Friday, November 1, 2002


=======November 15, 2002===========
From: Robert Massa
Sent: Friday, November 15, 2002 4:55 PM

Subject: PPP 11-15-02

The information contained within this email is for the information, education and enjoyment of advertisers and inventory partners of the PR Ad Network only. It is exclusive and strictly confidential.
In This Issue
Your wasting your link popularity if you don't optimize your sites!!!
We have a staff meeting every morning with Ronda, Kathi and myself, to discuss our advertisers, our inventory partners and of course google. In addition, once a week, Ronda and I go over specific advertiser's accounts. We check for movement with PR and placements. We check the backward links and all of their movements.
We go to your website and evaluate the optimization techniques. We make sure you kids aren't trying to start your own little link farm, we make sure you're not hoping hidden text is your brass ring. Basically, we're just looking to keep everyone legit and do our best to see that everyone gets what they were expecting with this network thing. We look at a lot of things on a lot of sites.
Out of all this evaluating, one thing is VERY clear. Most of you don't fully understand how to get the most from your text ads. We are seeing far too many sites with no keywords where they need to be and too many keywords where they don't need to be.
I've spoken with most of you personally and I've always told you all that link popularity is the single most important factor in placing well, but it's not the ONLY factor. You've seen for yourself, sites with a lower PR on top of sites with a hgiher PR on some keywords. That right there tells you that if all it took was PR, eveyone would buy themselves a couple of 8's and we'd all be rich. Well, we're not all rich and it's still a competitive ballgame out there and you are my customers so naturally, I want YOU to win.
I'm going to tell you some of the basics today that you really need to do in order to get the most return possible from your link popularity. This is by no means a comprehensive course in SEO. There is as much to learn about SEO as you want to spend the time learning it. The more you learn, the better your chances of winning the placement wars, but my goal is to help you gain more for your money faster and allow you to focus on your business. Here we go.
#1. Target keywords that make you sales, not just the ones you think are going to just get you traffic. Far too many times clients insist they want a keyword phrase like travel when all they offer is vacation rentals in yellowstone.
Never forget, hits cost you money. Sales make you money.
#2. Make sure your target keyword is in your title tag.
#3. Make your title tag short, to the point and a hot button.
Never forget that the title tag is just about the only thing you can control. Make sure it is one that "sells"
#4. Use your target keyword in your description tag once. No need to repeat it.
#5. Don't worry about keyword density too much. Just use your keywords jsut like you were talking to a customer on the sales floor. You wouldn't mention your product 20 times in a one minute conversation would you? If you did, you'd sound pretty stupid. It sounds pretty stupid on web pages too.
#6. Use your keywords toward the top of the page in a heading tag.
#7. Use keywords in your link titles.
#8. Remember that your text ads are anchor text but don't jsut repeat keywords. It is an ad. aMake it sell.
#9. Keep your target keyword list very short. One way to look at it is this.
Every search service on the planet wants to bring back what it feels like is the MOST relevant site for any specfic keyword search. Fishing trips is not the same as fishing camps to a spider, so by trying to capture first page for both terms you are actually having to reduce the relevancy for at least one of them.
#10. If you want more keywords on top, build more domains. Just remember that it's a VERY good idea to use different, anonymous servers, with a unique IP address. Preferably different class C's. Remember that order pages and secure pages don't get spidered so a good way to do it is to put an order here button on the site that goers to a secure page and then link THAT page to any other order form you want. This eleminates the worry of duplicate content. Don't duplicate content but you can certainly use a lot of the stuff from the other domain to keep the look, feel and navigation branded, and cut down on the time used to develop content.
While I'm on this subject, I want to point out a misconception. I know it is a misconception because I've proven it over and over. Content is king.
It is only king when it needs to be king. If you're selling toilet plunger, no one, including search engines, really care about 15 pages about the history of plungers. On the other hand if your target keyword is DNA, you are going to need a little content. Se what I mean? You need as much content as you need to make sales, get traffic and place in the SERPS, in that order.
And most important of all

Buy it, rent it, trade for it or beg for it, but build it! Remember, a PR 8 is worth a whole lot of PR 4's so always go for as big a one as you can get. Naturally, I recommend not exchanging links. I recommend doing whatever you need to do to get as much for as little as possible and then sell your own ads. The exchanging part is where we all get into trouble.
I know it sounds like a lot of work. The sad fact is, it is a lot of work. No one said this was going to be easy. I have just given some of you the million dollar secret. Make the changes I suggested and your income will increase dramatically. For others, I have told you nothing of any value because it sounds like to much effort. Regardless of how you see it, you need to realize that if you don't take it, someone else will.
If it's more work than you want to do, call me. I have an anonymous server with 12 class C's. I can build you a domain for as little as $689. I can get you all the page rank you want. If you do the work, I'm happy to tell you how for free. If you want someone else to do the work, I'm one of the best and I'm cheap.
Whether you do it yourself or have someone else do it for you, if you want to win, do it!
See You at the Top
Publisher -- Bob Massa

Tuesday, October 1, 2002


=======October 18, 2002===========
From: Robert Massa
Sent: Friday, October 18, 2002 1:41 PM 

Subject: PPP 10-18-02

The Portal Partner Press is sent for the education and entertainment of the people who own and operate a SearchKing hosted portal or have an interest in niche portals or SearchKing and it's many services. It is intended to help you learn to better maintain and market your own portal or how to use niche portals to enhance the marketing of your web business. Anytime you have a question about any item in an issue of the PPP, please visit our forums at and feel free to ask any questions or post any comments about your portal, about SearchKing or about internet marketing in general.
• SearchKing Sues Google
• Press Release
• In The Press
• Keeping My Mouth Shut
• How You Can Help

