SEO Columbus Fiasco

I am a Columbus SEO. I have lived in Ohio my entire life and as of July 2010, I became a resident of the beautiful city of Columbus. So, when I moved down here I changed the focus on my site to account for that. Last week, I started receiving emails from a shell company (a dba) of Kalor Technology. Below are a copy of the emails I have received from Joe Rozsa, the owner of the business “SEO Columbus.” Let it be known that I never replied to ANY of the ridiculous emails.

Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with any SEO Agency or other SEO company, including “SEO Columbus”. I am a consultant who tends to work alone.

Wed, Feb 2, 2011 at 9:12 PM
From: Joe Rozsa < joe. rozsa@seocolumbus.com>
Subject: Email from MichaelHalvorsen.com

Message Body:
Hello Mike,

I always appreciate seeing other people in this field, especially locally, and would love to see them all and the industry succeed and grow, but I do have one request from you.  I’ve had a couple of people calling me asking about you, seemingly confused because you refer to your company name in a few places as “Columbus SEO”  (Mine is “SEO Columbus”, of course, hence the confusion).  I realize and appreciate the fact that you are trying to use the keyword friendly name as a business reference from yourself, but it is causing quite a bit of confusion as that is not actually your company name, and is arguably a bit spammy – hence some of the damage to my own business.

I just wanted to let you know about this confusion, so that hopefully you will come up with some other keyword combination to use that is not using the exact words in my trademarked company name.

Again, I don’t want to come across too aggressive or to turn negative as I really do wish you personally all the best, but at the same time I do protect my company name by all means possible, and I always prevent confusion and damage to my business name from something that I can’t control (like someone else using my company name).

You’re definitely not the first person that’s tried to capitalize on my business (intentional or not, it does have that effect).  So I wanted to first ask you in a very friendly manner that you please remove any and all references to your own consulting services as “Columbus SEO”.

Thanks , and I appreciate your immediate attention to this.

Joe Rozsa
President
SEO Columbus

On Friday, February 4, the guy must have been jumping out of his skin freaking out about my stellar rankings because he called me and left me a voicemail. Apparently I had “a post that you, you know we came up on my trademark infringement software that I use.” What? What is “trademark infringement software”? I’m 24 years old. I understand how business names work, I have a good understanding how trademarks, registered trademarks, and patents work. I’m not some amateur kid who is new to business. I went to college for business and have been working for myself on the Internet since 1998 when I was a mere 12 years old. Either way, the guy tried strong arming me into removing mention of his business name.

I ended up calling the guy back for some reason. During the two minute conversation, I told asked Mr. Joe Rozsa what he thought about the other Columbus SEO businesses using his “trademarked” SEO Columbus name and he said he had spoken to several of them and they were working to remedy the problem. The emails continued:

Fri, Feb 4, 2011 at 12:05 PM
From: Joe Rozsa <joe .rozsa @ seocolumbus .com>
Subject: Email from MichaelHalvorsen.com

Message Body:
Mike, I wanted to clear up one point of potential confusion for you, which may save you a lot of time and money instead of dealing with attorneys and litigation.

If you would like to use the keywords “Columbus SEO” on your page, title tags, and any place else you want them… by all means please do. I think that is what you were referring to when you mentioned the other sites out there. Those others such as AgentSEO use Columbus SEO, and I have no problem with that. MarketingAdept is in the process of correcting this matter on their site as well.

However, you can NOT use “SEO Columbus” in your navigation bar, or in that order anywhere on your site, including a blog article that makes you appear to customers that you are us, or somehow affiliated with us. You also can’t refer to your “company” as “Columbus SEO” because well, that isn’t your company name, and because it is again capitalizing on my company name.

I know all about keywords and SEO as you know. Heck, you’ve probably seen me speak at a conference somewhere. But I also know, and suspect that you do as well, about intellectual propertly and protecting one’s own assets. Seriously, you don’t want to get into something like that.

By all means use and target the keywords Columbus SEO, Akron SEO, Texas SEO… I really don’t care. I hope you do rank well. I really don’t care. Heck, I’m too busy to be accepting new clients anyway. Maybe I could refer some of my overflow to you if I knew you were really good at SEO.

But do not use my company name in an effort to confuse customers into thinking that you are somehow associated with me. THAT is all I am working to protect, which is a right that I have and will use.

After speaking to him, I decided I really didn’t care about ranking for “SEO Columbus” and decided to take the page down and 301 it to another “Columbus SEO” page on my site.

Then I received YET another email from the guy. This one made me put everything back up again:

Fri, Feb 4, 2011 at 12:32 PM
From: Joe Rozsa <joe.rozsa@seocolumbus.com>
Subject: Email from MichaelHalvorsen.com

Message Body:
Thanks Mike, I appreciate the cooperation on this.

As you may or may not know, I am legally required to pursue all known violations of my company name according to trademark law. Not doing so could be considered “abandoning” the trademark.

Hopefully, there are no hard feelings because of this. I really like to get along with others in this field, especially locally, and am always looking at working with other good SEO folks either by hiring them as employees or contractors, or perhaps inviting them to speak at our events.

I really wasn’t trying to be a jerk about any of this stuff. Like I said, I am legally obligated to send out those notices. Sometimes people accept in a friendly manner, other times not so much. Nobody is ever thrilled about it. But I really do appreciate your cooperation.

Best regards,
Joe Rozsa

Mr. Rozsa must have realized I put things back up and decided to send another email.

Sun, Feb 6, 2011 at 11:36 PM
From: Joe Rozsa <joe.rozsa@SEOColumbus.com>
Subject: Email from MichaelHalvorsen.com

Message Body:
Come on, Mike… you put my company name back up on your site? Can’t you just change your top nav to something else, like “Columbus SEO” or “SEO in Columbus Ohio” or something that isn’t MY EXACT COMPANY’S NAME?

Seriously man, I’m trying so hard to be nice here and offer you something to go on that won’t get you in a lot of trouble. You also should know that since I am legally required to pursue this matter (literally), according to copyright law, this really isn’t going to just go away as some minor thing. I know you were claiming to “know how SEO works” and stuff, but seriously man… I’ve gone through this before with other people who had this same idea you do, and my attorneys have dealt with this before in defense of my company name. There are lots of legal precedents out there, so if you really want to be stubborn about it, I urge you to make the change first and then consult your attorney or at least look up some actual legal cases other than the heresay you talk about.

Again, I’ve been trying to be helpful here and be nice to you, but you need to realize that as soon as I spend a nickel for my attorneys to pursue this, that’s it. Surely you know deep down inside of you that you can’t legally use my company name like you are right now. And it will be pretty easy to prove “initial interest confusion” (if you aren’t familiar with that term, again, I urge you to look it up and consult an attorney) and I could very easily obtain financial damages for that if I pursue it.

I’m trying every way possible to get you out of this without it costing you tons of time and money, over a worthless keyword (trust me on that one, “SEO Columbus” brings in very little traffic) that you won’t ever outrank me for anyway (again, not something personal… but it’s my domain name, in a pretty well optimized site – I’m pretty much set in the top spot for that one). I’m just saying… please take the friendly advice and stop using my company name on your site. You ARE violating my trademark and I really can (and absolutely will) pursue this and very, very easily obtain a judgment on this one. I take this stuff seriously, and that is why I’m trying to help you out with some advice before I have to do what I am legally required to do and pursue the matter. Just some minor changes is all I’m asking for. As long as you aren’t using my company’s name, I don’t care what text you use. But you can’t use “SEO Columbus”.

Am I insane?

Update 2/7/2011:
I want to point something out that I found on Friday: according to the State of Ohio, “SEO Columbus” is not registered as a business. The check that was used to register with the state bounced: http://goo.gl/k5yi2 (PDF link on State of Ohio website). When I spoke with him on the phone, he said he intended for that to happen. The state had to cancel it because they never heard back from him.

He bought the exact match domain and ranks because of that. I think he’s confused about his own business name because it’s definitely confusing the heck out of me.

And FYI, as of 2/7/2011, there is no registered trademark with the US Postal Service.

Update 2/7/2011 @ 830 PM EST:

Yet ANOTHER email from him. This time he’s playing a baby and trying to make himself out to be a good guy. I guess he didn’t realize I’d post this email too. There is commentary after the email.

Mon, Feb 7, 2011 at 8:11 PM
From: Joe Rozsa <joe.rozsa@seocolumbus.com>
Subject: Email from MichaelHalvorsen.com

Message Body:
If you can honestly tell me that this was about the keywords SEO Columbus, and all 9 or 10 of its unique visits per month, and NOT about piggybacking on my company name, then I would like to offer you my sincerest apologies for asking you to stop using my company name. Heck, I’ll even offer you a text link and apology on my homepage.

You see… I’m not a Columbus SEO. I’m not accepting clients. I don’t want clients. I have a company. That’s it. A company with a name I wanted to protect based on information I was given by my attorneys a few years ago. A company with a name known with well regards before your smear campaign today.

You really should think about people and their families, and their livelihoods. I really don’t care about the smear stuff on SEO Columbus, because like I said, I don’t take clients anyway. Call my company phone number, the message is “we don’t take clients”. You aren’t hurting me. You ARE hurting my little girls and my family and who knows who else when people say false things about their dad on sites which then appear on Google. All because you claim to really want some stupid keywords that generates 10 freaking visits a month, and maybe phone call or two that I don’t even return.

The smears on SEO Columbus are one thing, the smears on my name are something altogether. Pretty scummy and uncalled for, dude.

