Phrases to Avoid in Translation

One of the hardest things about preparing a document for translation is looking for things that don't translate well. Many times, they make perfect sense to the writer, and it never occurs to them that someone else in another culture would not have the same shared references.

Unfortunately, shared references are part of what makes a culture, and therefore is the first thing that needs to be expunged from documents intended for multi-cultural audiences.

Off the top of my head, here is a list of regionalisms that should be avoided:

Any sports/game reference: "get your game on", "it's the bottom of the ninth", "hit a home run", "sticky wicket", "poker face" "checkmate" etc
Popular culture references: "re-gifting" ,"bizzaro", "Benny Hill" etc
Local News references: "____-gate", "bob's your uncle", etc
Local slang: "yob", "the pond", coke (when referring to drinks other than Coca-Cola)", "trailer trash" etc
Famous Sayings: "The only dumb question is the one that's never asked", "It's always in the last place you look", "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush", etc
Most acronyms: The list here is extremely long, ranging from tanstaafl to SERP.

The reason that famous sayings are on the list is because they take on special meaning (cultural shorthand) in their native language and can be used in ways that make little sense (and can sound pretentious or insulting) once translated. If you use them (and I recommend not) then make it clear that it's a saying, and not your own words.

Finally, try to avoid corporate jargon. That "professional sounding" phrase you use to describe an internal process or concept at your company probably just sounds stupid or pretentious once translated. It probably sounds stupid or pretentious to people outside your company in your native language, as well, but that's a post for another day.

I hope this has helped illustrate how easy it is to make yourself almost unintelligible to others without knowing it. A good translator can help with this, but only if the translator knows enough about your cultural references to know what you are trying to say in the first place.

The problem is, these shared concepts can be very powerful marketing and communication tools - they clearly convey both meaning and emotion quickly and easily to an audience that understands them.

This is why we use a minimum two step process for SEO translation at my company, first, we translate the document by someone in your country that understands your local culture. The resulting document is as devoid of cultural references as possible. Then we send it to a professional marketer in your target market, who then localizes and SEO's it to appeal to the target market. Many of our clients then request that we translate that final document back to English (round trip translation) to make sure that it says what they want it to say.


Sitemap - Embarrassment or Godsend?

I'm having a problem with a developer right now. Which developer isn't really the point - the point (unfortunately) is that it's common with a disturbing number of developers. If you happen to be (or know) a developer that is an exception to the rant below, please accept my thanks for your hard work and be sure that the following is not intended towards you personally.

The sitemap. It seems to me that traditionally developers have ignored sitemaps all together, or stuffed them at the bottom of webpages beside the other links no one ever clicks on - like the privacy policy and copyright notice.

Many times, they don't even do any design on them! It's a script that creates a link list and stuffed in a template (if it even warrants one).

I don't know why, but I can hazard a guess - it's likely because after the developer spends all this time (and client money) developing a cool, cutting edge navigation structure for the site, that the site map is a reminder that someone might not think it's as cool as the developer thinks it is - and we can't have that, now can we?

Next thing you know, they might actually start testing to see if that nifty all-Flash navigation structure is SEO or user friendly - horrors!

I've got a request for developers who automatically place the sitemap link (if one is even created in the first place) at the bottom of pages - STOP IT!

The reasons that a sitemap is important and should be at the top (or at least in a more prominent position) are many, but here are a few:

  • Users with limited browsers (including mobile browsers, screen readers, and search engines) like to skip all that navapolooza and just go straight to the information and content - you know, the stuff the website is supposed to be about?
  • Search engines tend to place more link weight on links at the top of a page - this then passes on more link weight to the links in the sitemap (ie - your site)
  • On a related note, search engines usually treat links in the footer of a site (especially if it's in a smaller font than the rest of the site) as less important - since when is your site's content "less important"?
  • Many people like to use the site map to find things quickly in large sites. Sometimes it's easier to figure out where information is likely to be if you can see the site structure.
  • Sitemaps can save your site. Sometimes navigation changes create orphaned pages, leaving the sitemap as the only way to find what the visitor was looking for.
  • The anchor text in a sitemap can be VERY helpful for SEO (it's usually the SEO'd page title) - you want it to be noticed.