At approximately 10am Pacific Standard time, Friday, October 18th, 2002, Bob Massa of SearchKing, Inc. as well as his legal team of Brett Sanger and Holly Hefton of the Oklahoma City law firm, Brett Sanger, P.C. and the public relations consultants, Debbie Anglin and Steve Lalli with the Public Relations Lab of Oklahoma City, all witnessed the online tracking of Fed-Ex and verified that the office of google, Inc. had been legally served legal notice of an injunction filed in federal court on October 17th, 2002.
We have filed a lawsuit against google. I can now at least speak a little bit to you about why I have been so quiet.
This is a big deal. This is not just about google arbitrarily trying to devalue and/or defame me or SearchKing with malicious intent. It is not even about them doing the same thing to hundreds of innocent portal partners who had nothing whatsoever to do with selling anything. It is about something much bigger. It is quite possibly about changing the very nature of the internet and how it relates to commerce.
It is about the rights of webmasters and who has the right to profit from the work of webmasters. The webmaster who built the site and provided the content, or the people who build a program to gather and display that content for their own gain?
Did you ever think about what rights you are giving up by publishing a website to the web? Does that give the right to a third party to make money from your content without your permission? Doesn't sound right when I say it like that huh?
So what do you think it is when a spider hits your server, costing you bandwidth, and gathers everything it can and then uses that data gathered to make public statements, (such as bragging about having the largest database in the world), that are designed for the sole purpose of attracting advertising money? Did anyone ever ask permission to cost you that bandwidth? Did anyone ever offer to share the revenue that was generated with your content with you?
Has anyone ever asked your permission to display cached versions of your work? Has anyone ever asked you if you minded that they display their own opinion of your site to anyone who would submit to having their internet experience tracked for over 30 years? If someone gives you praise, do you have the right to profit from that praise. Is it an asset and if so, whose is it? The person getting the praise or the person giving it? Do you think you should have a right to defend yourself if that company would decide to tell the world that you were a bad neighborhood?
Finally, who owns page rank? The webmaster who had the links to count in the first place, or the programmer who writes a program to count those links really fast? I say page rank could not exist without the efforts of webmasters and therefore, the value of page rank belongs to the creator of the content and NOT the program that evaluates that content.
To build a business on the backs of others without the decency to even ask permission is in poor taste and shows a lack of consideration for those who contributed to your success. To fully expect to profit a great deal from those efforts yet no offer to fairly compensate the providers of that content is rude, inconsiderate and I believe illegal.
That alone is insidious enough, but to then use your power and influence that you have built from the very content you have taken without permission and use it to hurt, damage, defame or devalue, with the intent to restrain trade, the intent to shut someone up, the intent to try to make an example of anyone else who would have the courage to question you and to do it by hurting innocent people, that is dangerous beyond belief and the question of whether they can get away with it or not MUST be answered and answered now!
All these questions have never been asked in front of a judge to my knowledge, yet these are the questions that will shape business in the 21st century. I say we have rights. We certainly have as much right to profit from our efforts as the programmer who wrote a program to gather our data without our permission in the first place. We have to have rights and I intend to be one of the first to have the courage to stand up and demand accountability.
There may be the misconception still floating around that the internet is like the old west and there is no sheriff in town, but that is absolutely ludicrous. There is nothing anymore mysterious about the net than there is about a telephone. The internet is woven into the very fabric of the human experience on a global scale. It is here and it is not going away. Today, you have to be a techno wizard to understand the net about as much as you have to be an electrical engineer to turn on the lights in the kitchen.
The time for astonishment at man potential is past. The time for wide-eyed wonderment is past. The time for the world and all it's judges to realize that writing a good computer program does not put anyone above the law. The time for responsibility and accountability, even on the internet, is here.
It is nothing more than a coincidence that it is my time. I'm not a man who should be suing tech companies to protect the rights of webmasters. I am possibly the very least likely man on earth to be doing this. Maybe it is destiny that SearchKing just happens to be small enough that someone would think they could silence us by throwing in a few lines of codes into a program, yet we are big enough to be able to defend ourselves. Maybe it's destiny. More likely, I'm just a businessman who is being served an injustice and that is wrong and I am just like anyone else, push me hard enough and I'm going to fight.
I'm in the rare position of having to fear no man. What are they going to do to me? Wipe out my PR? Make me drive an old beat up 8 year old van? make me live in a modest home? Oops, too late. Already there. The money I have made has not gone into my pockets in spite of what some are saying in forums. I have said from the beginning of SearchKing that it would cost millions and since I don't have millions, I will have to generate it through the business. That is what I've done and will continue to do regardless of the outcome of this lawsuit.
So, can I win?
As far as the lawsuit, I have some doubts. I believe they are going to send some of the most tech savvy, go for the throat, silicon valley lawyers on the planet to Oklahoma City with the promise of a big bonus if they don't just win the case but maybe rough me up a bit while they're here. I believe they will be coming to kick my as*!
I chose the law firm specifically because they know business law, but were not internet experts. I don't believe anything like internet business law exists yet. I hope to be one the pioneers in that arena. Talk about immortality. I can fantasize about some lawyer in 2250 citing massa vs google as a precedence. I wanted to make sure that everyone involved in this from my team, accepts that this is a classic battle of good over evil. It just depends on which side of the fence you're leaning on as to who you think is the good one and who is the evil one.
We believe that google takes the approach that they have a lot of very smart, highly qualified people to support the servers that support the world's best program. We take the approach that we have a lot of really good programs to support some of the very best people on the net.
I didn't want this to become an issue about algorithms and IP's. I want this to be seen as technology empowering people and people using technology to limit the potential of people who may disagree with the program or pose a possible threat to the objectives of a small group. I want this to be about people and the hope that all people should have the right to hold. The hope that they can better their lives and the lives of their children as long as they work hard and build something of value legally. To have that hope and work toward it without fear of unjust retribution from anyone. To have that hope knowing they have the protection of an honest and fair legal system even when that system is challenged with highly technical issues which may be used by some as a weapon to cloud the real issues.
I believe in the basic goodness of man. I believe in America. I believe in democracy and I believe myself and the SearchKing Portal Network. I believe that we are in the right and that the world will see that webmasters who do the work, have the right to expect fair compensation. I believe that I may be forced to accept that there reasons why lawyers make the kind of money they do and that there may be some legal foul I am guilty of. I believe that I may be forced to walk out of court with my tail tucked between my legs and have to endure the inevitable "I told you so" posts in forums for the rest of my days.
I also believe that we will win in the court of public opinion. I believe we have more than enough evidence that the portal partners getting their pr wiped out was intentional. It was not a glitch. It was meant to damage SearchKing and me NOT for doing anything that isn't being done even as we speak, but for SAYING I was doing it. For being up-front and honest about it. That is what they saw as a threat, and that is what they reacted to. What does that say? Does anyone honestly believe they don't know that virtually EVERY SEO website on the planet offers to increase your link popularity for a fee? So who is selling page rank?
Yes, we will win! Our network will be stronger. Our network will grow and we will be more than we are today and that makes us all, even google, a winner. We do good work and there is a place in the world for that and I intend to prove it.
I've put all legal notices and the first press release online at
By the way, this page is going to attract a LOT of very targeted traffic over the next few weeks and maybe even months. I'm selling ads on these pages for $1500 a month for the top of the page and $1000 a month for the footer of the page and $250 a month for 10 word text ads along the left side of the page. I've got lawyers to pay!
There will be links to order from the page.

No need to waste space here. I'll give you the link and you can read it if you like.
I've been interviewed by C-Net and Wired magazine. Not the website, the magazine. I didn't mention anything about the lawsuit because we hadn't filed yet. I have a conference call scheduled with them and my PR consultant today. Something may "leak" out about the suit.
Wired called the office yesterday and said the wanted photos to go with the article, (they didn't have any idea about the suit at this time), so they are sending a photographer from San Francisco to do a "shoot" of me. Wow, what if I make the cover??? Am I the face of American small business in the 21st century? Probably not.
Also, the PR firm we've retained has an extensive list of tech editors on a regional level and the press release will be going out today. I'm guessing that a lot of tech editors for local newspapers will see this as one of the few real articles come along that they have a shot at getting a by-line in a national publication. I'm expecting a good response form the local media.
It seems like I give good interview. Huh, who would have guessed? So, I think between the fact that it is news, it is topical, I do give good interview and we are for real, I think we can expect the press. Of course, I have to remember that whatever press we get, google gets too. 

> For those of you who just seem to love to try to pressure me into saying more than I should, I'm getting better at ignoring you with experience. I'm greatly relieved to be able , at last, to say what I have today. At least now everyone knows that I haven't just been hiding in my office because I was afraid of google, or that I was avoiding portal partners because I was ashamed of getting them in trouble.
I hope you can see now that what I do, I honestly do for us all. I am NOT afraid of anyone and with the exception of them hurting the portals, ( I really didn't think they would go that far), things couldn't be going much closer to my plan if all the SEO forums and google themselves were on my payroll. Now my challenge is getting those people who are saying the worst about me and google especially, to see that I am not AGAINST them. They can refuse to see it if they so choose, but what we do, we do for them as well. What we are doing is EXACTLY what we said we were doing along from the very beginning. We are building a better web.
I'm just learning now that building a better anything requires a person to be ready to speak up even if it looks hard. I have got to find a way to get everyone involved in this to see that someone winning does not mean someone else has to lose. I have got to find the courage to speak from the heart in the face of ridicule and show everyone how we all can win from this.
The only thing I can see that may be more important in that quest than speaking from the heart would be knowing when to keep my mouth shut.
My favorite quote:
• Small words, spoken in truth, can sway the minds of nations.
But I don't care who you are, keep talking long enough and you're going to say something really stupid.
So, as always, I WANT to tell you everything all the time, but this is just too important to us all to risk and there are going to be a lot of things I just will not discuss publicly until I feel it's the right time. Please try to understand and know that just because I'm not talking doesn't mean I have nothing to say. Try to have faith in me, in the Network and in yourself and know that if I don't answer your questions or concerns right then, please give me the benefit of the doubt and realize it is probably because I am not at liberty to discuss it at that time without risking more than I feel I can afford to risk. 
Screen shots of your site showing PR before September the 27th and after when the PR was reduced. If you don't have screen shots, just a statement from you saying what it was than and what it is now. Tell the truth and don't try to embellish because you may be called upon to testify.
Statements from any of you who feel like that have lost due to the reduction in PR for either yourself or someone else in the Network.
Statements from you about how you feel about your site and it's place within the Network.
I need someone who knows something about webcams and streaming video.
If you know someone who would help us in the cause, send them my way.
I need someone who could be considered an expert in mathematical engineering. Hopefully someone who may not be all that thrilled that google wrote the program they were working on. Maybe someone from Berkley, UCLA, San Francisco State. Get my drift? If you know someone, let them know about our cause and send them my way.
Anything else you think may important in this case.
Email them to
Be sure to include a short statement giving me permission to use the material you send.
Finally, what would I like to see you do to help?
EVERYTHING YOU POSSIBLY CAN! Tell everyone, show everyone, stand up and be proud of what we do and who we are. Do it now! Get involved NOW! Care enough to realize we are making history here and realize how much you would like to reap if we win and let that motivate you more than your fear of what you may lose. Realize that we have already suffered the worst and now it is our time in the sun. Take your place there with pride! Help me fight for the rights of all webmasters and all those who would dream of owning their own business on the net. DO IT NOW !!
Ask yourself this question now and answer yourself honestly.
Is Bob right? Do I have the right to capitalize on the page rank of my site or does my page rank belong to google. Now act accordingly.
Thank you for your hard work, your help and your support. You make this possible and together we are more than we are alone.
May God bless us all. 
Publisher -- Bob Massa

