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Monday, May 15, 2006

V7ndotcom Elursrebmem Winners Announced

John Scott announced the winners of the V7ndotcom Elursrebmem SEO contest. The winner of the $4000 + iPod grand prize is (the second place is, and is third). There was an alternative contest happening at WebGuerilla, but the winners have not been announced over there yet.

Contest overview

A source who wants to stay anonymous here provided me with a rundown of the recent contest results:

While Jim Westergren from Sweden has dominated the top spot for a few months, he was recently bumped out by the site from Scotland. #3 is the Watching Paint Dry site (Republic of Boulder) which is planning to donate it all to charity – Celiac Disease Research.

Dropping a few spots is the Grand VE hotel site from England followed by Marcus Westberg from Sweden. Ironically, Marcus should have benefit from doing a 301 redirects from two other formally top-15 sites – (Marcus Donkey Kong game) (Steve Hargrove) – but this last minute strategy does not appear to have worked ... yet.

Rounding out the top-10 are teams from Poland and France – the later represented by Team Taggle – the so-called Black Hats of the contest and apparently damn proud of it – viva-la-France.

John Scott, the man behind V7ndotcom Elursrebmem

John Scott of the V7N network, initiator of the contest, answered a couple of my questions.

Has the contest surpassed your expectations?

Definitely. When it started I expected it to be a community thing, with a couple dozen participants. Fifty tops.

Now it’s the biggest SEO contest to date, and I’m guessing it’ll be a hard one to top. :)

Which mainstream mention of the contest do you think was the biggest in terms of getting the word out to non-SEO people?

The Wall Street Journal was “nice”, but I don’t know if it was understood by many people. My own relatives who saw it asked were confused by the wording. One relative even asked if SEO was legal.

I think the links all over the web, pointing to the different pages, with “v7ndotcom elursrebmem” in the anchor text – those got people curious and got the word out more than any single mention in the press.

Do you think it’s unfair of people to think of the contest prize money as “advertising budget" for the forums?

Not at all, because that’s exactly what it is. When I got back into the Internet last year, I discovered that V7N’s traffic was, well, next to nil.

Ever since that, we’ve been adding new features and sections – notably the SEO Blog and we’re enjoying a comfortable level of traffic now, but I got to admit that the SEO contest has been more than kind to us.

Do you think the community got a boost through this contest? (Do you have any numbers?)

Without a doubt, yes. We are growing faster than at any time in the past, and some quality friendships have been made. For example, Loren Baker. We’re not engaged yet, but he’s my best (SEO) friend at the moment, and that friendship is due to the SEO contest.

Numbers-wise, this last month we averaged just over one thousand posts per day. A year ago we were averaging fewer than 200 posts per day.

I saw you had an ad on Loren Baker’s blog. Where else do you advertise?

I actually have two ad spots on SEJ. Loren needs to increase his ad rates, but let’s not tell him that. :)

I advertise on a lot of different blogs, mostly SEO or marketing related. is another one I advertise on.

What do you think was the winning strategy for this contest?

Looks to me like anchor text links in commercial link networks.

Do you think Google’s BigDaddy update is a success?

I won’t say “success”, but I do like it. Kind of like the broken vending machine that gives you candy even if you don’t insert coins.

Which blogs do you read?

No particular order here:

... Come to think of it, I read too many blogs to list.

Who do you think had the funniest competition entry?

That would be DazzlinDonna. But I’m not really sure that was even an entry. ;)

What would you do different in this contest if you could turn back time?

Honestly, I think it went better than I could have ever done by my own. The controversy helped it, and I was able to gain insight into the nature of some of the SEO folks.

Will you ever do an SEO contest like this again?

No. The contest was fun and all, but the forum was pretty much overrun with SEO contest threads there for a while, and the quality of discussion took a hit.

Do you really live in Japan? Can you give us a bit about your background?

Yup, I live here.

I was raised in Tokyo. My father was a computer engineer with Honeywell. Honeywell was under contract with the military to provide and maintain computers (mainframes). That’s why we were here.

I went back to the States in 1990, when I was 20. I always wanted to come back to Japan, but life took me elsewhere. I finally decided to come back last year.

V7 Inc is now a Japanese limited corporation (“Ltd”), and we are planning to set up offices in Shibuya, near Google Japan.

It’s a great beautiful country. I finally feel “at home”.

[Thanks Anonymous. All outgoing links for this post have been nofollowed. Thanks John for the interview.]


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