SearchKing or Savvy Salesman?

4 comments
Thread Title:
SearchKing: No longer a search engine/portal network?
Thread Description:

Bob Massa is the owner of SearchKing. He wanted to create a collection of human reviewed data which gave him access to a ton of valuable data and put him at the center of a huge ad network. He sold the network idea to many webmasters who use SearchKing to power their portals.

SearchKing was penalized by Google (I believe for selling PageRank). Recent hosting at SearchKing has been less than stellar and there has been no easy or responsive communication channel between disgruntaled portal owners and SearchKing. Some people probably made good money from the SearchKing idea. Others gave a ton to help build that network, and feel that in one way or another they got burned.

from the thread Lots0:

I agree that Bob is very eloquent in his written responses and I can say from personal experience that he is just as well spoken, at least over the phone. But whenever I speak to Bob I never forget one thing, he is first and foremost (by his own admission) a salesman.

Later in the same post...

I tell friends, NOT to do business SearchKing. I tell them this based on my personal experience and the experience of others that I have personal knowledge of...

Whenever SearchKing comes out into the light, it always reminds me of a very important tip for any beginner;
If you are building a directory or opt-in mailing lists of any kind, anywhere, keep control of your own data. Do not let your hard earned data become “part of a network” because once your data joins a “network” all of that data you laboriously collected is no longer under your control and is in fact no longer just “your data”, the data also belongs to the “network” and is controlled by whoever controls the “network”, maybe that is why some “networks” offer free stuff like hosting and software...

Later Bob talks about building SearchKing and what he sees going forward...including:

  • The big idea
  • The money
  • The programs
  • The people
  • The mistakes
  • The lawsuit
  • My regrets
  • The plan and what I see as the future of niche directories.

Bob is known for making long detailed posts and is staying true to form in this thread. Between his posts and posts from critics there is probably something in that thread for everyone.

Comments

Bob

The SK PR thing was happening right around the time I joined wmw i beleive, when my eyes were first opened to search marketing. I dont recall so much as it was a little over my head but having not been a part of bobs empire, so not affected in anyway by SK i have to say that it's hard not to like him.

I like him a lot actually. Had many conversations in pm with him over at SEW and he's one of the few members i actively track and read everything he posts. He's an education at the very least.

I think it's a brave chap who will face his critics in an open forum like that and I tip my hat to him, but from some of the accounts i've read in there im divided as to whether it's just people being pissed off or whether he was a truly dreadful businessman a couple of years back.

I just dont know enough about it to call it. However, you're right when you say that there is somthing in that thread for everyone. It's an absolute cracker!

thanks seobook!

If nothing else, reading his

If nothing else, reading his account of what happened is a great history/business lesson.

I was in the biz when SearchKing first started their portals, and in fact signed up for one. I felt it was very much like About.com (which was probably still The Mining Co. back then), and I didn't want to miss out if it got big like that.

I ended up finding the software way too confusing and complicated though (and I'm a bit of a geek...if I couldn't figure it out I imagine many others had trouble also) and I never ended up building anything out of my portal.

I remember once though, when Bob had some huge server crash and lost ALL the portal data. A lot of people had just finished setting everything up the way they wanted it, and suddenly it was gone. Bob wrote a really great email to the portal owners about how he f*cked up by not having a good back up system in place. I was very impressed with him at that point because of the way he wrote that letter.

His detractors say that he simply tells people what they want to hear, which may or may not be true, but he certainly has a way with words and could probably sell just about anything to anyone if he set his mind to it.

The biggest mistake (in my mind, after keeping tabs on what he was up to for years) was the PR Ad Network. Well, actually not the network itself, but the basically "daring" Google to do something about it in public forums. Had he just done his thing without taunting Google, all probably would have been fine. He dared them to ban him and they did, and even took it a step further and banned most of the portals.

Google are people too, and you can't expect them to be dared to do something and then not do it. Had they not acted as they did, the shit really would have hit the fan and everyone and their brother would have been taking advantage of it.

The suing of Google, imo, was just plain dumb though. As he said in his accounting at SEW though, he was pissed and it was a knee jerk reaction. And I suppose he had to try to save face if nothing else. He did feel responsible to the portal partners and had to do something to make it right. It's unfortunate that he ever had to dare Google to begin with though, because it would have saved him a ton of money and everything else.

Too late

everyone and their brother would have been taking advantage of it.

Looking around the web today, I think they did take advantage of it. Google's action just delayed things a short while. You are right, though, Bob did go out of his way to taunt Google so that they almost had to respond. I think they PR0 the portals because Google thought they were that "network" Bob was talking about selling PR from. They were not the same thing but what does Google care about that? (I also think Bob was intentionally vague about this "network" talk at that time, using "network" to describe the portal network and the PRAd network at the same time.

JIll's account is spot on

Could almost have written it myself, apart from the Geek bit ;)

> I think they PR0 the portals because Google thought they were that "network" Bob was talking about selling PR from.

Way I heard it the Google people took a quick look at the sites hosted on the IP's, they didn't find much of any value to say the least. Its a shame the portal partners got caught up in that.

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