Thursday, August 1, 2002


=======August 19, 2002=========== 

Sent: Monday, August 19, 2002 2:35 PM 
Subject: PPP 8-19-02 

From: bobking

The Portal Partner Press is sent for the education and entertainment of the people who own and operate a SearchKing hosted portal or have an interest in niche portals or SearchKing and it's many services. It is intended to help you learn to better maintain and market your own portal or how to use niche portals to enhance the marketing of your web business. Anytime you have a question about any item in an issue of the PPP, please visit our forums at and feel free to ask any questions or post any comments about your portal, about SearchKing or about internet marketing in general.
Final Adjustments
This is just a short message to let our portal partners know that we will be doing some upgrading to our servers starting tomorrow, Tuesday, August, 20th 2002 .
Since we moved onto the new hot rod boxes last month, we have had several issues that we have not been able to effectively resolve. We have had a heck of a time getting the open relay on our mail fixed. We are still having problems with Frontpage and we still have a couple of miscellaneous issues with Hyperseek and Redhat 7.2
Anyway, we will be making these upgrades beginning at about 2pm tomorrow, August the 20th. This is central time. We will need you to NOT be loading anything up to your site for about 24 hours and if you do --- BACK IT UP!
Your visitors should not experience any down time associated with your site. We will be using all four of the servers we have, (yes, we still have those two old servers online), so that if we have to pull one server down for more than a few seconds for a re-boot, the request would kick over to the other server. In theory, the worst that would happen is that some of your visitors might be seeing data on the updated version of the old server and the next visitor would see data from the new server.
The only risk you will have is that anything you might load up could be put on the old server and lost. BACK IT UP!
This is the best way we know of to get the kind of speed and reliability that we are going to need over this next year. These new servers are VERY fast and from the testing we've done, even the portal pluses are going to rival the biggest names in the search industry for speed.
I know this is the first PPP in a month. I apologize but there is a reason. I have been consumed with these server moves for a month. I've had no real news to bring you and in spite of my reputation, I really don't enjoy talking just to hear my own voice. If I don't have anything to say that might serve some purpose, I don't like wasting the resources needed to send an email to a few thousand people.
Now that we almost have the server upgrades out of the way, I have all kinds of things to talk to you about. Like; you all being able to offer yellow pages, and daily polls. My trip to England to get UKSearchKing duplicating and hiring programmers from across the pond and of course the hottest topic on the net PR Text Ad Links.
In upcoming issues I will tell you guys just what Page Rank is and how to get it and how to use it to make money.
So, we'll be in touch again soon.
Publisher -- Bob Massa

Saturday, June 1, 2002


=======June 04, 2002===========

Subject: Portal Partner Press 6-04-02

Date: Tuesday, June 04, 2002 2:30 PM 

From: bobking

The Portal Partner Press is sent each week for the education and entertainment of the people who own and operate a SearchKing hosted portal. It is intended to help you learn to better operate, maintain and market your own portal. Anytime you have a question about any item in an issue of the PPP, please visit our forums at and feel free to ask any questions or post any comments about your portal, about SearchKing or about internet marketing in general. 

SEO Is Dead And Why I'm Happy About It.
That's right, I'm saying SEO is dead! Actually, it never really existed in the first place. At least not as it's come to be commonly known.
You see, SEO is an acronym that has somehow come to be adopted by an entire industry to misleadingly describe getting a website placed in top positions under specific keywords on major search services. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization.
When looking at the brief description I just gave above, it's easy to see WHY there was a need for an acronym, I have just never understood why that specific acronym became the one used when it was so blatantly NOT what anyone calling themselves that actually did.
The question has always been; "if you are an SEO, which search engine is it that you optimize"?
By all but a very few SEO's, the answer has always been; "well, actually what I do is optimize a website to get top placement on a search engine for a specific keyword".
In my mind, that has always brought the next question.
"If you don't actually optimize a search engine, why do you call yourself that"?
For that question, there has been no answer.
I have considered myself a search engine placement specialist for the past 6+ years. I have never considered myself an SEO. Which is actually pretty ironic when you consider that out of all the people who would call themselves that, I was one of the very few that really did optimize a search engine. Of course I'm referring to SearchKing. A search engine that I actually have spent a lot of time and money optimizing.
Be that as it may, I was never able to convince anyone that I was one of the only "real" SEO's. In fact, the more I brought it up, the less friends I seemed to be making. Actually, I never tried to convince anyone that I alone deserved the title. What I was trying to do was to get anyone who was diddling meta tags to cease and desist from using the SEO acronym because I felt, ( and still do), that using that term was doing nothing but damage to an already tarnished meta tag diddling industry.
For the last several years, SEO has had a pretty bad rep and maybe deservedly so. Search engine placement involved quite a bit of technical expertise needed to be really good at it. Trying to explain just what it took to achieve top placement was always a jargon-filled, hard-to-grasp concept that was difficult for just about anyone to understand. This is very likely why the industry became such a haven for spammers and con men. The old dazzle 'em with brilliance or baffle 'em with bulls*** concept very effectively dramatized. You either knew what you were doing or went after people who wouldn't know the difference. Existing within these two arenas, the internet marketing market has not always been so easy to market.
I'm sure we've all had those emails promising thousands of hits from search engines for just $39. Along with the "submit your site to hundreds" and "learn what the experts don't want you to know" kind of spams. Naturally, you take something hard to understand for all but the most hard core enthusiast, couple that with an easy to target get-rich-quick scheme and it's not hard to see how the industry had a little bit of a PR problem.
I felt, (and still do), that by calling what a search engine placement specialist did, something other than what they actually did, just made the problem worse and I wanted it to change. Not for entirely unselfish reasons. I wanted to see it change because I am recognized as a leader in this PR challenged industry and I knew that the more professional I could help the industry to become, the bigger the available market would be and the more customers I could expect to gain for my own company.
Alas, as hard as I tried for as long as I tried, it seemed I was doomed to failure. I could not seem to get anyone to agree that calling our industry, search engine optimizing, was a little misleading and only making our difficult job more difficult. It seemed that every so-called SEO out there was perfectly content to call themselves something they absolutely were not and no one seemed to have a problem with it. But even that is not the weird part.
The weird part is that, while most every so-called SEO on the planet agreed that there was too much silly sounding, made up by God-knows-who or even God-knows-why, jargon for the average consumer to understand what in the world it was that an SEO was actually selling, the industry then all of a sudden got a "new" kick. Ethical SEO.
Overnight it seemed, the industry was divided into two camps. Good SEO's and bad SEO's. Of course the judge of that was whoever was pointing the finger at the time. For all those who were cloaking, hidden text meant that the person using it was an UN-ethical SEO. For all those using hidden text, those nasty cloakers were the ones ruining the business for all the rest of us. Sheesh! What a joke.
Ethical SEO has GOT to be the epitome of oxy-morons.
Now, one more little factor comes into play. SEO for who? With the onslaught of Overture and about 200 other pay-per-click engines, with Inktomi going pay-for-inclusion and then of course the greatest PR blunder in the history of the internet so far. Of course I'm referring to the Looksmart "pay a one time fee for review and never be charged again ---oh wait, we changed our minds so we are in effective, going to blatantly steal your money and put you into a pay-per-click model you never agreed to, where we can set the prices and you have no choice other than to just accept your money paid to us was kind of like a donation" , who's left?
Infoseek, gone. Excite, gone. Go, gone. Inktomi, going. Alta Vista, going. Hot Bot, going and the list goes on and on. Even the ones that still have a presence on the web, their focus has shifted to a pay-per-click model. So, why would anyone hire an SEO when they could go and open they're own bidding account and get their sites to the top of just about any engine out there just by out-bidding their competitors. Well, I'll tell you why AND why they won't.
Once again, the main driving force behind the net marketing community is misconception. It's true that SEO is almost dead as a website search engine placement service, but not because it is a misleading, silly, and confusing acronym, but because of a misconception. Actually two misconceptions.