Sometimes (if I can get away with it under the context) I'll even do link building for a site directly to the sitemap rather than the home page!

IMO, the sitemap should:

  • Be well thought out and organized - use second and nested sitemaps if necessary
  • Be part of your site! It should look and feel like your site.
  • Use keywords in the anchor text and descriptions wherever practical
  • Be one language only - if you have French and English on your site, you should have 2 sitemaps - one for each language.
  • Linked to from high up on the webpage as viewed in text only mode. I prefer the upper right corner area, myself. This is also where people tend to look for search and country/language choices, as well.

Developers have to stop treating sitemaps as an embarrassment or afterthought and start treating them like the SEO and usability godsend they actually are.

End Rant.

ADDED: While writing a reply to one of the (much appreciated and thoughtful) comments below, it occured to me that another annoyance of placing the sitemap at the bottom of the page is that if you decide to use it because you are lost (possibly because you arrived from a search, rather than the home page) you have to scroll all the way to the bottom of the page to use it. Ugg.


Name Change!

I've changed the name of this blog to McAnerin Muse, because, quite frankly, hardly anyone (including myself) could consistently spell or remember "McAnerin's Manic Meanderings". Plus, it was too long.

While I'm at it, I've also been thinking about changing the name of my company.

McAnerin Networks Inc was chosen because it's suitably vaque but still techy and unique. Back then, I was doing website design, hosting, SEO, network troubleshooting etc, so it made sense to keep in general.

The problem is that now that I do only international SEO (with a couple of hold out hosting and general SEO clients) and refuse to ever get into computer repair or website design ever again, it's not such a great descriptive name anymore.

I'm thinking of changing it to McAnerin International, in view of the fact that I specialize in international and multiligual search nowadays. Any thoughts?

Thanks to Michelle for bringing this to my attention. :)


Google in China, Part 2

This morning, I was interested to note an interview with Google that Barry over at Search Engine Land posted about.

In it Google says that they have no intention on forming a partnership in China. If you'll remember, yesterday I commented on exactly this probability and the fact that if they decided to go this route, it would not likely work the way they hoped.

Not a good trend for Google. Just because a method worked 10 years ago in a different country, doesn't mean it will work today. They are starting to remind me of that old saying "To a child with a hammer, everything looks like a nail".


Tagged! 5 Things You didn't know about me.

For those of you who don't know, there is a game of tag going on among search bloggers right now, and I've finally been tagged, courtesy of David Wallace (SearchRank).

The rules are, you have to tell 5 things about yourself that no one else knows, then tag 5 others.

5 things You Probably Didn't Know About Ian McAnerin

1. I'm a prolific reader - one summer for a reading contest at my local library in Coaldale, I won first prize. I actually read every single book in the Science Fiction and Fantasy (I'm a big Robert A Heinlein fan) and Western sections (Louis L'Amour a fav here).

Every. Single. Book.

I read very fast, and averaged about 3 books a day for an entire summer. I think it was over two hundred books. My sister Cindy came in a distant second with fifty or so, and third place was someone with about 15 books. We got our love of reading from mom.

2. I'm also a gamer. I played Advanced Dungeons and Dragons (the paper and dice version) during junior high and high school, and even today I relax by playing Command and Conquer: Generals and my latest favorite, Oblivion (possibly the best computer fantasy game ever).

3. I've been asked to STOP singing Karoke in no less than 5 countries so far (Canada, US, China, Japan and Korea). I'm very enthusiastic (when drunk) but couldn't carry a tune with a forklift and a very big bag.

