Why Article Marketing Works for Black Hats and Not for White Hats

I was reading a post about article marketing over at Traffic Generation Cafe written by Robert Dempsey.

As it’s often the case, the lineage of arguments on the blogosphere is long, so let me give you a quick-down.

Robert lays out a very cogent argument on how to gain traffic by being more attentive to how people react to OPC (Other People’s Content.)

Sound advice and I couldn’t agree more.

Then he goes on to use an example of Article Marketing.

For the uninitiated, Article Marketing is the act of writing an article (duh!) and submitting it to any number of Article Publishing websites who accept this drivel. (Let’s just say people don’t usually use their A material when doing this)

Why People Do It?

Article Marketers/Bloggers do it to build backlinks (backlinks=money in the online world) and Article Publishers do it to generate content (also money in the online world.)

The general consensus on the blogosphere is that this is a waste of time and no self-respecting blogger would do it the way of the Black Hat samurai. But…there is always a but…

The way Black Hats do Article Marketing and the way White Hats do Article Marketing is WAAAAYYY different.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Black Hat/White Hat terminology, think Harry Potter versus Voldemort, except everything happens online.

When a White Hat does Article Marketing they attempt to create C+ content and link back to their own authoritative website.

When Black Hats do it, they use other people’s content (why write your own when you can pilfer) AND they link back to their own landing page.

THIS my friends is the difference between the two.

Let’s pretend I’m a Black Hat and want to build massive number of backlinks to my landing page.

Landing Page is one of those ugly, long-scrawling, reeks of night time infomercials web pages. It’s usually brightly colored with the host telling you how he made billions of dollars using this one simple technique. Yeah right…


If I’m a Black Hat, I’m not going to bother writing my own article. I’ll just use somebody else.

If I leave the article as-is it will decrease the google rank for the dude I stole the article from. If I change it slightly (using automated tools like Best Spinner) the dude I stole it from will probably get dinged by google anyway, and I will be able to submit it to multiple online publishers. Sweet.

All these article will be linked to my landing page of course.

So what did I do?

  • I’ve used somebody else’s work.
  • I took away their goggle juice in the process and
  • I auto-submitted “my article” to a ton of Article Publishing services building backlinks in the process

Sneaky shit. I know.

But Dino. Are you saying these guys never get caught?

Sure…sometimes they do get caught, but they have made their efforts sufficiently anonymous and the worst-case scenario is they have to take the Landing Page down. Big deal…they got a ton of other ones and they can always create a new one, and repeat the process.

But aren’t they identified as the author?

They don’t do this shit using their own name. If you see a cat named Jeff Smith, or Bob Newmark…or any number non-descript, recyclable aliases, you’re probably looking at someone covering their tracks.

So you see…you can drive traffic to your landing page and make money online if you are willing to be sufficiently unscrupulous.

Granted, this is a very rough outline and there are few points I didn’t cover, but the major stokes are there.

And now you know why Article Marketing Works for Black Hats and Not for White Hats.

Make sure you read/listen to these:

Dino Dogan

Global Force for Badassery | Founder of Triberr | Refugee from Bosnia | Writer for Technorati | Speaker | Lousy Martial Artist | Pretty good singer/songwriter | Hi 🙂

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  • http://cindybidar.com Cindy Bidar

    Wow, so much to debate this early in the morning 🙂

    First, I don’t agree with this: “If I leave the article as-is it will decrease the google rank for the dude I stole the article from.” Why would someone plagiarizing my content have any effect on my rankings? If that were true, it would be a very simple task to flush your competitors sites right down the SERPs toilet.

    I also don’t agree with this: “When a White Hat does Article Marketing they attempt to create C+ content and link back to their own authoritative website.” When I do article marketing I create A+ content with the intent to get it syndicated on authority websites. Given the amount of garbage available on the directories these days thanks to those black hat folks and their spinners, this isn’t hard to do. And getting it syndicated is what will cause your traffic – and your SERPs – to rise. I have a nothing-special gardening site that gets traffic from PBS.org due to an article they published, so yes, this does work.

    Of course, it takes a lot more work to conduct an article marketing campaign in a white hat manner, but the long term results will outshine the black hat fast money approach.

    • http://diyblogger.net/about Dino Dogan

      Hi Cindy, the pagerank is debatable, I’ll grant you. It def used to be true (duplicate content was a huge no-no in google’s eyes) but it seams the algorithm has been updated to compensate for situations where dup-content is inevitable.