Misconception #1.
I just implied three paragraphs prior, that there were no search services, (at least free search services), left to submit to let alone optimize for. That is pretty much an implication that is spreading quickly across the entire spectrum of internet marketing communities throughout the net. I have read literally hundreds of newsletters and forum posts making statements that would imply the ONLY engine left to even attempt placement on for free is Google.
Well, what everyone seems to be overlooking is that there are actually more chances of placing well on more engines than at just about anytime in the past. This is going to quickly change now that I have stated the obvious, but the fact is that everyone who talks on the net seems to be talking about PPC.
Take a look at Yahoo for example. Are all the listings paid for? If you only went by what you read in marketing forums, you would most likely assume that yes, all the listings are paid for. Well, guess what? They are NOT!
Do a search on Yahoo for stock tips, (just using that phrase as an example). There are three listings at the top of the results page that says "sponsor matches". these are results that are PPC provided by Overture. Then there are 20 more listings and then two more "sponsor matches at the bottom of those. Guess where those 20 in the middle came from? I can still guarantee first page placement on Yahoo in spite of all the PPC hype.
Yes it does cost $299 per year to get reviewed by Yahoo, but guess what, so many people got PO'ed at them for making the fees $299 a year as opposed to life like it used to be, that there are much fewer submissions. It is easier to get in now than it was before. You do the math and decide for yourself what the better deal is. Paying Overture's extortion, oops, excuse me, I mean bidding fees or paying less than $25 a month for a full time, front page listing on Yahoo.
Now let's take a look at Alta Vista. Same stock tips search and again, the top 4 listings are paid for, (these are called products and services -- how up-front of AV), and then 10 listings that got there basically for free. Again, I can still guarantee first page placement on Alta Vista. In fact, one of those listing on that first page are mine.
I could go on and list several more engines all doing the same thing but it would only be an effort in redundancy. Almost every major service out there, (almost every non-major service too), all show 3, 4 or 5 paid listings above their own results and then the next 10 or 20 are free. Placed where they are placed for one of two reasons. Either the person who built the page knew what it took to get there or the person who built the page got darn lucky!
The great thing is that with so much focus being placed on PPC, it seems the engines aren't all that interested in putting money into continuing to develop new algorithms. It is easy to get placed on most of these engines for free. Not as easy as just going to Overture and outbidding your competitors, but as easy as it has been in a long time and for the most part, still free. Only you can decide what is worth more to you. Doing it yourself or just paying some PPC engine. My only point is that while SEO as it has come to be known, never really existed in the first place, the ability to place a specific website on the first page of results of a specific engine for a specific keyword or phrase, has never been more alive.
So the first misconception that you can use against your competitors is that there are no more "free" search engines that anyone can optimize their site for. There is more opportunity to come up on the first page of search results on major engines than ever before. All you have to do is go back over some back issues of the PPP and apply the basics. There is nothing new going on right now. All the things I have been telling you over the last couple of years works and works very well.

Misconception #2.
There is no such thing as an SEO because no one really optimizes a search engine.
You want to know who the real SEO's are. Who it is that really does ethically optimize a search engine every day. A real honest-to-goodness search engine optimizer? YOU ARE. WE ARE!
We really do "run" our own search engines. We are the only true SEO's. We get to be the ones who decides what comes up first and why. That's optimizing a search engine. Being an SEO.
We get to decide daily what our engines is going to look like. that is optimizing a search engine. Being an SEO.
We get to decide how best our engine can serve our public. That is optimizing a search engine. Being an SEO.
There is even a little more to optimizing a search engine. We get to decide not only WHAT to optimize but more importantly WHY.
Are we optimizing for maximum advertising dollars? Are we optimizing for our webmasters who submitted to us? Are we optimizing our site to show our own pages and products in the right light? All those questions get answered by us.
That's why I'm telling you all that SEO is dead and I'm happy about it. All those people out there cloaking this, hiding text that, link exchanging this and trying to build a theme for that and calling themselves an "ethical SEO" are soooo missing the boat. Estimates say there are over 40,000 websites worldwide offering SEO services and I'm here to tell you that the vast majority of them don't know half as much about getting traffic from search engines as anyone who has read more than 5 issues of the PPP. YOU ARE THE SEO'S OF TODAYS WEB!
My job is to make sure the world starts seeing what we are doing and bring them to your door. I'm getting closer to doing that each day.
Your job is to continue watching what is going on in the search service industry with open eyes. Don't follow the pack, lead the pack!
There has been a lot, (and I do mean a LOT), of money made by people calling themselves SEO's. SEO's are going to make more money than ever before over the next few months and years. Who do you think is going to capitalize on the misconception that there are no free engines out there? Who do you think stands the absolute best chance of offering a fraud-proof alternative advertising package? Who do you think stands the best chance of capitalizing on being in on the ground floor of a network of portals? I'll tell you who. YOU !
The SEO"s ************************************
Publisher -- Bob Massa

=======June 19, 2002===========

Subject: Portal Partner Press 6-19-02

Date: Wednesday, June 19, 2002 5:29 PM 

From: bobking

The Portal Partner Press is sent for the education and entertainment of the people who own and operate a SearchKing hosted portal or have specifically asked to receive it so that they may learn more about SearchKing and/or the niche portals industry. It is intended to help you learn to better operate, maintain and market your own portal. Anytime you have a question about any item in an issue of the PPP, please visit our forums at and feel free to ask any questions or post any comments about your portal, about SearchKing or about internet marketing in general. 
I've just spent some time reading through a discussion on a popular so-called SEO forum. The title of the topic is "the future of directories". For those of you who would like to read it for yourself, the link is:
Web Master World
I warn you, it's a three page long thread so far, but I strongly recommend you take the time. I know it may seem strange that I would recommend your involvement in such a forum after the last issue of the PPP and my strong sentiments on what SEO really is, but it is an excellent forum supported by some of the most knowledgeable internet marketers on the planet and owned and maintained by man who runs it well, and whom I respect for his efforts in spite of the personal conflicts that he and I may have shared.
I encourage you all to become involved in forums of this type. I'm NOT suggesting that you go there to blow SearchKing's horn, I'm suggesting that you go to SEO forums and marketing forums so that you can provide input to topics that are going to be shaping the web in the near future. Start educating the world about what a real SEO is and what that means to them. Become leaders and one of the best ways to do that is through open discussion so that you may learn and educate. Anyway ---
Now, reading through that thread, you'll likely see,( just like I did), that with a few notable exceptions, most of the posts being made are being made by people who are only looking at it from a "how do I get my client in the top of the results", perspective. The thing I found to be touched way too lightly upon was the question, "why would anyone WANT to run a small, highly focused directory?" "Where's the money?" "Where's the motivation for the guy doing all the work of building the directory and sending the traffic?"

