Frustrated by the rampant use of white-on-white text, keyword stuffing and other shady practices in SEO, Roger Wehbe of Yooter InterActive Marketing decided to take up arms.
Wehbe did what any self respecting search professional would do. He set up a satirical site to draw attention to the worst of these tactics, and to attempt to shame the people who use them into changing their ways.
The group’s name: The Association of Search Engine Spammers (ASES).
ASES has one rule: “We do what is necessary to rank our site for keywords that it does not deserve to be ranked for.” Among its stated acceptable practices for artificially lifting a page’s search ranking are FFA cloakers, multiple links to unrelated sites, sneaky redirects and single pixel .GIFs with alt-tag keywords “stuffed to the max.”
Wehbe didn’t set up the fake organization to attack black hat operators out of spite. Rather, he hopes to open a dialogue and encourage marketers to clean up their act.
“I want these SEOs to comply with guidelines and made the site to cause controversy to get people to listen,” he said.
Without naming particular evil doers, ASES explains to site visitors, “We have thousands of members. They just don’t realize they are members.”
Wehbe originally set up the site, at AOSEP.com, to support another group: the Association of Search Engine Professionals. However, he said, that endeavor failed when would-be members couldn’t agree on a set of best practices, or even whether to recognize the basic guidelines of search engines like Yahoo, Google and MSN. Frustrated with his peers’ unwillingness to eschew unethical optimization schemes, he decided to heap scorn on their activities.
“There is so much shady stuff out there,” he said. “I got frustrated.”
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