SEO Firm Made Of Giants, BlueGlass Is Collapsing

Apr 25, 2013 • 8:16 am | comments (24) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under SEM / SEO Companies

blueglassI have this policy of not covering topics here if (1) there are not communities talking about it in forum like settings and (2) if that community is not open, I won't talk about it. I only cover public threads and content that is available to anyone to see.

Over the pass few weeks, I was invited into a private Facebook community talking about What Happened to BlueGlass - that is the title of the Facebook group. That group was set to "open" status a few days ago by former BlueGlass executive, Greg Boser.

To make a long story short, it seems like BlueGlass ran into some serious financial debt and cannot easily dig themselves out of it. Some history is that BlueGlass was formed by several well-known SEO companies and personalities in the industry. It was a merger of these "giant" names in the SEO community to form the ultimate SEO company.

BlueGlass was/is very respected in the industry for their SEO services and for the conference they run throughout the year. So the news that BlueGlass shut their offices and cannot meet their financial obligations was shocking.

Chris Winfield, one of the founders and the CMO, wrote publicly some thoughts on the situation but has been very quiet for the most part. Patrick C. Price, the managing director of BlueGlass EU, posted a video on YouTube with some more details. But the most vocal person has been Greg Boser, former President of BlueGlass, in the Facebook thread.

He posted int he past twenty-four hours the latest news for all to see:

I mentioned earlier that my requests for someone at BG to initiate the legal proceedings (that a majority of voting shareholders had agreed needed to be done) were met with a response of "we're working on a plan".

Tonight I received Kevin Gibbons plan. Or, I should say I received his demands. The short version is Kevin has demanded that we turn over control of BG to him for a period of 3 months so he can do due diligence and try to save the company from bankruptcy. And if we don't comply, he is going to sue us.

He also demanded that I make him admin of this group so he could moderate (ie prevent anyone from posting anything negative) the comments.

I am not going to comply with any of his demands. Instead, I am going to focus on initiating legal action to force the proper closure of the company.

My final advice to all of you is to call your credit card companies and initiate charge backs on the tickets you purchased. The chances of any conference happening in 3 weeks given the can of legal #$$ Kevin has just opened is as about as close to zero as you can get.

Now, what will happen with BlueGlass is still undetermined.

There are a lot of employees out of a job, a lot of clients without SEO work and lost money on that, and there is a conference with paid attendees that is coming up in a a few weeks without a conference.

I hope things can be mended but it seems pretty bad.

I am sure the executive team is going through a lot now and it cannot be easy. But knowing them, I am confident they will learn from this and only grow stronger.

Forum discussion at Facebook.

Update: Patrick from BlueGlass EMEA and UK asked me to clarify, this financial issue only impacts BlueGlass USA not BlueGlass EMEA and UK.

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Jon Payne

04/25/2013 12:49 pm

Very sad to see this happen to a company with so many fantastic people. I hope it can get resolved in an amicable way for all parties, but indeed that seems like a near impossible task. Annie Cushing wrote a nice post about firms that are looking to hire: Hopefully some of those who are without jobs can find one there. My firm (Ephricon) is indeed looking to hire for a couple of positions for anyone who is looking.

Gregory Smith

04/25/2013 03:04 pm

Annie writes some great content! #GoGirl!

RentalLease Agreement

04/25/2013 05:05 pm

Google Penguin seems to have pecked away at this one


04/25/2013 05:59 pm

Good guys but Penguin killed them big time and crushed their business.


04/25/2013 06:38 pm

If Penguin killed them then they aren't/weren't very good SEOs. I would like to assume that it was poor management and office politics that led to this.


04/25/2013 07:56 pm

Why not give Kevin Gibbons a chance to sort a company that had obviously had gross mismanagement elsewhere? I suppose a company founded from "giant names" in the industry was always going to fold as they are full of hot air.


04/25/2013 08:37 pm

So Sad... BlueGlass was indeed a giants firm, i met their guys once at SMX East and was really inspired by their SEO strategies, hope you guys stick around with the industry.


04/25/2013 09:30 pm

this is a lesson in sustainable SEO practices too. Gross to see them all playing this out publicly. This is the time to say very little, except how you're going to make right for the clients. Not sure they were giants.


04/26/2013 12:00 am

I think you are right.. Too many chiefs not enough Indians. Gee that saying sounds so politically in-correct these days.

Ammon Johns

04/26/2013 05:18 am

It is incredibly sad to read the comments here and see no-names who have contributed nothing to the industry criticising the value of the names behind BG. Greg Boser alone had written and shared more SEO knowledge by 2000 than most of the people in this thread who are questioning the word 'Giants' have ever managed to amass. Yes, the situation at BG is an incredible mess, and one has to see that the situation with the finances has little or nothing to do with anything but business administration. What failed here was the accounting and business administration, not the SEO.