I'm going to be making some statements here that I'm sure some of you may have the tendency to argue with, but I'd like to invoke the power of historical evidence and point out that when it comes to search engines and directories, I have made a lot of radical statements over the last 6 years and have history as a witness to the fact that I have been right more than I have been wrong. So at the risk of sounding a little pompous, I am going to say what I believe to be, and have accepted as, fact. Realizing of course, we all have, as individuals, the right to believe what we choose and I am simply stating what I choose to believe without stopping to acknowledge your right to believe something else or argue over the validity of your differing viewpoint. 
What is wrong with most of the replies in that thread is that they are being made not so much out of logical assessment, but more out of a death grip clutch to some possible way of not having to admit that there is no such thing as SEO for most of the people claiming to be one. Most people responding to that thread are trying desperately to find some way of not having to admit that SEO is dead. That without Google, there would be darn little to even discuss in the first place.
Instead of simply admitting that the internet marketing environment has changed and professional marketers need to change with it, far too many people still see the changing search service landscape as a threat to their survival instead of a whole new world of opportunity. In that respect, they have a tendency to perk right up and start jumping in with all kinds of positive, supportive sounding statements without really thinking them through as long as there appears to be the slightest hope that something other than Google may exist to give them some plausible sounding reason to continue trying to be something they never were in the first place. (Boy are these last two paragraphs going to make a lot of people mad or what! You probably won't be seeing old bobking getting invited to too many SEO forums much longer).
Whether I make someone mad at me for saying it or not, it needs to be said. Getting mad at me is only killing the messenger. If anyone would spend a few minutes in any so-called SEO forum, one thing quickly becomes painfully apparent. Without Google, there wouldn't be much to talk about. Or at least, not much to talk about that makes a whole lot of sense in terms of how to build a webpage to be able to charge a client for getting that page in the top of the results. I think what the world is witnessing is called a swan song.
Taking into consideration the possible motivation of the participants in the discussion doesn't change the fact that little mention was made of why there is a future for directories at all. In my admittedly pompous opinion, the future of niche directories is completely and utterly doomed to extinction or at least to holding a firm grip on last place in the old respect and appreciation race, UNLESS SOMEONE, SOMEWHERE FIGURES OUT HOW TO MAKE A BUCK OUT OF RUNNING A PORTAL!
Running a portal takes money. It takes time, dedication, focus and commitment. They don't build themselves you know. It takes work and the better the directory is, the more work and resources it takes. So, where's the pay-off?
Of course there are those who become passionate enough, (or fanatical enough), about a specific topic to be willing to invest the time and money required to actually provide a resource of quality about that topic. There are also those who just want to help and there are those who simply become obsessed with having their say the way they want it said. Realistically, I figure this makes up a very small percentage of the net population.
Don't get me wrong, we want the data that this small percentage of people gather. We want it very much! But I do think it's time for the net marketing community as a whole to finally get the cahonies to admit that all that bull we keep hearing from ODP supporters, (the vast majority of which are editors), that, "we are just trying to give back to the net and even though there are a few bad apples, most people just like helping", really is just that --- bull!
I'm sure most of us have been involved in, or at least been privy to, a discussion or two where someone has accused ODP of being less than arbitrary when it comes to who, where, how and how quickly a site gets into or excluded from the directory. I doubt I'm the only one that has noticed just how quickly and on how many boards someone strongly objects to the implication. It almost looks as if there is some kind of loose network of people who inform each other of where to go and what to post to keep trying to uphold an image of the world's most fair and unadulterated volunteer directory. Hmmmm, the question comes to mind, who would benefit most from that type of image? Maybe the people who are at the top of the listings with the best descriptions?
I again realize I'm stepping on a lot of toes and opening myself to a ton of criticism, but the fact is, I don't buy all that, "we just want to help the net" stuff. I honestly believe that a lot of people have given a lot to help a lot of other people in regards to the ODP, but I also believe that someone needs to accept that just maybe it doesn't all add up. Since I'm the major pain in the rear end of the world's largest network of independent portals, I figure I'm as good a candidate as anyone.
If anyone could show me where more than 10% of any data in the ODP was put there by someone who does NOT have a website they own, control or are involved in promoting for whatever possible reason, I would publicly retract any negative statement I have ever made about the ODP. Until that time, I say it is extremely obvious why someone would be willing to invest time in building someone else's directory. I also say that for anyone to argue that there is no motivation to give that time with no expectation of anything in return for more than a very small percentage of the entire volunteer staff, is either lying to me, lying to themselves, has been lied to by someone else or is living in a different world than the one I live in.
People, (maybe not all people), not saints, not angels of the internet, just people, volunteer to edit for the ODP for a number of reasons, few of which are without their rewards. For some, it gives them the ability to manipulate their own listings within the directory to at least some degree. It gives some a sense of power. It gives some a chance to be in a group of like minded people where they can feel accepted. All these things are rewards, not the least of which is the ability to dominate, control, have power over and benefit from, commercial categories.
Editors at ODP get to put their own sites in. Motivation.
Editors at Yahoo get paid by the hour to work at Yahoo. Motivation.
One person to small companies running their own niche portal. Where's the motivation?
This, I believe, is the #1 question that has to be answered before the world can realistically expect small niche portals to become a driving force in the commercial realm of the net and realize their true potential. After the 1% or so of people who honestly are motivated to run a search service simply and totally for the love of the topic, what's in it for the mentally stable person who feels that their time is worth something? Those that feel they have a family to support, bills to pay and dreams to acheive?
Well, guess what, I believe I have an answer. SURPRISE! That answer is a network of portals with a revenue sharing program. To be more specific, SearchKing's network of portals with a revenue sharing program.
I'm not saying I have another get rich quick on the net scheme. The revenue sharing program I'm talking about does not have making anyone rich as it's objective. The only way to get rich from running a portal is to build it into a better resource with a better plan for generating revenue at a profit than your competitors.
I'm talking about a way that a person could sit in their chair, use their computer to spend only a few hours a week and make more money than they could with most affiliate programs on the net. A way to justify the time and money you would spend to get a portal rolling. A more fair and honest way to contribute something of quality without having to simply donate your time and money. A way to do a little work and get a little something back as a reward for your efforts.
I'm talking about a way of overcoming the two main obstacles holding the promise of niche directories back. I'm talking about a way of reducing the workload, making it much easier, faster and cheaper to build a quality directory and increasing the ability to generate revenue from that directory.
I'm going to close for now as this is going to take up too much space in one issue of the PPP. I'll be using this for a topic at chat this week, (for those of you who actually care about your portal, you really should show up at a chat from time to time. I talk about stuff there that I just can't talk about anywhere else), and I'm sure it will be a pretty hot topic this week in the forum. It will probably be a hot topic in the forum this week more from making so many people mad as just portal partners trying to get me to spill the beans about how the revenue sharing thing is going to work. Either way I'm pretty sure there will be enough discussion to hold us all over until next week when I go into details about how the program will actually work.
As for how it will actually work, why not take an active role in that decision and give me some input. I'd like to conduct a kind of survey and would appreciate as many responses to this next question as possible.
When you first got your portal, there was no mention of any kind of revenue sharing or revenue generating associated with any SearchKing offer, so that could not have been what motivated you to want a niche portal. What was it? Write in and let me know.
See you in the funny papers! :) ************************************
Publisher -- Bob Massa

Wednesday, May 1, 2002


=======May 06, 2002===========
Subject: Portal Partner Press 5-06-02 

Date: Monday, May 06, 2002 2:42 PM

From: bobking

The Portal Partner Press is sent each week for the education and entertainment of the people who own and operate a SearchKing hosted portal. It is intended to help you learn to better operate, maintain and market your own portal. Anytime you have a question about any item in an issue of the PPP, please visit our forums at and feel free to ask any questions or post any comments about your portal, about SearchKing or about internet marketing in general.

• Hang In There Continued


In the last issue of the PPP, I said:
*A lot of us within our little community have been waiting over two years to see the promise of small, highly focused independent directories become a well accepted part of the internet e-commerce scene. *
I also asked for feedback at the end of that article and I got some.
With the permission of the author, I am going to share with you all today, an email exchange with one of our partners who decided they couldn't wait for SK to get "everything ready". This partner decided, quite some time back, to do more than wait and see what SK did.
I post this today for two reasons:

• To show all of you who doubt, that there is a way to achieve success

• To clarify some possible mis-conceptions about what I may have said in the past and how I feel about those issues today.
Here is the exchange.
NOTE: The names have been deleted to protect the guilty.