You can have the keywords. You can have a text link with me proclaiming you are the greatest SEO in Columbus. You can have the freaking domain name. I don’t care. I just wish you also had some maturity and class on how to handle matters one on one with people.

But if you really just wanted those keywords, then I am sorry. They are all yours. Not a peep from me. Sorry to have bothered you with my request.

Thanks for taking something so, so unimportant to you and really ruining someone else’s business with it.

Have fun with those 10 uniques per month. Hope it was worth it to you.

I’m not sure I’d want the domain. I’m just tired of all the bullshit that happens in this industry. It’s hard to put a face to WHO pulls the crap. This time it came from someone’s business email address. There’s the name. There is the face. I was going after the damn KEYWORDS. You claim to be an SEO. Do you know how to target keywords? Do you see me attempting to “piggyback” off any of the OTHER respectable Columbus SEO companies? Do you see a page for Lightbulb Interactive or Sixth City Marketing? Did you send any of those respectable Columbus SEO companies an email demanding they take down every mention of your “company” name that YOU DO NOT HAVE REGISTERED because a check bounced?

What attorney did you get that information from? Did you, as an SEO, do a Google search to find a “Columbus Attorney?” Did you pick the first Google result because Google had them ranked #1? I know basic copyright, trademark, and patent law. I learned it back when I was 12 years old, back when I started my first Internet business. I’m pretty sure there isn’t a single Columbus Attorney who would give you that advice. I thought you went after other people and had successful judgements?

Columbus, Ohio has 717,000 residents as of the 2000 Census. You mean to tell me that your site has had only 9 visits since December with “seo columbus” as a referring keyword with the #1 spot? Did you happen to think that the average Google reader could see what you were trying to pull without even needing a single click?

I’m not accepting your apology. I don’t want it. You’re a liar who thought they could take advantage of me because I’m a single person (not a company) who can rank #3 for the phrase that DOES drive traffic, outranking your actual REAL business website: Columbus SEO

I'm #3. Your REAL business, Kaylor Technology is #4.

In the minute and a half conversation I had with you, I told you wasn’t an idiot. The saying is true:

You can’t bullshit someone with a mustache:

Mike Halvorsen - The Columbus SEO

Mike Halvorsen - The Columbus SEO

Photo credit: Top Brass Photography

P.S. – I love everyone who commented. You guys make me enjoy the industry. Thanks for having my back.

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COMMENTS WERE CLOSED February 11, 2011.

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{ 171 comments }

Thos003 February 7, 2011 at 12:42 pm

If he was serious about it then he would have sent you a “cease and desist”. But let’s be honest, I don’t think you are really playing nice with your neighbor, right or wrong.

I’ve had this same run in on several occasions. You really can’t trademark a location. If he decides to push it to a court case he is more than likely going to loose. Being able to trademark a location would give the holder too strong of a trademark. Can you imagine if no other pest control company were allowed to advertise with the word Phoenix simply because someone has the name Phoenix Pest Control? Ridiculous.

The same applies to a legal name. If my name is Thomas, then I have a legal right to advertise as Thomas Pest Control. If my last name were Orkin then I could run a company by the name of Orkin Exterminating.

The morale of the story, if you are going to try and trademark something make sure the trademark is enforceable.

Bulwark, not a location nor a name. Get my drift…

Having said that, these companies can put a thorn in your side whether they are right or wrong. And ultimately you could both throw a lot of cash away on lawyers.

Jacob Stoops February 7, 2011 at 12:46 pm

Its really funny that my name got mentioned?!? It doesn’t look like he understands how search engines work. And the arrogance to talk down to you like you have no shot at getting business unless he refers it to you.

The best thing he ever did was buy an exact-match domain name.

I mean really, what ever happened to content that is reader-friendly. I counted the words “Columbus SEO” or “SEO Columbus” on his homepage more than 10 times.

I also find it laughable that at the time this post was written, his homepage title reads “Columbus SEO” first and not the “SEO Columbus” that he’s having a fit about. It would be one thing if you were using PPC or something to bid on his business name, but this is a whole other thing. Your site is incredibly relevant for Columbus and SEO, and you don’t control where and how search engines rank you – you just control how relevant you are.

Now I don’t want to throw sticks or stones, but this is just bad form! Keep fighting the good fight Mike!

Mike Halvorsen February 7, 2011 at 12:51 pm

Haha Jason. When I spoke to him on the phone, I mentioned your name and asked him why you’re allowed to rank for it. He said he was “working with you to remedy the situation.” No joke.

Jacob Stoops February 7, 2011 at 1:39 pm

I’ve had no discussions with him as we both know we’re not doing anything unethical. I’m in Columbus and I do SEO, therefore I’m pretty relevant for that keyword. Not trying to rob customers from anyone, as I’m not even really allowed to take on side projects anyway at my current job.

Brian February 7, 2011 at 4:59 pm

What does this asshat expect, that Google will return one single result (his site) for the query ‘SEO Columbus’?

Joe Rozsa February 7, 2011 at 6:33 pm

Um, yea. Or maybe just hoping that this kid would create a ton of inbound links for me.

Josh February 7, 2011 at 1:03 pm

This has got to the lowest form of scum I’ve ever seen. Emailing people asking them to stop using a keyword on their site, just pathetic.

Jared Detroit February 7, 2011 at 1:08 pm

If you try to pass yourself or your company off as the business “SEO Columbus”, then he might have a case. What they’re trying to do, however, is to take a general industry term and state that no one else can use it because it’s their company name. That’s the same as me calling my company “Columbus Lawyer” then contacting every Columbus lawyer and telling them they can’t refer to themselves as a Columbus Lawyer and can’t mention it on their site. That’s just ridiculous.

Trademark and company name infringement are not for generally accepted industry terms and general terms being used as terms on a site and not referring to a company. If that weren’t the case, you could just create a company named “Central Ohio Search Engine Optimization” and demand they remove any mention of that from their site.

Furthermore, if you search for “SEO Columbus” in the Ohio Business Entity Name search http://www2.sos.state.oh.us/pls/bsqry/f?p=100:1:4006501207134196 , you see that the company SEO Columbus, LLC was filed in 2007 but the current status is cancelled. So, it looks as though his business name isn’t SEO Columbus…

Mike Halvorsen February 7, 2011 at 1:16 pm

Yeah Jared, if you look at that document, the check he used to file bounced!

Joe Rozsa February 7, 2011 at 6:36 pm

Thanks Jared, that is exactly the case.

Like here in 2008… http://www.sbnonline.com/Local/Article/15661/70/0/3_Questions.aspx

Or here in 2007… http://www.searchenginestrategies.com/archives/2007/chicago/jrozsa.html

Would you consider that as my “trying to pass yourself or your company off as the business “SEO Columbus”? Me thinks so.

Thanks again for your support as a voice of reason.

Kris Roadruck February 7, 2011 at 1:37 pm

hrm.. I don’t know how ohio works.. but here in washington it’s illegal to conduct business without a business license… Seems like there is something there that might be worth mentioning ;-)

Ryan Frishkorn February 7, 2011 at 1:48 pm

I find it highly unlikely that anyone would confuse you for that company. You have your name printed in bold at the top of your site, along with a cartoon portrait of yourself. Surely, anyone who was looking for his company would recognize the difference. I see nothing to indicate that you are attempting to impersonate or deceive potential customers.

Furthermore, if this guy is swarming with clients, and ranks at the top for his company name, it’s shows a lack of character to spend so much time trying to use threats of litigation to monopolize two commonly used terms–one of them being a location. These two terms, in that very order, apply to countless others in the Columbus area, which explains why he seems to be constantly at arms with so many local people in the industry.

Perhaps if he was so worried about distinguishing himself from other businesses, he would have chosen a truly unique name that didn’t include the industry name he was trying to monopolize. It’s like naming a web development company “Internet Web Development, Inc.” and then trying to bludgeon everyone you can find via search engine results.

At least you operate under your own name, rather than trying to hustle your way into the top ranks by the most generic name conceivable.

Rae February 7, 2011 at 2:08 pm

Well seems he wrote an entire article detailing his misunderstanding of trademark vs. a business name for you. – I additionally find it disturbing that someone who would author this type of drivel is a speaker at SMX and have alerted SMX to my opinion re that.

Corey Snowden February 7, 2011 at 8:40 pm

It seems that he has already removed that RSS…

Dave Lawlor February 7, 2011 at 8:57 pm

It looks like he took down that post, it is going to a 404.. you would think he would at least 301 it… I mean he was a conference speaker and all…

Matthew Edward February 7, 2011 at 9:33 pm

He took down the ‘trademark vs. a business name’ article. Something tells me he’s running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off not knowing what to do.

Nothing like regret!

Matthew Edward February 7, 2011 at 9:45 pm

Scratch that: Alan to the Rescue.

Tom Henrich February 7, 2011 at 9:56 pm

Google cache to the rescue as well. Note on Trademark Infringement

Jacob Stoops February 8, 2011 at 9:30 am

Nice save guys!

JadedTLC February 7, 2011 at 2:09 pm

For every email he sent you asking you to STOP using those keywords, he could have emailed 100s of people asking for a link back with anchor text to his site. Not to mention, he ranks number one. WTHeck’s his problem?