As an example, in Jinan, China, we were singing to a Karoke machine that rated each singer automatically at the end. Being the honored guest, I went first. At the end of the song, the machine put out: 7. there was a pause, and my host (god bless 'em) shouted "Out of 10!" and everyone clapped and cheered. Then Joy sang (beautifully). I was thinking, "this has to be at least a 9 and should be a 10".

Her score was 98. Umm... so that means my score was really out of... oh, never mind.

4. I have dyslexia. In spite of the fact that I have a reputation for writing long posts (a new word was invented on the High Rankings forum: "mcanerinesque" for long posts) I actually hate writing. Especially reports. I'm very slow and spell almost everything wrong. Mostly because I mix up the order of letters.

It's frustrating and I almost failed law school because of it, until I was allowed extra time (I have an official piece of paper proving I have far above average intelligence but far below average writing - I should probably frame it...).

Oh, I also talk exactly how I write. Anyone who has met me will tell you this. That's probably why there is a difference between reports and blogs posts for me, since I don't talk like a report.

5. I have several famous (mostly very distant) relatives.

They include Sir Isaac Brock, Dr. Norman Bethune, and Wayne Gretzky. Canada being a small country in terms of population, and the fact that my family has been here since long before it even was a country, this isn't as special as it sounds - I'm related to a lot of Canadians, famous and infamous.

Also my name, McAnerin, is actually a misspelling. The McAnns of Ireland (Ireland in Irish = Erin), got turned into McAn of Erin, and finally McAnerin.

So there you go. :)

Let's see, now I have to tag someone else, who blogs, who isn't on that darn list already. This is actually hard, since most of the people I know online are on that list already.

I tag the following (in no particular order):

Marc Macalua
Inway Ni
Stephan Spencer
Dr. E. Garcia
Cindy Turrietta or Brooke Schumacher


China: MSN, Yahoo & eBay give up. Is Google Next?

I see that eBay has admitted it's lost the fight in China and is merging with Chinese auction site and portal Tom Online (eBay will have a 49% stake). More From David Temple.

In other news, Baidu, the Chinese Search juggernaut, will be supplying MSN Live with it's PPC ads in China. That's right Baidu is supplying MSN with the ad technology, not the other way around! David has more again (good stuff, David!)

This is an interesting trend. It's pretty well known that the best way to enter the Chinese market is the become part of it, rather than trying to sell to it as an outsiders. Actually, this is a good strategy anywhere in the world - it's just very pronounced in China due to the size of the market and the fairly protectionist attitude of the government.

Yahoo has also already merged with Alibaba in China, accepting the inevitable. Actually, Alibaba bought Yahoo!

This leaves Google as the lone outsider in search. Apparently Googles approach is (typically) different. They appear to be intending to join the market though PR, Guanxi (relationships and trust)and technology. This is hardly a new approach for them - it's the one they have used all along.

But will it work?

The case for: Usability, trust and technology go a long way for consumers. Although they may want to support local goods and companies, if the locals simply are not up to par, the consumers will tend to go elsewhere. You can see this in China with the focus on famous brands. For example, the Chinese love German engineering and will buy a BMW, Mercedes or Volkswagen in preference to local vehicles. If you let people know that the Volkswagen they are driving was actually built in China, that can help ease nationalistic concerns.

If you DON'T ease those concerns, then you can expect that as soon as a local competitor gets close to or beats your technology, people will switch. I suspect that's what happened in eBay's case - TOM is good, and offers a lot to the Chinese. Given that, it was a losing battle for eBay.

As an example personally, when Walmart moved into Canada there was a big uproar about Canadian jobs being lost, etc. Walmarts response was to aggressively announce that the vast majority of profits would stay in Canada, that the managers and staff would be Canadian, and that Canadian goods would be sold whenever possible. This went a long way to easing their entry. Toyota did the same when they built auto plants in the US.