Monday, April 1, 2002


=======April 05, 2002===========
Subject: Portal Partner Press 4-5-02

Date: Friday, April 05, 2002 6:02 PM

From: bobking

The Portal Partner Press is sent each week for the education and entertainment of the people who own and operate a SearchKing hosted portal. It is intended to help you learn to better operate, maintain and market your own portal. Anytime you have a question about any item in an issue of the PPP, please visit our forums at and feel free to ask any questions or post any comments about your portal, about SearchKing or about internet marketing in general. 
• Defining an Independent Portal
• Why Isn't Anyone Building

If we don't define what it is, who will? It is our responsibility. It is our honor, our privilege. It is our opportunity. It is our job.
We are getting very close to releasing a new portal software package. This software package was designed for the sole purpose of building and supporting the SearchKing Portal Network. The network that I believe is going to become the new DMOZ.
Most of the issues that have come up in the development of this package over the last 6 or 7 months, I've had to refrain from sharing with all the portal partners because the PPP and the forums are public. It didn't make good business sense to disclose all the features we were planning on building to the partners and our competitors at the same time. While we have discussed most of the features in our weekly chats over the last few months, at least superficially, in the chats we pretty much knew who we were talking with. Tain't so with the Portal Partner Press and the SearchKing forums. Starting with the last issue of the PPP, that is changing.
Last issue I announced our plans to feed certain features and programs to the portals such as games and news. I asked for discussion on the topic in the forums from the partners to help give staff a little more direction in where to look to add to the menu of value features to feed to the portals. While I was a little disappointed at the response in the forums, (That really surprised me - I thought there would be a lot of feedback on that.), I was very pleased to see that we had at least one partner ask for the news and about 10 or so ask for the games. Very good! It works!
This issue is a kind of continuation of that topic.
It's time to start putting the templates together that will be offered in the new SearchKing PCP, (portal control panel). Now, the thing with templates, as many of you already know, is that a lot of people pretty much use whatever the template has. Some people are perfectly happy using the template that comes with a program and change it very little, if at all. That makes how those templates look and what those templates do VERY important. So important that in my opinion, if we were going to define what a local or topic specific portal was, we would do it with a template.
I am asking again for discussion in the forums or even by emailing me about what should be on the front page of a local or a topic specific portal. News, weather, stocks? What else? I could use your help here. This is important.
I'll try to get the ball rolling with at least a few features that I think a local portal needs.
The obvious stuff would be:
• search engine
• free branded email
• free branded websites
• chat
• forums
• classifieds
• calendar
• movie listings
• Other stuff that may not be so obvious or so important:
• world and local news
• weather
• stock quotes
• games
• horoscopes
• jokes of the day
• What else? What am I not seeing?
As for the topic specific stuff, I need a lot of help. My focus has always been just a little right of center leaning towards the local portals, so I could use all the input I can get on the topic portals.
So, I hope to be getting some responses in the forums and in my mailbox over this next week or so. It's important. Not to just to me, but to the entire SearchKing Portal Network of which, you too are a very important part. So if you don't pitch in and help now, don't come crying to the rest of us later that we don't have what you really wanted. 
The world is on the verge of changing. Changes are coming that are of biblical proportions. This isn't just about countries and some border disputes. It's not just about the haves and the have-nots. It's not about technology. It's about all that and it's about the sons of Abraham.
The eyes of the world are about to start searching like never before in the history of man. Searching for freedom, security, family, God and maybe even a place to hide. At least a place to hide from the sins of their fathers.
I'm not using the PPP to spout off a sermon. The PPP is not about religious beliefs. The PPP has always been, and always will be, about one thing. Portals. SearchKing Portals specifically.
Portals are about a doorway to information. SearchKing is about supporting the information those portals provide very quickly.
With change comes opportunity. Opportunity to teach, to lead, to prosper.
I'm asking you today to take a few minutes out of your busy schedule and think. Think about what effect the events in the world are going to have and what you are going to do to ensure that you and yours have the best chances of coming out winners. Think about what information people might be looking for that you could contribute. What are they going to want to know? What are they going to want to buy?
Get my drift? ************************************
Publisher -- Bob Massa

=======April 16, 2002===========
Subject: Re: Portal Partner Press 4-16-02
Hi Bob,
I did just have to comment on this weeks PPP. First off you are right and wrong, at least in my opinion. There are people, who at least started the portal thing with SK that ARE making serious money. We have made in excess of 6 figures ( not counting the change :) ) in the last 6 months. We run a network of 'topical portals' or sites if you will, more than 25 right now with more coming. I have affiliate managers and marketing pukes calling me daily and I get a 1/2 dozen offers a week for some new 'thing' they want me to promote for them.
We just received 2 cases of wine as a 'thank you' for just carrying one place, and at $100 a bottle, its makes even Pizza Hut taste good. We were also given a cruise and a long list of other things that show up here unannounced because it does work.
I do not follow 'your' way, but I did start out that way and did follow some of the advice and discarded the rest. You have always said, that you just can't fill a portal with affiliate programs and make $$$, well I am here to tell you that part is wrong. My portal is 95% affiliate programs and it makes money. Enough that I quit my job and my wife will quit hers soon and just teach and write. You just need to market it, and market it, and market it, and do this all day every day. My days are longer but I am much happier.
Yes I am very disappointed in the progress, or lack there of that SK has been making but I couldn't wait on it to catch up. I have closed 1 portal, another will close this month and I will be closing the Pro very soon. I needed 24/7 support so I found it necessary to get my own Hyperseek license ( this part you were dead on with) and set up a new system. Sort of SK in the early days and how I figured it should or would evolve.
Almost 2 years ago you and I had about the same vision. We just see different roads to get there. I think I turned around when I stopped worrying about where I was going and how I was going to get there and started looking at where I was. Once you know where to start, the rest comes with good old fashioned hard work.
Now don't take this that I am knocking your way, it's just that I found a different road to the place you pointed me too. There is more then one road to every destination.
Thanx and enjoy the journey. 
My reply:
Thank you for the letter Rick. I have always appreciated and respected your honesty and pull-no-punches approach. I have to agree with just about everything you said. No one is more disappointed in the progress of SK than I am. That is not your fault and I don't blame you or anyone else for not waiting on me. I fully accept that I will likely have to start all over again when I finally do get the programming I want done.
Anyway, I'd like your permission to publish at least some parts of your letter. I wouldn't use your name or url unless you asked me to, but I do think the "good old fashioned hard work" part needs to be heard by the portal partners coming from someone besides me.
Best of luck to you Rick and your more than welcome to stay in touch. I'd like to see where we both are in the next few years.
One more reply for the partner:
Subject: Re: Portal Partner Press 4-16-02
Good. I was more then a little concerned that you may take it the wrong way and I didn't want that. You are very very good at what you do but in all honesty, I think you are a bit ahead of your time. Right now, in your face, guerrilla marketing works. While I would like to see a net where everything is relevant, low key and 100% honest, I believe we are a long way from that. Just a quick look at society now tells you that. Sure everyone says they want smaller, non polluting cars but what do they by? SUVs, trucks, etc. It will take the same type of change on the net to bring about your visions as it will to get people to cram their fat lazy butt into a small non polluting car.
