Thou Shalt Not Mess With Each Other’s Client Lists
Ian Lurie Feb 14 2010
Remember how I once said I’m not mean, I’m just angry?
Well, this is definitely one of those times when I go from ‘just’ angry to ‘volcano’ angry.
A while back, Scott Hendison, an SEO down in Portland, caught a company (who shall remain nameless) being a bit naughty in the SEMPDX discussion forums, which he moderates.
Scott tweeted about it, then called the company.
The guilty party was less than contrite, but that could’ve been the end of it.
Except the company then proceeded to forge negative reviews of Scott’s SEO consulting firm. At that point, I would’ve been hiring a lawyer, or slugging them senseless at a search conference. Scott responded instead by outing more of their not-to-great local SEO practices.
They then threatened Scott: Remove the post, or else. When he refused to take down the post, they emailed all of his clients saying what a bad monkey he was.
Yes. They really did. Seriously.
Everything up to that point, I could say it was a difference of opinion over practices, followed by them demonstrating a marked lack of class (as well as brains). If they’d just ignored Scott’s initial post, or responded in a comment, the whole thing would be forgotten by now.
Instead, they broke the cardinal rule of classy business folk:
Thou shalt not mess with each other’s client lists.
So here I am to tell you: Whatever happened, whatever personal stories came before, etc. etc., are no longer relevant. These guys just reminded me 75% of the internet marketing industry is a bunch of classless hacks. Their behavior is so outrageous it lapped the field in the awfulness race.
Help Scott out
They’re being a bully. When a bully shows up on the playground, the best way to deal with it is to gang up.
So, help Scott out:
If you know him professionally, post a REAL review of him and his business in Google Local.
Whatever you do, do not bash the other company. That only caters to their tactics.
I’m off to do some deep breathing exercises and punch a wall.
Ian Lurie is CEO and founder of Portent Inc. He's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Forbes.com and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, SIC and ad:Tech. Follow him on Twitter at portentint.He also just published a book about strategy for services businesses: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle. Read More