So if Google marketed their Chinese connections and contributions (assuming they make them), they may be able to keep separate, assuming that they maintain a strong technological lead over Yahoo, Baidu and MSN. Hiring Kai-Fu Lee was a great start to this, as he's highly respected in China.

The case against: First, it's hard to maintain a technological lead. It takes a lot of work and money, and at a certain point you get to where you are only making incremental improvements, rather than huge leaps and bounds. At that point, your competitors only need to catch up, or get close enough that the average user can't tell the difference, or doesn't care. Unlike you, they know exactly what they have to do, since they have a specific target to analyze. If you are in the lead, you are always moving blind and taking chances.

Second, promotion and self-advertising has never been Googles strong suit. They got to where they are mostly via word of mouth and social networking buzz, not through PR campaigns. I'm not so sure that this will work in China, because unlike before, Google is no longer the talented underdog with roots close to home (which was it's status in Silicon Valley).

Now, it's the dominating foreign company that is sending Chinese money back to make 2 very rich Americans and a bunch of American stockholders even richer. That's a tougher public relations issue, I think. I'm not sure hiring a bunch of elite Chinese kids from exclusive universities will be enough to convince the average Chinese that they are becoming involved in the economy. More like helping the rich get richer.

During the keynote speeches at SES China last year, I was interested to note that Johnny Chou (Google) focussed on Googles intention to hire only the best and the elite in China. Jack Ma of Yahoo/Alibaba on the other hand, talked about generating thousands of jobs for ordinary Chinese.

Guess who got the standing ovation from the Chinese press and attendees, and who got the polite applause? Local boy makes good and comes home to help out the local folks is always good press.

Conclusion: Unless Google makes some significant changes to it's strategy and acknowledges that it's reputation has changed from the old days, I think I'll be writing about "Google Loses Chinese Market" in a future post here.

I hope for their sake that they correct their course and begin to actively support the countries they are in, rather than trying to make the Googleplex the center of the universe. Because history has shown that approach just doesn't last for long.


CSMT Update - Pricing & Hong Kong!

I have exciting news for the China Search Marketing Tour members - we were able to add Hong Kong to the trip, while keeping Shanghai! It's the best of both worlds. We also now have the pricing (just in time for your year end budget projections).

By moving Hong Kong to the end of the tour, we were able to avoid the administrative issues of a double entry visa, as well as allowing people on tight schedules to skip HK and head back home. If we had added it earlier while keeping Shanghai, then it would have been a huge rush to see everything and not nearly as much fun.

China Search Marketing Tour Itinerary - you will note that it's pretty close to all-inclusive. We take care of the hotels, transportation (including airfare between all the cities), guides, translators, most meals, attractions, you name it!

We have also figured out the cost of the tour: $2750 USD

This includes everything except airfare to China and your shopping. We can arrange for airfare, but too many people prefer to fly on points, or like/don't like certain carriers, or are flying in from Europe, etc for us to give a price for this.

The other thing that is not covered is the cost of the tickets for SES. We are working on getting you discounts on these tickets, though. The reason for this is quite simply that there are many types and levels of tickets, and some people will be getting free tickets because they are speakers, and others are going on the tour with a significant other but not interested in SES themselves, etc. It didn't seem fair to build in the cost of a ticket when you may not use it or want it.

We also are offering discounts! if you are a member of any chapter of the SMA or SEMPO, you get a $250 discount. Since you can join the SMA-NA for as little as $50, that's a pretty good deal (if you are a member of both, you can't double up the discount, sorry - nice try though ;) )

You also get a $250 discount if you are a speaker at SES! So if you happen to be a speaker AND a member of the SMA (or SEMPO) you can get up to a $500 discount!

You need to send a $300 deposit BEFORE January 20, 2007 to hold your place (there are only 35 places, and 19 are already gone as of this writing), and pay in total by March 20, 2007, for those of you who are organizing budgets.

I'm looking forward to meeting all of you in China.


