Why I am not participating in this Seo contest

Promojunkie has announced the keyword phrase and the rules for their next SEO contest, starting the 18th December 2009 and finishing the 18th March 2010. I was actually looking forward to it. I mean, it would have been great fun to actually start at the start and not 3 weeks close to the dead line 😉 But there are a few points that prevented me from submitting my entry.

Your mileage may vary, so if you want to try to catch the $1000, that they offer as first price, start here: PromoJunkie SEO Contest

In case you are still in doubt, here my some of my main and minor reasons not to participate in this seo contest:

  • The keyword phrase does make sense.

Now, that sounds like an advantage at first sight. Instead of having to write about some non-sensical keywords like “jumpy dumpy flubby glibber” or similar, you get actually something you can create real content about. The key word phrase for this contest is “mma pound for pound”, I had to google it, to find out what it stands for. MMA means Mixed Martial Arts and Pound for Pound refers to the best competitors in MMA. Or something along this lines…

Which means that there are actually a lot of sites already established that target these keywords. And here lays my main, ethical, problem.

A seo contest is basically a lot of web masters and (some wannabee) seo experts trying to rank first for a keyword or a keyword phrase. But if this bunch of “trigger happy backlinkers” gets let loose on “real” search results, Google will not be happy. It is one thing to compete in a closed field of like-minded competitors, another one to knock real web sites of the first page of the Google SERPentines in the intent. It is simply not fair for the people that build the existing web sites in the first place and might or might not have an idea about SEO.

  • I can’t create content around it.

Granted, you can become an expert on nearly every topic by just studying the top ten sites that turn up on Google’s first page, but that makes you only a “ass-u-me-d expert”. To really compete, you need to know and be passionate about, the topic on hand. Or, in the case of non-nonsensical keywords, be creative and have a sense of humor to write about the “life and love of the dingerry tumbly”.

I do love watching Jackie Chan movies occasionally, but that doesn’t qualify me with any stretch of imagination to write about martial arts. So, next pass on this one.

  • I don’t like the site they require participants to link to.

Like I stated before, I do like watching well made martial arts movies, but I simply don’t understand and get the site they require participants to link to. Most likely my own shortcoming, but as a rule of thumb I only link to sites I do like and want to share with others.

Minor problems

  • The rules are not clear cut

In the rules it is set out that the domain can’t be an exact copy of the keyword phrase “mma pound for pound”, ruling out domains like mmapoundforpound.com from participating. Unfortunately the rules don’t state that the domain can’t contain any of the keywords, making domains like mmapound4pound.com able to participate. That is a potential can of worms and creates a very insecure feeling amongst the participants (see their forum threads to see what I mean). It would have been better, to state from the beginning, that participants are not allowed to use domains that contain ANY of the keywords. Just my two cents 😉

  • The result page doesn’t show correct results

This is most likely dues to a faulty script, but at the moment the page that shows the top results includes web sites that are clearly not new (one of the requirements of the contest).


Like I said in the opening paragraph, I happily pass on this seo contest. Now, if anybody wanted to start one with a non-sensical keyword phrase like “blue dotted humbliedumblie birdiethingie” or similar, I am game 😉 Just drop me a comment!


Todays find of the blogosphere, which builds up on yesterdays in Internet and Manners, is James Chartrand is a woman. A startling account of a 21st century blogger and freelance writer that discovered that she would get the better gigs when she pretends to be a man. Frightening, in our days, or not?


Ok, and to bring some variety into the comments, tell me, have you done all your Christmas shopping? Or you can obviously also leave a comment that is relevant to my blog post 😉 Take care ans see you around, SY



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17 comments to Why I am not participating in this Seo contest

  • hello, i read your post and i found lost of SEO Contest tips,, thanks for the info, very helpful for me:)
    .-= harry´s last blog ..Kerja Keras Adalah Energi Kita =-.

  • participants who are not celebrating Xmas, New Year, will have advantage in this contest.

  • You are right – it looks like a jack up for a mate who already has a site ranking for MMA – even if the site doesn’t have that specific kw phrase any site with ranking for MMA will rank very easily for that phrase – pity.
    .-= lissie@Online Income´s last blog ..Improving Time Management to Improve Passive Income =-.

    • hospitalera

      Yes, and what will happen to this mate’s web site when the contest is over and most of the back links will get slowly removed. Not to speak about what it does to your site in Google’s eyes when you get for three months back links like crazy and then next to nothing anymore? I don’t think they have thought that out very well, SY

  • Hi SY,

    I’ve never participated in an SEO contest aside from trying to rank for some keywords in the search engines in the open.

    Contests are limited to whatever number of participants sign up. That in itself can actually be more exciting.

    But it’s the rules that can make any contest lose any appeal for me.

    For me even one half of what you wrote as reasons for not participating in this particular contest would be more than enough to stay away.

    Thanks to you though, I’m now at least paying attention when I read about contests whereas before I used to completely disregard them.

    Vance
    .-= Vance@Get Blog Traffic´s last blog ..Get Blog Traffic Increase With Blog Comments =-.

    • hospitalera

      Yes, the rules can vary greatly, and some SEO contests can be great fun, others are less. It always pays out to RTFM 😉 SY

      PS Vesele Vanoce a Hesky Nove Rok!

  • First I search for seo contest.. did blog search and found PJ forum, then kept reading the thread. Prize was okish but like you said rules were a let down along with deadlines..

    Somehow stumbled across your blog and I really like the name hospitalera and your writing 😛

    Hope you are having an great year ahead 🙂
    .-= Bangaloreloka´s last blog ..Monetize My Blog? Website Traffic? Blog Monetization Explained =-.

  • Your earlier posts on the SEO contest made me interested in joining one myself. However I have to agree with you, pushing legitimate sites off the first page of Google for an SEO contest doesn’t seem very ethical.
    .-= Ned Carey´s last blog ..1099s Are Due! Have You Sent Yours Out? =-.

  • monika

    You are one of the most logical and nicely explained post blogger on SEO . Most people just iterate what others already know, but this reflects of your experience as an expert. Thanks for the tips.

  • I think it only really makes sense to also release the data about who participated in the contest. Sure, they say keywords in your domain help, but truth is, how many people try to rank a domain and NOT have keywords in them? No one probably. Such a competition could shed better light on subjects like this as it would establish sort of a control set.
    .-= Stanley@Cheap Web Hosting´s last blog .."Unlimited" Hosting: The Dirty Secret =-.

    • hospitalera

      Oh, the list of participants was clear, at least the ones that reached the top ten positions plus the ones that announced it in their forum. As for ranking without your keywords in your url, have a look at this site itself. 😉 It ranks for a lot of keywords that are not in the domain. SY