Well they got that link because they were the best site out there. That was organic. It is a naive view of marketing to assume that if you are the best people will notice you and people will care. It is not enough to be the best…you need others to say that you are. If anything the web is making most people more driven by self interest – rather than lending a helping hand.

Worse yet, due to the anonymous nature of the web (and other automated technologies), we are bombarded with every type of spam imaginable (auto-dial telemarketing, fakevertising, reverse billing fraud, phishing, bait & switch marketing, etc etc etc) and the people who have distribution are gaining a predisposition that if you contact them out of the blue with anything commercial you are a spammer. Further tools like Twitter pull links off the web graph and make conversations more shallow, limiting the discussion of many complex topics.

Affiliate programs are great for distribution (and whoring fake reviews), but most good affiliates typically target brands that already have their own gravity around them.

Even if you make someone millions of dollars they typically don’t want to give a testimonial because they are afraid of creating competition for themselves.

Companies worth over $100 billion dollars – like Google – still need to buy ads and bribe customers for testimonials:

The site has a range of options for letting your company or organization know that you want it to “Go Google,” including things like fliers and pre-populated emails to send out.

And Google is also promising to give away “goodies” each week in August to users who have Gone Google and fill out a Google Doc describing their experience.

Eventually the goal of many forms of marketing is to create something that has enough targeted awareness that it begins to market itself. To become synonymous with a field. Kleenex & Xerox are great examples. But you have to use push marketing, begging, bribery, ass kissing, capital, sweat, blood, luck, and a bit talent to get in that type of position.

You can’t be a successful market maker without first being a market manipulator. And even when you get to the top of a market you still have to try to control market perceptions. To get a refund for an Apple iPod that literally blows up you need to sign a confidentiality agreement:

The letter also stated that, in accepting the money, Mr Stanborough was to “agree that you will keep the terms and existence of this settlement agreement completely confidential”, and that any breach of confidentiality “may result in Apple seeking injunctive relief, damages and legal costs against the defaulting persons or parties”.

In spite of their strong market positions, Apple and Google are still heavily focused on manipulating public opinion of their products.

One of the biggest flaws with the field of SEO is the presumption some people have that there is only 1 right way to do things, everything should be free, marketing should be entirely organic, you have to keep it all above board or you risk losing everything, and other BS pitched by companies trying to minimize and regulate the field. The bigger risk for most people is remaining obscure, unknown, and unprofitable.

More: continued here