A core change that is long term in coming. The net moves faster so it may happen first, but it is still a very long range goal and people who try to make their living on the net have to eat today so you do what works today.
I guess someone has to be the 'voice' in the back of your head on the net telling you what you know should be, but until people are really ready to listen, the 800 pound gorilla is always going to win.
And if you want to know when I made my final decision, it was when you/Mike, whoever made the SK page change to a Google clone. To me that was a sign of desperation and bode poorly for the future and I couldn't allow myself to get caught in yet another dot bomb. SK was always supposed to be different and that's why it was supposed to work. The style change to one of the big boys was an indication to me that the basic premise was wrong and wasn't going to work and people were starting to grab at straws.
Feel free to use whatever you want out of my letter as it was meant to give you a bit of insight as to where I am vs where I started and if it gives someone the hope that the net can be worked for a living then it's worth it.
We will still be in touch. Lets get real here :) I still will have to Pluses that would be insane for me to give up now. 
So, there you have it. A partner who has made over 6 figures in the last 6 months!!! Pretty cool huh?
The partner said:
*You have always said, that
you just can't fill a portal with affiliate programs and make $$$, well I am here to tell you that part is wrong. *
I still stand by that statement. The misconception is that this partner seems to think I meant you couldn't use affiliate information as the majority of content on your portal and make money. That is NOT what I meant. What I was saying is that you can expect to just put a bunch of affiliate buttons and banners on your portal, (or any site for that matter), and expect people to start sending you money. What I was saying is that success takes focus, dedication and work. Mostly work.
The partner and I actually agree totally and the main reason I wanted to share this exchange with you is because this partner has discovered the key to success.
* the rest comes with good old fashioned hard work.*
*You just need to market it, and market it, and market it, and do this all day every day. *
It's easy for me to see how this partner thought I was saying not to build a portal focusing just on affiliate programs. My goal is to get this network of portals rolling and for that to happen someone has to build something other than another affiliate program portal. that's what I want so that's what I focus on and what I talk about. Your goal is probably not the same and that's the way it should be.
You don't need to listen to or do anything I say. You need to YOUR numbers! Period. That probably has little to do with anything anyone would say. It has much more to do with what YOU do.
Also, I wanted to address the change to a Google clone.
Hindsight is 20/20 they say and looking back, the partner is right. I can see now how making SK look like Google would be seen by some as an act of desperation.
I have said many times that I am a person who likes to set and hit numbers. Most of you are aware that SK's front page has changed many times over the last two years. It doesn't change due to desperation. I'm no more desperate today than I was four years ago. It changes so I can track numbers to see which lay-out I feel is our best chance of providing quality to our visitors.
You, see, SK is still in a pre-marketing stage and I feel like now is the time to experiment.
I have a marketing plan in mind that I have had for over two years. I haven't implemented it yet because I still feel like we don't have anything to sell yet. I also feel like getting customers to your door is not that hard. I've proven time and time again that getting traffic is easy. Getting customers and getting them coming back is the hard part. Getting an unhappy customer back is ten times harder than getting them into the door the first time.
The entire internet is all about one thing. Information. Information = data. Does anyone NOT see that?
The internet is about e-commerce. The internet is about spam. It's about affiliates, webhosting, forums, chat rooms and on and on, but the one most important thing it is about, the thing it was built for, the reason it was started and the reason it thrives today is the exchange of data.
This is the primary reason that major search services are some of the most heavily, (and most valued), web sites on the planet. Their primary purpose is to exchange data.
If SK had a way that portal partners could get and review sites quickly and easily, and those portals and the reviewed data in those websites were what came up on top of SK, who would have the highest quality data on the planet? If SK had a way that the ad revenue from searches were shared with the portal network, how many people could we get running portals and wanting to review websites for their own portals? What if SK had a way to review the portals to ensure that only quality portals were what was getting the lion's share of traffic from SK so that we could drastically reduce the amount of people who would just take advantage? Now who would have the largest, human reviewed database on the planet and a network in place to manage and share the revenue from that data?
Well, that is exactly what we are getting very close to having.
So, what if I could get ten times more people to SK today? We would just lose 90% or more of them because we don't have enough data to provide results for far too many searches. This means that most of those people I could get would leave with no intention of ever coming back and using us as a search service again. Then after I do get the data and try to get those people back, they would just say to themselves and their friends, "Oh I've been there before, they suck". To win those people back over would take a lot more effort and a lot more money than to just impress them the first time and that's why I'm not marketing SK yet and that's why we all have to hang in there.
We are getting so close to having that data. So close that as much as I'm dying to tell everyone about it, our competitors would love for me to discuss and It just would not make good business sense to disclose too many details right now. All I can tell you now is that I fully intend to market the heck out of SK and the portal network as soon as we have a product to sell and that product is data.
This is one of the reasons I don't encourage more of our partners to build portals that focus just on affiliate programs. This is also an opinion and I can fully understand why someone would not agree and I also encourage everyone once again, to not listen to me, listen to your own heart, but my felling on affiliate programs is that you are not in control and that always leaves you vulnerable to the whims of someone else.
Remember about a year ago, I had told you in the PPP about a fried of mine who had joined some affiliate programs and was making in excess of $20,000 a month? Well, I had the opportunity to speak with him at length just the other day and he told me he was very dis-enchanted with the hole program.
He said while it was true that he was bringing in some 20 grand a month, he was spending some $15,000 a month with Overture on PPC and Yahoo on submitting more domains. Then when he figured in his time, his server, his domain registrations and the cost of getting free lance people to help build sites, he was only clearing less than $2,000, (which was about half of what I had paid him the year before).
He also said he decided to stop paying Overture and his income dropped to less than $4,000 a month the first month. Then when he figured in all the companies that had gone out of business while he was expecting a check, or changed their policies while he was still expecting a check, he was making even less. He is about to lose his home, he has already damaged his credit and has serious concerns for his own future.
Now I'm not saying this is what WILL happen, I'm only saying it is what happened to this person. I say this only to point out that building a topic specific portal is your data displayed the way you want. You are in control. If you decide to change your commission schedule, you already know it first before the short check comes in the mail.
The partner in the letter is doing it the smart way. Build a portal about the topic of that affiliate program and at least if that company tries to screw you, you can always try to find a company with a similar product. You at least have options. 
I guess that will do it for this week portal kids. Remember if this issue comes with some kind of weird attachment or a virus of some kind, I apologize in advance. I hate all this virus stuff!
A little off topic here, but has anyone ever stopped to think where these viruses come from. Is it really just a bunch of kids mis-behaving?
When I stop to think about who would all these viruses benefit there aren't a lot of good answers I can see? Who stands to gain the most from all these problems. Maybe the companies selling anti-virus software?
I'm the first to admit that I'm a little paranoid, but that doesn't mean they're not watching.
See Ya next week! 
Publisher -- Bob Massa

