Fly Fishers Spam Sphinn

Greetings from inside the SEOigloo!

I considered entitling this post “Phly Phishers Spham Sphinn”, but when I said it out loud, I sounded exactly like Daffy Duck.

The popularity of Danny Sullivan’s new Social Media site Sphinn continues to soar, but with fame comes the agony of massive amounts of spam. My jaw dropped tonight when I found this at the top of the What’s New page:

illustration from Sphinn

I hope I will not unjustly accuse any innocent parties in this blog post, but that has got to be one of the spammiest things I’ve ever seen. Stuffed with every possible fly fishing-related keyword known to man, it leaps from the page and gives you a poke in the eye.

The nutty thing about this is, some genius actually took the time to register for Sphinn and submit this post…unless it was completely automated. The other nutty thing is that when you follow the link in the posting, it takes you right to the culprit’s door.

Or does it?

The link goes to (sorry, no way I’m linking out to that directly). It’s a rather hokey website beginning with a good ol’ fashioned splash page. It does, indeed, sell fly fishing equipment. I was thrilled to see it has a contact form. This should enable me to connect up directly to the spammer himself. I took a moment to write to him (or her) and asked why they had dropped such a strange posting in a search engine marketing social media site. I took the time to explain how this wouldn’t help their site’s rankings (if this was their goal) and that it could certainly harm their business, branding them as a disreputable, spamming company. I asked if an SEO or Internet Marketer had advised them to do this, or if they were paying someone to do this for them, and suggested that they end the relationship as quickly as possible, if this was the case.

I explained that I would be blogging about the situation, and requested that they let me know why they had done this. I will gladly add their reply as a follow up to this post, if I hear back from them.

I noticed that the spammer in question had registered with Sphinn under the username ‘searchrankpros’. I’ll skip over the irony of them choosing such an appellation and move forward to my doing a Google search for this name. This could be completely coincidental, but I got a funny feeling when I wound up at

It concerns me when a business selling SEO services has Adsense ads plastered all over their website. It concerns me when a business selling web design services has a different background on each of the pages of their website. Maybe I’m being too hard on Search Rank Pros and they aren’t in any way connected with Bargain Fly Shop’s bizarre attempt to spam Sphinn. Maybe they are just starting out in the business and look funky because of being new to everything. I wouldn’t want to misjudge them.

However, I do want to warn Aaron Wall to look out, because these folks are not only running your SEO Book ads, they are selling their own product called “SEO Book”. Hmmm….

Whoever the guilty spammer is, they simply aren’t good at what they are doing. Black Hat SEOs make big bucks gaming the system in a variety of crafty ways…not by spamming Danny Sullivan with fly fishing posts.

Or have I missed something?

Are the cool SEOs and marketers really into fly fishing? Does the big, nifty fish on Bill Slawski’s SEO By The Sea mean more than I ever realized? Did a bot notice Rand Fishkin’s posts hitting the front page of Sphinn and think it had struck gold? Did instructions get garbled at Spammy SEO Headquarters:

“No, you idiot, I said phishing, not fishing!”

It all seems pretty fishy to me.

3 Responses to “Fly Fishers Spam Sphinn”

  1. on 14 Apr 2008 at 10:03 pm scott andrews

    I know this is kind of an old post, but I just came across it and I had to reply. I am the owner of Or I was, as I have discontinued that site. I spent several years doing SEO consulting work, and while I found it very rewarding, I have moved on to other things recently. I wanted to respond to a few points, however, so that in the future you might not be so quick to pass judgment on others:
    1) The name- searchrankpros was not a great name, I will give you that one. Later I opened other sites with better names, and searchplacementservicecom. I did maintain the searchrankpros site, however, because it had some PageRank and several regular contributers on the message board.
    2)The AdSense- Why is it bad for an SEO site to have AdSense? What exactly does that indicate that may be shady? Even the great Danny Sulivan uses AdSense.
    3)The multiple backgrounds – those were different sites. The pages on each site were all the same, it was my different sites that had different backgrounds. Maybe my links could have been labeled more clearly, but all you had to do was look at the URL or the title of the page. I am not “new to everything”, I know how to make a website uniform.
    4)As for selling my own SEO book,(which was not called “SEO book” as you stated, but “SEO Made Simple”)” I don’t understand why you gave me the “hmmm”. Would it somehow be unethical to compete with Aaron Wall? Anyone has a right to write about a topic and sell it if they choose. Aaron doesn’t own the market. However, I wasn’t selling it. I was giving it away! It was a free download for anyone who wanted it! Is that an ethical problem for you?
    5)Finally, on this fishing site, I had absolutely nothing to do with that. Why they chose the name searchrankpros, I couldn’t tell you. But just because they chose that term, and I came up at the top of Google, that doesn’t mean I was in any way associated. All it means is I am good at what I do. I had the #1 rank for “search rank pros” “higher search rank”, “higher search engine rank”, “search placement service”, and “search engine placement”
    I have optimized hundreds of sites over the last few years. I have always done it ethically and without the so-called “black hat” methods. I don’t know why you would call my ethics into question because a) someone’s username matched a web address, b) I used AdSense, and c) you thought I may have actually tried to compete with Aaron Wall. What is unethical there? I think taking cheap potshots without gathering all your facts is far more unethical.

  2. on 15 Apr 2008 at 12:37 pm admin

    Dear Scott,
    Thank you for taking the time to comment. I had to go back and read this post to remember it, so I’m sorry if the details aren’t very fresh in my mind right now.

    I’m sorry if I’ve offended you. As I mentioned above,the fact that the Sphinn spammer was called Search Rank Pros might have been coincidental, and as it turns out, it was. My main problem was with whomever submitted the spam to Sphinn. What I found on your website was more in the nature of incidental notes.

    Again, sorry if the post hurt your feelings and thanks for speaking up.

  3. on 15 Apr 2008 at 8:36 pm scott andrews

    Hey, its ok. I’m sorry if I came across a little harsh. I am a little sensitive at times. I am as annoyed by that type of spam as anyone. My blog used to get spammed every day by all kinds of spam, and even though I never once published it, they kept trying day after day. I can see where you made the connections you did. I might have drawn the same conclusion. But I actually read through a bit of your blog and you have a lot of insightful creative thoughts on here. So keep up the good work!

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