I’d be willing to tell everyone in Ohio NOT to use this bully’s services as they probably suck, since he has way too much time on his hands.

my 4.5 cents.

netmeg February 7, 2011 at 2:19 pm

I think I’ll trademark “Boston Plumber”

Monica Wright February 7, 2011 at 7:29 pm

Yes, I am commenting here because we lack a “like” button for the commet. There’s my contribution.

bryant dunivan February 7, 2011 at 2:24 pm

he didnt register his stuff, the state doesn’t recognize it, your fine.

Don’t let him bully you, using a city name and the term SEO is not even a trademarkable thing, its a city name and an occupational field.

Plus, if he’s writing bad checks its obvious he needs the seo lessons and more clients.

Todd Mintz February 7, 2011 at 2:27 pm

I agree that there really shouldn’t be confusion in the marketplace when it comes to SEO branding which is why I’m going to ask Todd Malicoat, Todd Friesen, Todd Nemet, Todd Heim & every other SEO named Todd to cease and desist using the name “Todd” in conjunction with selling SEO services.

Alysson February 7, 2011 at 3:07 pm

Well played, Todd…well played. :)

Arnie February 7, 2011 at 4:42 pm

Same goes for all the Arnie’s out there. You are hereby warned!

Thos003 February 7, 2011 at 7:08 pm

Fine… I will call it Arnie SEM instead. =)

nevermind February 7, 2011 at 2:28 pm

Wierd no registered DBA for him huh?
Do what some dirty pool players do here. When a DBA runs out you have so long to renew it otherwise you loose it. Some people will buy the DBA when it expires just to prevent them from using it. It is Very Legal.
So buy them both and then tell him to pull his stuff or go to court.

steph woods February 7, 2011 at 2:32 pm

Pretty amazing. The number of times he uses SEO in his ‘About’ section provides a pretty clear indication as to the level of his tactics.

Thos003 February 7, 2011 at 4:43 pm

Now that was T-shirt worthy.

steph woods February 7, 2011 at 8:24 pm

Thanks :)

Danny Sullivan February 7, 2011 at 2:36 pm

Well, consider me alerted. It seems pretty odd when the actual business name isn’t actually “SEO Columbus,” as far as I can see.

Mike Halvorsen February 7, 2011 at 2:50 pm

I never responded to ANY of his emails. He was far too condescending to me in the emails. I called him back after the 1st email and voicemail. Tried speaking to him for 1.5 minutes. Couldn’t handle it. I had to hang up on him. Best line:

“Heck, you’ve probably seen me speak at a conference somewhere. “

Joe Rozsa February 7, 2011 at 4:39 pm

Danny – I’ve been going by SEO Columbus for several years, on SEOmoz especially is where it started long ago. Built up a bit of a name for it, so started using it as my company name. Even used it when I spoke at your SMX East Conference in NY last October, along with my main company KaLor Technology. At one point I considered making SEO Columbus it’s own separate LLC, and even sent in the paperwork. But at the last minute, I decided to avoid the complexity of owning two LLC’s and keep it as a DBA of the parent company (guess that is why Mike keeps banging his check didn’t clear comment – that was the only way to change my mind at the time (several years ago) since I’d already filed the paperwork, I had to stop payment on the check.

But anyway, I wasn’t trying to start a war with this guy. It’s just that I’ve been using this name for several years now, working to build up a pretty good reputation, doing good work, and every now and then people try to capitalize on my history. This isn’t about some big mean bully. Heck, I tried very politely to work with Mike on this issue. But after getting called names and hung up on, I don’t know how far that will get me. So, sorry for the ruckus. Just trying to protect what I feel is right.

Greg February 7, 2011 at 7:22 pm

Well you are doing damn good job with your reputation today.

Wow, lookie what I found: “The website seocolumbus.com is for sale” http://www.sedo.com/search/details.php4?language=us&domain=seocolumbus.com

So what do you do, sell it to someone then sue them to get it back??

Do I have to pay some type of licensing fee to you to use the term “Columbus Jackass”?

Dana Lookadoo February 8, 2011 at 12:34 am

You should realize the comments and reactions are a result of your actions. You are not a victim. You actively created and threatened legal action, resulting in your own ORM issue.

You’d better update your SEOmoz profile http://www.seomoz.org/marketplace/companies/view/88 & practice some of your “Reputation Management in the SERPs” services. Suggest you remove your $500-$10,000/month client names from the profile as well as the testimonial you submitted for yourself by a client mentioning you at “KaLor!” (Sadly, even your profile description is keyword-stuffed.)

Kris Roadruck February 7, 2011 at 2:38 pm

Oopsie…. http://www.youtube.com/user/seocolumbus

Frickin finger slipped.

Dean Cruddace February 7, 2011 at 2:54 pm

bwahahaha yeah right

Mike, I think this goes in the “tabs to keep open and smile at all day” part of my day. This is gonna be fun.

Alysson February 7, 2011 at 3:11 pm

I want to buy you a beer and hug you. That’s SOOOO awesome. I wish I’d thought of it. :)

Melissa Fach February 10, 2011 at 12:32 pm

LMAO!

Sarah Carling February 7, 2011 at 2:38 pm

If his business name is SEO columbus, why is the business name at the top of his site Kalor technologies. A domain name is not your business trading name. If I were a customer/potential customer, there is nothing on the site that would suggest to me that this companies name were anything other than Kalor. Well good luck to him, looks like he is going to need it!

Eric Katz February 7, 2011 at 2:39 pm

<3 Columbus. I think it is super funny someone would try to enforce a generic industry label with an associated industry online in regards to someone else's postings about the industry within the city. If I were to write an article about premium pizza in bexley and somehow associated the words 'bexley', 'pizza' and 'plus' in a string together I would never expect to get a call from anyone over at the actual pizza place telling me I should refrain from using their business name. lol

Eric Katz February 7, 2011 at 2:42 pm

Oh, yeah and on top of that the llc was ‘canceled’. Oh dear god.

Jay Rhoudi February 7, 2011 at 2:41 pm

This is the most entertaining thing I will see all day. For no other reason than that this silly man couldn’t have known how bad of an idea it was to try to strong-arm the person he attempted to strong-arm. This is the reason I will always be a fan of Michael Halvorsen.

JadedTLC February 7, 2011 at 2:53 pm

Know who you’re bullying. That’s what I always say….

Zachary Traxler February 7, 2011 at 7:10 pm

Check http://TraxlerTees.com soon… like maybe tonight… I see new “I <3 @MikeHalvorsen" "I <3 michaelhalvorsen.com" "When SEO Attacks"

I know my wife will want one ;) We are some of the biggest Mike fans ever, he's one of the most helpful SEOs we have ever met. I take that back, he is THE most helpful SEO and nicest we have met.

Jay Rhoudi February 8, 2011 at 12:31 pm

Zachary -

I would pay top dollar for one of your shirts with the same pic that says simply ‘Mike Halverson – Sometimes You Gotta Get That Shit Out’

Zachary February 8, 2011 at 1:20 pm

Details on how to get them are at http://traxlertees.com/2011/02/seo-columbus-t-shirt/

Kris Roadruck February 7, 2011 at 2:52 pm

damned it my finger just keeps slipping…

http://seocolumbus.org
http://seocolumbus.net
http://seocolumbus.co

:P

Alysson February 7, 2011 at 3:12 pm

Make that two beers!

Goosh February 7, 2011 at 4:15 pm

Damn you and your crazy fingers :D

rishil February 7, 2011 at 2:53 pm

Just for shits and giggles I am tempted to optimise for SEO Columbus…

Dont let people strong arm you about generic keywords…

netmeg February 7, 2011 at 3:30 pm

See, that was my solution. I call it the Spartacus solution.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-8h_v_our_Q

Joe Rozsa February 7, 2011 at 4:42 pm

rishil – come on, we used to get along so well on SEOmoz. :) But seriously, this isn’t about competition or keywords. You should rank for Columbus SEO instead. 100 times more traffic than SEO Columbus. And it wouldn’t be trying to take advantage of my hard work over the past many years. :)

Ben Cook February 7, 2011 at 5:27 pm

Joe, you really still don’t get it do you? You don’t OWN the keyword SEO Columbus. It’s not a trademark, it’s not even a very original name for your company.

I don’t know why you think using SERVICE + CITY is somehow trying to take advantage of your hard work but you need to get a grip and stop making things worse for yourself.

Joe Rozsa February 7, 2011 at 6:09 pm

Ben, forgive me for my choice in company names. Where were you five years ago when I started building it?! Dang, I really wish I had thought back then that down the road someday, some guy would try to put down my good name because he wants part of the 9 unique visits per month that this keyword drives to my site. ;)

Jacob Stoops February 8, 2011 at 9:47 am

Dude. It’s not about the visits at all. Nobody is trying to “piggyback” off of your hard work. Who cares how many visits the keyword gets?!? The issue is that Mike, myself, and any other company who provides a “general service” + “service area” are just as relevant as you! Just because you got the exact-match domain name first doesn’t make you any more or less relevant. We provide the same services as you and just so happen to be in the same market.

It’s called competition. It’s a part of business. Can you imagine if a large car company tried to sue every directory that ranked above their own inventory pages? Or what if somebody bought plumbercolumbus.com and tried to sue every other plumber who serves Columbus and states it as such on their site. It just doesn’t make any sense?

I bet you regret hitting send. Whatever reputation you had is now crap. The thing is, this didn’t have to happen. You can’t go any higher than #1 in the rankings in case you weren’t aware. And with your exact-match domain it isn’t likely that you’ll be moving from that spot (well maybe now with all of the links Mike will get). Why waste time worrying about the people below you for “9 fricken visits??!?”

