like we were friends….
… Here I was, getting denied right and left, by a bunch of 25-50 year old nerdy guys. I had a collection of mixed emotions. I didn’t know if I was going to laugh or cry.
I actually wasn’t planning on going to PubCon this year—spending about $1,000 to $4,000 at each of the last 4-5 events has taken a toll… I’d love to go if I happen to win this competition, though. It would be pretty cool for the loser to finally get a chance to roll with the Rockstars!