One Man's Linkbait is Another's Debate

Ian Lurie

How do you differentiate between linkbait and debate?
How’s about “Don’t”?!
Last week I published a rebuttal to Shoemoney’s riff on the death of SEO.
Most of the world ignored it, which I’m used to. But I got a few responses that basically said “Ignore him, he’s just linkbaiting”.
The way I see it, a smart post that incites discussion may be linkbait, but it’s also a good post. And it deserves some debate. And I’m not about to ignore good posts (with which I don’t agree, by the way) just because the author might get a few links.
When someone says something with which you disagree, but says it well, they deserve your respect, and a reply. Otherwise they win (insofar as their incorrect statement goes unanswered) and lose (because even though they wrote something cool, they don’t get to join a conversation).
And, since Shoemoney was just soooooooooo wrong, I figured I’d better write a response. Otherwise the whole SEO world might just shut down over the weekend, and I’d be out of a job.
Sorry if you don’t agree. But if it bugs you that much, maybe you should focus on your own blogging strategy, instead of someone else’s?
Or you can ignore me. I’m just linkbaiting…

If I seem sensitive on this one, consider the history. The last time I ignored someone because I thought they were just ‘baiting’ was in the presidential election of 2000. I figured Bush was just a half-educated sacrificial lamb offered up by the Republican Party and he’d never win.
I mean, he can’t even pronounce ‘nuclear’. I dutifully voted for Gore but didn’t do anything else: No campaigning for Gore, no volunteer work. Nothing. I was, of course, half right.

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, 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

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  1. Amen – and well stated. The conversation is the whole purpose – is it not Mr. Lurie?
    There’s nothing wrong with agreeing to disagree, and further still – the debate that stems what may sometimes seem “writing for the sake of inciting” – is often times quite productive.
    BTW – the photo is a gem.
    Cheers, Sean

  2. So true so true.
    I was singing to my self my favorite song as I read this … to the tune of the Beatle’s or Lennon’s(?) “All You Need is Love”
    All you need is AIDA …
    All you need is AIDA …
    All you need is AIDA …
    AIDA’s all you need
    AIDA’S all you need
    AIDA’S all you need

    Repeat over and over until you get it …
    And maybe a little technology. 🙂

  3. Good point. Isn’t every good/interesting/controversial or better yet, well-thought out, carefully crafted, article actually linkbait? I mean, who would not want links back to their stuff?
    PS: Nice to see you voted Democrat. I have seen dozens of IM bloggers, and virtually all of them are (often rabid) Republicans. (I’m in Canada, so even you Dems look rather right wing to us, but, hey, good on ya!)

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