Change to the China SEM Tour

David and I just finished finished a phone call and as a result have revised the itinerary for the CSMT. I know for some of you this will be a disappointment, but for others it's a welcome change.

Based on feedback from some of our tour members and other issues (like the fact that to go to Hong Kong from Beijing and then to Xiamen you'd need a double-entry visa, and other such administrative details that I prefer to not bet my luggage or sanity on...) we have decided to drop Hong Kong from the itinerary and add Shanghai, instead.

We certainly have nothing against Hong Kong (I'll be staying behind and visiting it on my own time anyway), but one of our jobs is to make double sure that everyone has a great time, encounters no problems, and experiences the most relevant places for business and search marketing in China.

So it will be Beijing, Shanghai, then Xiamen.

Although I was looking forward to Hong Kong, this is actually a better plan, in that Shanghai is an amazing place, and more representative of the "new China". Not to mention that there is a certain search related technology center nearby that we may get a chance to see ;)


Understatement of the Year - ODP "Technical Difficulties"

There was a post on SEOMOZ about DMOZ recently that resulted in some good information in the comments (I capitalized SEOmoz wrong because I like how they look together in a sentence - so sue me).

Here is the quote:

“On Oct. 20th, the editors machine crashed due to a hardware failure. During attempts by AOL Operations to restore the computer to normal operations, a disk re-image procedure resulted in the data on the editors machine to be overwritten. Attempts were made to restore the data but to no avail. Full backups to the editors machine were once automatic, but unbeknownst to us until after the hardware failure, this process was changed to a manual, on-demand process over a year ago. Only incremental backups were automatically produced.

To make matters worse, we were setting up an additional machine for failover to remove the editors machine as the single point of failure. This meant all the data on the editors machine were lost forever. In order to restore the ODP, it had to be reconstructed from various sources (i.e. tools from research, the RDF dump, etc.).

This rather extraordinary event was a bit like breaking a glass into a thousand pieces and being faced with gluing all the pieces back together. Richard (rpfuller) and David (ddrinan) assessed if the directory could be reconstructed at all by looking at pieces available in various places. There was no way for us to predict how long it would take to restore the ODP because this scenario never was supposed to be a possibility.

To add insult to fatal injury, the research server, which contained a lot of data needed to restore lost data, was taken off line due to security concerns. Richard and David were able to quickly amass the major parts of the directory. Within a week of the outage, scripts were being prepared to reload the latest RDF and incremental backups. The bulk of editor information was restored. By Nov. 8th, the editors server was back online and open to admins and technical editors for QA testing.

Between Nov. 8th and today, Nov. 29th, Richard and David have worked tirelessly to fix bugs and features reported by the testers, and to recover all data that’s possible to recover.”

It's not dead - just in intensive care...There may be some good news for it, however, as this quote from AOL to the ODP editors implies:

"Restoring the ODP to its previous state is the short-term goal, but keeping it in maintenance mode is not a long term strategy. If there is a silver lining in this outage it's a renewed interest in developing the ODP in a direction that is relevant to both the web community and AOL. Obviously, your input is pretty important to AOL in determining the ODP's future, and you guys have had conversations here and there about how you'd like to see the ODP evolve ... these conversations are not going unnoticed. As you sit here patiently waiting for the old system to come back online, perhaps you guys could begin a visioning discussion about what the ODP should become."

This is good because I think the consensus is that DMOZ as it was before it blew up really wasn't working or scalable anymore. Of course, whether or not it gets improved is up to the quality of the suggestions from the editors, and which ones (if any) get implemented by AOL.

In the meantime, I'm pretty much ignoring it. I like the idea of DMOZ/ODP, but I've been unhappy with the implementation for some time now (on an unrelated note, the same goes for, BTW).


Chinese Business Cards

A short while ago, a friend that I hardly ever get a chance to see nowadays, Rand Fishkin, of the SEOmoz fame, sent me an email. He's going on the China Search Marketing Tour this spring, and being the excellent marketer that he is, wondered about business cards, language and so forth.

