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In The Purple Cow, Seth Godin talks about how to transform your business by being remarkable. I recently watched a video clip of Seth speaking where he refers to products that have been successful simply by being remarkable. An example he used is Silk (you know, that soy non-milk product). Silk made itself remarkable by being stocked in the refrigerated section of the grocery store. Since Silk does not require refrigeration, this concept made Silk remarkable…just like a purple cow.
Most of Seth Godin’s examples of remarkable products and services in The Purple Cow are ‘feel good’ examples. I see them as positive influences to business owners and those looking to start a business.
Be remarkable. Cause others to make remarks about you, your products, and/or your service. Stand Out.
During my recent journeys online, I came across a novel idea for a human-powered search engine. Mahalo.com is a user-generated search engine that claims to offer spam-free results for any topic you can think of. The search results are pages that are actually made by humans, not an algorithm. These pages list many facts and relevant and remarkable links to the topic at hand. If Mahalo does not have a search result page already created for a topic, this human-powered search engine will return a window with tabs for Google results, Yahoo! results, Live results, as well as results from Wikipedia,Del.icio.us, YouTube, and Flickr.
What might be of interest to some is that Mahalo.com pays people to create these results pages. Info about that can be found at the Mahalo GreenHouse page.
Upon first impression, I thought that Mahalo is a good idea that might become an additional (perhaps remarkable?) online service that internet users might appreciate. I have a teenage daughter that uses the internet for a lot of school-related research. My initial thought was, “Wow, this would be a great place for her to start when researching for school!” There IS a ton of junk on the internet, and especially as a mother, I am painfully aware of that fact.
I then decided to take a peek behind the curtain and see the face behind Mahalo.com.
Enter Jason Calacanis
First off, my apologies Mr Calacanis, I had no idea who you were before I tripped over Mahalo. After reading more, I see that Mr Calacanis is not someone that would exactly ‘fit in’ within my group of remarkable friends. It appears that Mr Calancanis made himself ‘remarkable’ by stating, “All SEO is bullsh*t”. Needless to say, that caught my attention. After some checking around, I saw that many others found his statements ‘remarkable’. There are many comments regarding Mr Calacanis’ statement in numerous blog posts and forums all over the internet.
Folks are remarking like crazy!
I don’t think this is what Seth Godin had in mind when he advised business professionals to be remarkable.
Fact is, Jason Calacanis is cutting, inflammatory, and sometimes down-right rude in his statements. Here is just a sample from a recent speaking engagement at Affiliate Summit. Thank you to revenews.com for this play-by-play action and uhhhh… ‘remarkable’ quotes from Jason Calacanis.
““Truth is, much of this affiliate stuff is bullsh*t ponzi scheme where people got lucky and made a lot of money not doing much.”
““You guys think small. Holding up a 6 figure check is just pathetic. That’s your industry’s biggest success? Really?“”
““You guys have to start cleaning up the affiliate industry. I could care less what you do, b/c the more you screw up the better it will be for Mahalo. Please pollute the web because it only makes Mahalo a more desirable service. Make Google and Yahoo worse! Better for me!!””
Oh, and my favorite….
“Calacanis is invoking Seth Godin’s Squidoo service and remarking about the large amount of content on Squidoo that is stolen and is overpopulated with “affiliate spam“. Why does Squidoo even exists? It exists to pollute the internet. There is nothing of value there.””
Ok, I think you get the picture….but just to get a REAL feel for his keynote speech, visit revenews.com.
Needless to say, many people are irritated by these harsh words. My friend from the Squidoo community, Margaret, bashed Jason Calacanis today on her personal blog. Like many others, Margaret is tired of his brazen statements and rude business manners.
Me? Personally, I think it is hysterical. To me, Mr Calacanis is like the Rich Jerk all over again – Trying to gain fame by being remarkably rude. Instead of being cutting-edge, Jason is just plain cutting in many statements I read. I assume he is doing this to draw attention, get his latest product noticed, and up his Twitter count. Whatever his motive is, he is the one that has to look at himself each and every day.
Power of the consumer, right? If you don’t like what you read online, use the back button. If you don’t like a web page the search engines return for your search query, use the back button. If you don’t like how you are being marketed to online, use the back button. Fact is, every second of every minute you are online – you are being marketed to. Even from Jason Calacanis.
Back to the “SEO is Bullsh*t” Thing
Naturally, this comment is still stuck with me. So, I took a quick look at the Mahalo.com site. I took a glance through Mahalo’s 50 Most Popular pages. Let’s see, we have Big Brother spoilers, we have Miss Bimbo (huh?), some Girls Gone Wild stuff…Juicy Campus (No, I DON’T want to know) and some Lindsey Lohan stuff…..
Maybe I DON’T want my daughter in Mahalo.com.
I kept looking and found “How to Write a Resume” – #39. Ok, this one is good, let’s take a look. I have no doubt that Mr Calacanis has given strict orders to his web-designers (dare I say his “SEO consultants”?) to NOT optimize the pages within the Mahalo site for the benefit of better search engine rankings. You can’t proclaim search engine optimization to be bullsh*t , and then optimize your own site for the search engines… can you?
Apparently, you CAN.
A Remarkable Contradiction
This resume page on Mahalo is good. I would be comfortable with my daughter using this page as a resource for resume writing tips. The Google Ads (cough cough) are clearly identified. The page also ranks well on Google. So, let’s take a look at the source code. I have no doubt that Mr Calacanis wouldn’t DARE use even basic optimization to encourage the search engines to rank his page higher, right?
Oh, and Mr Calacanis… you might want to have that unique title tag a bit closer to the top. That is, if you believed in SEO.
The Bottom Line About Being Remarkable
Being remarkable…memorable… IS important in business. Standing out from the crowd IS important. With an online business, it IS especially important to have others remark about you.
I’ve heard it said that there is no such thing as bad PR. As long as people are still talking about you, you’re golden.
How do YOU want to be talked about?
I’m not attacking Mr Calacanis. Fact is, he has seen fairly good success being remarkable in this manner. I still have one of Jason’s sites open on another tab and apparently “Jason Nation” has just begun. I am listening to Jason speak in the background. He definitely has a different uhhhh… style. However, his style seems to be very appealing for all his followers on Twitter. Also, there has to be something good there, too, right? You can’t survive in business simply by being remarkably rude…