Portent Staff // Nov 25 2009
A Horror Story by Evan Fishkin
Recently, I’ve been asked a lot of questions about PubCon, (which is one fantastic search marketing conference!), but just one keeps repeating: “Why Evan, would you let Matt Cutts shave your ‘Curls of Righteousness’?” (witness the horror) For the hungry masses, yearning for answers to questions so long contemplated, the answer is simple….and here.
Once upon a time, on a social media website far, far away, there tweeted two nerds. One came from spam-kicking country and could see spam coming a mile away. He protected Googlers of the great inter-webs from terrible spam content. He was known throughout the land a knight among spam killers. The other was a simple village boy who was hard at work, helping the URLs (pronounced err-ls) of the world be found by Googlers. One day the young village boy and the spam kicking knight met…
Yeah, so there’s 30 seconds of your life you’ll never get back. Here’s the real story, not as glamorous and cool, but with far more truthiness.
Matt Cutts tweeted some time ago that he’d had his head shaved, but all his webmaster video tutorials showed him with hair. So of course, I made the painstakingly obvious joke that he had been abducted by aliens and replaced with a far less hairy version of himself.
The truth is Matt lost a bet to some co-workers. The result was that his co-workers got to shave his head. Webmaster videos are pre-recorded and posted as necessary to address certain issues. Hence Matt with head-of-hair still shows up on freshly posted videos.
Matt, being the knight that he is, laughed at my joke and retorted on August 11th, 2009 at 3:20PM PST, “When are you going to join me in shave head-dom? :)”. It struck me. I mean really struck me: I had a tweet sized slap across my face. As I ran my fingers through my already shaggy curls in need of a trim, I did what any incredibly juvenile person would do. I said, “How about some time around a major event in the near future?”
After that, it was just a matter of coming up with the right excuse. I tried to make it a group event. I asked some SEO stars to shave their heads for charity. We’d get people to pledge cash to see someone get shaved on stage at PubCon and donate the proceeds to the Fred Hutchison Cancer Society. No go; it would seem that SEOs are really fond of their locks. So I tried to get them to dye their hair for charity, again little traction.
But Matt-the-Knight would not accept failure; he would vanquish my Curls-of-Righteousness one way or another. So on his arrival at the SEOmoz Search Spam party at PubCon, he challenged me: should any fool submit a spam site to his Interactive Site Review on Thursday, he would shave my head. Being a sporting man, I accepted this challenge. Having some actual sliver of hope that no one would be dumb enough to make such a mistake, I truly believed right up to the final moment, that I would survive the Site Review, return home with my “Curls” intact, and head straight for a barber of my choice.
The session was well attended. Tweets about potential head shaving were flying everywhere. Jen Lopez, Rusty Brick, and even my mom were tweeting and sweating out the mounting suspense with me. As the light began to shine brightest and I was sure I was going to walk out unshaved, a spam site came out of nowhere and smacked onto the 30 foot screen with a spam cracking so loud, the whole room gasped. Oaklandproplumbers.com had been submitted for review. Matt’s eyes widened to about three times their normal size, he leaned way back in his seat, a wide grin spreading all over his face. He turned to me, shot a two handed gun slinging gesture and said, “Your ‘Curls’ are mine!”
And so it was, that my ‘Curls’ were shaved from me. But you know what? Turns out, being young is still the best revenge. Within 48 hours, I had a nice black more-than-a-shadow outline of my full head of hair – turns out I have a nice hairline. Who knew? And, a little over one week later, I have hair on my head enough to be measured. That’s right folks, the ‘Curls’ are comin’ back.