Social Media: White Hat vs. Black Hat

Aug 12, 2009 • 7:00 pm | comments (1) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Search Engine Strategies 2009 San Jose
 

Below is live coverage of the Social Media: White Hat vs. Black Hat from the SES San Jose 2009 conference.

This coverage is provided by Barry Schwartz of the Search Engine Roundtable.

We are using a live blogging tool to provide the real time coverage. You can interact with us and while we are live blogging, so feel free to ask us questions as we blog. We will publish the archive below after the session is completed.

Social Media: White Hat vs. Black Hat(08/12/2009) 
4:01 Barry Schwartz:  Social Media: White Hat vs. Black Hat
Black hat techniques have long been criticized in search marketing: "Black hat" practices are now cropping up in social media. This panel takes a hard look at the right and wrong ways to go to market with a social media based marketing component, and how to spot early signs that you may be heading for trouble.

Moderator:
Dave Evans, VP, Digital Voodoo
Speakers:
Beth Harte, Community Manager , MarketingProfs
Lee Odden, SES Advisory Board & CEO, TopRank Online Marketing
Dave Snyder, Co-Founder, Search & Social
Chris Bennett, President & Founder, 97th Floor
4:01 Barry Schwartz:  We start now
4:04 Barry Schwartz:  I think Dave Evans is talking
4:05
4:05 Barry Schwartz:  Is black hat vs white hat defined by the tool or how the tool is used?
4:07 Barry Schwartz:  Being able to instantly see the reviews for a product or company is social
4:07 Barry Schwartz:  There is an issue of trust. Basic trust, with regard to marketing itseld, is at risk. How does black hat impact this?
4:09 Barry Schwartz:  Examples of Trust Issues?
  • Belkin's paid reviews and they issued an apology
  • College Prowler
  • Dell's twitter marketing, author discloser, etc
4:09 Barry Schwartz:  Dell is doing business on Twitter, it is a good thing, cause there is full disclosure
4:10 Barry Schwartz:  Guy Kawasaki uses Twitter as a tool to drive business and he discloses it all, so it is good
4:11 Barry Schwartz:  Walmart had a fake blog, and it got a lot of bad press, but it could have been a great thing if this was disclosed. but they didn't disclose it and it turned around. But now, they use Twitter like Dell does, so now they "get it".
4:12 Barry Schwartz:  If we engage social media incorrectly, the collective is so smart, that getting caught is going to happen. what do you do after you get caught then?
4:13 Barry Schwartz:  Keyword rich social news, is it real news, fake news, i.e. the onion, the daily show, etc.
4:14 Barry Schwartz:  Questions:
  • What defines black hat
  • what defines white hat
  • It's all about results, right?
  • who is making the rules?
  • how is the conversation impacted?
  • how does disclosure factor in?
  • What about SM -> SEO?
4:14 Barry Schwartz:  It seems like it is an open panel here, no presentations....
4:15 Barry Schwartz:  Lee Odden talks about managing risk...
4:15
4:15 Barry Schwartz:  Lee said it is hard to say what is black hat
4:16 Barry Schwartz:  I wont be able to tell you who said what, but someone else is saying, I think Dave Snyder, but I can't see from here... he said, that there is no white or black in social media. you cannot compare a "Greg Boser" in SEO to some idiot who messes up in social media (he said)
4:18
4:18 Barry Schwartz:  Beth Harte is not just the community, it is also about stake holders, employees, everyone is impacted.
4:19
Expand
4:19 Barry Schwartz:  Each community has their own rules guided by those in the community
4:20 Barry Schwartz:  Chris said that the owners of the social site also have their TOS
4:20
4:21 Barry Schwartz:  What is the ethical boundry? The community really decides.... but people polute the platform and if you do that, the stuff you put out there will be rejected.
4:22 Barry Schwartz:  Social media is not the end, it is a means to the end, it is about traffic and ultimately to convert
4:22 Barry Schwartz:  I agree
4:23 Barry Schwartz:  Lee said it is interesting to see how things changed in the year... There are short term gains with shortcuts, but it isnt sustainable that way.
4:24 Barry Schwartz:  Beth has an issue with ghost blogging or tweeting
4:25 Barry Schwartz:  PR companies don't know enough about your company and your brand.
4:25 Barry Schwartz:  The community can "smell BS a mile away"
4:27 Barry Schwartz:  It sounds like the panlists are fighting about it... a PR guy is saying they do and can do well for ghost tweeting for customers.
4:27 Barry Schwartz:  Where do the customers, the brands, have the time to do the social media?
4:28 Barry Schwartz:  So the Q comes up, can they hire someone to do this for them?
4:28 Barry Schwartz:  And many companies do hire companies to do social media marketing
4:28 Barry Schwartz:  The debate on stage is, is that effective, can a hired consultant do it effectively?
4:28 Barry Schwartz:  Some say yes, and some say no.
4:30 Barry Schwartz:  Beth explains that when you dont write for yourself, when you are asked about what you wrote, you wont know how to answer the question...
4:30 Barry Schwartz:  I am not sure I agree
4:32 Barry Schwartz:  Dave said they train people who don't know about social media, how to use it. There are two types of social media, communication and sharing content.
4:33 Barry Schwartz:  That is why maybe the panel is aruging he said, because each is referencing different platforms.
4:36 Barry Schwartz:  They then discuss the definition of "black hat"... there is black hat and there are hackers and spammers...
4:37 Barry Schwartz:  Why don't you get mad at the platform, i.e. Twitter, for giving the spammers the tools to do what they do. i.e. Twitter API
4:37 Barry Schwartz:  Someone asked, "Do you blame the telephone for calling you at dinner time?" :)
4:40 Barry Schwartz:  This is extremely hard to cover, since this is more of a conversational panel
4:40 Barry Schwartz:  People are just talking to each other...
4:40 Barry Schwartz:  I am sorry for the poor coverage on my part for this session.
4:41 Barry Schwartz:  So maybe, ill just rant about social media with my personal view?
4:42 Barry Schwartz:  Personally, I think social media is used in two ways:

