A Word About Bragging Modestly

Ian Lurie

chatting small

“Brag Modestly” is one of the tenets of Conversation Marketing. Here’s a tale of someone who didn’t read the memo:

In principle, a modest boast means you’ve gotten someone else to brag for you. Here’s an example:
Me: Hi Fran, here’s this guy, Will, I told you about. He’s really good with search marketing and could help your business. Why don’t you two chat?
Fran: Thanks! Hi Will, let’s talk!
Will: OK, sounds great. Thanks Ian.

On the Internet, the best modest bragging comes from search engines. If Google, Yahoo or MSN reward you with a high rank, they’re saying “Hey, this site’s important.”

Of course, whether you’re at a party or on the web, it’s possible to brag rudely, too:
Me: Hi Fran…
Will: Tell her about me. C’mon, tell her. Tell her tell her tell her tell her tell her…
Me: Hang on, OK?
Me: OK, OK, hang on, don’t have a fit! Fran, this is Will. He’s good at search marketing but has no social skills. You’ll hate working with him.
Fran: Uh, thanks…

You can be rude on the Internet, too, by ‘spamming’ search engines with hidden content, using fancy linking schemes to try to fool search engines into thinking you’re more popular than you really are, or by using deceptive redirects.

Which brings me to Will. See, Will is a real, fake person. In the last 4 hours I’ve received four comments submitted to this blog, by Will:
I agree with what you say – makes sense to me.
Looking for some uk propecia?

The words ‘uk propecia’ then link to a site that instantly redirects you to gandi.net, a hosting and domain squatting operation that runs out of France. Now, Will, I’m not really looking for any propecia. If I was, though, would I really discuss it on my blog?

So what’s really going on here? Well, someone, probably at Gandi.net, or at the now-defunct UK propecia site, is trying to increase their perceived link popularity. So they’re going to every blog, discussion forum and guestbook they can find and posting the above message.

They’re also changing the IP address of their computer every time they do it, so that I can’t block them from using the blog.

Will, Gandi, or whoever you are, thanks for the great case study. But quit posting to my blog, or I’ll add hundreds of links with the keyphrase ‘clueless’ and link them to your site.

Now that would be about as modest as it gets…

Ian Lurie

Ian Lurie is founder of Portent. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (25 years, if you're counting). Ian's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Ian is now an independent consultant and continues to work with the Portent team- training the agency group on all things digital. You can find him at www.ianlurie.com

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