And not to be a jerk, but you brought your family into the discussion? Its noble and nobody would ever suggest that we’re trying to keep you from providing for your family, but I find it a bit hypocritical. What happens if you were to smear Mike’s name and hinder his ability to find work? I’m betting you wouldn’t be first in line to help feed him and his family? Just sayin. Everyone can call me a jerk or whatever, but I just think it is wrong.

* Now I’ll jump off my soapbox, I’ve said my peace!

Anthony Piwarun February 7, 2011 at 3:03 pm

Keep fighting the good fight Mike. Also, update us when you outrank him from all the link love you’re about to get!

Gerald Weber February 7, 2011 at 3:03 pm

This is the funniest damn thing I’ve seen today. Thanks for the mid-day chuckle! :-)

Alysson February 7, 2011 at 3:05 pm

Um…his company’s name is Kalor Technology. While he’s accused you of spamming, I’d tend to lean toward saying this is a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black.

While his business name is “Kalor Techology”, links to the pages within his site don’t use terms like “Contact Kalor Technology”, but “Contact SEO Columbus”. You can’t just slap a keyword phrase at the end of your business name and then claim that you own the trademark on it.

Furthermore, if it were possible to trademark sought after keyword phrases, don’t you think corporations like Nike would trademark terms like “athletic shoes” so anyone attempting to target such terms would be in violation of trademark law?

Not to mention that local businesses would do the same thing for their highly competitive terms…like “Wedding Planner Los Angeles”, and magically watch all their competition disappear, as Thomas pointed out in his comment.

And, for the record, I wasn’t able to find any trademark information (either federal or state) for “SEO Columbus”. I know everyone is as shocked as I was. You’d think in at least one of the e-mail attempts to bully you, he’d have referenced the trademark number as evidence that the trademark actually exists.

I’d also refer any interested parties to the “Merely Descriptive and Deceptively Descriptive Terms” section in the “Guide to Registering Your Trademark / Service Mark” PDF available at http://www.sos.state.oh.us/SOS/Upload/publications/busserv/Trademark.pdf

Keep us posted, Mike! You know how we feel all feel about bullies. :)

Tim Carter February 7, 2011 at 3:13 pm

ummm…this has popped up http://twitter.com/GotSEOColumbus :P

Jacob Stoops February 7, 2011 at 3:37 pm

Did the guy put up a fake twitter page? That’s bad!

Tim Carter February 7, 2011 at 3:49 pm

No that Twitter profile was created to direct BACK to this page. :)

Jacob Stoops February 7, 2011 at 3:39 pm

I say we all try to rank for SEO Columbus. He can’t stop us all! WHAHAHAHAHAHA! Imagine if a company like Lexus tried to sue all of the directories that outranked their inventory pages?!? This is the same type of situation.

The stupid thing about it is he IS #1, so all of this negative attention DIDN’T have to happen – which just goes to show a little about the character and ego of the guy running SEO Columbus. Not good, not good at all.

However, most of the comments have made me chuckle.

Zachary Traxler February 7, 2011 at 4:21 pm

Lets take the best comments and build some shirts. This could be an epic movement for folks in your industry guys.

Front ideas:
“SEO Columbus”
“When SEO Attacks”
….

Back ideas:
All of the twitter comments, haha.

Alan Bleiweiss February 7, 2011 at 3:55 pm

Mike,

Thanks for posting this. If Joe Rozsa thought he had a problem with other people in our industry before, he’s in for a rude awakening :-)

Joe Rozsa February 7, 2011 at 6:30 pm

Sorry Alan, did I mention I had a problem with someone in our industry? Hehe… Last I checked, I’m not the one that spent money and valuable time building out a joke page.

Journalistic morals and self respect be damned, Alan Bleiweiss needs some link bait!

Alan Bleiweiss February 7, 2011 at 7:56 pm

Joe,

We’ve invited you to wake up. really. And my valuable time, as is the time of every single person railing against you here and on a flurry of other articles now, is not time wasted. it’s for the betterment of our industry to ward off asshats. And for the record, we aren’t joking.

SEODeath February 8, 2011 at 1:33 am

i love you man..

Smoke & Myths February 8, 2011 at 8:47 pm

Well Mr. Joe Rozsa I am glad to see you removed your SEO Columbus company profile from SEOmoz. I’m also glad to see there isn’t a single reference to how you offer “Reputation Management in the SERPS” as a service anymore. We all know you like the buzzwords because it’s blatantly obviously you have no idea how much you ruined your reputation by going after a real Columbus SEO (from what I can tell).

And your favorite thing about SEO:
“SEO allows me to use my expertise and experience in a competitive nature to help my clients and my own business be more successful.”

Um, wow. By competitive nature do you mean bully? Do you mean throw around more buzzwords?

We’re all tired of asshats like you Joe Rozsa. Stop pretending to be an “SEO Company”

And I’ll drop this so everyone can see how much of a fool you really are (read comments):
http://www.seomoz.org/ugc/seo-off-page-experts-how-can-you-pick-a-genuine-one

P.S. You should probably just sack the SEO Columbus name all together and just stick to KaLor Technology – Columbus Ohio.

Paul February 7, 2011 at 4:13 pm

So let me get this straight, this guy is trying to brand the acronym for a VERY general process and a location? HUH? Is there something that I am missing here?
With a bit of “searching”, it seems that a few misguided individuals have tried to copyright “SEO” in the past.

http://www.seomoz.org/blog/pulling-a-fast-one-a-clever-internet-marketer-is-trying-to-trademark-seo

He should be focusing his attention to something other then picking on some fellow marketer(s).

Gfiorelli1 February 7, 2011 at 4:23 pm

OMG… this reminds me of that guy that wanted to trademark the word SEO (check this Outspoken Media post to remind it and have fun: http://outspokenmedia.com/seo/seo-trademark-application-terminated/ )

Gerald Weber February 7, 2011 at 4:26 pm

Hmmm now I’m thinking of creating a site and ranking for “SEO Columbus” lmao!

Joe Rozsa February 7, 2011 at 6:42 pm

You should do it Gerald. It brought in all of 19 unique visits since December 1. You probably wouldn’t get to #1 simply because it’s in my domain name, but heck, even a top 5 spot would probably get you a good 2 or 3 uniques per month. I highly recommend spending your time on that one! ;)

Rae February 7, 2011 at 7:00 pm

Wow, then you’d think you wouldn’t spend hours upon hours trying to scare off other people for ranking for it. You don’t own seo columbus, plumbing columbus or anything else columbus. You blatantly lied to folks implying trademark when you don’t have one and stating “business name” when you don’t have it as one. In your response to Danny, you’re just “protecting your biz name” – in a response above you’re “using the dumb kid to get links” and now, the term isn’t worth going after. Pick an excuse and stick with it.

Joe Rozsa February 7, 2011 at 4:31 pm

Mike, I’m not interested in getting into any kind of battles with you. Heck, I thought I was being very kind in simply asking that you stop using my company name in your top navigation. I thought it would be a jerk move to just send you a cease and desist letter in the mail from an attorney. You seemed like a nice guy, and I thought we could just work this out like grown-ups in a mature manner.

Surprisingly, you failed to mention in this lengthy post about the rant you tore into me with when we spoke on the phone. Considering how condescending and rude you were to me on the phone, my response that you pointed out above was probably as kind as anyone could leave considering how you spoke to me.

I am truly sorry if you feel that this is some kind of bullying. Like I said, I really don’t care if you or anyone else ranks well for SEO Columbus or anything else. We have an ok site, and we do things the right way, we’re proud of our rankings, and we do good work for people. But we’ve been using this as our “doing business as” company name for five years now. Clients write their checks to SEO Columbus. It’s my user name on SEOmoz. I used the name when I spoke at Danny Sullivan’s conference in Chicago last October. Lots of people know me as SEO Columbus. It’s just a name that stuck a few years ago. So it’s more than an “industry” and a “city”. It’s my persona. It’s my company. It’s something that I’ve built up with lots of hard work. You wouldn’t appreciate me putting up a link on my site called “Mike Halvorsen”. I’m not sure that anyone else reading this site would have responded to your use of their name any differently. I was hoping it was just kind of on you to do the right thing, which is all I’ve asked all along, and to use some other variation, any other variation, of the words that is not my company name.

So I am very sorry that you didn’t like my approach. Email is tough to decipher tone. I was trying to be friendly while getting across the point that this was not cool at all. I apologize to others reading this that may be friends of yours or take your side in this issue, if they are offended in some way by my wanting to protect what I’ve worked hard to build. But I’m just trying to protect my name. I’m not trying to put you or anyone else out of business. Heck, look up Google Trends on the keyword, it really doesn’t bring in much traffic. I’m not sure why it is so important for you to use it anyway. I just asked that you change the words around a little bit so that you aren’t using my company name. Heck, the more people in our field that are good, quality SEO professionals, the better it is for all of us. I was trying to relay my message amicably, and for whatever reason, you took it and really went off about this quite unprofessionally, first with your phone call and now in this blog post.

I guess it is linkbait for you perhaps, “look what this bully has done to the little guy” and trying to create some viral thing out of nothing. But I’m not a big dog in the pool by any stretch. Just a guy that’s worked hard over the years to build up a pretty good reputation in this field. But seriously, all this was about is me not wanting you to use my name. You blew up at me on the phone and now you’re trying to make me look like a bad guy, when all I am trying to do is protect something that I’ve built for several years now.

Ben Cook February 7, 2011 at 5:35 pm

Joe, you made it an issue when YOU tried to claim ownership to a phrase you can’t claim ownership to.