Tuesday, January 1, 2002


=======March 18, 2002===========
Subject: Portal Partner Press 3-18-02

Date: Monday, March 18, 2002 10:25 AM 

From: bobking

The Portal Partner Press is sent each week for the education and entertainment of the people who own and operate a SearchKing hosted portal. It is intended to help you learn to better operate, maintain and market your own portal. Anytime you have a question about any item in an issue of the PPP, please visit our forums at and feel free to ask any questions or post any comments about your portal, about SearchKing or about internet marketing in general.

Why Would Looksmart Want To Buy WiseNut?
This PPP Brought To You By The New SearchKing Mailman Program
I actually have no idea of why Looksmart would want to buy anyone for any reason. In spite of the fact that I have asked them very nicely for inside information about their business several times over the years, they seem to have chosen to completely ignore me. Like I don't even exist. Rather rude I think. Anyway.
There was a post made in our SearchKing forums, (nice catch there Brad - thanks), alerting us all to a link on Wisenut's (, front page letting the world know that Looksmart intended to acquire Wisenut for approx. $9 million dollars US, (not real money like a check or some cash, but in stock, is that like real money?).
For those who actually have a life and don't keep up with all this search engine wars nonsense, Wisenut was touted as the first real threat to Google's complete and utter dominance over the world of search engines. They had the academic clout, they had the hardware, the seemed to have the financing, they even had their own "white paper", (I just GOT to write one of those things one of these days!). Several of the SEO, (search engine optimizers), industry's best and brightest were singing the praises of Wisenut months before they even officially opened.
Wisenut finally started accepting submissions, (which meant officially opened at least in my book), about 6 months ago. In that time, I could count on one finger the number of hits the engine has sent to me in spite of the fact that my site is ranked #4 under a reasonably competitive keyword. So, after 6 months or so, not much of a threat to Google but still worth over 9 million I guess.
Looksmart on the other hand has one thing even Google doesn't have. MSN
Looksmart provides results to MSN along with several other less notable partners. Preferred results as a matter of fact, and that allows them to charge a considerable fee for just considering including your site into their directory. MSN feels that since Looksmart is a respected directory with human editors, (who have their jobs at stake), determining the quality of sites, that they can consider Looksmart results more valuable than their other providers, who at this time are Inktomi and Direct Hit. I'd have to agree with that one because Inktomi is only a few steps a way from being able to advertise, "pay us $30 a page to enter our spam race", and Direct Hit is notorious for updating once or twice a year whether it needs to or not.
I doubt many would see the value in paying a Looksmart editor $300 to "look" at their site, were it not for the high likelihood, or at least implication, that the site would pop up in the top of MSN searches at some point in the future thereby establishing value for their investment. Why? Because Looksmart as a search engine isn't a very good resource. They don't get a lot of searches at that site, comparatively speaking of course. They damn sure get a whole lot more than SearchKing, just not many compared to say, MSN, so you wouldn't be paying Looksmart for their own searches but more for the hope of MSN searches. Trust me, I've paid Looksmart well over $30,000 in the last two years and it wasn't so I had a chance of coming up on Looksmart, it was so I had a chance of coming up in the top of their "partner" engines.
Ok, so if the value of Looksmart is in their partnerships and they already have those, why pay out some 9 million bucks. Will that get more partners? How does that increase their income?
Well, like I said at the beginning of this little oration, I actually have no idea of why Looksmart would do anything, but I do have a couple of educated guesses.
Guess number one is that it's just getting to be a trendy kind of thing to do. With Ask Jeeves recently buying Teoma, (another "hot" newcomer thought to be the next Google rival that got bought before ever really even opening up for business), maybe this is just the valley's way of keeping up with the Jones's. Any directory that was able to survive the fall-out of the '99-'00 dot com disaster now needs a spidering engine AND a directory parked in it's driveway to impress the neighbors. Not just any old established spidering engine tough, it's got to be a bold, new vision, unproved spidering engine. Excite is just an old clunker, barely worth throwing up an Overture pay-per-click just to get a few bucks off the dying traffic numbers, but Teoma or Wisenut, those are sleek, new, nobody knows if they actually work or have any value at all kind of engines. Similar to parking a Ferrari in your driveway that you paid twice what you should have and will be lucky to get one third of what you paid for it out of it should you try to sell it next year.
My second guess, which actually makes a little more sense, in at least a financial perspective, is that directories suck. Of course that is not to say that spidering engines don't suck. They both suck and that is why spidering engines AND a directory makes a good marriage. Suck may be a little strong because the truth is directories suck in the same way that spidering engines suck and that is they both lack everything they need to make them really effective.
Spidering engines are fast and cheap when it comes to getting a lot of urls but for that very reason they are extremely susceptible to low quality results. Human reviewed directories are very good at catching and keeping out low quality sites and dramatically improving the quality of the listings it can present for a search request, but they are slow and expensive. Which is yet one more reasons we all live with this "circle of search".
A spidering engine can bring back results for almost any search performed because of the size of it's database, BUT, because of the size of it's database, it's hard for a spidering engine to keep spam out and ensure that only relevant sites come to the top of the results. A spidering engine NEEDS a directory. Surely even the most devout of Google fans are aware of the relationship with Google and DMOZ? Why would you think DMOZ is given increased page rank?
A directory, on the other hand, can be generally counted on to provide a better class of result. The perception being that a human can define quality on a web page better than a computer program like a spider. A perception which is not without merit, BUT, with the human review process being so much more labor intensive, thereby driving up the cost, the databases are small and lacking in results for all but the most competitive search terms. A directory NEEDS a spidering engine, or at the least, a cheap way of getting a lot of data fast.
If Looksmart, at any point in the future, has any intention of reducing it's dependency on partner sites, such as MSN, for producing the bulk of it's revenue, or if it ever intends to become a search powerhouse in it's own right, it has to provide quality results and a lot of them. After all these years of Looksmart being pretty much recognized as a leader in the search industry, it's own human reviewed database has less than 1 million urls in it, (that number is unofficial and not based on any real investigation by myself). That is not a big enough of a database to bring back results, quality or otherwise, for way too many search queries outside of all but the most obvious. When people don't get results for any search they do, they don't think their search was too broad, they simply think the engine doesn't have any results and move on. As long as Looksmart has been in the internet search business, I believe they know that and I believe that is why they would pay 9 million dollars for Wisenut.
There's just not much getting around it, the best search service needs human reviewers with no incentive to spam their own additions AND a lot of results fast at a price that makes gathering, storing and displaying that data cost effective.
So where does that leave us? I don't have 9 million dollars to spend on some other engine and I'm pretty much counting on the assumption that not too many of our portal partners have it either. What I do have is an alternative and that alternative is a lot of portal partners running a lot of spiders looking for specific information and not throwing away the stuff they don't want. Sounds simple huh?
In many ways it is simple. It is certainly more focused on hi-touch than it is hi-tech, but figuring out all the little details is a bit complicated. It's just that this system is based more on reducing waste than it is on pumping resources into get more stuff faster and that seems to kind of go against the nature of the net.
Figuring out how to provide incentives to people to get them to want to help build a better web without providing incentives to try to cheat the system is a little tricky. Figuring out to identify and distribute one man's trash so that it becomes another man's treasure is a little tricky, but not that tricky. It can be done and I believe we've done it. I believe we have a way to provide a more relevant search service with plenty of data in our database to give superior quality results for ANY query without having to buy someone else's search engine.
So, at the least, we've just made $9,000,000.

Waiting on new software to get developed has got to be like a kid waiting on Santa Claus. Well, this kid's wait is almost over. The software is just about done. In fact, I'm mailing out the PPP with the new SK mailman feature.
Over several staff strategy meetings, we determined that we wanted the SK portal building system to have a much shorter learning curve. We wanted it so simple that even I could use it with minimal assistance. I was kind of the idiot standard. If I could use it, ANYBODY could use it, kind of thing. Well, I'm a -usin it!
If this is an indication of what I can expect from the rest of the system, I'm very excited. If all the features are as easy to use as this one, PLUS it has specialty portal building features such as category moderators and revenue sharing, I think we can expect tremendous growth this next year. I'm shooting for no less than 1,000 active portal partners in the SK directory within a year, (and hoping that's way too low). 
Publisher -- Bob Massa

=======March 29, 2002===========
Subject: Portal Partner Press 3-18-02
Date: Monday, March 29, 2002 10:25 AM 
From: bobking
The Portal Partner Press is sent each week for the education and entertainment of the people who own and operate a SearchKing hosted portal. It is intended to help you learn to better operate, maintain and market your own portal. Anytime you have a question about any item in an issue of the PPP, please visit our forums at and feel free to ask any questions or post any comments about your portal, about SearchKing or about internet marketing in general. 
• Boy Do I Have a Knack For Screw-Ups or What?
• You Got Game

I'm sure I'd be crying if it weren't so comical. Last week's mail fiasco could only be topped by the first PPP I ever sent out. Anyone remember getting the PPP with 1500 or so names in your CC field. That was pretty comical too huh?
We found the problem with the new SKMailMan feature so I'm going to show my faith in it once more and use it to send the PPP today. I feel that a way for portal partners to organize, manage and distribute a newsletter in support of their portals is crucial. A way for them to do that without having to know how to program or set up cgi scripts is even crucialer, (I think more crucial would actually be more appropriate here but I'm trying to entertain and hold your attention). In fact, I feel it is so important that I'm willing to risk the public humiliation and the incredible virtual verbal abuse I took after sending as many as 12 copies of the PPP to partners last week.
Once again, I truly apologize and only hope that I can make it up to you when you finally see the program and how easy it is to set up and use. 
I don't recall the exact issue and I'm too lazy to go look it up, but I believe it was last month when I had written in a PPP that SearchKing had made some decisions as to how SearchKing should look and what it should do to encourage portal partners to make their sites look to accomplish it's goals of becoming a traffic generating center for the portals. SK decided that its job was to get traffic by, among other things, using the resources provided by the partners and then sending it to the portals. The portal's job was to try to keep as much traffic as possible on their for sites as long as possible and coming back to their sites as often as possible. This is significant in the respect that it determines what tools and designs we will use to accomplish those goals.
To that end, we have taken several steps over the last few weeks and we have just taken another one that is important to you as portal partners. You got game.
I'm sure some of you know that SearchKing used the companies Pogo and ZoomGo to provide us with online games for some time. I know several of you were feeding the pig more than building your portals for a while. Well, using keyword delivery, we can now easily let you offer games to your visitors and make it look like it's on your site without you having to do anything any harder than install three or four lines of code on your page.
Here are a couple of examples that Sandy and Ronda set up a couple of days ago.
These are intended to show the wide range of possibilities available from pluses to pros. This process should enable you to seamlessly integrate these features into your front page or interior pages. You should use this where and how you think it is going to acquire and retain the highest level of traffic -- hopefully income-producing traffic. How about getting your local chess club to sponsor your games page? How about maybe a software retail store in your area buying a sponsorship? Makes sense huh?
I'm hoping to see a lot of discussions about this in our forums over the next few weeks because while traffic may be the name of the game, it's money that buys the pieces to play with. The idea of this whole process is that SearchKing can secure deals with providers and then pass those deals on to the partners. Well, what deals are going to look the best? Answer -- the ones that stand to make money.
We will be on the lookout for anything that may be of value to your community with emphasis on affiliate programs that could pay. We are in the middle of setting strategies and policies and procedures now for this program but I can tell you that we have already decided that we will offer as many feed services as possible for free, however we intend to monetize this service by finding quality affiliate programs that would enable SK, Inc. to split revenue with partners as well as offering some premium services that may require a fee. Using KWD makes the possibilities almost limitless.
For now we have the games and the news ready. We should have weather, (a little trickier because we have to set it up with your location already in it), very soon. We will also have horoscopes, greeting cards, stock quotes, webmaster resources, daily jokes and so forth coming soon as well.
We are going to start making all these feeds available from your admin upgrade page in the next few days but for now send an email to and she'll send you the code.
All right kids, that's about it for this week. Now let's get into the forums and discuss how to make this thing work better for all of us.
Publisher -- Bob Massa