Apparently my response was helpful, so (with his permission) I'm reprinting it here:

Hi Rand,

You will be in the PRC, so the best type of Chinese characters to use are simplified.

For spoken language, it gets a lot more complicated - In general, they speak Mandarin in the north (Beijing) and Cantonese in the south (Hong Kong and Xiamen).

They are totally different. For example, the simple act of saying "hello":

Written: 你好
Mandarin: ni hao
Cantonese: ho ma

And thank you:

Written: 谢谢
Mandarin: xie xie
Cantonese: dol jare

Of the 2 languages, Mandarin is probably the best to learn. It's the most widely known, the official language of business and government, and it considered to be the more sophisticated of the two in terms of how it sounds. Most business people you meet in the south will be at least conversant in Mandarin (and often English).

Even if you only come with a little bit of the language, they really appreciate you trying, so I do recommend at least knowing a few phrases. I also have a phrase book loaded on my PDA that I found very useful a few times ("where is the bathroom?", for example).

When hiring a tutor, try to get one that is actually from Beijing if available, otherwise you may end up learning a southern accent by accident. It's bad enough you'll have an American accent, don't make it worse by adding a southern Chinese one as well! The northern "Beijing" accent is considered the purest form of Mandarin. Even those from Shanghai tend to have a Shanghaianese accent when speaking Mandarin. People in Beijing can be real snobs about accents at times.

Some guidelines for your business cards:

1. Don't try to take a Chinese name. I know it's common for Chinese to take a name like "Tom" or "Bob" to make it easier on westerners, but unless you are fluent in Chinese and actually live there, having a Chinese name just seems like you are trying too hard.

2. However, it's perfectly OK to have your name spelled in Chinese characters phonetically, so they can pronounce it more easily. I do this myself on my card. Make sure you have a Mandarin speaker choose it for you, since the same characters may sound very different in Cantonese. Also, they will be able to tell if the characters that you use are appropriate. This is important, since when Coca Cola originally translated it's name, it ending up spelling out "bite the wax tadpole". Now, they have characters that sound pretty close, but they mean something like "makes mouth happy". Big difference. Let a native choose the characters - it's not just about the sound - it's also the meaning.

3. Hierarchy is very important to the Chinese. The whole "just call me Rand" thing doesn't go over well, and neither do cards with uncertain titles on them. CEO's talk to CEO's, Marketing Managers talk to marketing managers, etc. If they don't know what your rank is, they won't know who should be talking to you, and may decide to politely not talk to you at all, in some cases. Make sure your title is clear and "normal": Director, CEO, President, etc. Also, education is very important - if you have degrees, add them. If you have more than one company, it's OK to put them on the card (some Chinese have upwards of 10 companies they are directors of listed on their cards - it's normal).

4. The luckiest colors for cards are red, yellow and gold. Try to avoid pure black and white if you can. Mine are blue and white, and that's ok - I kept it for branding purposes. Just so you know, "8" is a very lucky number for business (it sounds like "profit") and "4" is a very unlucky number (sounds similar to "death"). If you have a contact number that has at least one 8 in it, that's a good thing. If you have lots of fours in your phone number, maybe just put down your email address ;)

5. Usually, you put English on one side and Chinese on the other. Remember that if you mix the two (for example, in a logo or something) then the Chinese characters should be more predominant than English for the Chinese side.

6. One good idea is to go down to your local ChinaTown and go see a printer there. That way, they will probably help you set up your card in Chinese for free or cheap, just as part of the print order. Just make sure you specify Simplified text, Mandarin pronunciation. Bring lots of cards to China - at least 50.

If you want to read a book that could help you, I recommend:

One Billion Customers - James McGregor
China Now - N. Mark Lam and John L. Graham

There are tons others, but these two are really good and current.