If it’s more than an industry & city phrase to you, that’s YOUR issue. You should have known better than to brand yourself with generic industry terms. To act like anyone using those two terms is trying to capitalize off you rather than simply using a generic term speaks an inflated ego, which is what most people are responding to.

I’ve never met Mike and never even knew of him before today but your actions and moronic post on trademarks infuriated me. You can keep blaming Mike for your mistakes or you can realize you’ve created a real problem for yourself and figure out a way to make it right.

Rae February 7, 2011 at 7:03 pm

>>>I used the name when I spoke at Danny Sullivan’s conference in Chicago last October.

Danny doesn’t have a conference in Chicago.

Joe Rozsa February 7, 2011 at 7:50 pm

It was New York. Chicago was SES prior. Thanks for caring so much.

Rae February 7, 2011 at 10:10 pm

Yes I know… Chicago SES (not owned by Danny) is usually in December, though occasionally earlier. SMX
East (Danny’s conference) is in NY. Some of the rest of us are speakers too.

Zachary February 7, 2011 at 5:35 pm

Took you minutes to tear down his so called reputation. Minutes.

Joe Rozsa February 7, 2011 at 6:12 pm

Yea, it’s torn down. In minutes too. Wow ;)

Thanks for all the inbound links today, Mike.

Josh February 7, 2011 at 6:40 pm

Umm I think Mike made out better than you did. After all every single link today with the anchor “SEO Columbus” goes to this page. I think you’re more excited than you should be.

Joe Rozsa February 7, 2011 at 6:45 pm

Ehhh, sounds like he needs the business, so good for him. We’re not accepting clients anyway (well, we’re on a three month long waitlist), so I don’t really need the linkbait. But hey, that plus the domain name, it would be tough to fall from the top spot. But like I said, that keyword have brought in all of 19 unique visits since December 1. So if someone wants to go for it, hey… you can have it. :)

I had no idea something with such little traffic was so sought after. ;)

Todd Mintz February 7, 2011 at 6:49 pm

It takes an Epic FAIL for TheMadHat to blog about something…I think Joe Rozsa has reached that level: http://www.themadhat.com/seo/seo-columbus/

Joe Rozsa February 7, 2011 at 7:40 pm

Awesome. It’s great that this guy felt so strongly about a keyword that drives 19 uniques in two months to actually take the time to write this, without bothering to get two sides to a story.

Anyway, you win… I cry uncle. Please stop. I’m sorry Mike Halverson. You can use my company name for your benefit all that you want! I beg for your mercy. As a matter of fact, since that keyword is so important to you, you can have the entire freaking domain name too, and my entire site! It’s all yours. Forgive me for wanting to handle this like two adults instead of this nonsense.

This is my public apology. I am sorry Mike Hulverson. You are free to use any words in the English language you should so choose. Please do. As a matter of fact, I’ll give you a freaking text link on my home page saying “SEO Columbus” if that is what you really want. Even better, I’ll redirect all 9 or so visits to my site from that keyword to your site, so that you will never even have to compete with me for that powerful keyword phrase again. You can feel free to rule the earth, or at least Columbus, now. You win. I apologize. I apologize. I apologize. You are the man. I was wrong. My five years of hard work were not as important as I had thought after all. These keywords are obviously far more important to you. So have at it, Mr. SEO Columbus!!!

Rae February 7, 2011 at 7:13 pm

LOL, wow, you don’t pay attention Joe. If you took thirty seconds to look, you’d notice no one links to you – everyone has cross linked their posts to each others – using your name in a lot of instances. Anyone who does link to you thinking you’re an ass will use a nofollow. And your links are stripped from this post. Yes Joe, you’ve even pissed off the original SEO enough to put your name in the title tag of THIS post. As of now, someone is already in the top ten for the serp “Joe Rozsa” and as the links age/google finds more, the other posts will start to rise. As soon as THIS post is recrawled, it will hit top ten easily. So, Joe, what have you accomplished?

1. Bullying small business owners.
2. Having the SEO community think almost unanimously that you acted like a douche.
3. Showing your lack of link development understanding by bragging repetitively about all the “links you got” today.
4. A reputation management problem when someone searches your name (potential clients tend to do that, much like potential employers).
5. Having clients come here while searching for info on you only to find your own childish remarks and refusal to see plain legal facts even though umpteen people are informing you of them (the clients will likely know you are wrong too.)

Karma is a bitch.

Joe Rozsa February 7, 2011 at 7:45 pm

You forgot

6. Laughing at the fact that so many people think this is some big deal over a “critical” keyword phrase that generates 19 unique visits in 2 1/2 months.

7. Begging for mercy from all these hate filled people that have nothing better to do than criticize a person for wanting to protect something he’s worked at for five years.

8. Apologizing to Micheal Holverson for so, so wrongly asking that he stop using my company name for his own benefit. I sincerely apologize for my bullying behavior.

Ben Cook February 7, 2011 at 8:49 pm

Joe, if you get called out by the industry for being a jerk, don’t respond to that criticism by being a jerk unless you want to solidify that as your reputation. It’s like you’re putting on a clinic of how not to handle an ORM problem as you continue to throw gasoline on the fire.

Melissa Fach February 10, 2011 at 12:27 pm

I agree with Ben. In this industry you can’t afford to look like a jerk. I thought all good SEO’s knew this.

Columbus SEO and SEO Columbus (just added these for you Mike :-)

Rae February 7, 2011 at 10:20 pm

9. Still not getting the point – you started this, Mike simply fought back. YOU thought the keyword phrase was a big deal, not Mike. YOU pulled a douche move and then want sympathy for the kid you were bullying punching you back. Sorry, not getting it.

10. Assuming everyone hates you, rather than the fact, which is that we all hate that you make the rest of us “SEO” people look like douches with this kind of behavior.

11. Showing more of your lack of understanding re how things work – you took down your site like a kid taking his ball and going home, with a “poor me” letter so that people may now decide to target your freaking REAL brand site. Additionally, you removed one of the most relevant results for your name from Google #waytogo #seosmarts

12. Showing you can’t add… was it 19 visits in December or 19 visits in 2 1/2 months?

13. Making yourself look douchier with every comment, claim and knee jerk reaction to this you make.

If a guy gets drunk, drives home and kills someone and spends the rest of his life in prison, is it the judges fault for sentencing him to life? Or is it the victims fault for calling him out for driving drunk?

Clue: Neither. It’s his fucking fault for driving drunk. And all the letters in the world telling the victim, judge and jury otherwise won’t change that.

Josh February 7, 2011 at 7:43 pm

Rae’s right man. Pick a story and stick with it. You can’t send out emails asking Mike to remove the term from his site then say “Hey it doesn’t get me traffic what’s the big deal? Go ahead and take it!”

SEODeath February 7, 2011 at 9:10 pm

Funny.. as of Jan. 18th..

http://seocolumbus.com/columbus-seo/new-year-new-branding/ – “One thing you may notice right away is our new, and we feel, much improved logo for KaLor Technology. Also, you may notice the lack of an SEO Columbus logo at all. ”

Therefore a case for fair use no longer exists?

Alaina Shearer February 7, 2011 at 4:40 pm

Unbelievable. As an SEO in Columbus… I am thrilled that you outed him and wrote this post.

Columbus Texas SEO February 7, 2011 at 5:08 pm

Hey!! What if I have a client in Columbus…. TEXAS!!! bwahahahaa!

p.s. he is toast.. (see blog)

David Culbertson February 7, 2011 at 5:12 pm

As someone who lives in Cbus and does SEO (notice I won’t add to the overuse of the keyword on this page…), I find this issue:

1. Slightly hilarious
2. Pointless
3. Yet more evidence that most businesses should focus on a unique name so they can avoid this type of non-sense.

Alan Bleiweiss February 7, 2011 at 5:16 pm
Brian Harnish February 7, 2011 at 5:23 pm

You sir, have taken this thing to the next level of hilarity. A hat tip to you! :D

Arnie February 7, 2011 at 6:04 pm

Alan – I’ve said it before…. you just kill me. :-)

Joe Rozsa February 7, 2011 at 6:02 pm

Funny one Alan. Wish I had that kind of free time on my hands. ;)

Alan Bleiweiss February 7, 2011 at 8:15 pm

Joe,

Maybe if you stopped sending threatening letters to others in our industry over bullshit, you might have the time to become a more skilled professional and in turn have the free time the way some of us happen to.

Alysson February 7, 2011 at 6:50 pm

Have I told you lately you’re my favorite? ;)

Carl Schoenleber February 7, 2011 at 5:24 pm

Interesting to me Joe that you refuse to address the fact that neither “KaLor Technology” nor “SEO Columbus” are registered trademarks (according to the Trademark Electronic Search System or TESS). I’ve asked twice now on your blog and neither have passed moderation.

Carl Schoenleber February 7, 2011 at 5:30 pm

I retract the above, he replied.

Bill Jones February 7, 2011 at 5:25 pm

Just wanted to let you know I run a business called “Mike” so I expect you to change your actual name as soon as possible. Just a heads up, you know, before lawyers get involved (My lawyer works for Laywer Columbus).

Don’t take it personally, after all, I’m allowed to trademark/copywrite very general terms and names, and it is quite unfortunate that your parents lacked the insight to name you something unique like “Ghaddhsaa” (which is not a company name.. yet), but that’s the way it goes.

