After reading some of the negative comments in a review of Nomadic Matt’s ebook, I disagree that everyone should ignore John Chow. The John Chow brand is one of the most powerful in the “make money online” niche. Seriously, how many webmasters, regardless of their niche, could get banned from Google and still increase their earnings?
It’s not like he’s flying blind with his blog, he knows exactly what he’s doing. Why does everyone talk about how he doesn’t rank for his name but forget about his other websites? Anyone searching for the The Tech Zone, a site he also owns and started before his blog, finds that as the top result. Hmm.
Most of the people reading this article know who John Chow is regardless of what Google does. Heck, there are still a bunch of fake John Chow blogs mooching off his brand. That brand is worth a lot of money and, if I could do it without the fame, I’d trade places in a heartbeat. He’s been banned for longer than we’ve been building websites but people are still talking about it. Search engine rankings aren’t the only way to measure value people. Do you think all of the advertisers on his blog, people that ask him to promote their products to his list, and organizers paying him to speak at their events do it just because they liked reading what he ate for dinner yesterday?
I think people should, at the very least, start using him as inspiration to grow your own brand and build up your list. Be honest with yourself. You know you’d crap your pants, reverse course right away, and beg forgiveness if Google dumped one of your main websites from their index for doing something they didn’t like. Why didn’t he?
Step outside of the internet marketing world, go back to being Joe the web surfer for a minute, and you’ll see the importance of branding. When a 16 year old girl looks for her daily “what’s the newest celebrity gossip” she doesn’t need Google to find it. No way. Perez Hilton might be a mean, mean little man but I only dream of getting that much type in traffic. Repeat type in traffic. Guess what? Tons of celebrities hate him because he’s such a jerk. Heck, a big chunk of his regular readers hate him too. It doesn’t matter because when you think of celebrity gossip you think of Perez Hilton. The I Can Has Cheezburger people don’t live in fear of Google laying the smack down either. There’s a reason Aaron and Peter at SEO Book talk about branding so often.
You probably think I’m the biggest John Chow fanboy in the world by now. I’m not. Most of the time I don’t read anything he says or care what he does. He’s a publisher that got greedy, tried to game Google, and got caught (only large corporate websites should buy PageRank and rankings like that). I learned an important lesson from that whole self-imposed fiasco with his blog and our own experience with getting dropped by a search engine.
Unless you have a brand or a list, Google is your pimp.
John has both. How about you?
Looking forward to the day when I stop being a Google man-whore.
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