(1) To make friends (not real friends) and have fun
(2) To promote stuff (products, brand, your name, etc)
4:43 Barry Schwartz:  Someone is kissing up to Matt Cutts in this session... Basically saying how he is using social media to help Google
4:43 Barry Schwartz:  How do you replicate Matt Cutts for other companies?
4:44 Barry Schwartz:  You can't just put employees out there, you need to make sure the people you do put out there are social, get it, can deal with bad pr and the company can handle it.
4:45 Barry Schwartz:  There are so many brands out there where the customers more know about their brands then the employees in the company.
4:46 Barry Schwartz:  Beth said, get those people to submit user generated content for you, that is the best can of social media.
4:50 Barry Schwartz:  This is a fun session, but really hard to cover, again, I am sorry.
4:51
 

 

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Comments:

Samuel Symes

09/22/2011 01:23 pm

Most link building by most SEO firms is not "natural" and is in fact blackhat according to Google. If you have to pay for it, ask for it, comment for it or insert a link in your article to gain it, then you are manipulating Google search results and Google terms that as blackhat. You just need to view the many video's by Matt Cutts to realize that if you are doing any of the above, then you are creating links manually and violating Google's TOS. It simply baffles me how many SEO experts will quickly denounce Cloaking as "unethical" or against Google's TOS or even label it as spam which manipulates search results but then on a daily basis create artificial, manual or software generated backlinks for clients. If you are distributing countless articles with links or posting on blogs/forums to obtain backlinks or using automated backlinking software, isn't that also spamming to manipulate search engine results? What is the difference? It all violates Google's TOS. There is also a silly mindset that whitehat SEO is risk free and blackhat is full of risks. Really? How many whitehat sites, that supposedly conformed to all of Google's TOS, suddenly lose their ranking and all their business when Google decides to do a major algorithm change? Ha! Where is the reward for loyalty from Google? So does "blackhat" or being "unethical" really exist anymore? Isn't this really about traffic, conversions and surviving within an ever tightening monopoly created by Google for which we now are left with few other options, unless to line the pockets of Google shareholders.

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