As for Joe, between my brother’s business called “Joe” or even Cup o’ Joe, I suspect he may have to change his name soon as well, but that is for Lawyer Columbus to decide.

Eric Katz February 7, 2011 at 6:31 pm

Your response wreaks of win. I read this one out loud for the GF and she agrees 100%.

Haley February 7, 2011 at 10:35 pm

Best comment of the thread! I may have peed my pants a little.

Eric Moretti February 7, 2011 at 5:52 pm

What a joke on “KaLor Technologies” part.

Considering how many comments are on this page already – just think about how many links might be coming back to this page? It would seem that Mr. Rozsa’s attempt to protect his “trademark” is a bit counterproductive.

Victoria February 7, 2011 at 6:08 pm

@Alan You REALLY have taken it to a WHOLE new level…I guess I like @Zack’s ideas of making shirts..go talk to @Alysson :) It’s posts like these that make me laugh!!!

Lasse Heindorff February 7, 2011 at 6:16 pm

Come on, it’s SEO 101.

1. Get competitors to remove content and internal links
2. Do whatever you can to remove links to competing sites

If everything fails, get a job at McD. If you’re really ambitious, learn to build links and an audience (warning: involves dedicated work).

And hey, you might have motivated him to start looking into reputation management. Cup half full, you know…

Carl Schoenleber February 7, 2011 at 6:31 pm

This situation truly intrigues me and please feel free to respond to this without posting it or even emailing me (kept 100% confidential if response in email).

I worked at a company that after nearly 10 years in the interactive space was forced to reevaluate their brand. As such I completely understand your desire to protect your name, 100%, but I am extremely curious to know what your general strategy would be if it did ultimately turn out (for whatever reason) that it wasn’t enforceable as a Trademark.

Would you consider a rebrand, knowing that there would be confusion now and again from clients who search specifically for your name and find it used by different companies?

or

Would you consider it nothing more than an inconvenience and continue using it as your companies name?

I have thought about this all day and I think I know what I would do, but I’m curious to hear your thoughts (confidentially or otherwise).

Kris Roadruck February 7, 2011 at 6:33 pm

gosh you know for someone who is supposed to be a “world class SEO” you think this wouldnt be so dang easy.

I’m now the proud owner of http://www.facebook.com/SEOColumbus

Joe Rozsa February 7, 2011 at 6:40 pm

Good for you, Chris. Maybe it will get you a client or two so that you have something to do other than create Facebook pages for yourself all day long.

Kris Roadruck February 7, 2011 at 6:58 pm

AH! you are a tool aren’t you. My company’s entire client roster consists of fortune 1000 and fortune 500 companies. We aren’t scraping by like you.. none of our checks are bouncing. See we take little things like your extreme stupidity as a training opportunity in reputation management case studies. Oh and btw, the guy you keep trying to call a “little guy” (Mike) is the In-House SEO for Manta.com …. which is in the top 200 most trafficked websites in the US and top 1000 in the world. Everyone in the SEO community is laughing at you as you keep trying to portray yourself as this big wig SEO expert while making an utter fool of yourself. But hey keep it up we are all enjoying it very much.

P.S. Reading comprehension is a pretty important skill to have in this industry. My name is Kris, not Chris. Says so right above your comment. Tool.

Joe Rozsa February 7, 2011 at 7:52 pm

I know your name. I just don’t care. If you don’t need facts to post nonsense, then why should I? ;)

SEODeath February 8, 2011 at 1:29 am

the fact is you shouldn’t have..
we don’t swim in your toilet,
please don’t pee in our pool.
Thanks….
Management

but you didn’t heed the sign.
and now.. you are covered in blue dye.

http://www.mithral.com/~beberg/manifesto.html

Ken February 7, 2011 at 6:56 pm

Joe Rosza’s KaLor Technology website has a link for ‘Best Practices.’ Here is verbatim the wording from the ‘Best Practices’ page on the KaLor Technology website.

HOME > SEO Best Practices
NO RESULTS FOUND
The page you requested could not be found. Try refining your search, or use the navigation above to locate the post.

I. JUST. LOVE. IRONY!!!

Matt February 7, 2011 at 7:17 pm

You know what’s really funny is ol’ Joe is moderating out all comments on his blog, yet he is referencing the comments he has removed.

I am guessing he won’t own up to the fact that trademarking a common term or pair of common terms will never fly is because he is experiencing a bit of Fight Club syndrome. “His name is SEO Columbus.”

Alan Bleiweiss February 7, 2011 at 7:40 pm

LOL Matt

Not displaying our comments on his own site is just Joe’s understanding of online reputation management in action. Which is about as sharp as his understanding of trademark law, SEO link building, peer community outreach….

Zachary Traxler February 7, 2011 at 7:41 pm

FROM Joe Rozsa’s post in reply to my comment:
“I guess my question is… is that keyword really worth all of this nonsense? Seriously, 19 uniques in 2 months. The funny thing is I don’t even work with clients in Columbus right now. And I’m not taking new clients, period. So you know, the domain name and protecting my ranking isn’t a big deal to me at all.”

Notice, he “(doesn’t) even work with clients in Columbus right now. And I’m not taking new clients, period.” So, Joe, GIVE UP. Stop feeding the crowd, back out of the argument. Done and done. You’re just hurting yourself.

Joe Rozsa February 7, 2011 at 8:15 pm

Done and done. I already apologized to this guy. It’s clear that these worthless keywords that I thought were a helluva lot more important to me than him, apparently are important enough to this guy to smear my name all over the place.

All I wanted was to protect my name, and was acting on advice from an attorney. My bad. Whether I get the trademark or not, I lose the court of public opinion. So yea, I apolgize to this kid. Wish he would have taken the time to talk to me directly though. People don’t realize who they hurt with this kind of nonsense.

netmeg February 7, 2011 at 9:21 pm

(you need a new attorney)

Montreal SEO ™ Ltd LLC ® February 7, 2011 at 10:46 pm

Attempting to intimidate him with fictional, legal mumbo jumbo was bad enough, but the manipulative, pretentious attitude mixed in with your ignorance is what got you the extra attention. You can’t accuse Mike of taking what isn’t yours when he’s just targeting keywords that represent the city he does business in.

The coy remarks and sarcastic table-turning are just throwing fuel on the fire, and growing your hate-base.

The only (extremely unlikely, however) chance you have at anyone in the SEO/SEM community ever taking you seriously again–on any level–is if you admit that you were just trying to discourage someone from using your favorite keywords.

Nobody likes a dirty player, Joe.

Dr. Pete February 7, 2011 at 7:48 pm

This is a trend that’s really annoying me. When you choose a generic, keyword-based business name, you basically get a ranking advantage. Congratulations – all’s fair in love, war, and business. However, you also get a big disadvantage – you can’t protect your generic name or prevent brand confusion as well.

When you make that choice, you know what you’re signing up for – you don’t get the advantage without the disadvantage. With Google’s preference for exact-match domains, it’s a double-advantage – you get to have your cake and eat it, too. If you expect you can build a moat around your generic keyword name, then you’re basically trying to have your cake, eat it, and have it rematerialize later so you can eat it a second time.

Montreal SEO ™ Ltd LLC ® February 7, 2011 at 10:51 pm

Excellent point, Peter. I posted some of my thoughts on exact match domains last Wednesday.

David Bélanger February 8, 2011 at 3:03 pm

Isn’t it ironic to have a comment from a “Montreal SEO ™” on this particular post? :)

Matthew Edward February 8, 2011 at 6:30 pm

Oh, that. I’ve registered, incorporated and trademarked ‘Montreal SEO’ in both Canada the US. Please don’t question me on this any further. If you do, my legal team informs me I’m obligated to sue you and take a 20% royalty from all of your business for the rest of your life.

I want to save you all the time, money, blood, sweat, tears, rain and tornadoes that this will cost you, so please, just do what I need you to do.

Heck, I’d be willing to even let you dust up around my desk and clean off the whiteboard if you’re struggling, but please don’t make me sue your pant of by bringing this up again. (Or the next time I’m on CNN/Capitol Hill/Live from the Moon, I’ll tell everyone in the SEO community about the 5 years of my life you flushed down the poop-drain)

Matt Stevens February 7, 2011 at 8:00 pm

Wow, Mr. Rosza says so much – but the words carry so little meaning. If you used even one third of the time you spend badgering the competition actually practising SEO, you would be a damn wizard.

and… I’ll be throwing some links towards the guys on here.

Cheers,
Matt.

Alan Bleiweiss February 7, 2011 at 8:13 pm

Joe,

What’s really tragic in all this is that you actually believe Mike cares about SEO Columbus as a phrase. Or that we’re all now working feverishly to help Mike get ranked for SEO Columbus as if it’s a multi-million dollar phrase.

Wake up dude. None of us cares about the phrase. What we care about is asshats who threaten others with legal action based on false information. What we care about is our industry being polluted by your kind. What we care about is the fact that someone we respect in this industry was harassed based on those false concepts of trademark. What we care about is stepping up to the plate and defending the right of every professional to use the word SEO if they so choose, whether it be in their domain name, a page title, content or anywhere else.

Kris Roadruck February 7, 2011 at 9:23 pm

^^ this.

Additionally a very large cross section of us are frickin embarassed that someone who claims to be an SEO thinks emailing and asking people to stop competing for a term is a legit way to own a SERP. If you were any good at your job at all you could have rocked the top 10 for that phrase since as you’ve pointed out many times, its a low volume term with little competition.