      Regarding C+ vs A+ content I think you’ve proved my point when you said “Given the amount of garbage available on the directories these days”.

      Of course, these very broad strokes are not true for everyone, there are many White Hats creating A+ content like yourself and Murray from Murlu, and so on…but by and large….well, you get the idea 🙂

      Thnx for contributing to an early morning debate 🙂

  • http://www.trafficgenerationcafe.com Ana | Traffic Generation Cafe

    You are making some interesting points, Dino – many would disagree, I am sure. I am with you though.

    Thanks for the mention!


    • http://diyblogger.net/about Dino Dogan

      Any time someone generalizes its easy to disagree of course, because these are very broad strokes. I know black hats and they do much worse lol

  • http://live-your-love.com/ Brankica U

    OK, Dino zemice,
    this has to be the most interesting article I’ve read here. I almost had as much fun as I did listening to your podcasts.
    I will be contacting you for the detailed explanation how to make this work 😉

    • http://diyblogger.net/about Dino Dogan

      thnx so much zemljanko. Any info you need, plz dont hesitate. I have a very interesting post coming out tomorrow..both in format (video) and content. I cant wait to see what you think 🙂

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  • http://murlu.com Murlu

    Yeah, that’s about it in a nutshell Dino.

    Lot of people out there exploiting the system which the big G can’t do crap about – why? It’s just too much information to handle. There’s millions of sites on the web, billions of pages – they don’t have time to go after a handful of articles out there which is why it goes over so well for such a long time.

    Love have you dinged me on this haha. I wouldn’t say repurposing is black hat – maybe a bit grey 😀

    • http://diyblogger.net/about Dino Dogan

      lol..no bro…I used you as an example of the way White Hats do it…its interesting that you thought I was using you as a black/gray example…what did you do that we dont know about? huh? lol

  • http://www.guidegoods.blogspot.com Edwin

    I know what your saying. Black Hatters like to do things in a more “efficient” or faster way. They’ll take quantity over quality because they want results fast.


    • http://diyblogger.net/about Dino Dogan

      Hey Edwin…thats true…a kind of end justifies the means approach for sure.

  • http://5dollarbaby.com/ Navya

    Hi Dino,

    Being a newbie, I don’t have a clear idea of these Black hat n Whit hat… Now I understood what the terms mean! But Black hat seems to be unauthentic??

    • http://diyblogger.net/about Dino Dogan

      lol..well, you could say that. Or we could say they they are authentically deviant lol

  • http://bloggingwithsuccess.net Ishan

    I agree with you on this on Dino. Recently, I tried article marketing. In morning, I was excited and wrote 3 articles for directories. I submitted them but still felt like it was not good. What is the use of c+ content? I’d better spend my blog by using 10 A+ posts as guest posts rather than using 100 c+ articles on directories! White hats will never learn this dark art! 🙂

    • http://diyblogger.net/about Dino Dogan

      The effort vs reward for black hats vs white hats is just way off. I always felt like article marketing was really made for BH and WH will never be as effective because the other group doesnt play by the same rules.

  • http://www.techperk.com/ Praveen@Techperk

    Article Marketing is becoming worse these days, people are using the same article in 100s of dirs

    • http://diyblogger.net/about Dino Dogan

      for sure…thats def another great point.

  • http://writemorewritefastwritenow.com/ Tammi Kibler

    “Let’s pretend I’m a Black Hat…”

    Not a huge stretch for me. 🙂

    You make compelling points about what we are up against if we focus all our efforts on SEO and links.

    • http://diyblogger.net/about Dino Dogan

      EXACTLY. Thats exactly the point of my article…I think…you said it way better than I could 🙂

  • http://twitter.com/ElisesReview Elise M

    LOL I just started following Lord_Voldemort7 on Twitter and he has some of the most hilarious tweets.

    This is interesting. It’s too easy to take someone else’s content and spin it. I just got slapped by EZA because they could tell that I had spun content!

    I also heard that Google can now tell your articles are similar to others even if they are 50% uniquely spun, which is ridiculous. Google is getting so smart.

    If article writing an spinning is done very lazily, the links are pretty much useless. The more similar to other content, the worse.