Jaimie Sirovich

04/26/2013 06:06 am

@google-6e2145fa9f2be730fecd7ea1e3691218:disqus There's no real way to know that for sure. I've been in this industry for a long, long time. I've bumped into you a few times and know you've been around for awhile, too. What I've noticed is that much of SEO is no longer financially scalable unless you're selling a platform. Rand Fishkin and the Mozzers is the best example — though they do have some major debt in their history. Rand was one of the first to figure it out, and I've studied him carefully to learn about business, even if I disagree with a lot of what he says. The folks behind Raventools are another. So it could be that SEO as a service is not sustainable anymore. It's going to be folded into marketing proper. Google doesn't want SEO to be scalable. They want it to be marketing. No firm other than God's has more money to throw at R&D than Google. On the other hand, maybe the money that was flowing to Rand Fishkin back when he was in debt wasn't available to BG and it sucks to be them at the wrong time. What do I think, though? Honestly, I think it's the former. This is of course no criticism for the folks at BG. It's also a possibility that this story is going to repeat itself despite their talents.

Greg Boser

04/28/2013 06:13 am

For the record, it had absolutely nothing to do with the scalability of SEO, or anything to do with Panda/Penguin. It was really just a case of no CFO and a really bad CEO.

chaudhary amir

04/28/2013 06:54 pm

This is not good so sad to read this blueglass was a giants firm.


04/28/2013 07:10 pm

I just Googled the term 'not very good at SEO' and BlueGrass were #1 which proves they were doing something right.

Fionn Downhill

04/29/2013 12:20 am

Playing this out in public is a horrible mistake. Clients and customers of the conference should be communicated with but the rest not good not good at all. I know all these guys this is too bad great guys and have given so much to the community. I have spoken with several of them on panels but releasing details of internal issues is not good business.

Doc Sheldon

04/30/2013 12:34 am

I'd agree with Ammon, that questioning the ability or integrity of everyone at BG is the wrong take. It would seem that those virtues were lacking at the top only. Greg had no responsibility to step forward and take the heat - he did so because someone had to, and Zwicky had conveniently fled the country. I think that says a lot about both of them. A lot of good people have had their lives turned upside down... a lot of conference attendees may lose some money... several clients will no doubt suffer as well... I'd say this is a time to ask what we can do to help, rather than to start feeding on the fallen.

Will Stevens

04/30/2013 01:10 pm

Says the person going after exact match anchor text in comment threads....

Jaimie Sirovich

05/03/2013 11:12 pm

@facebook-715802460:disqus I believe you to a large extent. However if it were as easy as it was in 2002 to mechanize and commoditize (effective & non-dangerous!) processes for SEO, it might matter less. And as I recall, Rand Fishkin admitted that he was drowning in debt at some point, no? Lots of things went wrong. No cheap debt, harder than it used to be, etc. But yeah, a bad enough CEO will do it. Too bad it happened to your crew. You and a few other people who didn't deserve it got dragged through the mud.

Vertical Measures

05/06/2013 06:06 pm

We would like to offer help to anyone who was affected by the cancellation of the upcoming BlueGlassX event due to the shutdown of BlueGlass Interactive. We're offering a credit for both their BlueGlassX tickets and non-refundable airfare towards any of our services. No strings attached. Here are the details:

Kevin Gibbons

05/09/2013 01:40 pm

Thanks Barry - I can't speak for BlueGlass US as I'm not a shareholder or an employee and never have been. But I have provided an update to show where BlueGlass UK stands:

john d

05/23/2013 02:19 pm

wohh, is for sale!


06/11/2013 02:55 pm

They kind of built their own downfall with exact anchor match links


09/07/2013 09:10 pm

Dude I was about to hire 3 former BG employees before, ... on odesk. They were basically in charge with a some spam techniques which were quite outdated already back then. I was also subscribed to the BG newsletter and special offers, so I was disappointed after the initial excitement that this super star company was just another one hiring outsourced labor for $3/hour for operating some stuff like link farm evolution. I am pretty positive that the odesk workers didn't make up some shit, as they descrbed pretty well the product I was advertised with a private offer as company ('powerlinks'). The whole stuff was so outdated that I wouldn't even run that thing on my short term sites, so I ended up hiring none. Anyways, this was in late 2011 or so, BG might have changed afterwards, and yes, it does not render the excellent works of Greg Boser or the fascinating marketing by Chris useless. Losing BG is a loss for the industry. But also a good example for me that crystal clear results still depend on LINKS and the talk around is just the difference in markup for the client. A down to earth experience.

Spook SEO

02/03/2014 04:10 am

Well ups and downs are the part of life. BlueGlass put their all eggs in one bucket. It is quite difficult to bear the loss of investing in one way. BG’s strategy was something looks like this. With the passage of time their cash inflows become less than their outflows. And their financial managers may be taken a decision to borrow from other financial institutions to meet their financial liabilities. That’s why they present that there financial position is poor or there may be another trick to become a famous. But such kind of trick do not shows you a famous they make you notorious

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