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E-Marketing Performance Blog

Is Seomoz Going to Borrow From the Affiliate Playbook?


If you’re like me, (and for your sake I hope you’re not even close) you love the internet in a totally unnatural way. You live it and breathe it. It’s what makes you whole and gives your life purpose.

See? Pretty scary.

But there are times when I’m on the internet, and for some reason I don’t feel fulfilled. These are times could be best described as walking barefoot in the most beautiful, serene, pleasant garden imaginable… and stepping on a slug.

It is really, really tough to wipe one of those suckers off. Trust me- don’t attempt. These slugs – “what are they,” you ask?

Affiliate sites. The scourge of the net.

I hate them. I hate the way they look. I hate the way they sound. If they smelled, I bet I’d hate that too. They fill my nightmares. They’re the late-night informercials of the web.

Again, see? You never want to be as into the web as me.

So why, oh why, would a site I know, trust and love consider turning a page on their site into one?

I’m looking at you, SEOMOZ. You’re beautiful. You’re incredibly useful. Just those two things put you above everyone I dated in highschool. Recently, Seomoz held a much-lauded contest to redesign the landing page for their premium services, and the top page designs are going through multivariate testing as we speak. Last week I took a peek at the current page and this is what it looked like:

SEOMOZ - Affiliate Edition!

Now, I love Seomoz (so please, still let me come to your conference next month!) but I couldn’t believe it. It had the cheesy header of an affiliate site, the car-salesman opening tag, the omg-I-just-threw-up-a-little sales letter copy:

Dear Friend,

If I was lying on my death bed, about to wheeze my last breath, and you (insensitively) asked me to sum up in just a few minutes the most important search engine optimization “secret” that I could bequeath to you before I rest in peace… then this is what I would whisper gently in your ear…

It goes on, but I will spare you the details. Later on it bemoans the practice of promising “hidden secrets that other SEOs don’t want you to know” and what they call “1980’s Style Photography,” but those who live in glass designs shouldn’t be tossing around stones like that.

And “what about length,” you ask? Well you didn’t, but I’m the one writing this post so I can put words in your mouth. This sucker is long. And I mean loooooooooooong. Below I’ve compiled some of the real nasties in affiliate site designs and you may be surprised which one is our beloved Seomoz:


Judging by length, the Seomoz premium content affiliate design is only marginally less evil than project black mask! That cannot be! I mean, project black mask is “So Nasty… So Forbidden… So Downright Evil,” I can’t even continue.

So, I implore you, good people of Seomoz: please don’t choose that design. I love the current one being tested. If we weren’t already members, I’d have Stoney plop down his money right now. In fact, I would be willing to ask Stoney to pay for another membership JUST so you don’t use the affiliate design.

I guess it comes down to the question, “just because something works, is it a good idea?”

In this case I hope not. Seeing that design win would be like seeing an infomercial replace an episode of 24. For me. For all of us- please don’t do it!

Dear Aaron Wall: Please don’t murder me- I threw you in for fun. We all know Seobook isn’t an affiliate site; it just looks like one!

Max Speed

If the Pole Position Marketing team had a muse—and it does—it would be Max Speed. We love Max’s occasionally off-color, usually amusing and always pointed “Maxisms.” (Maybe “Maxims” would be a better word.) Max gives voice to some of the things we think but, bound by professional decorum, aren’t permitted to say. At least, not out loud.

2 Responses to Is Seomoz Going to Borrow From the Affiliate Playbook?

  1. randfish says:

    It’s so true! I hate the fact that those long form landing pages convert well. I think they’re… well… slimy. But, at the same time, I think we’re going to see a long form page win the contest, and then it will be up to us to find something more balanced and more in line with our culture that’s equally successful at converting people. It’s a challenge, but never fear – I totally feel your pain on this one 🙂

  2. Ed Adkins says:

    Rand! so you’re not going to strangle me! whew!

    I totally get it that some purchases require lots of info, and that there’s a reason all these affiliate sites use the format – because it works!

    I do worry that the user experience will be compromised, though, so I can’t wait to see (blog about) what you come up with.