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June 05, 2007

Rumors for the Sake of Traffic: There Is No SES Exclusivity

By Li Evans

Rumors Funny thing about rumors, they can come back to bite you in the butt.  When rumors are written in such a way as to drive traffic or get buzz, and the heart of the rumor is patently untrue, it can make even the most trusting audience question your actions, method and reasons.

I guess that's what the difference is between a blogger and newspaper journalist.  Journalists, 90% of the time verify before printing, and if they haven't verified, their editors turn around and make them verify and substantiate their facts.  Bloggers have no one to answer to, but their audience.  They can spread rumors that rage like a California wildfire in a matter of minutes. 

If you have heard a rumor about someone, or about something, verify it by going to the source.  Why run with a rumor, if you know the source so well and can ask them to verify it?  Starting drama and stirring up "buzz" is the only reason I can think of right now, to do such a thing.

Rumorsgossip Such is the case with Rand's post about "Leaking Rumors... SES, SMX & Speaker Exclusivity". The title of the article just screams for you to link to it, but, you don't find out till the end that Kevin Newcomb's corrected the rumor. However, the damage is done within the first couple of paragraphs - Rand doesn't name names, but swears they are "good sources".

How hard would it have been for Rand to shoot Kevin, Tim or Rebecca an email to ask about this?  To verify the rumor or debunk it?  Not hard - I emailed Rebecca Lieb and within 20 minutes time, I had a response.


"Kevin’s post says it all – I don’t know where the rumor came from, but it’s patently untrue. Period. No exclusivity agreements are now, or will ever be, required of SES speakers."      

What I find most disappointing about all of this, is the fact of how this will start the animosity between all of the conferences and speakers, all because of a rumor that got started for the sake of traffic, links and "buzz". 

Author's side note:
Rand, while I do respect you and all you've done with SEOMoz,  I do question your action of spreading rumors, without substantiating them. Especially this one, that can start a lot of unneeded "worry".


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Liana - appreciate the questioning of motivation. I mean, seriously, question all you want, but linkbait?

Now that I've got Kevin's email, I will be able to ask in the future via that method before posting publicly, but likely the post would have been very similar - i.e. rumors abound that SES will make speakers exclusive, but SES reps promise that's not the case.

Next time we see each other in person, we can chat a bit more about this issue.

Rand, of course we can chat about this in person! :)

But I've got to say,you are well known to be the lover of controversy, unique ideas, and other things which generates buzz and links. Not that it's a "bad thing", however, you can't think that me and everyone else won't question the motives when you post something like that.

I just wish you'd gotten the facts straight, talked to the folks at SES before you posted about it. By the looks of several of your commenters (which I know you can't really control) already, there's animosity and "side taking" when there was really no need for it.

There's no SES against SMX. In fact SEW and SES are supportive of Danny and Danny is supportive of SES and SEW. That fact was stated to me from SEW's Rebecca Lieb.

When someone smart does something that appears as blatantly stupid as this does, it questions character, motivation, intentions and integrity.

The hypocrisy of this post is quite amusing.

Rebecca, could you clarify why this post is hypocritical? I'm not sure I follow you...

I don't want to get into a flame war or anything. All I'll say is that I've heard plenty of rumors and gossip at shows, and Liana certainly isn't excluded from that bunch (hence the hypocrisy).

The comments to this entry are closed.

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