All that poking fun at the time spent on making a facebook page or youtube page or whatever… yeah you were really just poking fun at yourself for being to much of an imbecile to secure those properties for yourself. This is all very very basic ORM that any competent SEO would have already done for themselves.

If you can’t even hold down a serp for yourself how in the world do you offer it as a service to others?

Matt Webb February 7, 2011 at 8:31 pm

He just took the post down that Rae linked to. Clearly, his feelings have been hurt or he doesn’t like the truth.

I’m betting on both..

Alan Bleiweiss February 7, 2011 at 9:21 pm

Wow.

So Joe actually sees this as Mike Halvorsen being the kingpin behind the conspiracy against Joe huh? #ParanoiaWillDestroya

Just read the update where Joe plays the victim card in a new way. Takes it to a whole new level. As if it was all about you “riding” his success coattails. This is better than Charles Preston.

FYI Mike, I’ve got a copy of his “Copyright infringement” note over on SEOColumbusSucks.com since he actually deleted that page in an attempt to bury his own nonsense and I just went and grabbed the Google cache of it.

Zachary February 7, 2011 at 9:28 pm

Shit well played, shit well played. T SHIRTS will be available at http://traxlertees.com as soon as Halvorsen gets off my laptop. LoL

Alysson February 7, 2011 at 9:32 pm

I couldn’t resist. Enjoy!

“An SEO without ORM skills isn’t an SEO at all.” – t-shirts, stickers, mugs and all kinds of flair now available at CafePress!

http://www.cafepress.com/SocialRealitees/7650463

Montreal SEO ™ Ltd LLC ® February 7, 2011 at 10:58 pm

I’ve never used the word ‘epic’ online. Until now.

Dave Lawlor February 7, 2011 at 9:32 pm

Amazing how quickly this ass hat switched his tune… his initial thundering threats of how his IP lawyers and “lot of legal precedents” out there would wreck Mike. The sad thing is how many people did he use this BS on before someone had balls enough to go public and let the rest of us collectively take him out behind the woodshed.

It has nothing to do with the amount of visitors this keyword brings in, it has to do with your tone and BS Joe, and don’t think any of this is going away soon. If anything the little group you managed to rile up has long memories for ass hats and when your name pops up again it will be noticed. Not to mention Im pretty sure anyone searching for your name soon will stumble across this little BS stunt of yours and know just what your “good name” is about from your emails.

I hope the little amount of traffic you got from protecting those keywords with BS threats was worth the long term link love you were so happy to goad Ben about.

Joe Rozsa February 7, 2011 at 10:10 pm

I’d be curious to hear your tone if you were talked to the way I was by Mike. But glad you took the time to know me Dave. I’m sure you are a great guy.

Like I said, I’m done with this. My site now points to Mike. I was wrong to have wanted to protect my company name. I was wrong for being passionate about what I’ve built. Mike now gets his vastly coveted keywords as they are the only anchor text link on my site now.

You win the court of public opinion, Mike. I don’t care if you’d win the other court or not. I’m done. It’s not worth it to me or my family to put up with your lies and hate towards me over some worthless keywords that you desparately need. And yes, that search term has delivered exactly 19 uniques since Dec. 1. I’ll send you the GA account if you need it. Or use Google Insights, it shows 78 total searches for the month of December. Hope all that traffic is worth what you did to someone you couldn’t take the time to even talk to. Good luck to you.

Dave Lawlor February 7, 2011 at 10:48 pm

Whether Im a great guy or not has no bearing, I dont send ass hat emails out to people making threats and then goad people when they try to point out why your wrong like you did above.

Now your playing the victim which is even more pathetic after your emails and flippant remarks above. Here is the best advice I can give you.. just shut up. No one would have confused Mike for working at your company. You could have let this go but you kept pushing even though you didnt have any TM to stand on. None of this was necessary until you decided to send out your emails, you talk about the other side of the story… do you deny those emails above weren’t from you? If you really have the TM then send a C&D, people with real legal rights don’t play around they send out the notices.

And to keep calling Mike a “kid” like you have some kind of moral high ground cause of age is getting old

Matthew Edward February 7, 2011 at 11:05 pm

You should consider yourself lucky that all you got was some over the phone in exchange for your silly accusation Joe.

I never ceases to amaze me how some people react to others’ reactions to THEIR utter nonsense.

personA: RARR-IdioticIgnorantPretentiousPatronizingRemark-RARR
personB: STFU, ASSHAT
personA: OMG YOU CALLED ME AN ASSHAT WTF DOOD!!!1

If you don’t like people’s tone over the telephone–or anywhere else–you have to play nice, i.e., not let your greed get in the way of whatever intellect you may or may not have.

New Catch Phrase February 7, 2011 at 11:02 pm

S-E-MO

Zachary February 7, 2011 at 11:09 pm

Get a custom handmade #SEOColumbus shirt for $6.14 http://traxlertees.com/2011/02/seo-columbus-t-shirt/

Alysson February 7, 2011 at 11:24 pm

Okay, Joe…this has been pointed out to you several times already, but just in case it didn’t sink in – the name of your business is not and never has been “SEO Columbus”…at least not legally. A moniker does not constitute a legal business name, nor a trademark. Until you follow the proper legal procedures, a moniker is just a moniker – not a brand and not a business name that is offered protection under the law.

The problem isn’t that you wanted to protect the name of your business, as you now claim on seocolumbus.com – it is that you stated specifically that you have registered a trademark on a term that cannot legally be trademarked. Mike knew it. Mike knew that his circle of industry friends knew it. And you underestimated the power of his online network.

What you asked for was not a courtesy. You were hoping Mike was ignorant and that he would act on your veiled threat of legal action against him. You were hoping that using words like attorney, litigation, etc. would intimidate Mike. You purposefully and willfully made false claims about your ownership of a trademark for the term “SEO Columbus”. And when Mike called your bluff on statements like, “…my attorneys have dealt with this before in defense of my company name.”, you blamed him for the reputation nightmare that followed. Your lies are responsible for today’s debacle. Not Mike.

You didn’t handle this well, Joe. Not telling the truth has consequences, despite refusing to admit – even to yourself – that you were not telling the truth. You tried to present yourself to Mike as a stand up guy just trying to keep him out of trouble with the law, when the reality is that you never owned a trademark on “SEO Columbus”. You knew it. You lied. And you got caught. Consider it a learning experience and move on.

Alan Bleiweiss February 7, 2011 at 11:47 pm

For those of you following the comment thread here, Joe has ultimately chosen the poison pill path, taking down his entire site, and leaving in its wake a diatribe to end all heart-wrenching diatribes. Yet not once acknowledging his own very bad decisions in the process. http://SEOColumbus.com

Matthew Edward February 7, 2011 at 11:55 pm

“Sadly, there are sick people out there who don’t realize what impact their actions have, and don’t realize who they hurt with hate and lies.”

Ever heard of projection, Joe?

Corey February 8, 2011 at 12:25 am

The worst part is I actually feel bad for this d bag now. Not because he was “attacked” or whatever he wants to say, (because we all know he did that to himself) but because he actually seems to believe it…

Bill Condo February 8, 2011 at 12:05 am

I LOVE this thread. I can only hope this Joe guy continues to flip burgers, or whatever the hell he really does for a living. I can’t believe anyone would pay for an SEO that doesn’t understand basics in SEO or business.

Thanks Mike for providing my entertainment for the day and calling out this Joe guy for what he is – the biggest douche in Columbus Ohio. Google bomb anyone?

-bill

SEODeath February 8, 2011 at 1:45 am

not Google Bomb..

SEO Death.. much much worse.. muahahaha!
Cause of SEO Death: ORM, inexperience and ignorance.

Jenny Stradling February 8, 2011 at 1:31 am

This is what people do? Really? I never even thought about the type of scum that would actually try to scare website owners into thinking they have the right to sue them, and for what, “keyword infringement”? I’d like to see him explain that one in court, “Yeah, see Judge, there was this website and he used an industry term and his city name together on his website, and that hurt my rankings…” Whatever.

Matt Webb February 8, 2011 at 1:54 am

This reminds me of an exact situation of mine..

I used to be seo-honolulu.com and I had a direct competitor at seohonolulu.com . I bought my domain 4 or 5 days after the other guy, didn’t know, didn’t care.

This was a painfully easy term to rank for, and before you knew it, my site and a slew of social media/forum accounts I owned with the same name owned the first 2 pages of the SERP’s. Mission accomplished in my book.

I registered Matthew Webb DBA SEO Honolulu at Department of Consumer & Consumer Affairs as a local trademarked business name, registered a state tax license and registered with the IRS for an EIN. Across the board, I was SEO Honolulu.

For SERP’s on the terms I wanted, I won the race and took what was mine. I pounded on my blog often, participated in conversations, got to know people and had a blast. For all intents and purposes, I was the *better* SEO Honolulu at branding and reach.

So what’s my point? I saw absolutely NO reason to give this other guy any grief whatsoever. Competition is what forces businesses to be more innovative than the competitors and to steadily perform better to keep it’s share of the pie.

Andy Ford February 8, 2011 at 2:21 am

I’m starting a business called SEO Columbus SEO Columbus Columbus SEO of Sacramento. Let him sort that one out.

Chuck Reynolds February 8, 2011 at 2:24 am

caught on to this late today… was pretty busy all day.

Sadly people don’t always understand the internet completely, nor do they do any research or think first before they open their mouths. We had a pretty bad ORM issue with a restaurant owner in the Phoenix area doing off on a Yelp Elite for a review he left of her pizza place. Basically same thing… open mouth, insert foot, twitter explosion… rest is history. Same here.

