Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Charles Knight SEO: GTFO

I have become increasingly annoyed at the blatant spamming tactics of Charles Knight, an occasional writer for Richard MacManus's otherwise excellent Read/Write Web blog. Charles Knight, a bank manager from Virginia with an interest in wolf hybrids who decided to get into the search engine optimisation business last year, has his own company called Charles Knight SEO, LLC through which he evidently wants to build a small search engine SEO consultancy empire. Charles Knight has spammed me and over a hundred other proprietors of search engine startups in emails promoting his conference appearances, R/WW blog posts, his shitty 100 Alternative Search Engines list, his LinkedIn group, and whatever else he's doing that day.

Charles Knight's latest missive (which he had to send twice because he only sent half of it the first time, while also making the rookie mistake of CCing instead of BCCing all recipients, a terrible faux pas in Internet etiquette):


By now, 78 alternative search engines or interested parties have accepted my invitation via Linked In to form a new community of search engines. "Alternative" means any search engine that is not Google, Yahoo!, MSN, or AOL.

The purpose behind Linking In your search engines together is not to pad my "contact" list!

The purpose is to facilitate cooperation between alternative search engines, the recent partnership of ChaCha and blinkx being an excellent example. Please see my post below:

So, does this idea have "teeth?" It certainly does. We now have documented 700 alternative Search Engines. A project that has taken six people countless hours to assemble. No one has been paid to do this; we wanted to because we believe that in the struggle between the smaller search engines and the "Big Five," you can win.

So, this database has already been sent to one of you. It is not secret, it is not private, it is available for alternative search engines (in whole or in part) who feel that they can use it to benefit their engine and thus raise the bar for everyone. Engine-to-Engine conversations are encouraged most of all.

Now, I have a favor to ask of you. I just got back from Italy, and I brought back "The Top 100 Alternative Italian Search Engines" (Yes, I'm serious). I want the Top 100 search engines in French, German, Spanish, Russian, Chinese/Japanese/Korean/Vietnamese - you get the idea. I have been accused of only collecting English search engines. Please forward to me any foreign search engines that you know about.

Why the hell would anyone want to join a community of their competitors? Most of the companies he has contacted are in different verticals anyway, and thus have nothing to talk about. And why would anyone want to do any of Charles Knight's work in compiling lists of their competitors? It doesn't even make sense. Obviously the only function of this whole thing is for Charles Knight to pad out his contact list, despite his protestations.

Quite apart from all of that, Charles Knight was the author of a recent article on R/WW called Weird Search Engines, which included Tinfinger in a poll of about 10 startup sites. No consultation, and I have no sense of humour about it. Fuck you, Charles Knight! How dare you poke fun at my site and then pretend to be on my side? Do I call you a furry freak for liking wolves?

I can only assume that Richard, whom I have talked to and think highly of, doesn't know what Charles Knight is doing. I ask Richard to either tell Charles Knight to stop using R/WW to promote his private SEO shilling, or if he won't, then ban him from R/WW. He's not doing anyone any good, and he's trading on R/WW's good name to further his own grubby little goals.

(And if you're wondering why I spell out the full name of Charles Knight so much in this blog entry... two can play the SEO game.)


Anonymous Charles Knight said...

My apologies. Per your assumed request I have deleted you and TinFinger from our database.

Charles Knight

P. S. I now work full-time for Read/WriteWeb and no longer do

12:08 am, May 18, 2007  
Anonymous Zuula said...


I can understand some of your sentiments.

But, with all due respect, I think you need to take a chill pill.

I'm not Charles, so I can't say for sure what his motivations are for the work he's doing. But I am quite convinced that his interest in promoting knowledge exchange and collaboration among "alternative search engines" is motivated by a genuine desire to help those engines -- including Tinfinger -- succeed.

True, his initial work in the area may have been motivated by a desire to market his (former) SEO business.

And, yes, I'm sure he hopes to support himself and his family through the work he's doing now.

But, last I heard, marketing your business and trying to support yourself and your family were totally legitimate -- and actually quite common -- endeavors.

So, perhaps you want to reconsider a bit what you've written. As it currently stands, your posting certainly doesn't reflect well on you or on Tinfinger, and it certainly doesn't do justice to Charles and his work.

Best regards,


2:40 am, May 18, 2007  
Blogger Paul Montgomery said...

Boris, marketing your business is fine, so I have no problem with Charles Knight writing for R/WW. Richard might have an opinion, but I haven't heard it (surprisingly). Just don't pester me with unsolicited email and don't act like you're my friend when you've written an article calling my business "weird".

8:02 am, May 18, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh dear Paul, you must've forgotten to eat your weetbix before posting this. Firstly let me explain that the "weird" in weird search engines was meant to convey 'something different', unique, which in many cases is a good thing. We certainly meant no offense by the term and so I apologize if you took it as an insult. It most definitely wasn't intended to be offensive and I had no idea that some of the sites mentioned might take it that way (and btw I take responsibility for running with that title, as I thought it was a nice 'friday' type post -- if I recall).

To confirm what Charles said, he is a key member of the R/WW team and is in the process of building up the alt search engine list and business for us.

So anyway I'm sorry that you took offense at the 'weird label' and Charles' email, but I think you're over-reacting about it and got too personal in your blog post about Charles. As per your wishes though, we won't email you again.

Finally, I respect what you're doing with Tinfinger and will always support local (NZ/Aus) web 2.0 startups, so please email me personally in future if you have any issue with how we link to you.


Richard MacManus

9:18 am, May 18, 2007  
Blogger Paul Montgomery said...

I admit I was perhaps a bit harsh because Charles is one of an increasing number of self-appointed SEO community leaders who are spamming me this way, so I have taken my annoyance out on him alone which is a bit unfair.

I am disappointed to hear, Richard, that Charles is "building up the alt search engine list and business for us", which implies that he has done all of this spamming and pestering in R/WW's name with your blessing and will continue to do it to people who don't complain as much as me. Do you think Arrington employs someone to spam on behalf of TechCrunch20? You're better than that, mate. If Charles wants to be a success at his new job, you have to educate him about how not to annoy potential clients.

9:58 am, May 18, 2007  

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