    I was able to write 6 unique articles in 1 hours today for EZA and I’m trying to get faster at it. It sucks, but I gotta do it. *sigh*

    • http://diyblogger.net/about Dino Dogan

      Tuns out, the whole duplicate content is not an issue anymore in terms of google juice. Google is able to tell which article came out first based on its time stamp (crawling time stamp). Which sucks if a higher ranked, faster crawled site rips off your content.

  • http://www.itinerantentrepreneur.com/journal/ Robert Dempsey

    Hi Dino thanks for the mention, and thanks to Ana for having me guest post.

    In an interesting twist I am doing some article marketing for a pure affiliate site I am testing to build backlinks. However I hired an article writer so I’m not going black hat on it. We’ll see how it goes. Takes a bit for the article directories to put the first articles up…

    • http://diyblogger.net/about Dino Dogan

      Did you use Fivrr? And whats the niche?

      • http://www.itinerantentrepreneur.com/journal/ Robert Dempsey

        No I didn’t (though I do pay $5 for a well written article) and the niche, well let’s say it helps you stay on target 🙂 More will be revealed later. Actually, I have a huge guest post going up at Steve Scott’s site about my preliminary results.

        • http://diyblogger.net/about Dino Dogan

          OK bro…keep us posted 🙂

  • http://bizhax.com Keith Bloemendaal

    I think article marketing works for both, I use it to build links for several sites and am enjoying good results from it so far. You know I used Fiverr to outsource the content which has worked well so far and am thinking about outsourcing the submissions too (it can be a long process sometimes).

    I use this technique to promote a couple of niche sites and am starting to do it for a products site I have as well…. works great so far.

    • http://diyblogger.net/about Dino Dogan

      Kickin ass and takin names, ey? Good for you my uber friend 🙂

  • http://twitter.com/SocialVirAssist Social Assistant

    Hi Dino!

    I read this article a little while ago and just never had the chance to comment.

    I agree with you and I don’t agree with you. You see, people use article marketing in different ways. If you’re serious about being the authority, then you’ll create a brand new article and submit it to only ONE article website, such as Hubpages. I agree with this technique. It’s a good way to get noticed.

    However, if all you want to do is build links with drivel and spam every single article marketing site out there with the same article, then that’s what I do not agree with.

    So, I definitely understand where you’re coming from, but not all article marketing strategies are black hat. 🙂

    • http://diyblogger.net/about Dino Dogan

      Im glad you got around to commenting. I think we’re on the same page. Because white hats do things ethically they will see certain type of benefit from it (like building authority.)

      While black hats will go about it differently and will not constrain themselves to ethical methods and will get more immediate benefit.

      So I think we are exactly in agreement on this.

  • http://fantomaster-seo.com Fantomaster USA

    Myths and rumors abound on the being banned for cloaking issue, and five experts will probably give you six different answers … Well, here is mine: ……don’t be fooled by the hype!

    Can your core web site get banned by the search engines for cloaking? If that was true, then your competitor could build some cloaked domains and point them to your primary web site so that it would be banned! Think of the damage that would be done if that was at all true. Not a very likely scenario, is it?

    So can you really have your “cloaked” domains banned for cloaking? The answer is yes – if, for example, the search engines’ staff have manually checked and compared your spider content with what you are actually serving your human visitors. In a worst case scenario a human editor may come along to check the matter out.

    On the other hand, it is highly unlikely that you will get penalized or banned unless some silly campaign build mistake has taken place. If a cloaking campaign is implemented professionally and with sound marketing techniques, your chances of being banned are minimal.

    Note that I do NOT condone cloaking for misleading purposes: it is counter productive and will only serve to make life more difficult for all parties concerned.

    So can cloaking be abused? Sure it can! But so are kitchen knives and painkillers. I for my part have never advocated misleading search engine optimization, if only because it’s dumb marketing. There’s no excuse in the world for misleading visitors like that and it certainly doesn’t seem to pay off either, which is why the SERPs is actually seeing less and less of such practises these days.

    But let’s face realities here: while the search engines may take a strong-arm stance against cloaking in public, they don’t really seem to worry too much about it in everyday life, even if they state otherwise.

    One of the reasons being that there’s so much legitimate cloaking about, it would simply be impossible to weed it all out. Else, you might well expect the world’s top 1000 web properties to disappear from the SERPs.

    It’s quite important to realize this fact before fretting about the possible penalization of cloaking, as so many clueless SEOs are preaching, without a single tangible proof of what they’re claiming to know absolutely everything about.