Ian McAnerin Business Card for Chinese Search Marketing

BTM - Blue Time Media (again)

I normally don't spend much time dealing with comments, but since my response to this one by someone claiming to be from BTM was so long, I felt it would be best if I turned it into a post for better legibility.

Here is the comment in full:

mcanerin networks inc( are the idiots since btm are school project and as you stated yourself, your company name was left on those pages to give the material the correct copy right. In the other hand, this so call lawyer that calls himself and his company SEO professionals, achieved ranking to their site by utilizing shady tactics and are only scratching the surface of true search engine optimization. That only a REAL SEO Professional knows this tactics are penalization in the major search engines. Trashing competitors on you own blog is patetic, it only makes you look unprofessional. For one Blue Time Media is and Hispanic Marketing Agency that develops strategic planning and implementation of Marketing and Advertising campaigns. So do your homework before embarrassing yourself putting you comparing to us, you lie to people for living we offer Field Marketing And Event Marketing.If you are as good as you claim, why trash on you own block, that is real stupid. You are using this blog for link building to bring traffic to you site on at same time to trash competitors that aren't really competitors.Good job lawyer, i bet you going to erase me fron this blog. Haha dare to leave it so people can read. HAH you can dish it out but you cant take it. Good luck dear, you seam deam desperate for
biz. You been figting with kids, we very proud you think we are good.

Apparently you are not very good students - You get an F Minus and get sent to stand in the corner with a dunce cap on your heads.

English 101: Let's see, you can't spell and have poor grammar. I'll allow that you may not have English as a first language and will not belabor the point. But it's unprofessional to not use a spellchecker while launching an incoherent diatribe against your victims for daring to stand up for their rights.

Logic 101: you've attributed several actions (including future ones) to me that are not true and without basis - that I would delete your post (it's too funny for that!), that I engage in shady tactics, and that I'm trashing a competitor (I'm trashing a criminal - BTM is not a competitor to me or any other competent SEO or marketer).

Law 101: My name was left to give the correct copyright? Huh? Do you actually believe that? So if I copy a bunch of CD's but also photocopy the label saying who the real artist is - it's OK?
Thanks for admitting you are a thief though - I appreciate that.

SEO 101 - "you lie to people for living" - well, although that may be what YOU think marketing is (and your actions seem to support this) it is not. My job is to provide the best results to the search engines and help them realize that.

BTW, I don't use this blog for link building, or at least, not in a directed manner. If I get links, I obviously don't mind. But not everything I do is about marketing and SEO. Sometimes I just want to talk about something and communicate with friends - you know, like most people with blogs.

"That only a REAL SEO Professional knows this tactics are penalization in the major search engines."

Really? Try to find those pages in MSN or Yahoo right now. Go ahead. I actually never got around to sending the one for Google (since it would cost me a stamp, and I didn't really think you were worth even that), but I think I will, now, just for fun.

Ethics 101: A student fails if they plagiarize. You fail.

Marketing 101: "Trashing competitors on you own blog is patetic, it only makes you look unprofessional."

Trashing people you steal from on THEIR blog (and doing it badly) is what's pathetic and unprofessional. And you did the trashing yourself, to yourself, through your actions and responses.

Let's see, would I hire a company to form a strategy for me if I knew that company didn't have enough talent or creativity to come up with it's own materials? Umm... no.

Would I hire them to do advertising for me if I knew they stole other people's advertising and may put my own company at risk as a result? No.

Would I hire a company that would would defend itself in such an unprofessional and unrepentant manner? No.

See, if you had said "sorry, an intern did it by accident, and we've removed it" I probably would not believe you, but I would have let it go. But to have the gall to defend your lawbreaking in such an illiterate and manifestly obtuse manner would be funny, if it wasn't so pathetic and hopeless.

"we very proud you think we are good"

Oops - wrong again - I don't. If that's your basis for feeling pride, then you must have some severe personal issues.

Good luck with your business. You'll need it. Please convey my sympathies to your clients for working with you.