I have been part of the SEO industry for a pretty long time now. The thing is, I really don't offer SEO services, but yet, I still write about the industry, cover the news and go to the industry gatherings. The question I am asked about this is why? Why bother if you don't sell SEO?
I always come back to the industry and how special it is. There is something about the people in the industry. The giving nature of the industry. The excitement of the technical aspects of the industry. I personally get a great deal of satisfaction covering the industry that I don't think I would get in other industries.
I want to point to one example of why the industry is so special. Yesterday I covered this at Search Engine Land under the title Meet The 25-Year-Old Who Saved “SEO” From Being Trademarked.
In summary, some guy wanted to trademark the term SEO about two years ago. I blogged about it, made a big fuss but then forgot about it. I assumed, wrongly, that it would never go through. But there are several people in the industry that did more than assume, they fought against it legally. SEOmoz, Jonathan Hochman, ArteWorks.biz and Rhea Drysdale all spent time and money fighting the guy. Ultimately, some failed and some dropped out, but Rhea and Jonathan stuck with the case. Jonathan's case failed but Rhea's actually won and the trademark application was refused - this time.
Rhea and the others did this to protect the industry. They did not ask for money or for compassion, they just did what they felt was right. SEMPO and other organizations that are here to protect the industry didn't do it - it was Rhea and a few others.
Jonathan spent $10,000 of his own money and Rhea spent over $17,000 of her own money. She didn't even want me to get people to donate to her for her expenses. We (the Search Engine Land team) conned her into it and she gave us her PayPal address, which is firstname.lastname@example.org (please donate something).
How the industry responded was amazing. In less than 12 hours, Rhea told me she collected $14,000. She will split much of it with Jonathan. It still doesn't reach the total of $27,000 in legal costs, but I think it will get there. Only 80 people donated at my last count, so there are many of you holding out. Give $5, $100, $1,000 - whatever you can.
Why is the SEO industry so special?
(1) We protect ourselves without asking for anything in return. (2) We come together when it is the right thing to do.
I am proud to be part of such an industry, and industry with people like Rhea and Jonathan and those that support them.
Forum discussion at Sphinn.