• classicalmusic

    Julie, I 100% disagree with the thrust of your post. Yes, it is tough finding back links for gambling companies. Yes, it is tough getting back links for unethical companies – only to the extent one chooses to accept them as a client.

    Dealing with ethical companies is taking the high road. Your comments about how unethical this company is, how bad the products are, how the company spammed email accounts – I am surprised that you admit you took on such a client.

    Just my opinion. I realize we all have bills to pay. In this case it doesn’t seem like the company was even on the radar of being a ethical client. Don’t seo professionals have to say “no” to such companies?

  • Julie Joyce

    I’d rather admit what we do than lie about it. And no, SEO professionals don’t have to say no to a company if the company is unethical. What’s ethical or not isn’t for me to say generally. I don’t think that gambling is unethical, for example. I don’t do it but if someone wants to, fine with me.

    The thrust of this post, as you put it, is to discuss how a bad reputation makes link building more difficult. You can get a bad reputation through many ways though…not just by being unethical, as you also put it. Many companies do things poorly. If they’re not doing anything illegal, I don’t see why they should be denied the benefits of marketing just like anyone else.

  • http://www.michael-martinez.com/ Michael Martinez

    @classicalmusic I can’t say I have enjoyed working for all my past clients but at the end of the day you have to look yourself in the mirror and say, “I took the work. I’m not going to berate myself for someone else’s sins”.

    Public defenders have to stand up in court on behalf of child murderers and rapists but there are plenty of high-priced attorneys who will defend the corporate barbarians who overcharge for services and products.

    No taxi driver would turn away the “Evil suits” after they get off a plane on their way to signing a new consumer-gouging contract.

    Bankers still take their money.

    Real estate agents still flock to their doorsteps to sell them new properties, or earn commissions on selling their existing properties.

    Schools accept their children as students.

    Hospitals and doctors agree to treat their illnesses and injuries.

    Society in general accepts these scumbuckets and works with them, empowers them to do what they do.

    So why pick on the SEOs who build a few links for them, or repair their search reputations?

    That’s patently unfair.

  • http://MrJunior MrJunior

    Sounds to me like you did everything right in this case. Could you have turned them down? Sure. But, then…. that is where Michael Martinez comment comes in.

    @Michael – I TOTALLY agree with what you said. Especially with what is going on in the world today, to now start criticizing someone for taking on work is ridiculous. I commend everything you said in your post, and I can’t add anything more to it.

  • Winooski

    Michael, some of the “corporate barbarian” comparisons don’t work (forgive the pun). A school has to accept a would-be criminal’s children, and a hospital has to treat that person as well because, coincidentally, they are ethically and legally compelled to. Due to a strong ethical standard, they have no choice but to work on behalf of their clients.

    Also, just because one profession “gets away” with seemingly unethical behavior (i.e., the “corporate barbarian”), that doesn’t mean that everyone else should stop worrying about behaving ethically. Two wrongs don’t make a right…right?

  • Julie Joyce

    Just to clarify something, I don’t believe that this company was intentionally doing anything unethical, and I didn’t want to start an ethics debate. I think they did a lot of things poorly. They also did a lot of things well. This is no different than many other companies that no one would dream of calling unethical. They just had a reputation for problems and hence my job was more difficult.

    I saw zero reason to turn this client down. It was simply a challenge.

    Michael, thanks for your comment and I also fully agree with what you’ve said.

    I’ve been charged the wrong price at a certain retailer countless times, but hey, we’re talking a few dollars over a few years probably and I keep going back. Maybe I am mistaken and am taking an item from the wrong area and screwing up the price myself. Maybe the item is on sale and the new price wasn’t updated properly in a database somewhere. The bag I bought there broke almost immediately but it was cheap and I wasn’t overly surprised. It’s not all that different from this client. I would never dream of calling this company unethical for messing up. In need of loads of problem-solving? Definitely, but who isn’t? I can assure you that if this company comes calling, I’ll sure as heck take them on, too.

  • http://www.michael-martinez.com/ Michael Martinez

    @winooski: “Two wrongs don’t make a right…right?”

    Why is right for one segment of society to continue to work with and for people who have engaged in unruly behavior but other segments (like SEOs) have to shun them?

    A society works when the majority of its members follow the same standards of behavior. All wrong doing must be treated equally, fairly.

    Some things always slip by but in general practice — historically — when you segregate members of society for either special treatment or special punishment, you create social stresses that work to unravel society.

    It’s not fair to the SEO community to insist that we not do business with someone who has gouged consumers (so to speak) when everyone else gets to do business with them.

    We’re NOT society’s morality police and, frankly, we aren’t really qualified for that role.