It all comes down to Joe being a douche and puffing out his chest in email form and completely talking out of his ass and making a complete fool of himself. Meanwhile explaining to everybody that he clearly has no fucking clue what he’s talking about.

I honestly don’t think Mike pushed this really hard… I know the industry and most of the people in it. It’s a tight group and you can’t pick on somebody in the group unjustified without getting some push back. The so called ‘smear’ campaign was simply the real SEO’s calling Joe out on his douchebag F-up. Own up to being a dick and most of this wouldn’t have happened. Joe.. You’re not a victim of anything accept inserting your own head far up your own ass. Sorry dude, but you were in the wrong. Then conceding the domain after all your 5 years of work? Goonies never say die man… never were that good huh.

Columbus Texas SEO February 8, 2011 at 12:18 pm

pretty sure.. Mike didn’t encourage.

this is SEO.. we eat our young.

UpChuck February 8, 2011 at 3:41 pm

NOM :)

Arun Gangwar February 8, 2011 at 4:09 am

Lot more entertaining stuff…..:)
Mike u did the superb job. I Like the way you have taught a lesson to Joe.

tehgreedo February 8, 2011 at 7:21 am

It seems to me he bluffed and you called it. When you didn’t cave, he went all “bigger man” / “high road” on you to make himself look like the good guy and you were just an arrogant kid who was trying to get results for his work.

It also seems to me that if he cared as much about his business name as “SEO Columbus” as he claims he would have done more to make sure he had the legal backing to ACTUALLY pursue trademark infringement cases… you know… legally.

All in all, I really think both of you could have done things a little better / nicer / etc, but when it comes down to it, he didn’t have a legitimate right to stop you from using generic keywords, which is what this whole thing was about.

tl;dr – you can’t bullshit somebody with a fucking mustache

Bill Sterzenbach February 8, 2011 at 8:17 am

This was a great read – thanks for putting it out there – everyone is so risk-averse now, it’s nice to see someone put an unpolished version of this sort of event out there.

ChrisBobb February 8, 2011 at 8:33 am

Mike, Any chance on registering SEO Columbus as your own business name, since it’s not claimed?

David Culbertson February 8, 2011 at 9:25 am

I’m going out on a limb here – I don’t think what Joe did was right, but a lot of these comments are over the top. There’s a bit of a mob mentality taking over. Remember the golden rule – “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”

Matt Webb February 8, 2011 at 9:47 pm

You noticed that too huh?

Rae February 8, 2011 at 9:46 am

That said guys? Mission accomplished. I think this dude will think twice before sending out another email bullying someone. And I’m all for outing asshats, but, there’s no point in focusing on him. It makes him simply appear more important than he is. I really think the hate sites, etc – he’s got an ORM issue for his name, he lost respect within the community. Anything else is beating a dead horse. IMHO. I’m out :)

Jacob Stoops February 8, 2011 at 10:17 am

Here is a gem from Joe’s apology post (which I will not reference with a link)! Still a bit delusional…

“I want to take a minute to apologize to Mike and the SEO community for asking another SEO to not use my company name on his site. Whether anyone believes me or not, it wasn’t about competing for keywords. The keywords are 1) not really that great, as they don’t generate much traffic to the site and 2. My domain name, so it would take quite a bit of effort to outrank me for it anyway.”

1. It’s not your company name. As referenced many times above, there doesn’t appear to be anything legally proving that. In fact it’s quite the opposite.

2. It WAS about competing for keywords. Why else would you send the email? The word paranoid comes to mind.

3. It was NEVER about the traffic. It’s about us being just as relevant as you for a “generic industry term” + “service area” that isn’t even your legal business name.

4. It WOULD take quite a bit of effort, but with this kind of exposure I think the effort has been made on behalf of Mike. Nice work, you just sabotaged your reputation – in an industry that is all about reputation – in less than a day. And it really didn’t have to happen. You can’t go any higher than first position!

Jacob Stoops February 8, 2011 at 10:20 am

Wait, I will throw him a link. The article really rubbed me the wrong way back then. But it makes me giggle:

I encourage everyone to enjoy! The article and his rankings has EVERYTHING to do with his skills and NOTHING to do with his exact-match domain name.

Kris Roadruck February 8, 2011 at 1:10 pm

Dear god. This guy is fucking dense isnt he? He thinks those companies are paying PPC on exact match “columbus seo firm” and not broad match “seo”? Haha. Wow. And he has never heard of SEOP? Fuck is he doing living under a rock?

I wont even get into his ridiculous comments about SEO companies needing to ignore another marketing channel (PPC). I suppose he thinks all SEO’s should cut out all other forms of marketing besides organic. *shakes head*

Matt Siltala February 8, 2011 at 2:41 pm

Kris,

I would give you a +1 million for that comment if I could.

Jon Myers February 8, 2011 at 3:32 pm

LOL @ “#1 Columbus SEO Firm”!!

“Firm”?? I’m sure the query “Columbus SEO” + “Firm” is ultra competitive.

reactorr February 8, 2011 at 1:57 pm

Joe should know its all part of SEO/ORM/ and online business and just deal with it…

Cheryl Harrison February 8, 2011 at 3:50 pm

I’m gonna start suing everyone who has ever used “I am a good idea” online, a phrase to which no trademark or LLC is attached, but I DO own the domain and have used it in my Twitter bio, for like, 3 years, therefore giving me a legal right to it by quid pro quo and rigor mortis and stuff. Also, suing the owner of CherylHarrison.com for obvious reasons. Thanks for letting me know this was possible! :)

Dan Cristo February 8, 2011 at 8:15 pm

Joe,
I just read your, “Apology to the SEO Community” featured on your websites homepage. Buddy… That is the worst apology ever. You spend all 6 paragraphs defending your actions and making excuses.

First you make the excuse that the keyword doesn’t bring much traffic. You then attack Mike by implying that his motives didn’t match his words. Aka. calling him a liar.

Paragraph 3 you defend yourself some more. Paragraph 4 you blame your attorney. Paragraph 5, you blame your humanity – as if you yourself are not responsible, rather it’s your humanity that made you “goof up”. Paragraph 6, you apologize to the people who have, “Taken this personally” and “Who are upset” with you defending your company name (which really isn’t your company name).

Joe… You didn’t “goof up”. You were being a bully and you were angry. You made a choice to act like you did. It wasn’t an accident. It was a decision. You’re not sorry at all for being a jerk. You’re not sorry for bullying people. You’re not sorry for making SEO’s look bad. You’re not sorry for tarnishing SMX’s reputation.

You are sorry for not registering your own company name, and you are sorry people are calling you out for what you did. That’s what you apologize for, and that is why the apology comes across fake and insulting.

Look. I don’t think you’re a bad guy. SEO is hard, and reputation in this business is priceless. I’d hate to see your entire career crash and burn because of one (rather major) mistake. So, I am going to help you out here with your personal brand reputation. “Take my hand… If you want to live!”

1. Take down that BS apology letter and rewrite it. Stop defending and passing blame. Acknowledge that you wanted to defend your rankings, and your dealings with Mike were wrongly executed. period.
2. Track down every single person who has commented in this thread and apologize to them personally. You’re an SEO – you know how to search, find them on twitter, facebook or via email.
3. Delete your comments on this post. They make you look like a fool.
4. Perform an act of kindness – Donate time, money or services to a charity in Columbus.

Why do I care enough to help you help yourself? Because you’re an SEO, and it’s not easy. Especially when the community has targeted you (Don’t for a second think you’re a victim, or you didn’t deserve it). So accept the beating and turn this into a positive thing. Heck, maybe SMX will have you speak about brand reputation management next year, but first, you’ve got a lot of cleaning up to do.

Dan

Matthew Edward February 9, 2011 at 12:05 am

What a fantastic breakdown of how Joe messed up and what he should do to try to start recovering from his errors.

Joe February 9, 2011 at 9:58 am

As a trademark and copyright lawyer of 33 years, I must say that reading this email exchange brought a smile to my face.

Sean Maguire February 11, 2011 at 12:21 pm

“Hell Hath No Fury Like an SEO Scorned, well….except for an SEO community having the scorned SEO’s back.” – Me

Dear Joe,

I remember you from Seomoz. You were a nice, likable thoughtful guy. We all make mistakes in life. I’ve certainly made a few in the SEO community with my misguided snarkiness and arrogance at times. The only difference is I know when to SINCERELY put my tail between my legs and STFU.

Candidly, I’m quite amazed at your continued comments on this thread. Worst case, you should have stopped. Best case, you should have heeded (and should still heed), Dan Cristo’s generous and thoughtful advice.

Instead, you’ve chosen to create a new class of Internet Marketing Service (ORMM) – that would stand for Online Reputation Mis-Management. I really would have thought you were smarter than this, but every single comment of yours relative to this matter reeks of pretentious sarcasm. It’s as if you chose to dip yourself in egg, coated both sides with breadcrumbs and then jumped into the pan.

Irrespective of how Mike may have spoken to you on the phone, you would have done yourself a great favor by simply keeping your comments shut, or delivering a truly sincere and brief apology. Something along the lines of:

Dear SEO Community,

I really fucked up and I am truly sorry – especially to Michael Halvorsen for attacking him and wasting his time. I’ve learned my lesson and hope you will all give me the opportunity to start re-building my reputation.

Sincerely,

Joe

If you continue on, you may just see someone register KalorSEO.com and really start fucking with you.

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